Empowerment, Faith

Reflections Exposed


Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as a reflection has the power to impact every aspect of our lives, from the way we dress, our social circle, the decisions we make, and our emotions. But what is a reflection really? The copycat of the exterior of who you are and what you see with the opacity lowered. Through experiences in our childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle adult or even late adult years we continue to shape that reflection. For some, our reflection is more of what we feel on the inside instead of what people see on the outside. No matter what others see in us or through us, we continue to allow what we see in ourselves and how we see ourselves to consume us. We cannot allow strongholds to define us.

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

(2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT)

Recognize that God does not want us to continue to hold ourselves hostage in chains using sin, lies, family transgressions, past mistakes, or regrets to feel ashamed, unworthy, doubtful, and unloved. From the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are made brand new and we need to begin to see ourselves in His image. Forgive your father for not being around, for abusing you, for the broken promises. Forgive yourself for thinking that you had any control over your life and the things that happened, because you didn’t. Forgive your siblings for the taunting phrases, the continuous words that made you believe you were not good enough and you should not have been born. Forgive your mother for telling you that she wished she never had you, that you are a disgrace to the family, that you are a disappointment. God has a plan for your life, He knew you before you formed you in your mother’s womb. Let go of the depression, the shame, the loneliness and walk into the freedom knowing that everything is already taken care of.

The moment you start to live your life accepting your strengths, walking tall, feeling God’s agape love for you, you will start to see the chains being broken and those sins, lies, mistakes, and regrets will fade away and the blessings in your life will begin to be what you see when you see your reflection.

Just remember, “As a man thinketh, so is he”. So if you believe that you have worth, that you are valuable, then you will begin to conduct yourself as such. And when you do, you open the door for God’s blessings to flow rapidly into your life without any strongholds, or barriers, blocking you from seeing, believing, and receiving.

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

(Colossians1:13-14 NLT)

Empowerment, Faith

The Little Things Add Up

Ever notice when you indulge a little in life, slowly you’re looking at yourself wondering “when did this happen”. This happens when you indulge in too much food and overtime you don’t notice it, but one day you put on jeans, a shirt, or get on a scale and you’re like “WOW”! Or when you’re in school and you have your routine to study, then you indulge in social activities more frequently than before, less on studies and more on social stuff, until the end of the semester comes and you don’t get the grade you thought you would because you don’t know everything you thought you did.

It’s so much easier to just keep up with your routine and not sway too far from it because the little things add up and eventually the small habits you create become your lifestyle. It’s so much easier maintaining a healthy diet, maintaining great study habits than it is trying to come back from a deficit. It requires dedication, mental, and emotional, and even physical strength but at anytime in your life you can look at your life and smile because you feel good about where you are. Walk by a mirror and see if you don’t look twice because you know you’re looking good. Take an exam and try not to have a silent “yes” because you did well. It’s the little things that add up. But indulge in fat foods, sweets, two or three times portion size and see if you walk by the mirror and feel the same way. Go out with friends all day or all night or hang out with family and leave your laptop closed and see if you get a silent “yes”. Yes, sometimes it even requires limited time with family.

For anyone that has ever tried to lose weight after unhealthy eating habits or even having a baby, you know it is HARD work. You might even begin to say something like, “I can’t believe I let myself get this big”. Now you’re causing yourself to bring shame into you life, causing you to feel depressed and making the struggle to lose weight even harder because it’s not just physical now, it’s emotional. In school, when you get a bad grade and your GPA goes down, it take a lot of hard work in future classes for several semesters (each semester is about 4 months, so if it took you 1 year that would be 8 months) just to bring your GPA back up only .3 or .4. That’s a lot of hard work.

Isn’t this similar to our walk with God? We can do the work everyday and create a lifestyle around God’s Word, God’s Ways, and God’s Will and at anytime look at our life and think “Wow, I’m truly blessed and highly favored”. But the minute we start to indulge in worldly experience, we sometimes continue those small habits and eventually it becomes our walk, it becomes our lifestyle. It’s the little things that add up. It’s not always one big grand action. And with the shame, disgust, helplessness, hopelessness, we are in an emotional battle along with our spiritual battle. . . and sometimes a physical battle depending on what you’ve done.

