Relationships 101: Letting Go of “Perfect”

Disclaimer: I AM NO GURU/EXPERT. I’M JUST SHARING MY EXPERIENCES AND THE LESSONS I LEARNED. THE FEATURED IMAGE IS NOT MINE EITHER.

The only scripture I will give word for word is this:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Romans 10:17

I gave that scripture verbatim as you will read that I support a lot of what I learned by scriptures throughout this post. The goal is for the reader to seek and confirm the accuracy of those scriptures by actively engaging in the word. For those who don’t regularly read the bible, this is a good way to start. The point is to create a healthy habit of bible study all while engaging with me and learning from my own personal experiences and seeing how God moved through them to teach me. There are a lot of Gurus and “experts” out there just giving their opinions. God’s word however is the only word that will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).

With that said, here are 5 lessons I learned in relationships, whether it was platonic or progressed to more than:

Be honest and upfront. Both go hand in hand. It saves both parties involved a lot of time. It’s less friction. And whatever the result, there may be understanding in the end. I say maybe because you may be in one place mentally while the other is not depending on the situation, that is okay.

They will never be Jesus. This is a lessons that I am constantly being reminded of. Which is the reason why God insists that we love him first, then ourselves, and THEN others. Mark 12:28-31 I have come to understand that no matter how high of a standard I hold my relationships, I have to understand that we are human and the same way I have weaknesses, so does the other person involved. I can be hard on those I love and that has shown me how hard I can be on myself (hence the scripture above). I’m learning to self reflect and to take it easy on myself, so that I am in a head space to do the same towards others as Jesus does for me (ALL THE TIME).

To love the rose is to embrace its thorns. Now this is a step further from the previous lesson, like in the next dimension. This is stepping into intentional relationships. Going in it for the long haul. Being willing to stick it through, again whether with friends or a significant other. In 2 Corinthians 12:6-10, the Apostle Paul speaks about moving in his purpose but still having troubles which he referred to as a “thorn in his flesh”. He asked God multiple times to remove it, but God reminded him that his grace was all he needed because his power works best in weakness.

The “thorn” or the weakness plays a role in our walk with Him. It keeps us humble or we’d only go to God when a thorn is there. The weaknesses or (speaking for myself), personal character traits in ourselves or what we see in others that we deem as flaws, our shadows of the past, or skeletons in the closet are the thorns. But God is constantly doing a work in us, for when we are weak (going through those torments like Paul), God’s strength is made perfect and his glory shines. If you read the first five verses of chapter 12, Paul says he could boast about the blessings, but it would do no good. People would look to Paul as being in control when in fact it was God’s strength that allowed him to carry out such great things. So, he is adamant on shining a light on God. The work he does in us, allows us the power to control our strongholds. As we stay in communion with him, he will constantly have power over those thorns.

For me personally, as I drift out of God’s presence from time to time (and we all do as believers), I can tell because the power feels like it has gone tranquil in my body (it never dies as I know he is always in me). The strongholds I once had power over, are overtaking me again. When I am confused, it’s like God is there but I left him behind, and I have run ahead of him trying to figure it out on my own. When I finally realize it, I turn back to him, and he is. There where I left him, patiently waiting like the gentleman he is. This is how he humbles us, that thorn when we realize it was piercing at our flesh, should cause us to check ourselves. It is all in how you view the thorn. It can either be a burden or a reminder. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 KJV) comes to mind because I can’t do anything without him. Nevertheless, I can do all things through Him that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Paul concludes his testimony with a changed perspective, now embracing his weaknesses and shining light on them. This is why it is important to be transparent as a believer who ministers to other believers because when with others your weaknesses, they see your strength (or rather God’s strength in you) and are encouraged by the blood of the lamb and the power of your testimony (Revelation 12:11). This also relates back to Mark chapter 12 as quoted above, when you love and seek God first, you understand his heart posture, this gives you the proper insight on how to fully love yourself, and then love on someone else (that friend, significant other, child, etc.), as he loves us.

“Your testimony is healing for another.”

