Unauthorized Sacrifice: Inner Work

*sadness*

I was going to post about something else but this has been on my mind as so many people struggle with sacrificing themselves for things or people they were never called to sacrifice for. They seem to be sacrificing their happiness, their joy, their lives, their freedom, and destiny for things that depreciate quickly and for people whom obviously do not deserve the sacrifices.

I see how this self-sacrifice is related to Inner Work. Some are making sacrifices and are YET unaware they are not getting anything or much in return. They have not discovered what the empty feeling on the inside means. They have not experienced frustration. Oh, but when they come into awareness of the unbalance, they will face a choice. A choice to stop it or to continue doing the same things hoping for different results.

Others self-sacrifice because it’s something they have done their entire lives. Putting other people’s wants and needs ahead of their own. It may have started in childhood by putting parents’ wants and desires ahead to please them. Yet, unhappy in the family business or as a doctor. Maybe it started when they became a parent and now it flows into the role of husband or wife. It flows into the job. Making sacrifices and even volunteering to stay over so much people expect it of you. “But you always stay over. You always change shifts with me.” The moment you can’t, it’s a problem and you’re being selfish. I know you may have heard that before. Things like, you’re a wife now or husband now and you must sacrifice your happiness, needs, wants, dreams, and desires. It’s the “godly” thing to do. The honorable thing. All the while you are miserable as hell. And Hell is pretty miserable.

Then there is the one that “saves the day”. You’ve been saving the day since you were young. Maybe you were the older sibling or the most dependable one. You drop what you are doing to “save the day”. You had something planned but dare not tell your mom or pops you will have to take them tomorrow if it’s not urgent. You must save the day. You’re the good one. Everyone wants to borrow money from you. You stay in relationships you know you should have been left but, you can’t let the other person down even if they are letting you down. You need to be the hero because you need validation that you are worthy of their love. You need to be needed even if it makes you sad.

Unauthorized sacrifices can wear you down, out, and take you out of this realm. It can have you living outwardly or secretly a life of misery. We do have to make some authorized sacrifices in life. Most sacrifices are not pleasant. However, I want you to think of this scripture from the Bible, “Obedience in greater than sacrifice.” If you obey, you don’t need to sacrifice. King Saul of Israel disobeyed God’s command. He thought that by altering God’s command, he somehow developed a better solution than what God had outlined. This is the context for the statement “obedience is better than sacrifice” spoken by the Prophet Samuel.

If you obey the soul, the Spirit, God, your spirit, your gut feeling then you would not have to make unauthorized sacrifices. I have sacrificed for people and they have been ungrateful and in return I would get angry. God never told me to do those things. I was conditioned to do those things trying to get something that was not there. Or trying to look like the best employee to receive the position or trying to “save the day” and make everyone happy at the expense of my own happiness. I don’t believe God has called us to this type of sacrificing. There is no way you can convince me that a loving God would call you to a life of unhappiness by the way of unauthorized and habitual self-sacrifice. Be obedient to the soft spoken, “Stop. Leave. Do not say yes. It’s okay to lose this friendship. It’s okay to back out of this relationship. You’ve sacrificed for your children. Now go and do you.” Be obedient to the “something” saying to you, “You need therapy. You need to listen to your quiet inner voice. You need to listen to how your body feels when you agree to these things. The anger. The sadness. The loneliness.” I mean if God didn’t join (or there is no divine connection) the relationship, marriage, friendship, or job then you don’t have to remain when it’s time to depart. Everything has a season, a reason, a lesson, and a lifetime. Locate yourself in these unauthorized sacrifices.

~Nikki

How Long Does Healing Take? Inner Work

There will be many things going on this year but, I believe people will begin to work on themselves whether it’s personal development or healing. It may be deepening or returning to their spiritual practice, buying self-help books or taking courses to help improve their life on many levels. Last year I discovered that I had more healing to do and I was ready to get on with it for good. I meant; I was ready to heal completely in this area. I do recall asking God how much more healing and letting go does one need to do?! How long will this take?!!! Ugh! I thought I was done. I’ve been talking about it and dealing with it for a very long time. Well, as I am reading a daily devotional (a book that is pretty deep spiritually so I take it chapter by chapter and sometimes, passage by passage), I think I might have gotten an answer to a question I asked in June 2022.

