Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't Be Selfish With Yourself

Yesterday I went to the movies with my favorite date...Me! I remember a time where I was afraid to go out by myself. I used to look at other people that I would see out by themselves and think, "Oh, poor thing, they must be lonely. They must not have any friends." Boy was I wrong!

Going out by yourself is not about loneliness or lack of friends. It is actually a liberating and enjoyable experience that is more so about being confident. My fear of going out alone was based on my own insecurities and my concern with what others would think of me.

Going out alone also gives you an opportunity to get to know and love yourself, which is a key component of being able to have healthy relationships with others. It's somewhat ironic that I went out to the movies by myself because I went to see Tyler Perry's new movie, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself."

I won't give away the story for those who have not seen it yet, but the main character had never taken much time to get to know or love herself and it had a huge impact on her ability to love others. With that said I highly recommend that you go and see that movie because the message is a powerful one that really hit home for me and had me in tears when I wasn't laughing at Madea's inserts of comic relief.

This week I also challenge you to take yourself out on a date, especially those of you that have never gone out to dinner or a movie alone before. There are several benefits, but the most important one of all is that you get to spend some quality time with you.

Monica Marie Jones
The Inspirationista

The God Box

The God Box
Are you a fixer or a faither? When problems arise, do you try to take matters into your own hands and fix them, or do you give them over to God and trust that he will handle them in His time? I say that I have faith, but I have definitely been guilty of being a fixer. Even excessive worry is a sign of little faith. Creflo Dollar made an excellent point when he said that when we worry and try to fix things on our own it's like saying, "Hey God, I got this, because I don't trust you to handle it."

Recently I read an amazing book by Francine Rivers called Redeeming Love. The book is set in the 1800's but it is based on the book of Hosea in the Bible. The main character had suffered so many traumatic events that she had a hard time believing in and accepting God's love.

As the novel progressed she ended up meeting people who not only taught her about God's grace but they were faith personified in that their day to day actions made it evident that they believed in God and lived by His Word.

One of her friends introduced her to something called a God Box. To the untrained eye, the God Box merely looked like a plain card board box with a slot in the top, but its meaning and power went far beyond its appearance.

The friend who created the box was a fixer and a worrier. She had the complex that many of us suffer from today of trying to save the world. She always tried to take problems into her own hands instead of seeking God first. So she created the box to remedy this problem. She said...

"When problems prey on my mind, I write them down, fold them up, and put them through the slot. Once they are inside the box, they are God's problem and not mine."

As simple as it all sounds, the box helped her to seek God first instead of trying to handle things on her own. It helped her to convert from being a fixer to a faither.
I used this example to create an actual God Box and an activity to accompany it that I presented at Bible study. Here are the benefits of creating your own God box...

  • It helps "fixers," worriers, and people who tend to "play God."
  • It helps with letting go.
  • It's a reminder to put your faith in God and not yourself or anyone else.
I encourage you say a little prayer when you place each slip into the God Box, then simply let go and let God have his way. We tend to try to plan everything out for ourselves, but God has another plan. When a prayer is answered you can take that slip out of the box. You can also decorate your God Box by placing scriptures on it that remind you of its purpose. You will find the scriptures that I recommend below.
Now go get that shoe box off of the shelf, create your God Box and cast your cares on Him.

Matthew 6:25-34 (New International Version)
Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 46 (New International Version)
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

You Are The Gift

"You Are The Gift"
What do you use to measure your worth? What do you use to measure your value? Is it the clothes you wear? Is it the person you are dating? Is it what others think of you? Is it the amount of money you have? Is it your size? Is it the shade of your skin?

The truth is that we often base how we feel about ourselves on many of the factors listed above...but do those things truly make us happy? At the end of the day, are we fulfilled, or do we find ourselves always wanting more, no matter how much we have? A better car, a bigger house, newer clothes, longer hair, a smaller waist....

We find a small bit of happiness in these things, but as soon as someone says something bad about us it knocks us off of our rocker. We usually do one of two things...We try to prove them wrong...or we believe them.

How we feel about ourselves cannot be based on how we look, what we have, or what others think about us because what happens when we don't have those things anymore? What happens when those people are no longer in our lives, what happens when our looks fade or change?

For most of my life I remember thinking that if I lost weight, then I'd be happy. As a result I changed my lifestyle, started exercising, ate right, and lost 65 pounds. I got a lot more compliments and attention... but there was just one thing that was missing. I still was not happy. I did not know my value, I did not know my worth, I didn't realize that I was a gift. All that I needed was already inside of me.