If you can’t handle their past, don’t put them on a pedestal. Now this is yet another dimension of relationships. You see the imperfections of the other person involved, now you have to ask yourself, “Can I handle what they bring to the table where they are right now? If so, am I willing?” If you’re like me, you tend to jump into things too fast. You tend to attach to one’s potential. You dive heart first into the situation ready to build and fix. The rose lenses is my stronghold. But that’s just it. We are not going into relationships to fix or change people; we are there to compliment or add to what God has already ordained them to be. But I have learned to start paying attention to, are they “ordained yet”? Or is it the “potential” I am fixated on. I had to learn to take off the rose lenses and look at what they are showing me right now. Can I handle that? Turning down your heart, and turning up your mind to the red flags is a must. If there are red flags, I’ve been doing both of us a favor and allowing God to close the book before the story is written that should’ve never been told. If it is too soon to tell, wait and allow the person to truly reveal themselves. This is not fun. Especially when you have to let go. I personally, didn’t realize my tendency to try to fix things that were not my place to. A generational curse that I have identified and have released to God. What I am learning to do is take my time, and really understand the person in front of me. If something doesn’t sit right with me, I go to work on my intentions understanding the person, and I pray about my understanding. Am I being judgmental or harsh? Is that generationa curse of trying to control everything trying to butt in or is this really a red flag that I have overcome and God is revealing to me in this new person (friend or new man). With sound judgement, I move accordingly. Proverbs 8:1 Relationships can be scary, but remember not to worry about anything but pray about everything that is on your mind (Philippians 4:6) Which brings me to my last tip:

Guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 : Not obeying this scripture or taking the time to actively live out this this scripture is what gets me in the most trouble. I wear my heart on my sleeve, so instead of taking control of my thoughts, I allow my emotions to take hold of my inner thoughts and it is detrimental. I recently ended two relationships who I cared about deeply. Two friends, one we were exploring dating. Because I didn’t take the time to guard my heart, by grabbing control of bent up emotions, I allowed my mouth to write a check that I couldn’t cash. My intentions are always good but, because I didn’t proactively approach both situations with care, the relationships suffered as a loss.

Now I believe the ending of both were inevitable based on all the signs but, how it ended was up to me. I could’ve been obedient by writing out my feelings each time prompted and organizing my thoughts to strategize a care plan for both, but instead I allowed the thoughts of concern to fester in my mind.

“I don’t care what social media says about letting the relationships drop or fall off for whatever reason and being this hard independent person who doesn’t need anyone and not claiming to have friends, I mean that’s cool too if that’s you. To each its own. But if it meant something to you, you’ll feel it when it ends. And that’s okay. Just don’t lie to yourself. It does more harm than good.”

One relationship should’ve ended years ago but I wasn’t ready to let it go. So, I held on, bottling things in while I watched it dwindle away by the time I siad something, I was already out of it. Made peace with myself and understood we were just growing apart. But by the time I made them aware, they were completely blindsided. Because lack of communication and fear of confrontation because I held on to what was (the thorn in my flesh), my lack of faith in God, killed any understanding that person could’ve gained had I intentionally worked at the friendship and put my all into it. But it was in this ending that the mirror was turned on me and I saw myself for who I was what these thorns were doing to me and my relationships. Sometimes God will allow things to happen for the blessing in the lesson. Lesson learned.

In these two friendships, noticed same problem presented itself in different ways— I love how the holy spirit reveals “cycles” during a trial. I say all this to say that if we don’t get those thorns in check, we’ll never receive what God has for us. And sometimes he’ll check us in ways we would never expect. God is dope like that but I digress.

In his Damaged Goods Series, Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church said this:

There are 3 parts of us: Soul, Body, and Spirit

The realest version of you was made a spirit. Where the intent of the thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.

Even though the spirit was made first, the soul and body usually respond first. This is our flesh and emotions/feelings we have to grab a hold of and keep in check) and wait for the spirits response/holy spirit (the first creation of us hence Genesis 1:26 NLT “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us”. This was while God was still creating Earth in the first week, when he thought of Adam.

“We all have damaged goods, but God can’t heal what you act like doesn’t exist.”

– Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church

I really want to engae with you guys. What are some lessons that you have learned from your everyday relationships? If you resonated with this, please like, comment your thoughts, and share to 3 other people. Relationships are one of the most important blessings God has given us and we can’t do life without others! Take care.

Until next time,

t.