First, let me talk about the clue I received. Each year I am spiritually led to read certain books. Sometimes it happens all at once and sometimes it happens here and there. Well, I was watching a YouTube episode of Bishop Sarah Jakes Roberts and her mom have a casual conversation over the holidays. She mentioned the book in the video and discovered her mom had read the book also. When I heard the title, I knew I needed the book. This was my first clue that healing was about to take place.

This is what I read this morning:

“Healing is a process of restoration. It is the revealing of the underlying state of perfection and wholeness that always exists, despite injury or disturbance. Beyond all your hurts and pains, be they emotional, physical, or otherwise, is your innate spiritual pattern, which proclaims its independence and simply awaits opportunities to express itself to its fullest. Healing is a journey, not an event. Along the journey there is much to be discovered and discerned about yourself.”

“You ask, “How much healing is there to be done? How long will it take?” These are questions not for me to answer but for you to answer. How long do you want it to take? How much healing are you willing to do? How deep will you go? How much will you reveal? How often will you come to be in surrender? The answers to these questions depend on you. You are creating your own tests. You are creating your won obstacle courses. The mazes through which you wander, the hoops through which you jump, are all configurations of your own thinking. You too often misunderstand, and therefore underestimate the power of your creative abilities. You must become more consciously aware that you are simply manifesting anything and everything you think about, even subliminally.”

-The Sacred Yes by Rev. Deborah L. Johnson

~Nikki

My Top Lessons of 2022 Lesson #7: Knowing is Half the Battle

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“All things are already in divine order.” – The Sacred Yes, Deborah L Johnson

As a child, I watched the cartoon G.I. Joe and at the end of the show he would always say, “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.” There will be times when you are going through something extremely challenging and difficult. It can be dark. It can be so dark you can’t see your hand in front of you. It can be so dark; you can’t see or find your way out. It can seem like you are going to be stuck in this state forever.

G. I. Joe would review the episode, point out significant things, and tell you the lesson of the episode. This is how he poured knowledge into you so that you may have it in battle. You can have a one up, a two or three up, just by KNOWING some things and bringing those things into remembrance. In my religion, the Book of Isaiah 43:26a says, “Put Me in remembrance”. It has been suggested that when you can’t remind yourself of the truth, facts, affirmations, knowledge, you can ask the Holy Spirit to put you in remembrance of what is true or what you know. Basically, you ask for a reminder from a Higher Power.

I experienced more anxiety and more depression, with greater intensity this year than I can recall. In some of those times, I did not remember the truth about my situation or my feelings. I was overcome with those two things that the Spirit whispered, sleep. Sleep was my affirmation. It was my scripture. It was my escape. It was my knowledge.

However, for the times I was aware of the battle I was in, I sought the Lord. Some may think this is about Christianity and the Bible. You are partially correct. However, to seek what is Lord or who is Lord is to seek something or someone that can give you something to assist you in battle. No matter what your battle is. To seek the Lord is to seek answers. You want to get an understanding. You need some knowledge. You need some wisdom in battle. You need to remember so that you can know!

I sought through prayer. I sought by reading. I sought by searching affirmations and meditations for what I was going through. I searched Google and YouTube for CREDITABLE sources to find out more about fears and phobias, anxiety and depression. One very significant thing that has helped me this year when I question, “Why am I or must I go through or deal with this is something that came from the book, The Sacred Yes; “All things are already in divine order.” “When you exercise your faith, you UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT that all things are already in divine order.” What I am going through is in divine order helped me to HOLD ON because I KNOW if it’s in divine order it’s going to work out for my good. If it’s in divine order, I must learn from it. If it’s in divine order, I can’t control it but, I can control my response to it. KNOWING THIS WAS HALF THE BATTLE.

