Faith

Episode 137: Why Half-Truth Can Cause More Trouble Than Ignorance

The reason Satan is a master at manipulating people is because he uses a small amount of truth, God’s word so that his lie can be more believable. In other words, Satan twists God’s word with his own words. This is what he did with Eve in the garden.  Satan did not tell Eve a complete lie.

Satan uses our limited understanding of God’s word to distract and confuse us. This is why I say settling for a small amount of God’s word is sometimes worse than having no knowledge at all. It is our small amount of knowledge that makes it easier for Satan to twist things up in our mind.  

Even worse, settling for a small amount of knowledge gives us false confidence. Then we end up refusing to listen to wise godly counsel.  When we don’t take time to examine our circumstances, this can cause us to become overly confident and ignore the big picture. This will cause us to step directly into a life of pain and suffering.

When we solely rely on the small amount of knowledge that we possess, we are not functioning with a full understanding of God’s word. This causes us to misread our circumstances and our direction from God. During one of the low points in my life, I did just that. I was fully convinced that my circumstances would automatically change if I changed my scenery.  

So, I decided that I should move abroad. To make a long story short, I wanted a change because things were not going right in my life. I was working dead end job, after  dead end job for managers that were a couple fries short of a happy meal. I wasn’t allowed to be creative and my voice wasn’t being heard.

I am the type of person who takes pride in their work and thrives off of challenges. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why I felt like I needed a drastic change. What I fail to realize is that – a change in scenery was not what I needed. 

During a series of Bible lessons, my mom helped me to see that a change of scenery would not alleviate my issue. Here is the thing, instead of putting forth the much-needed work to align my distorted emotions to God’s word, I thought moving abroad would alleviate all my problems.

I remember times when I would argue back and forth with my mom about how strongly I felt that I should move abroad. I was dead wrong. Now, I am not saying that moving to a new country is wrong, but what I am saying is to examine your motives for doing so. Mine would have been completely for the wrong reason.

I was viewing my ability to move abroad as an opportunity to “escape” from my miserable life. My mom took God’s word and helped me to face my real problem, which was me. My problem was deep-rooted inside me. What I needed was a complete overhaul in my mind. After letting God’s word actually guide me and not distort my emotions, I learned that living abroad was NOT the answer to my problem.

What I needed to do was bloom where I was planted, which is exactly what I did.  Life is good! By taking time to actually study God’s word and not rely on my distorted emotions, my mom proved that moving abroad would not have solved my problem. The thing I failed to realize was since my problem was from within, moving abroad would just mean that my problem would move abroad with me. Like most of us, I was looking for a quick fix.

Instead of dealing with my distorted emotions, I thought I would find happiness by permanently changing my scenery. I am sad to say, I personally know people right now that are going through what I went through. They failed to realize that their psychological problem is going to pack up and go with them. Running away from internal problems is not the answer.

Living abroad would have been a huge mistake for me. My hysterical state of mind would have led me down a dead-end street. In fact, I personally know people who made that very same mistake I almost made.  Thanks to God giving me a wise, godly mom, she was able to walk me through my psychological problems, which was simply a case of distorted emotions.  I was searching for fulfillment in ALL the wrong places. 

I have to admit, it also took me a while to realize that living abroad (changing scenery) is not the answer to my emotional problems. Changing my scenery is a whole lot easier than changing who I was inside. If I had listened to my distorted emotions, which gave me false confidence, I would have made the biggest mistake of my life. 

Not thinking straight, I failed to realize that it takes a long time to get established anywhere, even in a new neighborhood.  Imagine trying to get established in another country.  In my case, the setback would have been enormous. My health problems alone would have derailed that move.

The way my allergies and my weak digestive system are set up I would not last long if I couldn’t get my vitamins and/or access to healthy food. False confidence and laziness make us behave like teenagers. As you know, we all at that age thought that we were invincible and of course we had all the answers. 

As a teenager, we can overlook this ignorant and prideful state of mind. However, if we expect to receive God’s blessings, we cannot become complacent in this childish mentality. It’s this teenager’s state of mind that leads us away from God.  We start to think that “I” have all the answers. “I” am my own person. “I” know what I am doing. “I” don’t need to seek God’s advice. And the “I”s goes on and on and on until we start reaping the negative consequences to our actions.

It is our childish, self-centered attitude that makes us easy prey for Satan. When our emotions are telling us to go full force ahead, we don’t take time to stop and evaluate what we’re truly getting ourselves into. Even worse, when God sends us godly counseling, we are so filled with false confidence whereby we refuse to listen to that person’s warnings.