Season of Singleness: Handling Anger

Ima get a lil personal: I believe in my studies working for my benefit not just the school’s pockets. One area that I struggle in is anger. So I decided to independently study anger management. I submitted this as a discussion board response and thought this should be shared:
My daughter’s father is the only person that I have seen manages their anger well. He has a way with handling anger in a way that I can feed off of his energy which calms me down. With out saying anything directly, his actions make me examine mine— which is usually why I find myself in the hot seat more so than him. He also never allows me to see the beginning stages of his anger process, but I can tell when he is working through it. That has instilled patience in me for him and others in similar situations. This is the healthiest way for managing one’s anger for all parties involved (that I have experienced). He chooses his words wisely and effectively gets his point across without making me feel like I am wrong or angering me. His words are like putting a mirror to my face of my actions all while explaining his point of view.
Slick talking something or another.. a blessing and a curse. I say that because he has never used his words to take advantage of me (I have no common sense I catch on to things very late lol) and he genuinely means well. Which is the blessing. The curse is I can’t get away with doing or saying anything meaningless and think I can live in my wrongs. (But a curse doesn’t lead to growth so.. maybe I got it wrong..) He just won’t allow that. We’re not together but as I encounter other men and listen to their words (especially ones who I would consider dating), understand if they’re not on this level of communication, that’s dead. God has revealed to me a trait in this man that I require moving forward because— I need it. God sends a mate as a helper (Genesis 2:18), and communication is something that might be a struggle for me. If you can’t identify when we converse my struggle of understanding (which is usually the case), then you don’t want this problem lol. I’m just being transparent and honest (and it feels good).
I say all of this to say that in this season of singleness, through my weaknesses God has helped me to see not only the wants but the needs I should look for in a potential mate. This is not to say that I won’t work on those weaknesses until God sends the help but.. Are we asking for the right things? Do we know what to ask for?

Social Media Hiatus: What I learned

It is so nice to be back to blogging. I have to be honest, I have had writer’s block, I’ve been stressed, and this year I started off with a good cry. 2017 was a humbling experience, for in those moments I concluded being comfortable is not the way to live life. Living comfortably makes me live a repetitious life. That is, going through the same problems, experiencing the same things in life, and just being in the same spot. It is still. It is boring. It is not where I want to be. I guess you can call this a little fast.

In the beginning of the month I came across a video on youtube on how social media contributes to depression. Long story short, whenever we log in to social media and see that we have notifications waiting for us, it is a shot of endorphin (that happy hormone that we can attain through a good steady run). As humans we need to stay active, but we also need human contact as well. Now because we are in the age of technology, both of those needs have been stunted. While the benefit of convenience comes from social media (not having to get up and travel to see anyone), we lack in several other areas of our life which is now taking a toll on our overall health. Instead of physical and mental benefits of attaining a runner’s high from a nice jog with a friend (social benefits), we rely on a notification or like from people we have not seen in months or even years to reaffirm that we are indeed being thought of. And when we don’t receive a certain amount of likes or a response in an efficient amount of time, we question our self-worth.

For those reasons, and allocating my time in a more productive way, is what led me to leave social media for the month of January. January being the beginning of not only a new month but a new year, I noticed I start my new years off disappointed. I spend the last week and a half of December planning my year and setting my goals and when the new year comes, while starting can be hard, the hardest part is being consistent. A lot of the reason is because I find myself comparing where others are in their journey to where I am. While this can be motivating, it is mostly depressing for  me personally. Social media accidentally puts me in this position a lot of times. There were a couple of things I was able to do in this month:

  1. Reclaiming My Time: not only do I have a daughter to care for, but I am a student and also pursuing an acting career. I also have financial, mental, and physical goals I wish to achieve. And while I have social goals, social media is not the only place I can enjoy a conversation. Killing two birds with one stone has always been important to me ever since I learned what it meant. Working smarter, and not harder allows me to complete tasks quicker and allows me more time to relax with my family and pursue my dreams (that’s all I really want to do).
  2. Focusing on my Studies: Without having a planner (I still need to get one, but the one I want is expensive), I have been able to allocate my time efficiently to my classes and complete my assignments early. I have also learned how to further engage with my classmates (who said online classes are boring?).
  3. Networking & discovering new things: I have gotten around to doing things I said I would and with that I have met some new contacts! I met a real-estate agent in the salon through talking about God. I was also finally able to finish reading this book (review coming soon) and by the end of the book, I found more resources for auditions—I’ve been looking for this information for a year.
  4. Learning from my environment: I was able to watch those around me in their phones and see how robotic and uniform we look as a whole. There is something unsettling about that. Not being able to hold a good conversation with those around you because of the lack of knowing how to. I can’t really blame this mostly on social media but social media does not help the situation either. While social media raises our awareness of what is going on in the world, why not have a conscious discussion face-to-face versus in an online forum?