Choosing (making a decision) to have faith, to pray is a POWER MOVE that will produce POWERFUL results in your life. -Nicole Jackson

~Nikki

My Top 12 Lessons of 2022 Lesson #5: RESET AS NEEDED.NO.LIKE REALLY.

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When you have a week (or weeks) that is seriously overwhelming and you’re on the verge of “exploding or imploding”, one should take some time to RESET and REFOCUS on what you are REALLY supposed to be doing with your life and TIME! Things, life, people, work, social media, will knock you off course if and you won’t realize it until you look up and see the shore of your goals for the year at a distance. You won’t realize it until you are DOING NOTHING you were doing or planned to do.

I took a RESET weekend to get back on course. I extended that weekend to a week. No social media. No running errands for others. I took time to deeply clean my house and spirit. Binaural beets, good sermons, spiritual messages, reading and writing, time in nature daily, and day dreaming was what I needed. I took out my planner/notes and reviewed my goals and got back on track. I detoxed from all of the negativity that was occurring. I didn’t watch the news, either.

So… I need to recognize when things are going off track and I’m involved in the chaos. I need to pull back. I need to RESET and REFOCUS as needed or forfeit my dreams and goals for the year. And that, my friends, is not an option.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Slowing Down in December

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It seems like I have finally adjusted to a less than busy schedule. I am becoming acclimated to this slow and steady pace of December. I spoke and set intentions to have an “easy and enjoyable” transition of holidays from the week of Thanksgiving to the first full week of January 2023. I am determined to involve myself in things that are easy and enjoyable more than things that are unnecessarily chaotic and difficult. So far, so good.

I have been taking more naps. I have been watching Christmas movies. I am reflecting and planning. I do need to move my body more. I have done chores in chunks and balanced them out with rest. I have said no to most things that add unnecessary stress. Reminding others that their lack of planning is not my emergency, with a mixture of gentleness and firmness, has freed me of most guilt. Andy Bounds – Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

I am consciously choosing events and whom to socialize with. You do not have to attend everything you are invited to. The mood is smooth, light and airy, boring to some. It’s exactly what I need after the things I’ve gone through and GROWN through. I feel like I need to be infused with hope and joy. I feel as if I need to smile more and laugh more. The last week in December I think I will do a social media detox as well as a physical detox. I hope your December is one of peace and love and heavy on self-love and self-care. While you are giving, don’t forget to give those two things to yourself!

~Nikki

My Top 12 Lessons of 2022: Lesson #1″I’m Not the Problem”

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These are my top 12 lessons from my personal growth journey this year. I share in hopes to help someone or to give a different perspective to the human experience.

We always hear, “Work on yourself. Do the work. It’s an inside job. You’re only attracting what you are.” First let me say that the last one really gets under my skin. I am not a liar or cheater. I don’t play games. I’m not many of things I get in the people I attract. So, “I don’t believe we always attract what we are. Even moths and other insects are attracted to light.”-Nicole Jackson. There’s room for expounding the last statement “we attract what we are”.

Secondly, I learned that I was not the problem in a “relationship” and there was nothing holding me back from a healthy relationship. But it was the other party’s own lack of healing, growth, confusion, and lack of honesty within themselves and to me that was holding them back from having a healthy relationship with me. What a relief that was. When I stopped jumping through hoops, I felt free. As a creative that is an empath and subject to take this deeply personal, there was something within that said, “Hey. Don’t take it personal. This person has a right to not commit for whatever reasons and they also aren’t ready to be with anyone. So, don’t take it personally.” I didn’t miss a beat. I kept right on with my projects and my life and it happened 3 days before Valentine’s Day!

My friends gathered around to coddle me but were surprised when I told them I was happy. I was relieved. I was glad this on and off again saga finally has come to an end. I was free. I was detached. No strings. I burned them. The individual and I remain associates. I had to remove our friendship dynamic as it was the bridge that kept us going back and forth. We are cordial and that is it.

