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The 4th Of July

                 Happy 4th Of July!

I am proud to be an American, I am proud of the leadership before me; that has brought on my freedom today. The bravery of those before and those who continue to fight for our great country. We celebrate today with family and friends, we shoot fireworks and have cookouts. But, I never want to forget the beautiful sound of freedom! The incredible minds and unimaginable wars, the blood and the tears that got us here, the men and women who stood for freedom and gave heart when the odds seemed slim. They inspire me and remind me of the purpose I have here.

 

 

“Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” – Frederick Douglas

One of my favorite quotes of all time. A reminder that in order to value beauty, you must undergo pain. Nothing worth anything, ever comes easily. America may have wept, America may have seen darkness but once the dust settled; America saw freedom! I love my country.

 

 

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Here is just a few photos celebrating Independence Day with close friends! I feel incredibly blessed to come together and celebrate freedom with these humans! What a treasure it is to have friendships that have become family. Never take a moment for granted and make each day count, because tomorrow is never promised and today is the day to be alive.

 

 

 

“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”
—President George Washington

 

 

 

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”
—President George Washington

 

Featured

   A Day In The Life Of Different Worlds

 

Today’s topic of discussion is centered around women in their twenties. Specifically single women VS married moms, relax no competition here! Basically, I came up with this idea because I am currently the last single woman of all my friends. Yup, you heard me correctly… sounds like a blast huh? Honestly, I love being the fun and wild aunt Begs as they call me but I started realizing how our lives are not completely different. Yes, there are plenty of differences but also many similarities if you look closely. I think it is important as women of all walks of life and in different seasons to come together. So often you see a divide in women who are single and women who are married with children. What they don’t realize is, their lives are more alike than they may think. If you’re willing to dive in and take a look, you will also see how you can learn from another. I think women who have children become more nurturing and gentle, a place to always come and never feel judged and single women help moms loosen up and remember what its like to just take a breath. That is just one example I have picked up on from experience, like I said before I am the last one guys! I have chosen a close friend of mine to write-up a start to finish day in her life, I as well have my start to finish day ready to write. I am hoping through this blog you will one get a good laugh at both sides but also see how we have similarities. Lets get started!

 

Single and ready to mingle!

Oh please, don’t think I was serious with that title. That is just one thing married people love to say to single people. A personal favorite of mine is “Single as a pringle.” One of my close friends loves to use that line when she is trying to play match maker. Could you make me sound any more desperate lol! Anyways let me get back on track here. A day in my life basically looks like this, I wake up around 5:30AM; okay, well my alarm goes off at 5:30AM. I then hit snooze for an hour until 6:30 rolls around, then I dodge out of bed like a maniac. You know every night before I go bed I always say ” I am going to get up on my first alarm and look half way decent for work” I think that has happened a total of zero times in my life time. I have maybe ten total minutes to use the bathroom, brush my teeth and throw on appropriate work clothes. Don’t forget the five-minute break down between the bathroom and my bedroom because I just don’t want to adult today. Once I have pulled myself together realizing these bills won’t pay themselves, I find myself on another lovely thirty minute drive to work. That drive is something special, one eye opened, half asleep, truly starving type of driving. Ah, I have finally arrived to work where I am truly living the dream. That was complete sarcasm, if I was living the dream I would be on a movie set somewhere getting paid to cry. In my case my tears get no paycheck and I have to do that quietly in the bathroom. I am kidding, I am not that depressed but as many of you I am just in a job that pays. It is tough not working in what you’re truly passionate about but sometimes we have to do what we have to do. People would say you’re young (which I don’t feel that I am that young) you have nothing holding you down, go chase after your dreams. On the other hand there is such a pressure to already have your life together, find a man and start a family, be established and do things the way everyone else is. Unfortunately for me, I have always done things completely opposite of everyone else. I am 27 years old and just scratching the surface of what I truly want to do, this plays into my everyday life. I sit at work day in and day out meeting deadlines, working long hours, trying to advance my skills; when the reality is my heart is else where. Which brings on the mundane routine of sitting for eight hours a day and then making the second thirty minute drive home, to silence. A reminder of being alone and having no one to share my dreams with or what I want for my future. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy being with me but there are days where that lingering feeling of, you are 27 and time is ticking comes into play. After a long day of work the pressure weighs in on me that I cannot fail but I am exhausted and tend to take those few hours before bed to unwind. Only to wake up and start the day all over again. Everyone always says oh, the single life it’s the easy life. Try having everyone looking at you daily wondering why you aren’t this and why you aren’t that. Constantly being compared to other women my age who are more successful, or married, or chasing after their dreams and all the while I am just trying to pay my bills, stay focused and not forget God’s call on my life. Okay, enough with the sob story. I love to be a little overly dramatic in life, its the wanna be actor in me. Seriously though, I wouldn’t trade who I am or the season of life I am in today for anything. I am learning how be comfortable in myself, be dependent on me and learning to step out and chase after what is in my heart. I truly believe I have walked this path because God has other plans for me. Plans that might not go according to the ordinary poster board life but it is where I am supposed to be. My advice to any single women out there feeling less on themselves for not being where people think they should, or even maybe where they want to be. Hold tight and embrace the process, enjoy this time in your life where you can become and be anything.