Ask yourself, is it worth it to indulge in the little things? Things you once missed, you won’t anymore because the trade off is so much greater. And if you do indulge and get out of your spiritual routine, don’t let negative emotions keep you down, remember YOU are loved, unconditionally, and YOU have grace and mercy. We all fall short and I thank God that He is there even when we have loosened our fingers with his. So today, make a decision…..get back into your routine.

Look in the mirror, make a declaration in your faith walk that you will no longer indulge, even in little things. Use those spare minutes to write a prayer for someone, thank God that you are able to get an education, thank God for your job, thank God for your kids, your health, your car, your eyesight, being in your right mind.

Career, Education, Empowerment

Choose Your Future Wisely

For a high school student getting ready to finish their last year of school, several factors begin to bring pressure for the future. Some of the pressure comes from the decision to go to college (choice of college, field of study, financial responsibility) or to get a job (companies hiring high school graduates, competitive salary, benefits). For students that are first generation, the pressure to attend college fluctuates as some families realize the value of higher education; however, have not traveled that path, so they cannot offer any assistance. On the other hand, some students never consider college as the avenue for a better future because their family has not encouraged them to take that route. Either way, the pressure of the future and what it will entail becomes reality in the last months of high school.

As a freshmen in college, students choose their major based on their friends, their interest, blind choice, and what they have heard about. The key for any student, whether they are in high school or already freshmen in college is to assess several factors; after all, no one wants to waste time preparing for a future that they will end up becoming bored with or failing in. Choosing a college major can be done based on academic interest or career choice. If a student knows that they are interested in, they are able to select a major and then choose careers aligned with that major. On the other hand, if they know what career they want to do, they can pick their major based on the career they want. Below are some methods to help make a more educated decision about the future.

  1. Interest: As a child we have interest and those interests drive our motivation to continue to learn. If we are interested in music, we want to learn to play an instrument, sing, or dance. If we are interested in helping others, we try to get involved in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, health science, veterinarian, playing doctor or nurse. In time, our interest might change, but we must remember the times that we have been most passionate about something because that will drive our motivation to learn, which aligns with school subjects, majors, and a career. Take a Career Interest Survey and assess your interest to find out what career cluster your fall under.

  2. Personality: Our personality is who we are, our perspective, character traits, strengths, and weaknesses. If we show care and concern for others, attentive to feelings, and offer support and encouragement, those traits all play a role in career choice. Some individuals are analytically driven, natural born leaders, and idea generators. Those traits play an important role in career choice. To take a personality test, you can visit http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp and use the Jung Typology Test to find out your personality type. Once you do, visit http://www.personalitypage.com/html/careers.html to read a summary of your career traits and career profiles based on your personality type.

  3. Values System: From a child we learn what is important in life. We learn to value family, religion, ethics, achievement, money, health, etc. Our environment contributes to our values system, so it is vital that when choosing a major and ultimately a career; we must assess our individual values system. If a person values family time, they will need to look for careers that do not have “on-call” schedules, non-traditional work hours. This will allow them to make soccer games, family gatherings, and continue family traditions. On the other hand, if someone values financial prosperity, their major and career choice must be aligned with high paying salaries. To assess your values system, visit http://www.cvs.k12.mi.us/careers/pdfs/LIFE%20VALUES%20INVENTORY%205_01_08_1%20(2).pdf

Planning the future is not an easy task, and there are people that work 15, 20, 30 years in a job; unhappy, not completely satisfied, seeking more, yet staying where they are because they do not know what else they would be doing. By using the methods listed above, we, as a society, can effectively assess ourselves, become more self-aware and choose careers that we thrive in. We can help motivate the youth in our community to pursue their passion, attend college, graduate, and choose a career that brings ultimate satisfaction to them. Everything will have a purpose and fit. We must be more intentional with our decision making skills.