Testimony Tuesdays

Testimony Tuesday- Fearless Faith: 3 Steps To Be Bold In Your Faith And Trust God’s Plan

I often let fear hold me back from so many opportunities. Whether it is a job opportunity, relationship opportunities and even ministry opportunities. I do this because I don’t have trust in His plan over my life. I will rely on my own abilities first before letting God work in my life. The Bible clearly says:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

I always said I was too busy or I did not have time. I had so much on my plate, and I did not want to fail. So I decided I was going to try to juggle multiple things at once.  The problem was I was so busy doing things that were not kingdom’s work that I often felt emotionally, physically and spiritually drained. When I was spiritually drained, the enemy came in to attack my confidence in God’s power. He’d reiterate the fact that I was so “busy”  and that because my time was limited something had to give. One of the first things that went was spending time with God. Here are the excuses I made:

  • “I’m too busy to read my Bible because I have to work.”
  • “I’m too busy to pray because I’m tired.”
  • “I’m too busy to go to church because I have to study.”

The second lie I believed from the enemy was that I was not qualified. Again, because I was fearful of failure and I was relying on my own abilities, I held myself back. Whatever “it” was, “it” was not going to happen.

I had one potential job opportunity where I allowed fear to hold me back and make me feel unqualified. I got to an interview, dressed in a suit and with my résumé in hand. Instead of having confidence, I doubted myself so much that the employer had second thoughts and I did not get the job.

I even did this within ministry. I left ministry positions because I thought I did not have the time to be effective, not trusting that God will help me be effective regardless of my circumstances. What I did not realize is my qualification does not come from man but from God.

“It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5

So this year, 2016, and from now on, I will have Fearless Faith. I will no longer let fear hold me back from my purpose and the plan God has over my life.

Here is a how I will have fearless faith this year and moving forward-

  • Deeper in the Word– I will be intentional about having quiet time and to have consistent prayer. Some people said if I don’t have time I should multitask. This is true but I cannot multitask prayer because I’ll only do one thing well. In order to have faith and a stronger relationship, I need that quiet quality time with Him. So I plan to set time aside to read His word and to pray.
  • Deeper in my Worship– One area I didn’t realize I have fear in is my worship. I used to believe I can only worship in church or only behind close doors. But now I know I can worship multiple different ways. Now, I will be obedient to how the Holy Spirit is leading me to worship.
  • To have FAITH– I no longer want to worry about the unknown. Even though I cannot see the future I still need to have faith in God’s plan. I will trust God’s got my back. No matter what I’m going through God will see me through it. Lastly, I will not worry! My go to scripture for this is:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6

I know this is easier said than done, but I I need to remain faithful daily. I sometimes have to say this to myself periodically through the day. This reminds me to stop worrying and give it to God.

I hope this encouraged you all. Remember to have fearless faith, trust God and know He’s got your back.

By Patrice McKenzie
patrice@areyoushe.com

P.S.- Check out this awesome spontaneous worship song by Bethel Music featuring William Matthews

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Testimony Tuesday: Why I Quit My TV Job.

I consider it to be one of the greatest decisions of my life:

The day I quit my job.

Like many millenials, I had my own personal exodus from a career this year.

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After 3 1/2 years of working at a local news station, enough was enough.

So I resigned. And I didn’t even put it in writing.

The truth of the matter is, I had been frustrated for months. With no signs of ever being able to move up or get a promotion, I felt like I was stuck. Many days I would sit at my desk, staring blankly at my computer screen, telling myself,  I know God created me to do more than this. 

Working in a newsroom was not only stressful, but it took a mental and spiritual toll on me. It seemed the more and more each day, the more terrible the stories became. And they started hitting a lot closer to home, too.

A story I’ll never forget — a man part of a black biker club shot and killed outside a nightclub. What made the story even worse: I was a youth leader for the victim’s young teenage daughter at my old church. I’ll never forget going to the wake. Everything seemed so surreal. As I walked into the church and saw that father laying in the casket dead, the weight of it all became too real for me. I was the one who who told the world his name and wrote the end to his story.

From that point on, I struggled spiritually and asked God to reveal to me why He even had me in the TV news industry. I knew it was part of a greater calling, but all the gloom and doom made my future so foggy for me.

But being the great God that He is, He put a scripture on my heart for prayer and meditation:

“I will surely make a way in the desert and rivers in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (TLV) 

That verse was my prayer almost each and every day. Work had turned into a wilderness to me and I desperately needed Papa to make a way out.

God answered my prayer in March. That month was a really rocky one for me. Not only was I having a tough time professionally, but also personally. After 2 1/2 years, my ex broke up with me and one of my managers questioned me about whether or not I thought television was the right industry for me. As I stood at the crossroads, Jesus did something supernaturally for me.

It was by far one of the worst days at my job. Things got so bad, in the middle of my writing, I got up and prayed to God in the bathroom and told Him I wasn’t going to leave unless He moved. As I went back to work, I never thought He was going to move so fast. To make a long story short, all hell broke loose. In the middle of the chaos and pandemonium, one of my coworkers said, “If you have to leave, you have to do what you have to do.”

