Help! It’s a word many won’t say, but most should scream if it’s going to move them forward in life. I’ve never understood human nature, including my own, that would walk away from support it needs to be better. It’s funny. Our minds, poor mindsets, generational issues and pride will literally talk our mouths out of opening up and asking for assistance.
I think the famous song from the Color Purple was written for me…”God is Trying to Tell You Something”. Like a baby needs a bottle and like a teacher needs a pay raise, I need help! In the last decade help and I have gone hand-in-hand. I’ve been through a year and a half of divorce counseling, a year of physical therapy for an arm with lymphedema, two years of physical therapy for a leg and back injury, and that’s just the specific help I want to tell you about. I’ve had to humble myself (and I needed humbling) to ask people to drive me around, give me money, braid my hair, help me up the stairs, carry my purse, give me a job, give me money (I know I’ve already said that), hear my inner fears, let me cry on their shoulders, pray for me, let me vent, keep my secrets and so on and so on and so on. I needed help!
I remember growing up. My parents were in, let’s just say, a financial place that was not cute. They decided to seek a financial advisor, let her “up in their business” (as some say), trust her with her expertise and follow her tough-love advice to the letter in order to come out of debt. They did it and were debt free. I remember growing up and my father taking Carl Budding lunchmeat sandwiches for lunch and driving an old, ugly banana yellow car so that my mother and he could be a blessing to their extended family and pay for someone to iron our clothes and help clean the house. This was not at all because we were rich, but because raising three children, maintaining a marriage and helping take care of other people’s business can be overwhelming so they got help.
I also remember growing up and experiencing the murder of my first love at the age of 17. We were no longer “going together”, but on the night he was murdered we’d had a fabulous time at the Cobb’s Midfield 6 Theater and were supposed to reconnect with a group of friends later that night. While traveling to meet them a car ran a friend and me off the road. We were traumatized and decided to go back to my house. The next morning I woke to the news that my first love was dead. I was devastated, beyond devastated as I reflect back some 20+ years later. One of the first things my mother did after all my spiritual support was in place was take me straight to a psychologist. Why? Because I needed help.
The moral to this story is: The difference in where you are and where you should be is found in the help you have. It’s your life. You owe it to yourself to allow others on the journey to cause it to be all that it can be!
Change can be hard. I’m sorry if you thought otherwise. However, change is as necessary as it can be difficult. Even more, it’s as possible as it can be challenging. Having had to make a change or two a time or two in my life I’ve come to realize that there are some steps we can take to help make the ultimate steps to something new.
I remember learning “Stop. Drop and Roll.” at my dear, sweet Stonewall Jackson Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama(Go Eagles!). “Stop. Drop and Roll” was the catch-phrase for what we should do in case of fire. They drilled that mantra in our heads until it was second nature to know how to say it and do it.
Needing to make a change in important areas of life can be overwhelming. It can feel like we’re under fire! The heat from stress, pressure from others, feeling like a failure, dealing with doubt, avoiding unresolved issues,and realizing the indirect and direct damage from lack of change can feel like it’s engulfing us. But just like that school-house jingle there is a “sure fire” way to change.
All we have to do is:
STOP fighting the change. DROP any fear that comes along with change. and ROLL with the flow of change.
Since 2011 I’d spent THOUSANDS of dollars on every Lymphedema garment, treatment and “trick” I could get my exceptionally large hand on. You name it, if I was told about it I tried it out because I was in pain and ready for relief. Lymphedema is a disease that causes swelling in certain areas due to accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues of the affected areas. As you can imagine, with it affecting my right arm, my primary arm of usage I was desperate for help.
I embarked on a mission of research and heeding wisdom on what worked, what may work and what we would pray would work. I purchased gloves, sleeves, gauntlets, bandages, garments, compression shirts, leotards, gizmos, gadgets and the likes. I tried lots of things that were a blessing. I tried other treatments that simply drained my pocket. Through it all, the one glove that I loved is one that’s, well, how shall I say this…raggedy! It’s one of the first ones I purchased in 2011 and while medical standards probably would require me to have thrown it away long ago it helps me. It fits. It feels good. It’s worn out, and it worked so well that I rarely have to use it or any other garment at all anymore!
I’m learning that the same is so in life. Often the inclination is to abandon the old for the new. Whether it be a job, relationships, church or friendship, sometimes it too easy to say sayonara (goodbye:)) The moral of this story: Chasing the next big thing might cost you big bucks! What’s new is not always best for you.
Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are? Have you ever wanted to know what you could do about it?
I believe there are six areas that are key to our daily lives and the make up of who we have become. I believe these are the points that mark most of who were are, what we do, what we attract and what we multiply. I call them the S.O.U.R.C.E.
S-Spirituality (What has been our spiritual example?) O-Obedience (What role has obedience, the demonstration of obedience or the lack thereof played in our shaping?) U-Understanding (Through what ways, right or wrong, have we come to know about the Word and the world?) R-Relationships (Who has been a part of our circle of influence regarding all facets of relationships?) C-Communication (What has been demonstrated to us regarding how we communicate with others around us?) E-Expectations (What have we been taught to expect out of life, ourselves and others?)
All that shapes us comes from a source, or two or a dozen. Ideally, the ultimate source of our shaping in any area of our life should be God. Unfortunately, for all of us that progress is still in process. Whether it be spiritually, naturally or socially, parts of who we are come from what we’ve seen, where we’ve been, who’s been around us or who came before us. Some things in and about us are because of who we befriended, who we hung out with, who we dated, who we work with, even who we married. It may be from what we watched or listened to, what we ate or what we drank. Even with the knowledge of our sources, it’s our responsibility to deal with what has been dealing with us.