I was stubborn. I remember arguing back and forth with my mom. What she taught me was to align my emotions to God’s word. Only through this process can we separate facts from fiction. Sadly, many of us are where I was, looking outside of ourselves for solutions and direction. The reason we look outside of our “self” is because we are too impatient to thoroughly examine God’s word so we can get clear, direct answers to our circumstances. Our destructive thinking and laziness make us easy prey for Satan to lead us down dead end streets. 

To avoid our emotions becoming distorted, we need to listen to Heb 5:12-14, which warns us not to remain as immature teenagers. According to Hebrews, “. . . by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God.” It continues to say, “. . . everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness . . .”

In other words, when we settle for a small amount of truth, we do not take time to understand God or gain clarity regarding our struggles. Through a series of Bible study classes, I finally figured out what God wanted for me.  What He truly wanted was for me to see that I was putting way too much emphasis in trying to find fulfillment in all the wrong places, like a 9 to 5.

Thinking that a job was going to make me happy was delusional. Especially when I was working in roles that didn’t appreciate my talent and was robbing me of time that I could have spent working on my relationship with Christ. To make a long story short, once I completely overhauled my schedule and state of mind; meaning, putting God first, everything changed.

I felt like one of my favorite songs, “I can see clearly now” by Johnny Nash. It’s like all those clouds that were following me around finally disappeared. Spending time with God led me down a path that allowed me to pursue a variety of other ways that I could demonstrate my creativity.

However, the most important aspect that still blows my mind is that I’m teaching English from the comfort of my own home to adults overseas. I’m so blessed because I feel like I know someone in all of the countries that I want to travel to one day when my bank account cooperates with me. Guess what?

I didn’t have to completely turn my world upside down and live abroad to feel like I had a purpose in life. God showed me that I could accomplish everything that I wanted right from the comfort of my own home. The problem was my hysterical state of mind caused me to not know the sound of God’s voice. God was waiting until I calmed down enough so He could show me other ways that I could demonstrate and enjoy my creativity besides a 9 to 5.

I have to admit, it takes a lot of work to align our emotions to God’s word. Like me, most people just want to move to a different location in hope that a new scenery will solve all of life’s problems. This is what happens when we allow Satan to enter our mind and convince us that running away from our problems is the answer. 

What we fail to realize is, our psychological problems are not going away. The problems are just going to pack up and go with us. Knowledge of this fact is why I created a system for myself. Whenever I’m dealing with a situation that has an unusually negative overtone or I’m continuously faced with obstacle after obstacle that doesn’t seem to have any end in sight, I make sure to stop, pray and ask God to guide me towards the right decision.

This opposition could be God telling me no; wait, not now, or do not do it this way. I learned that sometimes God uses opposition as a means to protect us from ourselves. He definitely protected me. If I had moved out of the country, this would have been a colossal mistake.  My problem would have never gotten solved.  

Running away from our problems does not help us to grow in grace (2Pet 3:17).  Spiritual growth is what we need to erase our psychological issues. Looking back at my own problems, I know that it is our lack of growth that keeps us from developing our senses so that we can discern between good and evil. 

When we settle for a small amount of truth, we don’t take time to understand God or gain clarity regarding our struggles. This is why we are unable to know the sound of God’s voice from our own internal, distorted voice.  All of which keep us from our goals or purpose in life. 

Finally, false confidence is one of Satan’s biggest scams. Due to Satan’s victims feeling good about their decision and/or situation, many people walk directly into a life of pain and suffering. All because it felt good. Although living abroad would have been a colossal mistake for me, nonetheless, I truly enjoy traveling abroad. I cannot wait until this pandemic is over so that I can go and visit all the people that God brought into my life without me ever having to leave the comfort of my home.

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!

Ep. 135 How to Be the Phenomenal Woman God Wants You to Be

A Phenomenal Woman: My mom! Look at her looking all young-LOL I took this last year, but she just turned 60 this year. ❤️😘

March is when we celebrate women’s history month. One of the greatest compliments that someone could ever give me is to tell me that I’m a strong person. Strength is a characteristic that I truly admire. We’re all born with various degrees of strength that God intends for us to cultivate. 