 

 PROS & CONS OF THE SINGLE LIFE:

          1. Freedom to live however. 2. Don’t have to take care of anyone. 3. Spend your money how you want. 4. Silence. 5. Time.

         1. No one to Share fun experiences with. 2. desire to raise a family. 3. Having no kids to spoil. 4. Being in good company (Laughter). 5. Not spending time alone.

 

Life With Kids!

 

This part of my blog will be my friend Leslie’s version of her life with Kids! ” A married mom in her twenties, you’re ask what I do all day? What is my life like? Well lets begin. My day usually starts with my twenty month old, yes….. twenty months! I am one of those moms, every month counts. Ava normally wakes up around 6:30 am for what you say? Because she has dropped her pacifier and is screaming like a wild animal. The dreaded pacifier, yes my twenty month old  still has a pacifier. Pausing for the momentary judgement and, we’re back! I am truly killing mom life #Winning! Okay, so we’re up for good now and hubby is already out the door for work. My coffee is much-needed all day everyday, I am mentally preparing myself for my two oldest to awaken. As soon as the open their eyes they’re wanting breakfast, they usually request pancakes and a full course meal but how about a round of cereal anyone? I think so, cereal it is! I do the normal mom life of cleaning up after the disaster everyone has left behind. Meanwhile the two girls are in the living room playing and by playing, I mean fighting like animals. With it being summer time, my eight year old normally plays videos games or watches some TV; for at least half the day. Yes, I am also one of those moms whatever entertainment works, make it work. It is not the full day but a good amount, if I am being honest. Sorry not sorry I do not have time to be sitting down doing yoga and playing Parcheesi with him and it is summer. I am now tending to the lovely jobs of the dishes, laundry, cleaning etc. In between my amazing juggling life skills, the hubby has called at least fifty million times. Normally to say “Hey, what are you doing? I love you, what is for dinner?” Honestly, I haven’t even gotten that far and it is only noon. If I haven’t figured out dinner by this time, means i am not feeling like Betty Crocker or Emerald Legasse. Well that is your sure answer that we’re keeping it simple because frankly I do not feel like redoing these dishes. Let me just add, the struggle is real when you do not have a dishwasher. As the day goes by I’ve changed at least fifty diapers, I’ve cleaned up forty-nine messes, I’ve broken up countless fights and I have answered eighty-five calls from my hubby. He calls all day, which for you single girls I am sure that sounds cute but I don’t have time for all that. If I have kept everyone alive, I count that as a good day. Oh, another #Momwin for me, I take my son to karate two days a week and my daughter to dance  class. I need some credit for those! All joking aside I love my life as a mom. As a young mom and wife, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Even in the midst of all the chaos I recently wrote above, nothing beats the goodnight kisses, I love you mommy and the sweet look in my babies eyes. At the end of the day when I am feeling defeated and basically like the worst mom in the world, I realize how my babies see me. As if I am the best mom in the world and that means the world to me.”

 

 Pros And Cons Married Mom Life

 

1. Being a mommy. 2. Being a wife. 3. Sharing my time with family. 4. Being needed 5. Having a loving husband who provides and supports me.

1. Going to school or holding a real job. 2. More time. 3. Going after my personal dreams. 4. silence. 5. Enjoying being young.

 

 

Well there you have it. We have seen the daily norm of two very different lifestyles. Reading through the pros and cons, I can see we are alike in wanting what the other has. Although knowing Leslie personally she wouldn’t trade her life for anything, she is one of the best moms that I know! I am so thankful she took the time out of her busy day to write this up for me. I believe Leslie and I can come together from different worlds but still bring something to each other. That thing being friendship and laughter. Yes I may desire things in her and she may desire things in mine but we both are in places where we’re giving it our all. We need one another to survive our own personal chaos. Whether that be cleaning up after food fights, or ending world war 3 in your living room, to trying to meet deadlines and finding your place in this world. Knowing you have a friend that understands you without having to be completely like you, is something I like to call a treasure. I hope you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share, comment and like!

