Episode 127: What does justice look like to you?

It is literally the last week in October. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until this election is over! I’m so tired of hearing from politicians lying about how they are going to help Americans. I’m tired of seeing the get out the vote campaign commercials. I’m just tired of all the lies. Mainly, because neither candidate represents my values. I’m literally stuck voting for the less of the evils. 

It’s like the picture that Jim Carrey painted not too long ago (if you want to see the photo, check out my website). There’s a guy who is blindfolded holding two cans. One is red and labeled blatant corruption (which clearly represents Trump) and the other is blue labeled corruption lite (which represents Joe Biden). The description says, “…Red is dead. Choose Blue instead.” 

Just in case you’re wondering, spoiler alert, I’m not voting for the idiot that clearly wants to be in charge of the KKK because he’s hell bent on starting a race war. Trump can’t even say the word Black without it sounding like a swear word. The sad thing is, I bet you he’s concentrating really hard to say Black instead of saying the word that he really wants to say. I’ll let you use your imagination on what that word would be…

I know I sound incredibly jaded and pessimistic but when it comes to the American justice system I am. As far as I am concerned, American justice is an oxymoron. In today’s episode, I guarantee some of you may feel uncomfortable, but I truly hope you hang in there because then you’ll learn something new. 

Be sure to check out the website for more details about the stories that I’m going to share with you. My goal for today’s episode to be the CliffsNotes version about aspects of American history that are either glossed over, reimagines or simply aren’t taught in school. Instead of learning from past mistakes, as a nation, we’re content with repeating them.

One of the reasons I decided to discuss this topic is because I was watching a PBS documentary called Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Election which prompted me to think about some of the conversations I have had over the past couple of months. Chaos has been happening within our nation the past couple of years, but especially this year. I recognized so many parallels to situations taking place during 1968 that have led to the chaos that we are currently experiencing today especially in regards to racism.

While I was watching this documentary, I thought back to all the protests that took place right after George Floyd’s death. I remember a white person said to me that they believed that this was going to be a defining moment in our history and that things were going to change. My response was, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” 

Guess who was right? Sadly me. You have no idea how badly I wanted to be wrong too. Here we are several months later and nothing has changed. In fact, the Karens, Beckys, Kevins, and Tanners of the world are more empowered to be bolder with their racism. 

You have idiots like Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who actually had the audacity to insinuate that Black people don’t want to be successful. This comment is especially ironic, seeing that he was born rich, never worked a day in his life, and is literally working in a position that his idiot father-in-law, Trump gave to him. Needless to say, Kushner has never had to overcome barriers of systemic racism and ignorant comments like this indicate he won’t be a part of the solution to fight against it. By the way, Blacks and Latinos are incredibly hard workers. Many work more than one job even if they have a  9 to 5 job. The majority of us don’t have generational wealth to rely on so we learn at an early age you better diversify your income.  

Another reason why we haven’t made progress is because there have been even more police shootings of unarmed Black people. I guarantee there will be even more if this idiot continues to remain in office. Trump already told the Proud Boys, a well known hate group, to “Stand back and stand by.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher what he meant by that statement. If that’s not a dog whistle, I don’t know what it… In fact, there has been an increase in white supremacists groups conducting paramilitary exercises and showing up at protests causing trouble that often gets blamed on Black Lives Matter or Antifa.

One of the reasons I already knew nothing was going to change is because many white people in America truly believe that racism no longer exists. Therefore, they don’t have any incentive to work towards implementing long-lasting changes that could actually serve as an attempt to acknowledge and help repair the damage that they continue to benefit from due to the over 400-year headstart slavery and systemic racism has provided them. 

What’s even crazier is that there is even a push in the education system to revamp the definition of slavery. I’m totally not joking. In some text books instead of using the word slaves they say laborers or people from Africa who came to help people do chores. The last time I checked taking people against their will, forcing them to work without pay is called slavery. Anyway, let me get back to the subject…

Let’s take the police for example. When you’re a child you’re often taught that the police are there to help protect and serve. However, when you get older it becomes incredibly apparent who the police work for in America. Spoiler alert, they do not work for  anyone of color, especially Black people. Here’s the thing, this is by design. Many schools fail to teach that the police organizations you see today stem from slavery. Yep, that’s right boys and girls, slavery. The police were literally created to track down runaway slaves, prevent slave uprisings, and enforce rules to segregate freed slaves. 

Now, I know that some people may be like, “Wait a minute, even if that’s true, that doesn’t apply today.” Sadly, this faulty thinking is why we are in this mess. Regardless of whether white people want to admit it, the majority of the police force is composed of people who share this same slave mentality. It’s deeply ingrained in today’s modern police departments.  

The police are often assigned to “patrol” areas where they are whiter than the community and don’t even live in the areas that they are supposed to protect and serve. The police are more apt to be heavily armed and use force when they are assigned to patrol communities of color. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a shocker that there is a higher amount of police brutality incidents dealing with Black people. 

This video premiered two years ago! The foreshadowing in this video is insane…Check out the links below to catch the symbolisms and hidden meanings.

What’s even more frustrating is that the laws in place are not fairly applied to white and Black people. White people are given way more chances to avoid jail time and sometimes even choose where they want to serve their jail sentence which is not an opportunity afforded to Black people. I’ve never done drugs and believe that drug use is wrong. However, the whole war on drugs campaign during the 80’s was really another attempt to further disenfranchise Black people via mass incarceration. 