Let's talk about that for a minute. Let's talk about what I mean, or what it looks like when I say that you are the gift.

Think about a person that you find to be intriguing. What is it about that person that makes them so interesting? Nine times out of ten it is something that you just can't describe. They walk into a room and their presence is felt. People are drawn to them. It's almost like that person has a glow. It really has nothing to do with that person's looks...there's just something about them....

They have that what is swag? Is it something that you can see? Is it something that you can buy? Is it something that you can learn? No, it is something that we all have inside of us, we just don't realize it.

Let me break it down like this. SWAG.... S-W-A-G

The S stands for Something... There is something about these people that we just can't quite wrap our minds around, something that makes them stand out in a crowd. Not necessarily how they look, what they are wearing, or what they have...just something.

W stands for Within... It's something within because clearly we can't quite describe it and we can't see it, but we know that it's there.

A stands for Awesome...It makes us want to know that person, be that person's friend, be around that person.

G stands for Gift. They are the gift, they have the gift, it's inside of them and it's glowing on the outside...

S.W.A.G. = Something Within...Awesome Gift...

You see my friends, these are the people that KNOW that they are the gift. When you know that you are the gift, anything is possible.

Sometimes people spell SWAG with two G's. ...SWAGG

That last G is silent, sometimes you don't see it, but it's ever present...That last G is God.
Something Within...Awesome Gift...God. God is the gift, God Gives you the Gift, God is in you. That thing that people see shining through is the God in you.

That's the realization that I had to come to. How dare I talk negatively about myself? How dare I think I am not cute enough, or too fat? I am a child of God, and denying myself...denying that I am the gift, is like denying God.

God is in me so how dare I not love myself. How can I say that I love God if I do not love myself? Loving yourself is knowing that you are the gift. Knowing that you are the gift, is loving yourself.

Now that you know, you have no excuse. You've got SWAG. It's in you, now you should adjust accordingly. The change may not happen overnight, but here are a few steps to get you started...

  • When someone gives you a complement, simply say thank you (accepting a compliment is like saying, "I know that I am the Gift")
  • When you enter a room hold your head high, and look everyone in the think no one notices you? You think no one's checking you out, how could you know when you've had your head down for so long. Lift it up and let that beautiful light shine through your eyes and your smile.
  • Next time someone tries to mess with you or talk bad about you look them in the eye and smile...Laugh even.... But in your head I want you to say... "Do you know who I am? Better yet? Do you know who's I am? You better ask somebody!"
You've Got that SWAG...You Are the Gift!

See What WILL Be Instead of What Will Be in the Way

Oh Man! GREAT Morning my dear friends and supporters!

I could just cut and paste my write up for the Swag Book Release Experience in this box, but I'm not (Maybe Next week though. Heehee) because I just want to talk to you for a minute.

I want to tell you to use me. Use me as your guinea pig, your crash dummy, your example for what happens to you when you step out on faith and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly. When all you see is what WILL be and not what might be in the way.

The blessings have been flowing down and all around and I am so grateful and so humbled. Now enough of the mush...let me get down to the real deal...

Last year I was watching P. Diddy's Making the Band. During a commercial I dozed off and had a dream that I was on a reality TV show. When I woke up, I immediately began writing and "Swag" was born. Shortly thereafter I took a trip to Traverse City, Michigan for a personal writer's retreat. It was there that I dug in deep and really got to know the characters as they unfolded in the book. All of my other books took years to write, so I thought that this one would be no different. So it amazed me when less than a year later, the book was complete!

All I have to say is once I truly gave in, and put my all into developing what I know to be my purpose....I have been bombarded with blessings. I mean from hour to hour I get an email, a phone call, something in the mail...

The opportunities that I am beginning to receive such as major radio and TV appearances, international travel, investments in my business come as no surprise to me. To be honest, I've never seen it any other way. When you dream big, and you think hands you BIG things. So once you start doing that, boy oh boy, you'd better get ready to receive!

I know I'm kind of babbling on but I'm just so excited! It will all make much more sense as you see things unfold over the next few days, weeks and months. I just hope that this message has something that someone needed to hear. I will begin blogging my blessing testimonies, under some cool and catchy title that I have yet to think of, after the Book Release Party (Friday September 25th)

Stay tuned and stay inspired...