 

 

-Begs & Leslie.

Beyond Limits.

 

   Beyond the limits. Limits have contained society into boxes, you can only go this high and this far. Depending your social status and upbringing, decides how big your box is. For a lot of us this type of thinking is all we know, it is all we believe we’re truly capable of.  What if I were to tell you that there is more for you, beyond the limits. If you can retrain your mind to believe in the infinite possibility that all things are possible, then anything you put your mind to is in reach. You no longer are bound by the four walls of Peoples opinions and rules. Lets be honest, people are always going to the main barrier to holding you back. You have the power to believe beyond it. It is so important to be inspired, to be truly passionate about whatever makes your heart beat. Surrounding yourself with people who push you to be authentic and are your biggest cheerleader. Those who stand with you when the lights are out, will be those who you take with you when the lights are on. If you have no one then you will need to be as David was and encourage yourself! Be your own biggest fan and stop contemplating every reason and logic why you can’t. If you can’t believe in you, then it wouldn’t matter if the world was on your side; because passion starts within. Going beyond is stepping out in faith, knowing that God will not fail you. You see purpose comes from him, all you have to do is make that step! I have studied and followed many stories of people who went beyond! It gives me the constant encouragement to keep moving forward. despite what people say about me, despite what people may think of my dreams; to keep moving forward and stepping into my passion. God honors the faithful and sees those who endure. Lets take a look at some inspiring stories who went beyond, even after failure.

 

 

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Walt Disney!

 

  At one of his first jobs working as an animator for the Kansas City Star, Walt Disney was let go for lacking imagination and not having good ideas. Walt took this critique and built it into the $35 billion-per-year Disney Empire, arguably one of the most inventive and groundbreaking innovative enterprises in U.S. history.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.  You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”– Walt Disney.

 

arianna

 

Arianna huffington!

 

 Despite being one of the most influential women in media, Arianna Huffington’s second book was rejected a whopping 36 times before being published. After similar struggles publishing the Huffington Post, it was met with negative reviews and critiques that it contained flimsy content. Currently, Arianna Huffington is running the HuffPost empire (which was acquired by AOL in 2011 for $315 million) and was voted #12 in Forbes’ Most Influential Women in Media list.

“I strongly believe that we are not put on this Earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures, but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what’s left is who we truly are.”

 

thomas edison

 

Thomas Edison!

 

 Over the course of a year, Thomas Edison amassed 1,000 failed prototypes of his most influential invention, the lightbulb. Despite this setback, Edison held a reported 1,093 patents in his lifetime, making him one of the most prolific – and wealthiest – inventors in history. In fact, his estimated $12 million net worth in 1931 would be equivalent to $170 million today.

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times; the lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

 

beatles

 

The Beatles!

 

  When The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records in 1962, Dick Rowe told their manager Brian Epstein, “Guitar groups are on their way out.” Despite that dismissal, the English rock band went on to become one of the most influential groups of all time.

 

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Steven Spielberg!

 

He may now be one of the most successful filmmakers in the world, but the University of Southern California refused to give Steven Spielberg a shot in the School of Theater, Film and Television — three times. He clearly didn’t take no for an answer as he went on to pursue directing, and the school awarded him an honorary degree in 1994.

 

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Albert Einstein!

 

Einstein was a late bloomer, not speaking until age 4 or reading until age 7. These challenges did not prevent him from winning the Nobel prize in physics for discovering the photoelectric effect and developing the relativity theory. There’s no doubt that the folks at Zurich Polytechnic School regret their initial rejection of the man whose name is now synonymous with “genius.” 

 

 

  What all these amazing women & men and several others beyond these have in common. Is their amazing ability to never give up. No matter where they came from or what people thought of them, they never took no for an answer. They believed beyond the limits. Be inspired today to believe in yourself and what you’re truly passionate for! Beyond the limits. The only one who can ever stop you, is you!

-Begs

Beauty Hacks!

Calling All Beauty Lovers!

 

  If you have an obsession with make-up, as I do. Then this is the perfect blog to check out! Now, I am not your typical beauty freak. All my make up is drug store-bought minus a few items. Honestly, I still feel like drug store make-up gets the job done! I am going to share with you some of my favorites! Also, I will be showing you some of my looks using your everyday drug store bought make-up. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to look good. Here we go, I hope you enjoy!!!

 

 

Foundation!

 

This particular foundation that I use is Sephora brand, it was $20.00 online. This brand is a ten-hour lasting foundation. I can put it on at 7:00 AM for work and by night I have no smudges on my face. I haven’t come across any other foundation like this for that price.