Strength is a characteristic that I struggle every day to maintain. I’ve lived the majority of my life always feeling less than. Like I’m not enough. Needless to say, allowing people’s views of me to shape my own perception of what I’m capable of accomplishing caused some of my blessings to be delayed in my life.  This is why some of my blessings that I dreamed about are just now coming to fruition.

By cultivating the negativity that people spoke into my life caused me to experience my delay in receiving my blessings. I should have cultivated what God’s word said about me; not internalized people’s negative thoughts about me.  Listening and implementing the word of God in my life, would have led me to my purpose in life much sooner.

Acknowledging my place and taking ownership in being a part of God’s royal priesthood would have alleviated most of my pain. Cultivating negativity instead of positivity is why it took me a while to receive my blessings.

Having a less than enough or victim mentality kept me from growing in grace. Having this mentality is dangerous. It is a sure-fire way to delay and/or miss out on all the blessings God has in store for you. Deep down I knew this less than enough mentality was wrong.  That’s why I kept associating with strong people that I admired thinking that their strength would somehow rub off on me. What I failed to realize is that there are no shortcuts to having a successful life.

Developing the attributes of Christ such as strength, courage, etc. does not work by riding on someone else’s work.  Eventually, we all have to do our own work so we can know how to properly apply God’s word to our life. Yet, getting rid of this lazy mentality is easier said than done. 

I learned the hard way that becoming a strong person doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of overcoming the ups and downs of life without giving in to the pressure of adverse circumstances. Only then can you consider yourself a Phenomenal Woman.

Strong women are well aware that if all you see is what you see then you’re not seeing all there is to be seen. Their tenacity enables them to keep going even when the world is falling apart around them. My mom is a phenomenal woman. I’ve noticed that people like my mom and other strong women are able to keep their eyes on the prize because they have been able to do the following on a consistent basis:

Accept how God views you 

Most people would assume that I am a positive person. For the most part, this is true. I speak positivity into everyone else’s life except my own. Again, I have allowed some of the setbacks that I have encountered in life to bring me down. I allowed those circumstances to dictate my ability to see and accept how God views me. 

When you make the decision to become a Christian, God said in 1 Pet. 2:9, “ …You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession . . .” 

God is expecting you to live your life with this view of yourself in mind. In doing so, you will inspire and uplift others to do the same. You can’t do this if you don’t know God’s word. In order to know how God views you, you must read and daily meditate on His word (Joshua 1:8). His word has the answers to all our problems.  God’s word helps us to overcome every valley that we’re bound to encounter in life.

Reading, meditating, and properly applying the knowledge we gained from His word will place you in a position to discover the plans  God has for you (Jer 29:11). Through this process, many of us may be shocked to learn that Christians were born to be leaders. However, this feeling of leadership and strength is not something that all of us automatically accept. Some of us have to be convinced that we possess valiant leadership qualities like Esther, loyalty like Ruth, or trust God to guide us like He did Mary (Christ’s mother).

Regardless of what camp you find yourself in, you can’t lead from behind. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to the world, you’re headed down a self-destructive path (Roman 12:2). God has different plans for us to achieve in our lives (Eph 3:20). However, we will never find out what those plans are if we’re not willing to put Him first in our lives (Matt 6:33). 

God is a jealous God (1 John 2:15). After all, He has every right to be since He made us (Gen 1:27). Therefore, if we want to have a relationship with Him we need to make sure we’re ALL in. God doesn’t like double-minded people (James 1:8). This is why Christ said, “ . . . I wish you were cold or hot . . .” (Rev 3:15-17).  

We would never be friends with someone who is friends with us one minute and then friends with our enemies the next minute. We would never consider that person’s behavior the beginnings of a beautiful friendship; yet, this is how many of us treat God. What we fail to realize is that God refuses to be treated this way.  

Since we refuse to make up our mind and choose a side, God will do it for us (Rev 3:16). God has more respect for those who pick a side—even if it’s not His (Joshua 24:15).  In order to be a strong person, especially a woman, we must pick a side and diligently work towards that outcome.  This building process encourages us to take time to define what success looks like for you.

Decide what success looks like for you

So many women fall into the trap of wanting to please others while they lose themselves in the process. You’re so afraid of what other people think that if you don’t live up to someone else’s perception of what you should be that you’re a failure. Many women, especially Christian women, believe that having a husband and kids is the only pathway to living a “fulfilled” life. 

I’m not throwing any shade at anyone who chooses the aforementioned path for themselves. However, we must realize that marriage does not automatically produce happiness. Only you can make yourself happy. Happiness comes from within. Happiness is an attribute of Christ that has to be cultivated in order for you to receive its benefits.