The current opioid crisis is affecting more white people than Black people. The approach being used to help white people  is way more compassionate and lenient than Black people who were caught with cocaine back in the 1980’s. Yet, sadly, the effects of the War on Drugs campaign can still be seen today. 

For example, Black people have or continued to be put in jail for having or selling weed. Black people started to bring attention to the fact that white people were not being punished with the heavy jail time sentences and fines that Black people were receiving. This is why all of a sudden you magically saw the push to legalize marijuana.  The white people who wished to use marijuana didn’t want to bring attention to the unfair application of the laws nor suffer the consequences for violating the rules

The crazy thing is that even though marijuana is legal many Black people are still sitting in jail for something that is not illegal anymore. Even when they get out of jail, they can’t get jobs because they have a record, based on what state they are in they can’t vote, and to add insult to injury they can’t own a marijuana shop. Which by the way, is yet another industry primarily owned by white people, despite the fact this industry profited from and then incarcerated numerous Black people.  

White people have also benefited from the mass incarceration of Black people because it’s literally the new modern day slave trade. When incarceration rates soared to record highs in the 1980s due to the War on Drugs campaign, corporations viewed this as a business opportunity to privatize the prison system.

Take a guess at who runs the facilities and who is stuck working for free? You guessed it. Black people are working for free yet again to help companies get rich but this time they can do it legally. Can you imagine being pulled over or thrown in jail indefinitely for a minor offense that you may or may not have committed simply because you can’t afford bail, then sentenced to jail to work for free for a large corporation? It’s in the police, prison system and many corporations best interest to keep the prison pipeline filled prisoners so they can act as modern day slaves. 

This is why when you see people protesting that you may hear chants to defund the police. It’s abundantly clear that the police can’t be expected to “police” themselves. In many cities, let’s take my hometown Chicago, the majority of the budget is allocated towards the police department. Chicago raises taxes what seems to feel like every five minutes, but can’t allocate  funds to West and South side schools so the Black and Latino students can receive the same education opportunities that students on the Northside of Chicago receive; yet, they somehow found $95 million to allocate for  “police and fire academy training?” 

Are you kidding me? Why in the world would you spend that amount of money when you could have used it for resources like after school programs, workforce initiatives, to help the community? I’m not condoning criminal activity but much of the crime you see in these neighborhoods stem from a lack of hope and resources. Sadly, it literally took a pandemic for white people to see what Black people have been talking about for years. 

The police should NOT be able to get away with their behavior. Yet,regardless of how blatant the crime may be,  it’s almost impossible for a police officer to be found guilty. Police officers have numerous laws like qualified immunity that prevent them from being punished for their crimes. 

People love to use the analogy that there are only a couple of bad apples within the police, but this simply isn’t true. Plus, could you imagine using this analogy when you decide whether to have confidence in your pilot? Like Chris Rock said, “”Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like … pilots. Ya know, American Airlines can’t be like, ‘Most of our pilots like to land. We just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains. Please bear with us.” Some professions simply cannot afford to have ANY bad apples. We all know that if the roles were reversed there would not be any bad apples and if they were there they would be immediately punished. 

In an attempt to right so many wrongs, Black people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is the only way change will occur. All throughout history a variety of barriers have been enacted to keep Black people from voting.  After the civil war, years of Jim Crow laws led to violence, bloodshed, and the rise of the KKK.

In order to keep Black people from voting rules like implementing a fee to vote aka poll tax, literacy tests that even many lawyers wouldn’t be able to pass, and other laws that would prevent you from voting like not having a job, and the list goes on. Now I understand why people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is important because this is how laws get changed. This is true if you have people willing to do the right thing. I’m sad to say we don’t have this and that is by design as well.

If you take a closer look, you will notice that when it comes to voting for the President of the United States, the popular vote doesn’t matter. It’s the electoral college that elects the president, not the people. Do you know who represents your state for the electoral college? I certainly don’t and I bet you don’t either. This part of the voting process is hardly ever discussed. 

In fact, I was watching a documentary called Electoral Dysfunction and this reporter exposed the electoral college system. The electoral college does NOT represent the current demographics of the U.S. This probably will not be a shocker, but the electoral college demographics are white men. Also, what I found incredibly surprising in this documentary was that there was a young white man who literally “inherited” the electoral role from his dad. 

There’s no rhyme or reason why these people were chosen. I can guarantee you that if more Blacks and Latinos inquired about joining the electoral college that the rules would change. By the way, I’m so sick of people bringing up the fact that Barack Obama was able to become president. Appearances don’t bring about lasting change. Plus, if the electoral college didn’t go along with the popular vote that would have been way too obvious which would have brought too much attention to their ability to continue to run in secrecy. 

However, you gotta love the irony because Trump being in office is starting to bring more attention back to the electoral college. After all this is how he was able to steal the presidency back in 2016.

By the way, once Barack was in office, the majority of the white people in the south went to work immediately and started demolishing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This law was in place to protect everyone’s right to vote. In particular, southern states that have a history of voter suppression literally had to go to the Federal government in order to receive clearance for any changes that they wished to make that dealt with voting  (poll locations). This major piece of legislation was removed back in 2013.

Ever since 2013, starting with the Southern states and slowly working up to the Northern states (especially in Wisconsin and Indiana), the number of polling places in predominantly African American and Latino communities have closed, now there’s a push for people to verify who they are with additional specific documentation that many of those communities may not possess, and there’s even some people who have been vocal about not seeing anything wrong with taking a literacy test. 