 

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The color I have is moyen medium 32, 5338A. It has a nice smooth set on your skin and like the bottle says, it is oil free.

The picture below shows it at best. A clean look, oil free and less shine. Blending with the color of your skin is important. So it doesn’t give a shock factor from your face to your neck! lol, ladies always remember to find your color and BLEND!

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Eye Brows!

 

Honestly, who doesn’t love filling in their eye brows! Basically eye brows are the ultimate catfish! When women take off those perfectly shaped and filled in brows and they turn non-existent, that can really bring in a brand new level of trust issues. Haha anyways, I am pretty simple when it comes to the type of eye brow pencil I use. Elf all the way, It is cheap and gets the job done! As long as you can semi learn to shape your eye brows, you will be just fine.

 

elf eye

 

I use their darkest shade, I personally love the dark thicker eye brow look. I also buy their eye brow gel. Once I apply the pencil over my brows, I brush them out and then go over my work with the gel. They last all day and even when I am feeling extremely lazy, which is most of the time. They last through the night over into the next day. Elf is very affordable and has a great product.

 

Okay, photo on the left is when I had no clue what an eye brow was supposed to look like. I will be really honest here, I had no clue what I was doing. I am unashamed to say “I started from the bottom and now I am here.” Photo to your right is how I do my eye brows now. I love the archy round look, rather than the squared edgy look. Please everyone lets bow our heads in a moment of silence for me and my newly shaped brows…….. And praise him! In all seriousness it only took practice, I love a good before and after story. My brows have lived to tell the glory story!

 

 

BRUSHES!

brushes

 

I genuinely only use Elf brushes, I have every brush featured in this photo. In my opinion a brush is a brush and it does the same thing. They all work and get the job done. That is all that matters in my book. I don’t need a $100.00 dollar foundation brush, when a $6.00 brush will do the same thing. I mean am I right, or am I right?

 

 

Eye Shadow!

 

naked 2

 

This is about the most expensive item I have and I didn’t even buy it. I actually inherited it from my best friend. It is well worth the price though, if you’re willing to pay for good quality eye shadow. It is basically heaven in a pallet. I love it! I don’t use any other pallet at this season in my life, I will use every bit of that pallet right up. In the past before I was lucky enough to have this for free, I used any brand of drug store shadows. If I liked the colors I bought it. I don’t really go over and beyond on my shadows anyways, I am still learning to master the eye looks.

 

Mascara!

 

 

The top two photos are some of the best mascaras I have used. I got them through my Ipsy bag samples. The bottom photo is of multiple drug store mascaras that do wonder for longer lashes! I love the drama long lash look, I normally have fakes on to give a more dramatic look. depending on my mood for that day.

 

donut

 

A girls two loves! Eye Lashes and Donuts!

 

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This photo is without fake eyelashes and just with regular drug store mascara.

 

 

 

Highlighter!!!!!

 

highlighter

 

This is the best highlighter ever! I am a true fan and faithful to Loreal Lumi! I love the way it applies on and stays all day! It is the perfect shine, without making you look like a total clown!

 

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It gives the perfect glow!

 

 

LIP STICK!!!

 

 

I love any matte nude lipsticks! Apply them with the Sephora long last lips! I can eat, drink and still my lip stick barely comes off all day! It beats the hassle of having to reapply every time you move your mouth.

 

This is my main nude lip look!

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I hope you enjoyed going through some of my make-up choices! I enjoy applying make-up and having fun trying new things! Here are some of my favorite looks I have done.

 

 

 

Please feel free to share & comment!

 

-Begs

 

Dealing With The Battles!

 

 