So what do we do about it? The key is to understand the Source greater than our S.O.U.R.C.E. That’s God:) Once we’ve truly examined our life and the things that lead to it being as it is then the “feeding and weeding” must begin. We must feed on the Word of God to allow those things to be deposited that we need and we must consistently weed out those things we don’t.
“Friends, How many of us have them?
Friends, Ones we can depend on.
Friends, How many of us have them?
Friends, Before we go any further, let’s be Friends”
Those are the lyrics from a very popular old school rap song by the debonair group Whodini. As a child (and fully grown adult) I would sing those words, bobbing my head to the beat, but I didn’t really realize just how powerful of a poetic masterpiece Jalil, Ecstasy and Grandmaster Dee really gave us.
I have been blessed with ALL kinds of friends. I realize now that absolutely none of them are just like me. I love that! Some are calm when I’m flustered. Some make me laugh after I’ve cried. Some have faith that’s outrageous and contagious. Some want to fight my battles when I don’t feel like it (and I’m not just talking spiritually:). Some have fashion sense that inspires me. Some I call “cayenne pepper” because they add spice to any situation. Some have survived trials I couldn’t fathom and some are still in the midst of storms, but dawning the most fabulous rain attire you could imagine.
Lately, I’ve realized I have another form of friend that I loving call my “receptacles”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines receptacle as “one that receives and contains something : Container”. I define receptacle as a “glammed up, God-sent garbage” can! My receptacles are the friends that allow me to dump my trash on them. They listen sincerely, keep it a secret, then deal with the circumstances so the stench doesn’t affect me and the situation doesn’t infect anyone else. Don’t be fooled. Not just anyone can be your receptacle because not just anyone can carry and keep what you lay on them. And certainly not just anyone can make sure the trash always get taken out.
Very recently I had to do a little dumping on one of my receptacles. I was hotter than an Arizona August! My receptacle listened. She laughed. She shared her testimony in the area I was talking to her about. She gave a little “the old me would have done this” story just so we both could see how far we’d already come. She offered to continue to pray. Most importantly she allowed me to say to her what I wanted to say to the person I wanted to say it to so I wouldn’t be tempted to say it to them because I knew I didn’t need to say it in the first place. At the end of that dumping session I not only felt better, but I felt encouraged to continue to lift the other person in prayer and make sure I don’t ever again allow my emotions to overtake me in that manner. Now that’s a friend!
So, to borrow again from the Brooklyn-based hip hop legends… “Friends, How many of us have them? Friends, Ones we can depend on. Friends, How many of us have them? Friends, Before we go any further, let’s be Friends”
Sometimes you need to know when to get off the bench and get back in the game. Life, and all that comes along with it can sometimes knock the wind out of you. (Ask me how I know!) Taking a respite after being sacked not only serves a great purpose, but is also very wise. The problem with rest or recuperating is that they can become quite comfortable and often difficult to come out of, even when it’s time. Add with that any bit of fear or cynicism that might have crept in while you were cooling off, and if allowed, you’ll find yourself stuck…on the bench.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the plays players would have made or should have made if they decided to stay on the bench longer than needed? I’m not an athlete or sports genius, but I would hate to think of what would have happened if some of the greatest sports legends would have decided they didn’t want to press through pain, fear, embarrassment, comfort or discomfort to get back in the game.
Benches serve a purpose, but there’s an even greater purpose in getting up and out there again. Newsflash, you’ve been warming the bench long enough! Get up! Get out there! Give it a try! It’s time to move it and get off of the bench!
In life, I ‘ve learned a lot about what makes women think, what makes us tick, what causes us trouble and what leads to our triumphs. For about half of my life, through gentle teachings or having full-fledged, WWF-style wrestling matches because of my own mind, I’ve been made aware of a God-given sense of compassion and empathy, and spirit of discernment concerning women from all walks of life. Once leading a Women’s Ministry for nearly ten years, and originated or organized dozens of programs geared toward the betterment of women and girls I’ve come to hear, see and know so much about who we are, and more importantly who the enemy desires us to never become. Plus, I’m a woman, a grown woman, and I’ve lived through some things both at the initiation of others and certainly self-induced.
I’ve learned that twisted thoughts about friendships and relationships is one particular area the devil has been able to cause havoc in our lives, especially regarding men and other women. Sisters (and that’s including all hues and heritages), we have to stop letting one or two bad apples spoil our bunch of blessings. We need our apples. We just have to master how to pick the right and ripe ones. So here’s the skinny:
Not every person is the same.
Not every situation is the same.
Not every outcome is the same.
Sometimes it may be right, but just not the right time.
You will grow from every “what just happened?!?!?”
No matter what pains we’ve endured we have to begin to open up again.
Despite what we’ve been through (or put ourselves through) there ARE still good men and women in the world.
All men are not “dogs”. In fact NONE are! Some have either just not peaked in the process of healing or maturity, or they simply were not the right companion for you.
There are genuine, made-for-you women who can and should be trusted as friends.
Not all women gossip, steal men, throw shade, lie or manipulate. Again, some have either just not peaked in the process of healing or maturity, or they simply were not the right friends for you.
No man, woman, boy, or girl, ghoul, goblin, gnome or “no longer need you in my life” should have the audacity or capacity to alter your heart to a state of total shutdown.
It’s time to realize that God desires us to have healthy, flourishing relationships with others. We were not sent here to fly solo, no matter who decided to jump ship. Believe that there are angels on earth assigned to be a part of that amazing plan. Open up. Let them in. Welcome newness. Be new yourself as often as needed.
My daddy always says, “One monkey don’t stop no show”. Well, I believe that one man or woman doesn’t either. The show, your show, MUST go on, honey!, with whatever colorful cast of characters God has chosen. As women, it’s time we learn our lessons, lose fear, leave bad habits, and LIVE our lives with those who were meant and sent to love us.