In other words, a husband, kids, etc. can only help aid happiness.  They do not create happiness within us. In order to enjoy your husband, kids, etc. you must already have this attribute within you. A similar principle applies to success.

Only you can make yourself happy.  Happiness comes from within. It is an attribute of Christ. All of which means that happiness has to be cultivated so that its fruit manifests. Only you can determine what success looks like for you. I want you to take a moment to sit back, relax and write a list of pros and cons in order to help you describe what success really looks like to you.

I did the exact aforementioned exercise. I used to think that I wanted to be married with kids and be a stay-at-home mom like my mom was until we got into middle school. Once I got older my mom was brutally honest and shared the difficulties she encountered while raising my sister and me, I saw some of those issues she experienced playing out in my friends’ lives, and the lack of justice and peace in this world really doesn’t leave me feeling like I want to bring a new life into this world. 

I’m going to be 39 in July. I’ve never been married and I don’t have any children. Again, by society’s standards, something must be wrong with me. Some people have even had the audacity to ask me, “What’s wrong with me?” If I allow myself to internalize and accept this nonsense mentality that the world tries to project onto me I would have inadvertently ended up making a mess of my life by marrying the first guy I saw. 

Here’s the thing, I was raised to have standards. There’s a lot of losers out there. I KNOW have a lot to offer so I will never dumb myself down nor do I want a man mistaking me for a doormat. I know what I’m looking for, so I don’t need to go on practice dates. Unless that man I meet checks every one of those boxes on my checklist, it’s not worth my time and effort to be in a relationship with him. God blessed me with family and friends, a great career, and awesome side hustles/hobbies that more than satisfy me and occupy my time.  

Plus, again, I have absolutely no desire to have kids so I’m even more not in a rush to meet Mr. Right. I’m more than content living my jet-setting carefree life. Even if the marriage thing ends up not being in the cards for me, I am more than content to be like Christ, Apostle Paul (1 Cor 7), and countless others in the Bible who remained single. I’d rather be happy and single than married and miserable.

So many women feel stuck in less than ideal situations from both single and married backgrounds.  Many times this can be attributed to the fact we’re so busy trying to please others that we don’t realize how much personal baggage that we’re carrying around. If you hop into a relationship without addressing that baggage, you’re setting yourself up to fail. 

You will be constantly projecting your insecurity, fear, worries, etc. onto your spouse. This is why we should not rush into a relationship until we have fully resolved issues in our lives. We should not allow our distorted emotions to dictate our actions.  Loneliness can be misunderstood. Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely if you’re willing to work on your relationship with God (Matt 28:20, Deut 31:6). Speaking from firsthand experience, I lead a very fun, satisfying life. While you’re working on your relationship with God don’t be surprised if He reveals some talents that you didn’t know existed.

Monitor your progress

When you’re developing a new habit, the best way to monitor your progress is by keeping a checklist. A checklist will help keep you honest in your endeavor to stay on the right path. I have noticed that whenever I don’t use a checklist, I end up slipping back into my old ways.

If you are being honest with yourself, creating a checklist will help you to 

  • Identify which areas of your life you need to work on
  • Hold you accountable for your growth
  • Provide you a benchmark so you can visually see how many days you have been consistently working towards your new transformation.

In case you’re not sure how to create your own transformation checklist, be sure to download the free Phenomenal Woman Checklist on the Hustle in Faith website. If you need a physical reminder, feel free to check out my StarenguCrew apparel and gift shop.

When you accept how God views you, you’re going to reduce the time it takes for you to define your idea of success. Remember, you’re going to encounter a variety of obstacles along the way. Keeping track of your progress is going to help ensure and reinforce that you’re on the right path.

Regardless of how many times you fall during your journey and trust me you will fall, make sure you get right back up and keep going so you can be the phenomenal woman God wants you to be.

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!

Episode 134: Will You Destroy Your World with Lies?

At some point in life, we’ve all told a lie. If you say you haven’t, then consider that statement your first lie. We’re constantly bombarded with lies. We’re so conditioned by the lies we see and hear to the point that they don’t even shock us anymore.

The main reason people lie is out of fear. Oftentimes, lies are due to us worrying about how others see us. We are conditioned to view ourselves from the perception or eyes of others. I am not going to lie, sometimes lying does seem easier. But, what most of us fail to realize is that each lie we tell further reduces our ability to discern right from wrong. This is dangerous.  