Dealing with our past can be intimidaiting and quiet frankly it can be something we’d rather avoid. In my pervious blog posts, I spoke on Facing up and owning our circumstances. In this phase of healing I want to discuss the importance of dealing with the battles. God breaks us down to our core and from there we’re rebuilt into his new nature. 2nd Corinthians 4:16- Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. I like to view this scripture as our outer man is decaying with each battle we deal with, as our inner man begins to rise up and is renewed in the spirit of God. The important thing to remember is we’re either decaying in our flesh to gain our new nature or we’re going to decay within. Spiritually decaying within will lead to a spiritual death, we weren’t built to live a life of decaying from within. When we don’t deal with our battles, we’re are putting ourselves on a course to a slow start of decaying. So how do we change our course? We begin to deal piece by piece with the battles that slowly kill us. There is a profound saying “In the darkness there is no answers” no matter how far you run off course, you will never out beat the decaying process; you will never out beat the darkness. It’s up to you to choice which death is your destiny, the battles of your flesh or spiritual growth on the road to dealing. We have the ability to cancel all the debt in our lives, there is no power that reigns in authority over us because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The only way we have access to this is Jesus Christ signed the full payment, when he died for our freedom. My question is if we don’t have to carry all the weight in our lives and of our past; then why do we? One thing I do know is most people would rather stay miserable then take time to really deal with themselves. When we have to come to a point of dealing with our issues there comes a deep place of vulnerability, to a lot of people vulnerability is a place they cannot control (which brings on a fear of the unknown.) At least with our past we know our issues, we know how they operate us and in a way this makes us feel like we have a sense of control (almost as if we have a sense of safety there.) We can’t predict or know how we are going to react once we dive into our battles, which makes the fear of the unknown a reality of losing the control. Matthew 19:26- But Jesus beheld [them] and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. When we decide that holding onto our battles is better than allowing God to defeat them, we are saying that our control is higher than God’s ways. This scripture clearly states with men it is impossible but with God all things are possible. We are not capable of saving ourselves, let alone fixing ourselves. I spent most of my life avoiding the battles inside my mind, whether they were big or small. I realize now that avoiding those battles wasn’t because I wanted to hold on and suffer, it was because allowing myself to fully surrender meant it had to be out of my control. I was twenty-four years old when I finally surrender myself fully to God. I had been a Christian for four years but never allowed myself to let go of that control. You see it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve claimed Christ as your savior, you can be saved but never truly surrender all of you. At this season in my life I was working for a company called Ecklers, I had just gotten on weird schedule working night shifts. This schedule took me away from serving within my church, which lead to an even drier season of my life. Let me just say God never left me once, he was always there; I choose to ignore his call on my life to surrender fully.  In the mornings I would wake up and spend them in them mostly mopping around before I had to go into work. This particular morning, I woke up feeling very differently, I felt a void like never before. Previously that year I was in rut with God, I was involved heavily in ministry working in the youth, I was preaching, mentoring some of the youth girls and I played the piano in the worship band; all the while I still felt like there was something missing in my private life with God. My best friend Ashley is a worship leader and at the time we’re doing ministry together in the youth band, she’s always had this sense of a relationship with God that I craved for. When she leads out worship it comes from a place of true surrender and when you watch its like you see heaven literally open up from her heart. I never understood how she operated in such an intimate place with God because for me there was only so far I was willing to go, to let him have complete control. So one morning before work I woke up and I felt this sense of longing for God in a way I didn’t realize I was missing. I reached out to her and she began to tell me to find space on my floor and seek after God in a place of true surrender. Now she had told me this many times before but that day everything changed for me. I remember sitting on my floor (mind you feeling awkward as ever) waiting for God to just do something. hours pass and I’m just sitting there, finally I opened my mouth and I said “God I am not moving from this floor until you change me from the inside out.” In that moment I felt God just wrap his arms around me, it took me to such a deep place of peace that I had never experience before. I was in this state of peace for almost two hours, completely and utterly vulnerable laying in the throne room of grace.  It was like my soul was being transformed and I was feeling Gods literal power surround me; he began to show me visions and his plans for my life. Visions that have empowered me to keep moving forward, even when it looks impossible. In that moment I healed in areas of my life that I never thought I ever could. I dealt with them, I opened my heart up to God and allowed him to mold it. That is the day I started my journey on the process to recovery, facing up, owning and dealing! Dealing with my issues piece by piece with god, this isn’t like rehearsing the hurt over and over again; it’s a place of surrender. Once you start to deal with one issue you move on to the next and so on from there. You have to dig deep within yourself and bring up those places that are not always comfortable to remember but once you deal with them, they no longer belong to you. The definition of dealing is “a business transaction” in the spiritual since this is transaction between you and God. You look at your battle, you own your battle and then pick your battle up and you put right in the hands of God. That is what we call dealing! It’s a beautiful exchange that in the end cost you everything but only to gain more. You surrender all your old habits, wrong doings, temptations and sins to God (which in the flesh since, seems like a lot of loss.) To gain his righteousness, holiness, purpose, anointing, love and much more! We’re constantly faced with situations in our lives, where dealing is so important in order to run our race well. Relationships, our private lives, family, friends we’re face with these everyday but if we continue to avoid them; life will become very miserable and lonely quickly. Healthy lifestyles come with heathy relationships of every kind, without that we’re face with defeat. Don’t be afraid to be open and deal with issues because if you don’t you will continue to remain flawed but in the loneliest way. If you can have courage in God and push through these first three steps than you have almost won complete victory over your life.