In many areas around the country, but especially the south, it’s not uncommon for Blacks and Latinos to have to drive to towns far outside of their communities, only to stand in line for hours clinging to the hope that their vote will count and matter. I’m in awe of these people, especially the folks in the South. I definitely wouldn’t even bother voting if the poll was located in one of those sundown towns. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the term sundown towns, these are towns located all throughout the United States that have the unspoken rule that Black people are allowed to be in these towns during the day to work or shop but you better be gone by nightfall. If you’re Black caught in one of these towns at night time, you can risk being arrested, beaten and yes there have been incidents of lynchings as well, but these towns go above and beyond to silence those stories from getting out into the media. However,  those that live in the Black communities surrounding these areas make sure to warn each other.

Thank goodness for social media because I definitely don’t want to make the mistake in going to one of these towns. I belong to a couple Black travel groups which is fantastic because it’s one of the major methods we use in exchanging information. It’s a helpful shortcut that many of us use to share stories to gain information to help us  determine the amount of racism we can expect to receive in whatever city or country we are thinking about visiting. 

The mere fact that these sundown towns still exist is one of the main reasons why I will never go on a road trip in this country, especially in today’s racial climate. I already know that I’m on my own if something goes down so I prefer to stay in states and areas where the racism is at least less blatant. I venture to say that the majority of the folks listening to this podcast already know which states I’m referring to and it should probably go without saying that you won’t see me visiting those states anytime soon.

Do you see what’s happening here? The United States can’t move forward if people don’t learn from the past. This is what happens when there aren’t any consequences in place or haphazardly enforced. Therefore, history continues to repeat itself. 

This is one of the main reasons why I love the phrase, “I work down here, but live upstairs.” If I focused on receiving justice from man, I would be one miserable person. However, I know better. We all have free will but I know that Christ is in charge. 

So regardless of what new hurdles this country attempts to put in place next, I’ll sail right over them. It will be easy to do. All I have to do is look at history’s rearview mirror to anticipate what’s coming up next.


Love this song!

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy listening to Hustle in Faith and would like to support the show, please consider sharing it with your friends, leaving a review, donating or making a purchase at  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

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Episode 126: What happens when you ignore the warning signs?

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

Episode 126: What happens when you ignore the signs?

Before we jump into today’s topic, I wanted to share with you that I’m back to hosting my other podcast called Starengu on a more consistent basis. For those of you unfamiliar with the Starengu podcast, that podcast is dedicated to providing advice about business and where I interview amazing entrepreneurs in my attempt to motivate others to start their own business. 

Everything pretty much came to a screeching halt with the Coronavirus. Since I am not one of those people who likes to hear themselves talk for the sake of hearing themselves talk, I just wasn’t in the mood to discuss business. I thought my thoughts were better suited for this podcast.

Anyway, be sure to check out the Starengu podcast. I had the wonderful pleasure of interviewing Niani B, who is the owner of A Safe Space for Black Girls that Never Learned How to Braid. This was a super interesting interview. Mainly because she was able to literally create a business during the pandemic. If that’s not inspirational I don’t know what is, so check it out. 

Be sure to check out StarenguCrew which is my shop filled with fitness apparel shop filled with clothes and other items to help motivate you to achieve your fitness goals.

All right! Now, let’s jump into today’s topic; What happens when you ignore the signs? It never ceases to amaze me how many drivers ignore warning signs to yield and/or stop. Being very familiar with my area, when I’m walking, I know the spots where many people ignore the stop signs. At these spots, I am a defensive walker and take extra precautions or I may end up getting hit by a car. 

Don’t get me wrong, the area where I live is the perfect place for me. It is not congested, I am close to the beach, and all the major stores I need are within walking distance. This is why I typically walk everywhere. Although I have a car, I am into fitness, so I only use my car for grocery shopping or for traveling someplace outside my town.  

While walking one day, I noticed many drivers fail to heed the warnings, the yield and stop signs. This got me thinking about life’s warning signs. Many of us live our lives the exact same way. We fail to yield and/or stop when God is warning us that we are headed for danger. Throughout the Bible, and especially the book of Deuteronomy, God posted several warning signs for us. 

In fact,  Deut 11:26-28 confirms that God daily sets before us a blessing and/or a curse. A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord our God (Josh 1:8) and a curse, if you do not obey. 

This curse can be in a form of punishment and/or death.  Death can and does come in many forms.  You can have death to your finances, death to your health, death to your relationships, etc.; In this context, death references things being taken away from you.  Sometimes the death of separation (something or some person being taken from us) can be worse than physical death.

This was the case with King Saul (1 Sam 15).  Saul’s kingship was taken away from him due to sin.  Samuel, the Lord prophet warned King Saul many times regarding his disobedient (1Sam 11-15 Chapter). Saul’s disobedience not only resulted in his kingship being taken away from him, but it also resulted in him going crazy, and eventually, he committed suicide. As I stated before, sometimes something being taken from us can be worse than physical death.

The life of King Nebuchadnezzar can also attest to this fact (Daniel 4-5).  Nebuchadnezzar’s stubbornness and unwillingness to heed God’s warnings led him to go crazy. Needless to say, God does have an interesting way of getting our attention. God will even use dreams in an attempt to help us heed His warning signs. This is exactly what He did to Nebuchadnezzar. Twice through dreams, God warned King Nebuchadnezzar that his reign was coming to an end (Dan 4-5). 