And that’s when I knew God was giving me my cue.

So I left.

And I’ve never looked back.

For the summer, in order to make ends meet, I worked as a nanny and administrative assistant at a tax firm. The transition wasn’t easy but necessary. I knew the LORD had called me to leave my job and He had so much more in store, but in the meantime, it was hard to even imagine walking through an open door.

But God always stays faithful to His word.

When I got the call from Cornerstone, offering me a position with the network, I knew that was the door I had been waiting for. It wasn’t just a job, but the beginning of walking in my purpose and destiny.

It’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve started working at my new job and I’ve never felt more fulfilled. There’s even days where I don’t even feel like I’m working.

There’s nothing like experiencing the manifestation of the river God made in your wasteland for you.

I know if He did it for me, He’ll surely do it for you too.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com

 

Tim Tebow, I’m Dealing With A Breakup Too.

Anyone who’s been through a breakup knows that they suck.

And there’s nothing more heart-wrenching then trying to give up the idea of  what used to be.

So when I heard the news about Tim Tebow’s girlfriend dumping him because he wouldn’t have sex, I knew it was time for me to open up.

I’ve been in situations before where dudes dumped me because I wouldn’t put out. They decided to walk away because I wouldn’t open up my legs.

But thankfully, my most recent breakup didn’t end because we didn’t do it — it’s because God decided He wanted both of us to go different ways.

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I have nothing bad to say about my old boo and there’s no reason to throw shade. Things just didn’t work out the way I hoped and prayed.

My ex is a wonderful man of God and there’s nothing I regret about the relationship. I believe God sent him to me so I could learn some things about love but more importantly, about me. 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, once said something so beautifully about soul mates that never made sense to me until recently. She wrote, “A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake…Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.”

And that’s exactly what my ex is to me. A soul mate. A man God used to help remove the dross out of me so I could a better reflection of the King of Kings.

I’ll be honest — I thought getting over a breakup would be easy.

But I was wrong. And that’s why I found myself randomly crying or staying up until midnight playing old songs by Alicia Keys. (That’s a terrible idea by the way lol).

My mind would drift to the good old days when we’d play Jill Scott while I burned up food in the kitchen or when he drew me close into his chest while I wailed about my job or my parents’ marriage going downhill.

The truth of the matter is, he did his best to love me even though he saw the good, the bad and the ugly. But after things fell apart, there’s several lessons the LORD taught me.

Release the relationship. One of my cousins (and I won’t say who lol) once told me that you don’t have to accept a breakup. So what did I do? I adopted that mentality. But looking back, that did more harm than help me. Don’t cling on to something that isn’t there. While I was at a prayer meeting, an evangelist prophesied over me to release. And immediately, I knew exactly what God was trying to tell me. Let go of the relationship so it won’t overwhelm your soul. You have to release in order to make room for whatever God wants to do in your new season of singleness.

“Keep an oath even though it hurts.” Psalm 15:4 If you’re like me or Tim Tebow, you know waiting until your married is tough. And a breakup doesn’t make abstinence any easier. When I was struggling with my breakup, God put this scripture on my heart. Even though I’m single and dealing with a little bit of heartache, that doesn’t excuse me from my promise to remain pure. It’s important to maintain boundaries and accountability. I made a covenant with God at 14 to save myself for marriage. So it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how many breakups I have to go through — I’m going to wait until God matches me with the perfect mate.

Breakups should make you love more, not less. Those are the wise words my friend Carmen once said to me. If a failed relationship restricts your ability to love, then that’s the very thing that controlled you. You shouldn’t give up on love and relationships just because one didn’t go your way. Be patient and open to whatever God wants to do. But in the meantime, don’t focus so much on who’s going to come along next. Put your energy into loving others and discovering the Christ that’s within you.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com
Photo: imagebuddy.com

 

 

 

 

Testimony Tuesday: Clean

Sometimes how we view ourselves is not how God views us. I only pray this vlog encourages you to remember how God sees you. Know that because of Christ, we are made new. Allow Christ to make you clean.

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com

Releasing Toxic Meditations.

I really have lost track of how it happens.

I will get on Instagram and post an inspiring quote or maybe just post a picture of myself because I feel acceptable enough to do so that day. And then I sit there waiting to collect “likes” on a picture.
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“I know that they will love this picture”, I think as I try to pass time by scrolling to see what others have posted, “My hair and makeup are on fleek today! Not to mention this is one of my favorite outfits!”

After what feels like an eternity a few likes will come rolling in, maybe one from the guy I have my eyes on, and then it ends….

14 likes total.

Then I sit there thinking, “maybe everyone is just not on instagram right now! I’ll probably get some later!” I gleefully fill my day with distractions and maybe a few devotionals and sit waiting for more to roll in.

Later comes and I’m still sitting at a measly 14 likes. Then I reflect on how I average between 12-27 likes on a picture no matter how good I think it is, and considering I have 646 followers. Why am I not receiving the likes and affirmation that I want?