The more accustomed you become to lying, the harder it becomes for your brain to process facts (the truth) from fiction (Satan’s lies). As you know Satan is the father of lies (Joh 8:44). Lies help Satan to create a fortress in your mind (aka soul). Lies invite demonic forces to take over your life. 

Whenever we accept, support, or participate in a lie, we just joined forces with Satan.  Despite your reasoning for lying, this negative trait of Satan causes death to everything and everyone involved.  It is typically lies that bring about death (aka separation) to a marriage, a friendship, etc. 

Lying is the deadliest of Satan’s negative traits. It can bring permanent death (separation) to relationships such as a parent and child relationship and even worse your relationship with Christ.

If we just take a moment to stop and think, we will know when we have gone too far. When we start to justify to ourselves why we are lying. When you start to lie to yourself by saying things like, “Oh, I’m just trying to protect so and so,” or “I’m too far gone to turn back now,” and the list of excuses can continue on and on and on…Until you wake up one day and suddenly realize that your ability to identify what is a lie and what is truth becomes blurred. 

In this case, Satan has made himself a home within your mind. Only the word of God can evict him from your soul.  Although it was easy inviting Satan into your world, evicting them will be hard. This is what we call “the battle of the mind.” 

Think of him as a low-life relative you are trying to help. You’re being a Christian inviting them to live with you until they get on their feet. Instead of them being graceful, they take up permanent residency and start changing your life to fit their lifestyle. 

You can tell when Satan starts taking over your world.  You start accumulating negative traits such as worrying, becoming fearful, etc. 

Regardless of what our distorted emotions tell us, lying is deadly in more ways than one. If you want to keep your world from being destroyed, always let the truth guide you. It is the truth that draws you closer to Christ. What we need to do is determine who we want a relationship with and work toward that outcome.

I know most of us will immediately say that we want a relationship with Christ. However, what does your lifestyle reflect your decision? It is your state of mind your way of life that determines who you are trying to develop a relationship with.  Just like lies and deceptions invite Satan to live with you, truth and righteousness invite Christ into your life.

Once again, lying will destroy your relationship with Christ.  Lying is premeditated. Allowing it to linger will cause it to become a part of your character. In other words, lying demonstrates who you choose to live with Satan. In this case, the answer to the question, “Will you destroy your world with lies?” the answer would be yes.  The life of Samson is an excellent example of this fact.

Samson kept lying to himself about his wife and the people he was hanging around. This is why I always say keep toxic people out of your life. Anyway, Samson’s, lying to himself, hardened his soul to the point that he was unable to listen to God. When we get this far gone, our mind cannot understand or rely on truth, even when someone godly is giving you excellent counsel. 

Lying is a sin.  Lying to yourself allows Satan to build a fortress in your mind. Once this happens, your relationship with Christ will die. When presented with the opportunity to lie, don’t take the bait. Let truth your default. 

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!

Episode 133: Why is it important to conquer impatience?

As I grow older, I’ve noticed more and more that in order to succeed in life, you have to have patience. The sad thing is, I have realized that I’m more patient with others than I am with myself. When I create a goal, I want to achieve that goal as soon as possible. I want to have it in my hands as of yesterday. Yes, I realize how foolish and unrealistic this sounds.  I am naturally inclined to be impatient; which is a battle I constantly must fight against.

I know first hand how detrimental the consequences can be when you allow impatience to rule over your life. When you allow the demon of impatience to take over your life, it will destroy your entire being starting with your spirit, health, and finances.

Spirit 

When you are impatient that means your intensity to achieve your goal is out of control.  Your mental capacity is running rampant with all sorts of negative traits that helps Satan to conquer your thought life. As a society, we’ve been conditioned to think that action is progress but it’s not.

What society left out is that if God wasn’t a part of the equation in your decision making process the action(s) you take will most likely result in destruction. Living our life based on society’s rules is why we become impatient. This faulty way of thinking causes us to worry and feel as if we must rush and take any type of action. What we fail to realize is that impatience is a sign that we do not trust Christ.

Impatience causes us to have a one track mind. We become so focused on doing whatever it takes to achieve our goal that we fail to realize that Christ is not with us.  Even worse we start to think that any type of action is better than taking a moment to pause and go to God in prayer. With this faulty way of thinking, Satan will surely deter us from obtaining the blessings that God has in store for us.