Being prideful and filled with vanity, King Nebuchadnezzar did not listen. However, his evil deeds finally caught up to him.  Nebuchadnezzar went crazy and endured 7 miserable years of suffering. God shared stories like King Saul and King Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible in order to demonstrate the disaster that awaits us for not heeding His word. The Bible was written for us to learn from so we can experience patience and peace when we encounter various circumstances in life (Rom 15:4).  

The Bible shares several examples of people whose lives were destroyed because they failed to heed God’s warning. The story that always bothered me the most was Samson and Delilah (1Sam 9th. Chapter). Samson came from a good home with godly parents. The downfall of Samson came when he stopped listening to his parent’s advice and married the wrong woman. The downfall of Samson could have been avoided had Samson stopped and heeded the warning signs. 

You can’t keep playing with fire and not get burned. Yet, so many of us live this same daredevil lifestyle. When I was young and full of myself, I tried living this daredevil way of life. I learned real quick that we cannot live outside the will of God and expect to have a happy and prosperous life. 

In retrospect, I can only imagine all the deaths (“separation”) I would have endured if I had continued ignoring God’s warning signs. There would have been permanent death to my finances, my health, and even my relationship with my mom. I realized the error of my ways and got everything back on track. Feel free to listen to Episode 116: It’s My Birthday! Let’s Celebrate! where I share more about my experiences.

Just like the driver’s lack of attention or willingness to heed to street signs can result in them hurting themselves as well as those around them, the same applies to the warning signs of life. Throughout the Bible, God posted warning signs that sin leads to death (Ez 18:4-9; Rom 6:23; Jas 1:15). What many of us fail to realize is that death is not necessarily when we physically die. It can result in us being separated from something or someone we truly love. This is what happened to Adam and Eve (Gen 3).  

To avoid unnecessary grief, we just need to obey God’s warning signs. This is what Hezekiah did (Is 38 ). There came a time when Hezekiah was sick and near death.  God warned him to set his house in order because he was going to die.  The reason Hezekiah did not die is because he took God’s warning seriously. Hezekiah turned away from his sinful behavior and sought God’s forgiveness. God not only forgave Hezekiah, but He also protected Hezekiah from his enemies and allowed him to live an additional fifteen years.

God makes every attempt to  grab our attention because He wants us to live the extraordinary life He has planned for us. We can either heed His warning signs and slow down or keep going and leave a path of destruction that will without a doubt cause us and those around us harm. I chose to slow down because my desire is for everyone to make it safely to their destination.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 125: I’m Speaking.

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

Episode 125: I’m Speaking.

Listen I’m not into politics. I’m going with the less of the evils because even though i’m left feeling uninspired by both candidates,  I’m definitely not going with the dude who is clearly a racist and is hell-bent intent on starting another Civil War. Clearly, Trump is not in my best interest… 

In Episode 122, my friend Chris shared that Germans are more afraid of Trump than the Coronavirus. Let that sink in…What’s even sadder is that I’m fairly confident that the majority of Black and Brown people feel the same way check out the episodes on the Hustle in Faith website under the category Random Thoughts/ Racism.

I’m not into politics so needless to say I haven’t felt compelled to watch any of the debates because I’m just so tired of hearing all the lies. However, I do try to have a balance because I know for a fact that my students overseas are going to have questions so I want to make sure I’m in a position to give them answers.

So I was able to catch some of the highlights (using air quotes). When I was in high school, I was captain of my speech team. Let me tell you they need to hire the high school teachers that moderated the speech team events because clearly, Susan Page is incapable of being a moderator. 

That is not how you moderate a debate…However, what I found myself incredibly infuriated by was Pence’s behavior. She was respectful towards him, but he kept cutting her off when it was her turn to speak every chance that he could get without being reprimanded by Susan Page. 

It is for this very reason, why my favorite clip from that debate was Kamala Harris looked Pence directly in his eyes and said, “I’m Speaking,” and she continued her response. She kept going even after Susan told her that her time was up. 

That moment resonated with so many women for a variety of reasons. Feel free to Google I’m speaking Kamala or look on Twitter. In fact, I’mspeaking was trending on Twitter for a very long time after the debate took place. Pence’s behavior is all too familiar for so many women, but especially black women. How Pence behaved in front of millions of people is what many women, especially black women, have to face on a daily basis in the corporate world. 

I’m well aware that not all white men act like Pence, but unfortunately, it’s been my experience that a good 80 to 90 percent of them do or condone that type of behavior. I just wish that I could clone the white guys that I know and are friends with so that they could knock some sense into these idiots… 

Hats off to whoever created this image-LOL

Now, I’m bringing special attention to black women, because there is a very real double standard that exists in the corporate world when it comes to Black women. My mom trained me well. My mom worked in accounting, so needless to say she definitely had to endure people attempting to see how much they could disrespect her and they quickly found out that that was not an option. She would and has always made sure that her voice was heard and she taught me to do the same. 

Seeing Kamala Harris put Pence in his place brought me back to all those mock sessions my mom used to have with me early on in my career. She warned me early on that the scene we saw with Kamala Harris would happen throughout my entire career but under no circumstances was I ever to allow some idiot to disrespect me in any way shape or form. I will never forget early on in my career how my mom and I would actually pretend to be in a heated discussion and she would pretend to be a jerk like Pence. Regardless of how many times she cut me off I was to continue talking despite her attempts to switch the topic or get me to stop speaking before she did. 