 

 

-Begs

Inspirational Women & Men!

Lisa Bevere  

lisa

Number one goes to this mighty woman of God! Here are some inspirational quotes from this fierce figure.

 

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Nelson Mandela

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Stand, believe and be!

 

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There are many more inspiring women and men through history. These two are on the top of my list. It is important that we stay encouraged and watch those who have come before us so that we can go beyond them. It takes more than a dream, you have to believe it into motion. No one has ever gotten anywhere by a dream that never lives out loud. Dare to dream? Dare to go the defeat the odds and show the world what you’re made of. Never allow fear to control your destiny!

 

 

dream

 

Even when no one else is standing beside you, never stop chasing down every door. Just because they can’t see the end result, doesn’t mean you are wrong. Be the change, be the inspiration that you wish you had.

-Begs

Owning Up!

                 Step two: Owning.

 

I previously talked about facing up to our issues and what that looks like. In this next step I will discuss owning our issues. This is the second step out of four keys to living a healthier lifestyle. It is important that we understand how to fully overcome each phase and step in our lives. We don’t want half healing, we want the the full healing effect.

 This brings us to the second step to accessing a joyful life, Owning! The definition of owning is, To admit, acknowledge or the best word to describe it is “accept”. It is one thing to face the direction of your battles but to really accept them isn’t always easy. You see there are choices we have made that affect our Christian life, there are also choices others have made for us that also affect our Christian life. The choices others make for us are the hardest to own up to, mainly because we are looking for them to apologize in order to gain healing. The way life works is, we don’t always get that satisfaction. Instead we have to own them ourselves. You will never understand the forgiveness God has for you until you have to forgive someone who isn’t sorry. That is a profound moment of true healing in our lives, forgiving and owning what someone else has done to you. When I say owning I don’t meaning you’re owning their mistakes. You’re simplying owning the fact that it happened to you and you are owning the fact it needs to go. When you own the fact that their choices have affected your life, they no longer have the control to own you! You don’t loose anything by owning up to their mistakes, in fact you gain complete freedom because you are no longer are waiting for an apology; that may never come. You aren’t saying what they did to you is okay, you’re saying what they did to you happened, and by admitting that it happened you’re owning it. Just because it happened to you doesn’t mean it has power over you. When we realize that owning up to another person that has hurt us, gives us freedom; we would understand that we have victory. So often we think we think we’re letting them win by forgiving, but the reality to that is we’re losing by not forgiving. I had to learn to forgive a lot people in my past and a lot of dark situations that occurred, I’m not saying it was easy but I am saying with God you are capable. It is a vital part of our journey in this life to own up, not only to our issues but the issues that others have caused us. Luke 23:33-34- When they came to a place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” In this very core moment in history, Jesus took on and owned the choices humanity brought upon him. He was an innocent man yet crucified for our transgressions. His death in owning our fault was not a loss but the final gain to victory for all mankind. This is a perfect reference to owning up to what others have done in our lives, it wasn’t our fault but it certainly has and will become our problems; if not properly recognized.  