TOP LESSON NUMBER ONE I LEARNED; I AM NOT THE PROBLEM. So many times, we try to figure out what is wrong with us and what we can do to make things work. It can’t work if the other piece is broken and doesn’t want to be fixed or can’t see they need some work.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Up to Par

I’ve been musing this week about meeting a guy that is on my level. When you hear, “on my level” do you think of someone that thinks they are better than others? Smarter? More financially stable? More spiritual or intellectual? I think of all of those things. I don’t think I am more of anything in a way that makes me “better” than someone else but, I do think I want someone that I don’t have to “carry” when it comes to maturity.

I think you do need someone that you can “vibe” with on different levels. It exhausts me if I don’t match up with a guy intellectually or spiritually. We don’t have to be on the same level but in the same flow. How about reading from the same book? I could take that. In order to be in a relationship with someone you have to be able to match in areas that are important to both of you.

I’ve had too many unbalanced, out of synch relationships and I am not accepting applications for more. Yet, I seem to attract people that are where I have already been and it feels like a weight. I would have to slow my pace to be with them and I don’t want to do that. I’m on a roll here lol! It would be great if they could pick up the pace instead.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to practice patience and perhaps, while on my journey I will meet someone going the same way.

~Nikki

Mental Health: What Helps Me

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One of the major keys to dealing with anxiety and depression is to get ahold of it before it spirals out of control. But exactly how is that done? Also, having a plan for when it does spiral out of control is necessary to expedite your recovery to mental and emotional stability. Therapy, scriptures, and affirmations are three major tools that have helped me. Also, having someone you trust when you can’t talk to your therapist and having a SOURCE, which I call God/Creator/Divine/Source when you have no one to talk to is major. For me, Source is always available but, I know there are things I can do on my own to help myself. And this is encouraged by Source.

I think you should really get to know who you are and how things affect you. The only way to do that is to be totally honest with yourself. I am sensitive as I found most creative people are. It allows us to channel our emotions into what we are creating. I have a tendency to take things more personally, overthink, and overanalyze. I have learned how to back out of those things and become an observer for the most part. I also know that it takes me time to move past things. Over the years it has become easier to move past things. I think that comes with wisdom and not age.

Here are some of the things I do to help me to get ahold of anxiety and depression:

I acknowledge what I am feeling and then I ask myself why I am feeling it. What happened? Who said it? Consider the source from which it came from and are they credible? No one is more credible than God for me. If it’s coming from a person I don’t know, a person that is negative, a person that doesn’t like me, why would I feed into their opinion? Exactly. Unless, deep down inside I feel that way about myself and I am honest if I do! If they say, “You are ugly” and lately I have been ripping myself apart I’m going to feel bad. BUT YOU have the power to change what you feel by changing what you think and speak.

I use affirmations for anxiety and depression. If I feel afraid to sleep, I say to myself over and over, I am safe in my body. I am safe in my home.

I use scripture pertaining to whatever I am feeling or scriptures to contrary. If I feel weak, I say I am strong. If I feel afraid, I say God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love.

I pray.

I say, “Oh. I am feeling some anxiety today. I can fold my clothes. I can do some work as I work through this. I can do some exercise.”

If I have persistent thoughts or episodes, I make an appointment with my therapist (currently searching for a new one).

I talk to a friend I trust.

I cry. Crying is a release.

I pamper myself. I take hot showers. I oil and lotion up. I give myself a pedi/mani or go get one. I soak in a lavender Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt mix. I schedule a massage session.

I go to my bathroom and read my yearly marching orders or my affirmations to reset my brain.

Now, what about when anxiety is CODE RED or depression is CODE BLUE!

My plan is to shut things down for a day or two this can include social media and putting phone calls on hold.

I call my therapist.

I rely on all the things above.

I immerse myself in Netflix, a blanket, and the couch.

I allow myself to sleep.

I lose myself in a hobby.

BUT the maximum I give myself is TWO DAYS and then I MUST come out of it. Anything longer than that can set me up for darker and deeper holes that are difficult and require help to come out of. I come out of it by pushing, forcing, and dragging myself to get back to a routine. A little at a time. And during this time, I make sure personal hygiene stays on top. If you don’t wash your face, brush your teeth, change clothes, shower, YOU WILL FEEL EVEN MORE LIKE CRAP. People tend to let themselves go in bouts of anxiety and deep dark times of depression.