I know what my mom did may seem a bit extreme to some, but I’m fairly certain that at some point in time every Black mom has performed some variation of this exercise. I’m so blessed that my mom did this exercise with me because it was exercises like this and constant pep talks that made me the confident Black woman that I am today.  My mom did NOT want me to buy into the Angry Black Woman stereotype. In case you’re not familiar with this stereotype it characterizes black women as bad-tempered, hostile, and overly aggressive. 

Imagine what it’s like to not only be interrogated but then crucified for defending yourself…

Regardless of how respectful a Black woman is when you disagree with someone, especially a white man, you will without a doubt find yourself being labeled angry. Obviously, this isn’t true, you’re just trying to give your opinion. Yet, when you share your idea and it’s better than theirs, you best believe that not only did you find yourself in a white tears situation but you will without a doubt be labeled as the angry Black woman. 

See my mom taught me early on in life that the reason this stereotype exists is that those who wish to give you this label want to control you. Their goal is for you to willingly play the role of being a happy doormat. They take your disagreement with them as if you’re personally attacking them and questioning their authority. 

This label exists as an attempt to silence Black women from speaking up because they don’t want us to take control of our power. They hope that we don’t speak up for ourselves for fear of being accused of being just like the stereotype. Here’s the thing that is so incredibly infuriating. When a white woman shares her idea or shares why she disagrees with a teammate she is viewed as being passionate. A Black woman who does the EXACT same thing is viewed as angry. 

Look at Pence’s behavior. If a Black woman behaved the way that he did, she would be crucified. Despite Kamala keeping cool, calm, and collective, some, mainly white men, accused her of being disrespectful. Are you kidding me?! 

This is why  I’m so happy that Kamala held her ground. She did exactly what my mom taught me to do. Disrespect is not an option. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your crown. You can’t control people’s actions, but you best believe that you can control your reaction, and it better not be to buy into that ridiculous stereotype. 

Everyone has the right to express themselves and I should not feel ashamed to do the same. When white men are confident they’re praised but that same trait embodied by a Black woman is vilified and penalized. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but even though my mom and I did all that role-playing in order to prep me for the corporate world there were times early on in my career where I still allowed myself to give in to the fear of being viewed as this stereotype. 

I’m a super creative person. I’m always coming up with revenue-generating ideas. However, early on in my career, I went through a period of time where I decreased the number of ideas that I shared during meetings because I was just so tired of being cut off, hence, why I speak fast, otherwise, I’d never get a word in edgewise. Other reasons why I decreased sharing my ideas is because I got sick of being told we couldn’t implement my idea because that person didn’t think of it first or worse sharing my idea and then having it taken more seriously because a white guy said it.

I remember how angry I was at myself at not voicing my opinion, defending myself or my ideas. I couldn’t sleep and it was definitely taking a toll on my confidence. It took me a minute, but I definitely express myself now. If a coworker wants to join me during one of my client meetings, I make sure we’re aligned in who is leading the meeting because I’m not about to have someone talk over me with my own client. That ain’t happening. 

Do you want to be apart of the problem or the solution?
It’s clear what side he is on…Stop telling Black people what to do.

I remember how powerless I felt early on in my career and I will never allow myself to feel like that again. Honestly, those experiences that I had early on in my career is what made me realize that climbing the corporate ladder was a colossal waste of my time. I’m not willing to play this ridiculous sick game and risk my dignity and health. It’s more important for me to maintain my confidence so I’m willing to let the chips fall where they may. I know there’s more than one way to achieve success. 

God has shown me on more than one occasion that my voice is a gift.  Doing voice-overs is literally one of my side hustles. I’ve been fortunate to do company tutorials, commercials, and a bunch of other projects. So you gotta love the irony that using my voice to express myself is viewed as a threat.

It’s unfortunate that some may feel this way, but I will always continue to speak because I have the right to be heard. If you make the mistake and think you can prevent me from doing so, don’t be surprised when I remind you that, “I’m speaking,” and it’s in your best interest to listen so you can learn something new.

Related articles:

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 124: How do you change your perspective about your job?

One of my friends was sharing some of the issues that she was experiencing on her job. I listened. I let her vent because she was where I used to be. She wanted to do a good job, but she was surrounded by idiots that just wouldn’t let her be great! I explained to her that it’s good to have passion for your work, but that passion is misplaced at most 9 to 5  jobs. 

You can’t expect a job to bring you the happiness you seek. You need to view that job as a means to an end. It funds your life, but it is not your life.  In other words, it helps fund your real purpose in life. Many times, we confuse our job with our purpose in life. Oftentimes, that simply is not the case. So, I helped guide my friend towards various avenues that could be her purpose and gave her advice about how she could go about accomplishing them outside of her 9 to 5 job. 

I am happy to report that by the end of our conversation, her entire demeanor changed. At the beginning of our conversation, she was upset and felt defeated. Towards the end, she was so happy and couldn’t stop thanking me! It was like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Our conversation got me thinking, how easy it is for us to misplace our passion. For example, many people put their faith in corporations who most times are being led by idiots. They get to the top by nepotism, through their connections or their willingness to lie, cheat, and steal. Yet, these people still manage to acquire leadership roles even though they aren’t qualified to run a business. This is why businesses close or get acquired.  I have seen this time and time again,  in my own life as well as others. Placing our faith in a corporation will bring nothing but disappointment. Corporations don’t have our best interest at heart. Our job can literally be here today and gone tomorrow. This is why I will never work myself to death for a company. 

Now, let me be clear, I am in no way shape, or form advocating that you should be a slacker. What I’m saying is that you have to have a balance in life. I work hard and I play hard. Regardless of what I’m doing whether it be my 9 to 5 job, one of my many side hustles, playing sports, etc. I give 100%. I’m a really hard worker and competitive.  I hate slackers and procrastinators.