While there were some benefits to not being on social media, there were also some challenges.

  1. I was a little lonely: While I have interactions with my family and coworkers, I still felt disconnected because a lot of people were in their phones. But one of my goals were to be in tuned with myself and to focus more on me.
  2. Missed out on news: I only have internet, so I had to log on for the news (weather mostly) or if I needed to contact someone. I did get side tracked and found myself scrolling, but I immediately realized that I wasn’t missing anything and was able to log off and get back to schedule.
  3. Motivation: I get a lot of my motivation from bloggers and instagramers (fitness and diet). It was hard to find motivation in myself to upkeep my fitness and diet goals, but it is what I needed. Learning to lean on myself, finding my strength in my weaknesses were the goals.

I overall believe this was quite beneficial. I can see myself doing this during the work week with social media during the weekends or nonconsecutive days on social media to remaining consistent with promoting my brand and staying connected, but remembering to look up at the world right in front of me is more beneficial. What are the pros and cons of social media for you? Tell me what you think in the comments. Here’s to reconnecting and catching up,

I’m back!

T.

Plans for Lifeoftf?

I have had a writer’s block and have been confused as to which direction I want this blog to go. I try to tailor this blog to reflect as I evolve. I am at a crossroad. I’ve been contemplating letting this go because I have not been consistent. I pay for my domain each year and I am questioning if that was the right move. I may just drop down a plan until I am able to be consistent and a solid direction has been followed. Right now, I just don’t know..

5 Books I’ve Read in 2018

Starting Your Career As An Actor Jason Pugatch

If you don’t know already, my dream is to be an actress. While still working on my schedule to free up time to pursue acting as well as raise my daughter, finish school, and work a full-time jobsjfnsjlfnwgwkg!!!#* (so much to do),

I remembered this quote:

“Accept the things you can’t change; have the courage to change the things which you can; and have the wisdom to know the difference.

A friend I met at work who was interested in acting came to work with an improv book and literally told me she checked it out at the library. Something so simple and resourceful, its literally a 5 min drive to the library. So one day I went on a whim, asked to be pointed in the right direction and there! All of my questions answered in this one book.

This is a good reference guide for anyone interested in acting. Whether you’re looking to start, not sure where the work is, tips on finding the right agent and headshots, as well as stories from actors themselves and what they went through. I looked up the actors and the work they’ve done to see if I recognized any, and I came across The Punisher (Jon Bernthal—I love Marvel and Netflix!).

Broke Millennial Erin Lowry

This is for anyone on the road to financial freedom. College students, Parents, teenagers, Young adults, even adults mid-age and older! It’s never too late to get right financially. I actually started reading this book the end of last year, but it was kind of a guide to my financial goals for this year. Erin (the author) is a little (ok a lot of) frugal, but she means well. She speaks on saving, investing (my focus area), as well as paying down debts. She talks about more but these were the areas that stuck out to me. She does it in a way that keeps the reader’s (for us millennials) attention.

Willie Lynch Letter William (Willie) Lynch

For those who don’t know, I am African American. To my fellow A.A.’s, this they didnt teach us in school. Knowledge is infinite and we should always seek it. I RECOMMEND THIS LETTER TO EVERY BLACK FAMILY & INDIVIDUAL. After reading this, I can only speak for myself. But it it a clear picture how we as black men and women move. How we operate, how we think. This letter is about the taming of the black slave. The method used on taming a horse influenced the taming of a slave. I warn you now, this will change your life forever and if it doesn’t make you want to do something about past, current, as well as prevent future events, please seek help. This letter not only humbles me, but it makes me pay attention to everything that I am saying, how I am raising my daughter, as well as how I treat myself and others. After you read it, pass it on. Make others aware.