Allowing impatience to remain unchecked in our life will cause us to make it up a ladder that is leaning against the wrong wall. To avoid this disaster you need to know how impatience creeps into your life. With me it is my competitive nature that allows impatience in my life. I know when I allow impatience to take over, this faulty way of thinking has the potential to mess with my health.

Health 

In my case, that anxiousness to achieve my goal causes me unnecessary stress. I already have major digestive issues so whenever I’m stressed, my stomach turns into an absolute hot mess. My stomach flareups are unbearable and sometimes I get a headache all of which make me feel like I want to die. Impatience when left unchecked can really mess with your health.

Leaving Impatience unchecked in your life can cause you all sorts of problems. It can cause you to feel irritable and place you in a position where you lash out at others. These unnecessary fights will without a doubt add additional stress to your life.  I absolutely hate feeling this way, so I have several techniques that I use to help me manage impatience. 

Eating healthy and making sure toxic people stay out of my life works wonders. Another technique I use to combat impatience is exercise. During those times I feel impatience bubbling up inside, I exercise. Exercise allows me to release all that negative energy. Through exercise, I’m able to channel all that negative energy into something positive and fun such as dancing, running, kicking, boxing or biking.  

You make a huge mistake when you allow negative energy to live inside you. It will distort your decision making process. This will cause you to make costly mistakes especially when it comes to your finances.

Finances

Thinking of all the mistakes impatience caused me to make had me thinking about the cliché “Money does not grow on trees.”  Growing up, this statement became abundantly clear to me. It really hit home when I got my first “real” job outside of babysitting. I worked at McDonald’s for 3 months and then I worked in retail at a store called Carson Pirie Scott until I graduated from high school. One of the main reasons I worked during high school is because there were some things I really wanted but my parents couldn’t afford. Therefore, my paychecks enabled me to add on the “extra” money that was needed so I could buy whatever it was that I wanted.

Let me tell you, when I was in high school my ability to discern between what I thought was a need and what I wanted changed real quick once I started looking at my paycheck. I did not make a lot of money working in retail. Therefore, I had to evaluate how badly I wanted something based on my willingness and patience to save up for it. 

I’ll never forget, in high school, I was nominated to attend a National Young Leadership convention in Washington, D.C. We were going to attend events that further developed our leadership skills, tour sites and places that people normally don’t gain access to, and the list goes on. This was pretty much in my mind the experience of a lifetime. My parents wanted me to go but they didn’t have all the money. I worked extra hours during the week and on the weekends so I could save up for this trip. I was short about $600 and Carson Pirie Scott helped me finance the rest of the money that I didn’t have in order for me to achieve my goal for going on that trip.

Saving for that trip put so many things into perspective for me. It taught me patience and the sense of accomplishment.  I learned that you enjoy life more when you work for your goal rather than have it handed to you on a silver platter. When things are constantly being given to you, you miss out on the lessons patience has to offer.  Without learning these lessons, we take our blessings for granted. 

During our journey to obtaining our goal, if we do not allow patience to rule over our life, we will make major mistakes.  Thinking of those mistakes that would have occurred due to my impatience, could have been extremely costly financially. There were times that I almost made major financial mistakes.  My trouble was minimized because God gave me a savvy mom who helped me out of these situations. 

As much as I hate to admit this, sometimes, you just get tired of waiting. You start looking around wondering, “Why doesn’t so-and-so have to work to get (insert what you’re saving for)?” As my mom always says, “Unless you’re willing to do exactly what that person is doing then stop paying attention to them. Are you going to wait on God or do it yourself?” Anytime I didn’t wait on God I ended up making unnecessary financial mistakes. 

Impatience is not keeping our wants in check. This distorted way of thinking will mess you up every time. Mainly, because we stop trusting Christ.  Many of us get into debt because we don’t trust that God has everything under control. The bottom line is that we want God’s blessings but not his knowledge and guidance for how to obtain and use the blessings. When God wants to teach us how to handle our blessings, we take this as God not wanting us to be happy and not giving us our desire.  

This couldn’t be further from the truth. God does not hold back anything from us (Jer 29:11). What God knows is that without the attributes of Christ, our behavior would be like a swine.  We would just trample God’s blessings under our feet (Matt 7:6). Sometimes, it takes us a while to obtain our desires because God knows we’re simply not ready for it and/or God’s trying to get everything perfect so when you get your blessing you can really enjoy it (Jer 29:11).