If you give me a project, I’ll have it done 3 days before it’s due. I’ve always been this way because this is how I was raised. I was raised to take pride and ownership in my work. My mom would always remind us, “You’re working for God, not people. Christ has your reward, not the idiots who think they are your boss.” (Col 3:23-24).

Early on in my career, I was incredibly naive and forgot the aforementioned advice my mom shared with me. I was expecting praise from my bosses and was left feeling confused when I didn’t get the promotion nor the raise I expected. Here’s the thing, I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of working for managers that were a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal.

Instead of motivating you to succeed, they would do everything in their power to keep you down. They enjoyed placing additional mental or physical obstacles in your path. I learned the hard way to focus on pleasing Christ, not the idiot who thinks he/she is my boss. So much of our time is spent trying to please someone who doesn’t like themselves or who are as dumb as a box of rocks.  

I remember talking to my mom about this same issue I talked to my friend about. Again, being naive, I did not understand what my mom meant when she said that we set ourselves up for failure when we try to please someone who doesn’t like themselves. That person has seriously deep-rooted personal problems. When you work for someone like this, the only thing you can do is watch your back and do your job to the best of your ability. In this situation, the praises and raises will definitely have to come from Christ. I’m here to testify that they definitely did for me.

My conversation with my friend also got me thinking about how insecure and dumb people can be. I later learned that some of those managers that caused me so much unnecessary grief were jealous of me. Despite the fact that I was reporting to them and they were making way more money than me (quite frankly more than what they deserved), they were still jealous of me. It turned out that they feared me surpassing them.

Thanks to my mom’s guidance and constantly pushing me, this is exactly what I did. I surpassed all of those worthless managers. They tried everything in their power to hold me back. They had become complacent and wanted me to do the same. They took their frustration out on me when I refused to behave like them. Oftentimes, my achievements served as a reminder of that person’s shortcomings in life. 

Remember, you may be working in a less than ideal environment physically, but that shouldn’t be the case mentally. Take time out to take classes to learn new skills, listening to others who created their own opportunities. Shameless plug, check out my other podcast called Starengu which is where I provide career and business advice, and interview inspiring entrepreneurs/side hustlers that will without a doubt motivate you to do the same. 

Even if you’re not able to demonstrate them on your 9 to 5 job, take comfort in knowing that you’re working for Christ. Once you discover your talents, if you stay in faith and consistently work towards developing your talent you will eventually get the opportunity to shoot your shot.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.
Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 123: Have you misplaced your faith?

I’m writing this episode after finishing a nice 4-mile run. Running is the perfect way for me to start the day. Running allows me the ability to escape whatever is bothering me.  Although I have already limited the time I spend reading and/or watching the news,I still think about all the sadness, anger, and frustration taking place in this world. 

I’m a very positive person, but lately, after listening and seeing the mess this world is in, I notice that I have to fight harder to remain happy. Although, some days are harder than others, I’m doing my best to hold on to my sanity even if I feel like I’m just going through the motions. All of which has led me to question my faith.

Since I refuse to give up on happiness, I know I need to readjust my faith. Seeing all the chaos taking place in this world has left me feeling helpless. This led me to wonder, “Where is my faith? What or whom do I have faith in? With my conflicting emotions, I did some soul searching and readjusted my focus so I can maintain my attributes of Christ (joy, peace, and happiness).

Although the cure to fear, confusion and other negative traits of Satan is faith, oftentimes, our faith is misplaced. This is why our faith does not provide the comfort, protection, and assurance that we need. This world is in chaos because we place our faith in the wrong things and/or people such as our government, jobs, and even in ourselves; even though we do not have a clue as to how to fix our own mess.

I started reflecting on the chaos in the world, the news and the Bible and thought about Rom 1:17 says “. . . The just shall live by faith. .  .” and 2Cor 5:7 teaches us to walk by faith, not by sight.  Considering the chaos in this world, many of us are walking in the wrong direction. In other words, our faith is misplaced.

While I was on my run, I thought about how much of life’s issues stem from fear and confusion. I remembered how irritated, fearful, and confused I felt when I placed too much faith in the wrong things such as people, job, government, money, prestige, etc. In other words, I misplaced my faith and turned the aforementioned things/people into idols; meaning, I allowed them to take the place of God.

To rid myself of these crutches, I have even further reduced the time I spend reading and/or watching the news and utilize this time listening/reading and meditating on the word of God. I have also started to reduce my engagement in conversation about current events.  I’ve pretty much said all that I can say. Feel free to check out the website and listen to the episodes classified under the categories called Random Thoughts. 

Again, the reason why so many of us are anxious during chaotic times is that we misplaced our faith. If we put too much faith in people, this can decrease our attributes like joy, peace, happiness, etc. and send our thought life on a negative journey. This episode is geared towards helping you gain or regain your attributes in Christ by answering the above questions for yourself – Where is my faith? What or whom I have faith in makes a difference. For example, having too much confidence in people.

People 

Having too much confidence in family members, friends, government officials, so called church leaders, etc. is misplacing our faith. Many times, these people are weaker than we are and nor do they have the answers to life’s problems.  Listening to the news and relying on government officials to guide us to safety is misplacing our faith. This mess that we are in is spiritual in nature. Only by following the word of God can we fix this mess.