You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford

Create a personal library and make this one of the very first books. Personal success, business success, simple communication with others. Read it. You never know what you could be missing. On another note, this book reminds me to remember service. Through service you can reach anyone. I learned mindfulness, and how to speak to others, and marketing tips. I believe marketing can be universal, not exactly selling things but the power of persuasion and networking. CREATIVES THIS IS YOUR GOLDEN TICKET. MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU!

Year of Yes! Shonda Rhimes

If you like Grey’s Anatomy, then you’ll love this. The dialogue in that show is Shonda to the T. To the mothers out there struggling for a personal identity and making time to do it all. Spend time with your children, go on that trip you have been planning forever, take that new job opportunity. Dare to say yes! You will love the outcome. From what I have read (still reading), I have to meet this women—hell, I have to at least land a guest role on one of her shows.

The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self Control  Dr. Walter Mischel

Weight loss, financial freedom, etc. self control is the root cause. I just started reading this after seeing someone post this on instagram about three years ago. Only into the first chapter I feel like this book arrived at the perfect time. I happened to stumble across this book in the library. I had every intention to by this as its in my booklist on amazon prime. Two words, Delayed Gratification. Everyone should read this, parents raising their children (teach them early) as well as individuals (save now, have more later).

This is not my full reading list. I think I’ll post a list of books I plan to get to. What have you read? Like Comment and Share!

Hiatus: Life Update

Where Am I Now

If I could sum up my life as it is right now in one word— Growing Pains (and that’s two words..)

Everything is happening to me at once. I have been put  into positions where I am forced to grow, to change my normal way of doing things in order to move forward. I am being forced out of my comfort zone to reach my full potential. I guess I thought I could just go around that and hope people see this amazing person that I know that I am and that is dying to be set free, but I have always stepped on my own shoes. As the days go by, I learn something about myself. I have been so confused about what my problem is exactly and to be honest that is hard to answer. I never knew where to start which was frustrating. I have started off small. Things that I noticed about myself that bothered me I ask myself if they are really that bad. So bad to the point where it was affecting my well being. If yes, than I had to be consciously aware of this and to catch myself and force myself to go into another direction. Okay, maybe not force but slowly make moves to break these habits. For example:

I compare myself to others and entertain their opinions of me. 

This is a complicated one for me here. But not really. I am constantly around people. Work, Social Media, Online classes. Constantly working towards the approval of everyone else of my performance. Constantly maintaining a certain standard and putting my best foot forward. Trying to be perfect when in fact, no one is even paying attention to me.

I speak a good game but it’s easier said than done. 

Current Favorites

I got this tag from Jenny In Neverland, so I decided to share a few of my favorites this month.

  1. Yoga: while I have been slacking on exercising, I have started some simple morning yoga poses to jumpstart my day. I try to do them in the a.m. oddly, Tamia has allowed me to do them!
  1. Reading: on my early days I work I’m up at 6 am, the first 30 minutes I try to read. For the past month, I’ve been reading The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. This read has me not only reflecting on my own level of leadership, but I have been in observance of the leaders around me (or there lack of) analyzing their style of taking initiative and taking notes. Highly suggest it. I found the book on thriftbooks for $4.19.
  2. Learning: if you don’t know already, I love to learn. As I am still waiting on my decision letter for University, I have in the meantime enrolled myself in a self-paced Speed Reading course! At the time it was $10.00 on Groupon (a $199 value) for full access to this course on skillsuccess.com. They also have other various types of courses. I also found a Voiceover Course. I’m really excited about this one but wanted to take the Speed Reading course first as I believe this will be highly beneficial on my journey to success.
  3. Youtuber Andrea Lewis: if anyone is familiar with the Canadian Show: Degrassi, she portrayed Hazel Aden in the show. I came across her page looking for acting videos. She has an entire show called Black Actress (2 Seasons worth) that starts with interviewing famous black actresses like Essence Adkins, Aisha Hinds, & Erica Hubbard. They give life lessons on the industry, tips on auditioning process, etc. Currently, I love her self-love Saturday segments.

What are your favorite activities/things right now?