The key to rid ourselves of impatience is wholeheartedly knowing that God’s timing is perfect (Rom 12:2).  If you don’t keep your impatience in check you will be like the person in Haggai 1: 5-7. This person was constantly making money but couldn’t maintain the wealth that they accumulated because their mindset was not right. Now, you may be wondering, “My finances are already a mess. What do I do now?” Trust me, I’ve been there.

The answer to your question is that you need to start putting God first in your life. Through personal experience, when I started to put Christ first in my life, I noticed everything started to change…even my finances . I can personally testify that the verse in the Bible Joel 2:25 that God will give you back the years you lost are not just words on a page. I can honestly say, I’m finally living the extraordinary life that I always dreamed of.  I never realized that I was the one delaying my blessings due to impatience. Regardless of where you are in life, the struggle to conquer impatience will always be worth the battle.

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 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!

Episode 131: How to Create a Life Worth Imitating

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. 

This is Episode 131: How to create a life worth imitating 

Happy New Year!

 I can’t believe we are starting Season 4 of this podcast! I want to wish everyone a very happy, blessed, and prosperous New Year! I’m not big on resolutions. Many times New Year’s resolutions are broken. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but a goal without a plan is just a wish. 

In the past four years, I can honestly say that I’ve been truly crushing my goals. Because I created SMART goals, I have been accomplishing many of the goals I set for myself. SMART is an acronym that stands for Smart Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-bound. I create my goals, I look for correlations within those goals, and then choose one word that I can easily remember that will serve as my theme for the year. 

For example, when I was creating my goals for this year, I decided that my theme for 2021 will be the word ELEVATE. I’m not going to go into my method in how I do this in this episode so be sure to check out the Hustle in Faith website for further information on SMART goals and to download the free grateful notes and goal setting planner.

Now, the reason why I picked ‘elevate’ to be my theme for this year is because of so many situations that happened to me last year. Despite the chaos that occurred throughout last year, I have never been more at peace with my life. When I say the year 2020 gave me the most peace I have ever had, I am not saying I did not have any problems with people or difficult situations.

What I am saying is that none of these things defeated me and/or brought me down. The reason being, I kept reminding myself of something that my mom always says, “Put God first and the rest will fall into place.” What her statement means is that we are to always pray and request God’s help before making decisions. In doing so, God will give us whatever we need, whether it be strength, courage, or wisdom to get through the tough times.

Applying my mom’s wisdom along with my determination and consistency, the year 2020 turned out to be a very successful year for me. Despite all the chaos in the world, I was able to accomplish my goals. Mainly because I was and still am fiercely protective of my time. Negativity is a thief that not only steals your time but it also destroys your goals.

I protect myself from this thief by protecting my time. I don’t allow anyone or anything to occupy my time unless they add value to my life. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t watch mindless TV or hang out with a lot of people.

My main goal in life is to be more consistent with cultivating the talents God gave me.  Focusing on this endeavor has really placed me in a position to create opportunities not just for myself, but for others as well. I truly enjoy helping people gain the skills they need to achieve their goals. A comment that I have grown accustomed to hearing is, “Tosha, you’re so lucky.” I just smile and laugh because I know what they mean.

However, the success I’m currently experiencing isn’t luck. I didn’t just all of a sudden arrive with the attributes of Christ (ie joy, peace and happiness). Whenever I respond, I make sure to tell them this. I want them to know that in life we have to intentionally work towards our goals and we start first by allowing Christ to lead.

My success and happiness are products of many years of determination, blood, sweat and tears. Wait, let’s not leave out trial and error, and a whole lotta praying!  Throughout this process, I developed two mottos in life: 

  1. I work to live, not live to work. This means to have a balance in life.
  2. I work down here but live upstairs. This means I live life based on God’s perspective, all of which helps me to rise above the obstacles and petty people that Satan sends to defeat me.

I must admit, it took me a while to really understand the last point. My focus was distorted. I was trying so hard to please people that I lost sight of God and eventually I became lost. With that said, this is why I don’t base my time and energy on pleasing people is another way Satan robs us of our time. I just put Christ first and proceed in living my life.

My way of life, “Put Christ first and everything else falls into place,” has gotten me recognition at work and in my personal life. I was just thinking back to all the compliments I received from those at work. I never thought in a million years that anyone would be watching me, let alone thinking that I’m worth imitating. 

One co-worker in particular stood out in my mind. She explained that she loved my presentation style. She then took notes on how I presented. This person’s comment reminded me that we never know who may be watching us. Now don’t get my comment twisted.  