If the body of Christ (the church Christ left on earth to represent Him) does not have the answers, surely, our corrupt government does not have a clue as to what we need to do about the issues facing this world. I cannot echo these words enough — The answer to our problem is in Christ. Only Christ can give us the safety, security, and protection we need. If we learn to walk by faith and not by sight, as God commands us, our faith in Christ will dramatically reduce our anxiety as well as give us the joy, peace and happiness that we desperately need.

As I stated before, a good run helps to clear my head. It helps me to calm down and readjust my faith to where it should be, in Christ. Focusing on Christ’s guidance and protection readjusts my thinking so my joy, happiness and peace can return to me. We misplace our faith when we take our eyes off of our Source, Christ, and put  our faith in people, the government, and other things that cannot help us. 

When we calm down and readjust our faith to focus on Christ will position us to receive the attributes of Christ-like joy, peace, and happiness. No matter what problems we face, God will cause all things to work together for our good (Rom 8:28). This includes our need for employment.

Job 

Although everyone needs employment in order to meet our financial obligations, we still need to view our job from the proper perspective. It’s just one of many resources that God can use to provide for our needs and desires. With this being said, we need to be careful and not allow our job to compete and/or take the place of Christ.

Our real problem stems from us having too much confidence in the physical world. Most of us are relying on the government to guide us in this dying economy. Once again, when we place too much faith in a person or things; we have misplaced our faith and turned that (“whatever” it may be) into an idol. 

An idol is anything or anyone that we rely on and place before God. What many of us fail to realize is that this world’s system is set up to draw us into idolatry. It is set up so we can have faith in only what we see; our job, people, and relying on the government for safety and guidance.

Misplacing our faith by attaching it to the government or this economy is what brings about the fear and anxiety most people are facing.  Sadly, many of us fail to realize that if all you see is what you see then you are not seeing all there is to be seen. In other words, if we are one of his faithful disciples we are not seeing the helping hand of Christ.

I know it takes much more effort to see past the physical aspects of life.  Nonetheless, we must learn to see things spiritually; which is why God commands us to walk by faith, not by sight  (2Cor 5:7). Throughout the Bible God tells us to live by faith (Rom 1:17). In doing so we will see Christ’s helping hand, which is exactly what God wants to see; which is why He tells us to live by faith  (Act 4:12;  Phil 4:13; Joh 15:1-7).  Sadly, many of us have more faith in money than we do Christ.

Money 

Money is yet another thing that we misplace our faith in. If all your hopes and dreams are tied to your bank account, that’s the first thing Satan’s going to come after when he comes to steal, kill, and destroy you (Joh 10:10). 

Listen, learn from this pandemic. Money cannot solve the problems we are having.  The rich and famous are good examples of this fact. They are in the same mess we all are in. Their economic status cannot buy them good health, happiness, or a longer life. Money is not a catch all for life, liberty and happiness. Many of the rich and famous are just as scared, confused and bad off as some of us. 

Oftentimes, we elevate money above God. However, this pandemic is setting the record straight. Money cannot buy everything or solve everything in life. The rich and famous are in the same “boat” as us common people. Their money and status cannot buy their release from this mess. 

Considering how this pandemic is putting everyone on the same field, we can understand why God tells us not to place confidence or faith in money (1Tim 6:10 / Act 8:20). I am happy to say, God taught me this lesson a long time ago. I guess I have always been one of those people before my time.

There was a period of time  in my life that I barely had a dime to my name and yet, God showed me that He could bless me with what I needed and desired without giving me money. I’m going to try and list many of the things that I was able to get when I was poor. Scratch that I wasn’t poor I was po. 

During this time in my life, God taught me many invaluable lessons that I’m now able to share with others. One of those times was when I was barely making enough money to pay rent. God blessed me with everything I desired as well as needed without giving me actual money. 

Although my mom has alway taught me that God can bless us in a variety of ways, it took me a while to learn this concept. Seeing that I was slow in learning this concept, God helped my mom out by allowing me to experience these blessings. Before I get into my testimonial, I want you to keep in mind — everything that I’m about to name — the trips, the cars, the events, and many more that I haven’t mentioned, were all gained while I was extremely poor or should I say po.  

Again, I barely had enough money to pay rent. So all the extras such as entertainment, gas for my car, etc. meant that I had to do without. Trust me y’all, I did NOT spend one dime on discretionary items during this year I’m about to tell you about and yet blessing after blessing came my way.  I didn’t have money for anything, but food and shelter and I barely had money for that. I had to use every coin I had to pay rent. During my poor year, God showed me the best time of my life. During the summer/ fall of 2011 without me spending one red cent of my own money God blessed me with the following:

  1. Here is the CliffsNotes version-LOL I desperately needed a laptop so I could apply for jobs. Drowning in despair, I entered an essay contest about how technology helped improve my life. I won!  I not only won a laptop that I desperately needed, I also won a Sony Google TV which also doubles as a computer monitor that I still use today. Not only did God give me the laptop and the Sony Google TV which was the icing on the cake. God added even more to my dessert. The contest I won paid for Best Buy’s Geek Squad to install everything so that I did not have to lift a finger. This win was worth a lot of money that I did not have.
My Sony Google TV/ computer monitor (the laptop no longer works, but I kept it as a memento 😊 )
  1. Another blessing that came a month or so later. I used to blog a ton back in the day. I was considered a brand ambassador which today would be considered a social media influencer. This is when social media was just taking off, so I used to partner with a lot of different brands. I used to go to a ton of fancy restaurants for free, I went on boat cruises, or had products sent to me in exchange for a review. Just so you know I never did product reviews if the product was lousy; and, I always let people know how I was being compensated for the review.
  1. I wanted so badly to go to Oprah’s Show Farewell Spectacular show at the United Center. I wrote an essay stating why I wanted the tickets and won them for me and my mom to attend the show. I will NEVER EVER forget this day in my life. Due to the nature of how I wrote in for tickets to the show, we were able to sit wherever we wanted upfront. I was feeling particularly bold that day and sat in the front row where they said that the seats were reserved. I made friends with one of the ushers and she gave me the BEST seat in the house. 