The devil isn’t as clever or as smart as we give him credit, he takes old things and repeatedly throws them in your face. He isn’t even wise enough to make up new ways to trick us, he gets us right at the heart of our past. One of the worst mind habits to create is pretending. A lot of Christians or people in general like to pretend things never happened, pretend that they aren’t affected by their issues and suppress their past as if it never existed. That word pretending will back track you to where you started. Once you begin to pretend you start to avoid and then you ultimately become a “fake.” As Christians we are called to be real, honest and boldly proclaiming that our weakness make us strong in Christ. We cannot proclaim our weaknesses if we are so busy pretending they don’t exist. I know there is deep places within our hearts that are not so pleasant, not so pretty and not something we enjoy bringing up. This is why we would rather pretend because pretending is easier than owning those places we’ve been, those things we’ve done, the people we’ve hurt and the flat our rebellion we’ve embraced. I believe whole-heartedly that I am where I am today along with many others, because we took the step to own up! I owned up even to those places that never belonged to me but throughout my journey became apart of me. You don’t have to live in the battle zone of your own doing, or of what others have done to you. There is so much freedom in owning up. We’re either going to try forget everything and spend our lives running from the past, or we’re going to own it and rise among the battle field. In the end the choice belongs to us and us only. Owning up to our past can also be a challenge, it pushes us to have to forgive ourselves for things we have done. I believe that hinders a lot of non-Christians from converting to Christianity, not because its hard to believe in God; rather its hard to believe in a God who forgives. That unbelief is rooted in the place of forgiving ourselves. If you can’t forgive you, then the thought of the all mighty God forgiving you is almost impossible. I have always looked at it this way, you will gain bitterness from your un-forgiveness toward yourself; which causes a barrier for God to work in your life. This doesn’t go unnoticed in the fact that anger and pride become your way of suriving. The angrier we’re within ourselves about our past, the more likely we’re to stay stagnant in the pursuit of healing. The first step is facing what we have done in our lives, the second is owning them. Human nature screams at the thought of “taking fault”, it’s not always easy to see yourself as faulty. We have all fallen short of the kingdom God, biblically standing our nature is broken. We read this fact, we know this fact, but why is it that we have the hardest time owning this fact? It comes down to pride once again, pride is the root to what will spiritually kill you. Pride forms no anointing and is self-exalting, from pride comes a lover of one’s self; above God. This creates the mind-set of I am able without God, when in reality we’re disabled without God. Every time we continue to have un-forgiveness toward ourselves we create a barrier. This barrier as any barrier only takes us so far. Once you reach the barrier walls there is no going forward. Forgiveness is important in order to move forward in our lives, because our lives are not just about us! We’re designed for a purpose to worship the one who created us, along with going into the world and proclaiming the Gospel. If I am so fixed on what I have done, who I have been or ignoring the fact that I am at fault; I will miss the entire point of my existence! We must look to the problem and say I own you and you no longer own me! It is that simple because God he sent his only son to absorbed everything we have done, in purpose that we may be free. Every time you allow yourself to hold onto that which doesn’t belong to you, is saying what God did for you was never enough. You must take control by allowing God to take control, basically meaning letting go of the control. Go will then take your faulty past and make purpose for your future. Don’t let pride steal another moment of your destiny. Our life is but a vapor and we have so much to do. If you stumble here, you may never be able to finish the race the stretches before you. Paul, a strong biblical focus in the new testament states it clear and with truth. 2nd Corinthians 12:17 tells us this, “Even though I have received such revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” I see this scripture as Paul telling us, if we do not have this thorn in our side to remind us of God’s grace; then we become people who do not need God. We become a generation of prideful in nature, saying we’re not faulty beings but perfect beings. This thorn that we refuse to own up to and beg for it to be removed, is the one thing that will save us from ourselves. By recognizing the thorn and owning the thorn, we’re walking around as living proof that grace exist. We then can be humble in our approach of forgiving others as well as forgiving ourselves. No longer ignoring the fact that we have thorns from our past but rejoice in it, knowing that with it brings us to a place of wisdom and strength.