Then those thoughts become even more damaging as I sit and try to discover why I’m not getting that many likes on my pictures. “Maybe I’m not pretty enough? Maybe it’s those circles under my eyes that I’ve had all of my life? Maybe my hair isn’t good enough? Maybe my face isn’t smooth enough? Maybe these eyebrows that look like they were done  by Dennis Rodman ran them off?”

If you thought that was as bad as it gets, it gets worse.

I’ll then go back to the time period of the day I posted my picture. Just scrolling and distracting myself. And I’ll notice that another young lady has posted a picture of herself maybe a minute or two after I did and has somehow managed to get 60-90 maybe even 100 likes on her picture. It happens one time, no big deal. But seemingly it happens all. of. the. time! Not only is she getting all of this attention from other guys and people, but she even collects a “like” from the guy you have your eyes on. It seems like everyone praises her while they pity you. “Oh yeah Daphne is so sweet let me go like her Instagram picture….”

That’s when comparison comes and plays chess with my emotions. And I have let comparison checkmate every time. I have somehow fell for the lie that God has spent more time on someone else’s beauty and put mine in the microwave. I begin meditating on how much better they must be than me because they have the attention I want in order to feel validated. And then to make an already destructive mentality worse, I begin flirting with comparison’s bestfriend named jealousy.

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14

This scripture has become my prayer here lately. I have come to discover that the sins lurking in my heart that is causing this comparison game and jealousy are: lack of trust in God overall and insecurity/low self esteem issues. I have allowed those issues to control me in how I see myself and others! See the thing is, what we meditate on ultimately controls us. Whether that’s good or bad. When we meditate on God and his word, we not only see ourselves as God sees us, but we allow our lives to be controlled or influenced by God and his word.

But see, I have been meditating on myself, seeking affirmation, and on what people think of me. I’ve been meditating on negativity and things that are temporary such as “instagram likes”. No wonder I’m insecure with such a shaky foundation! Notice how at the end of that Psalm the writer says, “O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” My foundation should be God because HE is the solid rock! I should be secure in Him and see myself and others how he sees us “fearfully and wonderfully made”! HE is our redeemer! What does that mean? Well it means, “a person who brings goodness and honor to something again” according to Webster’s dictionary. So why am I looking to instagram or other people to bring me goodness and honor when God not only does that now, but did that 2000+ years ago on the cross (the ultimate sign of redemption)? Let’s meditate on that scripture! Let’s not be controlled by those thoughts (for me insecurities) that lead to deliberate sins (for me that was jealousy and comparison)! Let’s rest on the security of God our rock and our redeemer!

By Daphne Benford-Smith
Photo: time.com

Daphne Benford-Smith is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas. A single woman that lives by “If you’re not living for the Lord, I’m not your Ruth so take your Boaz somewhere else!” Avid writer for her blog “Confessions of a Christian Woman” or daphnemariahandjc.blogspot.com as a hobby, educator, and woman that is seeking the Lord with all her heart. Although she’s not perfect in that walk, and has painful or funny stories that she shares with the world  through writing as a result.

Transformation: From Broken To Whole

If you’re big on social media, I’m sure you may have seen the various hashtags and trending topics. You may have even participated in them. Some common trending topics are Throwback Thursday (#TBT), Transformation Tuesday (#TransformationTuesday), and even our hashtag for SHE, #AREYOUSHE. It can be fun to engage in the trending topics and look back at your friends or followers throwback pictures and even your own. One trending topic I want to highlight is Transformation Tuesday.

Transformation Tuesday allows social media users to engage in ways to show how they changed from a “then and now” perspective. It’s always amazing to see how people changed over the years. Sometimes we may not even notice until there is a side by side comparison.

Recently, a few of my ladies and I were talking about how we were before Christ. Our conversations can go on for hours on end sharing our testimonies in awe and astonishment of things we used to do and how we’ve overcome through Christ. More often we are shocked while learning about how we each were because most of us did not know each other in our BC days. It’s funny how God works.

I shared this photo for Transformation Tuesday yesterday. As you can see on the left side of the picture included in this post, I’ve changed. This was in 2012, my senior year in college. I was ready to go out and party. After this photo was taken, I downed that wine bottle behind me. When I look at this picture, despite the smile showntransformationtuesday on my face, I was broken. I was empty and wanted to be accepted. This was me not too long after a break up with my ex. Despite what you may see, I can see how broken I was at that point in my life. I remember how I tried to constantly put on a façade that I was happy and covering it up with the “fun” by what I thought drinking and men could offer me.

The picture on the right was recently taken this past Resurrection Sunday 2015. In this picture, the façade is gone. I know who I am in Christ and I know He is the only One who can complete me and make me whole. I look left to right and see how much I’ve grown in Christ and where I was. He truly helped me overcome the guilt and pain I thought I could never get over. When I think about my transformation from how I was and to who I am in Christ now, I think of the song I Won’t Go Back by William McDowell. I’ve truly been changed, healed, freed, and delivered. Before I was living for myself and on emotion, but now I live for Christ Who lives in me.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 ESV

For more insight on transformation and renewal, check out my vlog post: Renewed: From Broken To Whole

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com