Oprah literally sat one seat away from me. The seat right next to me was the seat where all the celebrity guests sat while they were watching the show with Oprah. I was literally watching Beyonce perform Girls Run the World and dancing with Tom Cruise and Oprah. By the way, Beyonce did that entire performance twice. I guess Beyonce wasn’t happy with the first take. I did not care because I LOVE Beyonce so seeing her doing that song twice was amazing! That choreography was insane and I felt exhausted for Beyonce.

As someone who has taken dance classes and now teaches dance fitness,  you had to be in crazy amazing shape to pull that off twice (back to back like that). 

My point is, iGod blessed me with everything I need as well as entertainment without money. My point is, do not focus on resources, keep your faith in the Source; meaning, God. You may not know how and when God is going to bless you, with or without money, but if you stay in faith, you can be assured that your blessing will come.

That entire day was crazy fun. I was able to give Oprah a hug, met Tom Cruise, joked around with Jaime Foxx, Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Hanks, and so many other celebrities that I’m literally drawing a blank on. If you don’t believe me, check out the website and fast forward to the time marker 2:45 and 4:27 I’m literally on the left side of Tom Cruise and my mom is waving right behind Oprah.

Fast forward to 2:45 and 4:27 for my cameo-LOL

In between the taping, everyone  kept asking me, “How did you get that seat?” I just kept shaking my head because it was just too surreal. Again, when God blesses, He blesses big. So, do not misplace your faith. Put your faith where it should be in Christ.

4.     Moving on from those blessings, here is another win that God blessed me with. My blogging and networking enabled me to connect with someone who worked at GM. I ended up becoming a brand ambassador for General Motors. I was invited to join their blogger network. Meaning, they literally would allow me to test drive different cars and in exchange for my reviews about them. I test drove quite a few cars and went to their events.

5. However, the ultimate “sign” that let me know that God was still with me during my difficult time was when General Motors invited me to participate in their marketing campaign called Road to NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists): Powered by Chevrolet. It was an all-expenses paid media trip which consisted of four Chicago journalists/bloggers (none of us knew each other before this trip) from Chicago performing community service work as we drove to the NABJ Convention in Philadelphia in a Chevrolet Suburban.

We were doing good in the Black/Latino communities while advertising the Chevy Suburban; which by the way was crazy comfortable and amazing. We created community gardens in food desert areas, we helped paint murals at schools, we got to read and help do writing exercises with the children at different schools, we drove through the mountains and had some interesting adventures in towns that I NEVER, you hear me, never would have driven through if we weren’t together. We shared so many laughs on that trip.

The NABJ convention was amazing! I was able to meet so many high profile journalists and attend so many inspiring events like the Black Girls Rock party (Solange Knowles was even the DJ at one of them) and other sessions to help hone our media skills. Guys, they even flew me back home and gave us gift cards with money on it. Which really came in handy because I didn’t have enough money to pay for my luggage for the trip back home. I’m not joking when I say this.  I literally did not have enough money due to the weight of my luggage. 

Not one dime of anything that I named did I pay for that year. Not even the gas for the cars I drove that year was paid for by me. General Motors gave me the car with a full tank of gas. All for my enjoyment. There are so many instances in my life where God gave me things, introduced me to people, or allowed me to attend events without a dime to my name.

This is just one way God taught me that He is my Source in life. Through this period in my life I learned not to put Him in a box. I stopped thinking that the only way God can bless us is with money. I am living proof that all we need to do is keep our focus on our Source (Christ) and the resources will follow. This is a concept my mom has always taught me, but since I was a little stubborn it took me longer to learn.

I now understand that “faith” is the currency we need to use in order to purchase the things we desire, need, and want in our physical life. Once we learn the concept of placing our faith where it should be, in Christ, these troublesome times will not lead our thought life on a journey of fear, frustration, and anxiety. Finally, prestige is another idol we misplace our faith in.

Prestige

I cringe when I see people placing their faith in something as fragile as prestige. Now, I am not against titles, when one has fairly worked themselves up the ladder of their choice. However, I put titles in their proper perspective. They do not mean much to me. I am not one of those people who is into titles. 

Now don’t get me wrong.  I know I was just talking about how in awe I was over the celebrities I got a chance to meet. Although I am an admirer of these folks’ works, nonetheless, I keep things in their proper perspective. People are people. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. 

Don’t place your confidence in titles, promotions, awards, etc. Have a balance.  I’ve seen co-workers lie, cheat and steal because they thought this would help them get praise from their bosses. When this happens, you have just misplaced your faith and no good will come of it. Why? You left God, your Source, out of your life (Heb 11:6).  Placing too much faith in people, your job, money and prestige will lead to nothing but disappointment and heartaches.

My hope is that this episode reminds you that your faith should be in Christ (Act 4:12;  Phil 4:13; Joh 15:1-7) and not fall into the trap in storing up treasures on Earth instead of heaven (Matt 6:19-24).

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!