 

                              Facing up

 

This weeks blog will be a four point series broken up into four different topics. All of which will connect with each other, bringing together four keys to unlocking truth. In spiritual terms how to embrace the race set before us. Today we will be breaking down the topic of “Facing Up.” This is a tough reality to swallow for everyone, it is uncomfortable when we have to face our issues. No one wants to come face to face with their problems, because more often than not they bring on a lot of work. It is so important that we learn to face up to things that are holding us down, otherwise we’re just sitting ducks waiting to be devoured. I am no expert here but I am learning everyday to face my fears.

 

Lets first dive into facing up, the definition of facing is “An outer layer of surface covering a wall, or positioned to the front toward a certain direction” I think its safe to say that facing up to our battles is the most important part to starting a healthy lifestyle. As we know the bible is our guide that fills us with wisdom to conquer all our problems. Which brings me to a movie analogy that got me to thinking about our journey as Christians. This particular scene in Mocking Jay part 2, reminded me of the battle field in our mind. We all have different battles that we face but the journey to overcome them remains the same. In this particular scene they were headed to the capital to declare war against the president, the president had taken their lives captive for many years (This mirrors exactly how the enemy tries to take captive of our minds).  The president knew they were coming so he placed strategic battle zones all through the city, making a war zone around his throne. Have you ever heard the saying “The enemy doesn’t care about when you’re in sin, but he’s like a roaring lion the moment you try to escape it?” Just as the president knew they were heading to defeat him, the enemy knows when we are on the path to Gods will; that’s when he begins to set up strategic battle zones in our mind.  It would have been impossible for them to cross through the city without setting off one of the traps. So brilliantly they were given this device by the game maker that was deigned to guide them through the city safely, if they approached a battle zone they were able to take cover, defeat it and move forward. I believe this is how we walk through the battle zones of our mind, the word of God is our guide for anytime we approach a trap. Scriptures are the force we use to defeat it; the word is our source to facing the battle. James 1:2-4 says it clearly “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I notice two words in this text “Facing and Joy” except this time we’re considering it pure joy through the battle zones of our mind! We’ve accessed Joy once we’ve stepped out of the dark coming from non-believer to believers and Now we’re believers finding joy as the light shows us the battle zone. We’re are also faced with trails throughout out our journey and this means we cannot avoid them; we cannot ignore their existence but ultimately we must face them head on. A part of phase one in facing up, is finding joy when staring directly at the battle. I know from experience it’s not always easy to count a battle as joy. One of my biggest battles that I avoided was relationships. Honestly, it didn’t matter what type of relationship it was I was terrible at them all. I struggled a lot growing up with always feeling unwanted, so therefore anyone that came along in my future suffered the consequences of my past (This was a battle zone in my mind I never liked to face up to.) Facing up to the fact that I felt unwanted was almost worse than pretending that battle wasn’t there. Imagine we never faced up to those little insecurities or those small doubts; though they may seem small now they soon will consume and hinder our lives. I always kept people at arm’s length, always ten steps ahead of everyone; I constantly had planned out escape routes before anyone could get close enough to hurt me. That didn’t stem from dealing with it, it was rooted in the ignorance of not facing up to it. God called us to walk openly with one another throughout this Christian journey, yet I always found myself stuck putting my past in all my present relationships. We’re created to need relationships with a spouse, friends, family or just in general with ministry and loving God’s people. The bottom line is being open with one another and facing up to our battles is a part of what God has called us to do. Like any over-comer with a testimony, I overcame! Once I took that first step of recovery, which like I said is never easy. The first step to defeating the battles inside our mind is Facing them. The enemy roars like lion; well I am hear to tell you Christians our roar is louder! Don’t be so terrified to face up and look your enemy in the eye and defeat him. Even if my battle isn’t one that you may struggle with, everyone has their own battles that they fear to face up to. Have you ever heard the saying “The first step is admitting you have a problem?” This is the best way to understand how important it is to come face to face with yourself and the fear. If we can’t make the steps toward facing the battles, then we’re just remaining in a life filled with staying stagnant. We cannot become vessel of honor for God if we have all these hidden battles and secret weights. What do battles do? They don’t help us run our race well, they stop us in our tracks and hinder the course. A lot of the issue roots from pride, facing up becomes difficult because we feel as though our pride is on the line. Does that make us prideful people? In my personal opinion it makes us prideful in a way that damages our course of healing. We’d rather pretend we’re perfect than lose face in front of the church, our friends and really anyone we come in contact with. All the while hoarding all this secret weight of our past and allowing the enemy to win the battle in our mind. If you can’t face the reality of yourself and the fact that you fail without God, then you will constantly live in a realm of defeat. You will never be able to cross the path to face up to what is in front of you. The key is to remember that facing up isn’t a loss, but a complete gain of a joyful life and a healthy lifestyle. Do you ever feel you’re running from who you are, or even running from who you’re suppose to be? That’s a constant reaction of not facing your battles, if you don’t take the first step to making head way in facing up, you will never be who God has called you to be “fully”. Maybe you’re afraid, maybe you’re doubtful or maybe the problem is rooted in your avoidance. Whatever it may be its hindering God’s promises in your life. In order to start the beginning, you must find the end of yourself. The truth is we don’t fear the beginning of anything, the beginning is always fun and exciting; we normally find joy in the beginning. The end however is what we fear the most, because we are always comfortable with where we are. It’s the unknown of who we will be in the end that paralyzes us in fear. One of my favorite old testament readings is David and Goliath. David had to face the giant that was standing before him, imagine having all the odds against you but braving the giant anyway. He came confidently before this giant because I believe David knew no matter what, that God was always with him. When you choose to trust that God is always with you, you choose to face the battle without doubt that you will fail. Faith and trust come hand in hand with facing the giant in David’s story. His faith and his courage allowed him to overcome Goliath. He took the giant down with just a slang and stone, he without fail hit him square in the eye. The giant fell in defeat but you see David didn’t just walk away after that. He didn’t get cocky or ignore the reality that maybe Goliath had one more fight left in him. David walked up to his giant (He faced up to his giant) and he cut his head off! Just in case Goliath had been knocked out, David wanted to make sure he would never rise again. That is how we must take on our battles, we face them, but we not only knock them out, we cut theirs heads off! We defeat them to death, so they can never rise again in our lives. Why waste years of your life running from the battle that you will eventually have to face, today is the day to face up. Be an over-comer, be a victor not a victim and never forget to cut the heads off of your battles. Face up today and watch your life transform!

 

-Begs