During this time, I stay hydrated. I do allow myself some treats but I also make sure I eat as healthily as possible. Too much sugar or salt will make you feel worse. I add one of those packs of Vitamin C to my water. I sit on the porch. I go for a walk. I do 10 minutes of yoga if I don’t feel like doing 30. I do tai chi because it is slow movement. I may just stretch every two hours.

I hope this helps someone. Recently in Memphis, this week, we went through so many tragedies many of us are feeling things we can’t explain and some of us know exactly what we are feeling.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: I Need Space

Nicole Jackson

It’s important to know when you need space and to take it. You need to know when you’ve reached your limits. You need to recognize when your cup is empty and you need a refill. And sometimes that refill is for you and only you.

I need space. I want to relinquish my roles, responsibilities, and titles. I don’t want to answer anyone about anything. “I don’t know and I don’t care.” I would love to say that. “Figure it out yourself or get someone else” sounds good, too. I’d like to tell the inconsiderate people to buzz off. Buzz is not the word I want to use. Yes. I need space.

I need space before I have a meltdown, a blow up. I need space before I have some sort of physical malfunction. I need space before I become totally depressed. I need space. I need space. I need space.

I need to be called, ma’am or Queen. I need to be told, “Our pleasure” and not by Chick-fil-A. I need room service. I need spa services. I “DARN” sure need to be chauffeured everywhere. I need a live band. I need turn down services. I need to be asked, “Is there anything else we can do for you?”. I need the arts. I need to be prayed over in an ancestorial spiritual kind of way. And when I return, I return with bolder boundaries, consequences, rules, and regulations about how NICOLE will be treated from here on out.

I need space and I am going to take it. I am going to take it in a grand way.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: The Late, Late, Late Edition

It’s the late, late, late edition! I took the week off because it was one of the most activity/ to-do lists, filled weeks of this month. I made time each evening for myself as one thing that was non-negotiable on the list. I made an exception only if I felt up to staying up late to work one night and I did because I had so much energy (which rarely happens) to burn.

I spoke at my home church this Sunday and the message was STRENGTHEN WHAT REMAINS (Revelations 3:1-2). I will post some keynotes Wednesday and Thursday. The only thing I mused about Sunday was how to make September a month in which I can replenish my spirit, body, and soul. I am not rushing this month away but, I am ready to do much less. I am over Women’s Month at church this month and I know, in my spirit, I should have said no!

Why? Because you can’t keep rescuing people or they will never learn to help themselves. I regretted the moment I said yes. I knew I was out of order. I started to dread the whole thing. I felt a low mood and anxious mood creeping in. I felt overwhelm-ness coming in like a dark cloud. I thought, “I’m just going to do the bare minimum. I’m going to keep it simple. I just want to get it over with.” But God was like, “You can’t do that. You have to give it your very best. You have to work as if you are working for me because you are. Although, you are out of line.” So, I asked God to help me, to give me strength. I also asked for and received forgiveness.

Later, I asked myself what could I do not to become overwhelmed and stressed this month. I knew the “energies” of the month. I wrote this down:

  • Go to be on time
  • Shower and soak as often as you need to
  • Take a sedative if you need to
  • No food after 8:30 pm
  • Limit your social media using the well-being app and no social media after 9pm
  • Enforce boundaries with everyone
  • Come to a stop with your work and wind down
  • Throw in some fun even if it’s limited

Women’s Month went from basic to me doing it the way I tend to do things I’m over and that is with excellence. Not perfection, although I can be a bit of a perfectionist, but excellence. Well, at least I will try! So far, things have worked out.

On the 1st Sunday we had a guest speaker.

2nd Sunday we had a tribute to strong women from the history of the church

On the 3rd Sunday we will have a skit on mental health and therapist to speak on mental health and the black community

4th Sunday we will have female Saxophonist to bless us with song

Dressed in Strength is the theme from Proverbs 31:16-17.

I have blabbed enough tonight. I hope you rest well or enjoy your day depending on when you are reading this!

~Nikki