 We should not care about what other people think about us. What I am saying is that we should do our best to live our lives in such a way that it can serve as a role model for those without someone in their corner. 

As we start this brand spanking New Year, I want you to ask yourself, “Are you creating a life worth imitating?”  Your honest response to the next 5 questions will help you to see what type of life you are truly producing through your actions.

Where is my focus?

This question sounds easy enough to answer, but living it out can be an entirely different matter; especially, if you say that you believe in putting Christ first. If you are constantly comparing yourself to other people as well as trying to please people, your focus is not on Christ.

Whenever I am feeling defeated and unsure about things and people, my mom would always ask me, “Tosha, where is your focus?”  Although I would readily say with Christ, through my self-examination I could see where I veered off course. I had replaced Christ with people and things around me. Hence, why I was feeling defeated and unsure.

As I have gotten older, my mom’s advice was right, “The only way you can win in this world is by focusing on Christ.” It took years of wavering back and forth and then essentially having my life fall apart before I really, really took her advice seriously.  At that point, I had nothing to lose, so I decided to listen to my mom and put Christ first.

 My mom’s comment and many more Bible studies, which we still have to this day, is why I’m on fire with crushing my goals. It’s all because I shifted my focus to the Source (Christ) and stopped looking at my resources.

Am I looking for a blessing or am I being a blessing?

I know this may seem like a trick question, which is why you may immediately say, “I’m doing both.” Through an honest self-examination, can you really say you are doing both?

What many of us fail to realize is that when God gives you a blessing, He expects us to share it with others. I’m confident that one of the reasons that I have been so successful is because I have no problem sharing the wealth (blessings).  I look back at all the dark, poor times in my life which taught me how to share with others.  I can understand people better because I have been there and done that.

I’m slowly but surely turning into my mom. She has truly been a blessing to me and now I am paying it forward by helping others that I come in contact with. Regardless of how hard things got, I have and always will take time to help other people. Seeing others achieve their goals genuinely makes me happy. If I can play a small role in providing the assistance needed to make that happen that’s just like icing on a cake for me. 

Following God’s rule of sharing wealth is why I’m not only successful, but I am also able to enjoy my wealth. As you know many people have wealth, but they are miserable. Mainly because they did not get their riches and/or possessions the correct way and/or they are selfish like the rich man who only cared about himself (Luke 16:19-31).

 In such a case you can possess wealth, but you won’t enjoy it. A curse comes with such wealth whereby the owner is miserable.  Sadly, poor people that are happier than those with wealth. We’re to be a conduit. God gave us gifts and talents so they can overflow into someone else’s life. This is why I am always looking for opportunities to help people. Success does not have a quota. I’m a firm believer that if you put God first, we can ALL win.

Are you consistent? 

1 Thes. 5:19

Success doesn’t come overnight. It comes from building habits and routines that will position you mentally as well as physically with whatever tools your need to soar over any obstacles that come your way.  This is what happened to Joshua.  No one was able to stand up against him (Joshua 1:5-9). By always putting God first, Joshua became strong and courageous. Joshua’s blessings helped him to lead his people to their inheritance.

Joshua stayed consistent in life because he kept his focus on God and not people. As a result, he was a blessing for many. In order to be consistent we need to decide what type of life we want to live and work toward that outcome.  This is why I  literally end each episode of this podcast by saying, “ Remember, if you’re everything to everyone, then you risk being no one, you never know who you will inspire.”

I created this phrase many years ago as a reminder to myself that my opinions and decisions may cause me to make enemies. However, if I know I’m trying to please God and I feel like I’m doing the right thing, I could honestly care less about what others may think. If your words and actions are constantly being tossed around like waves in the sea, you’ll never make it to shore.

We must have a benchmark in life. You will never be able to see how much you have grown if you don’t have a benchmark. I’m very big on keeping journals and checklists in order to help me keep track of my progress. It’s little habits like this that keep us consist and stay the course  we have carved out for ourselves (1 Thes 5:19).

 Do you have peace?

In a world filled with chaos, peace is a precious gem that you must fight to obtain. Without the attributes of Christ, life is not worth living. This is why I make sure I start my day by reading God’s Word, prayer, and exercise. This routine is how I stay sane and prepare myself to face the challenges that lie before me.

As someone who spent a great deal of their life worrying, I have learned the hard way that worrying destroys our peace and other attributes of Christ. (Matt 6:27). Worrying about a situation doesn’t change anything. Worrying is a futile action that doesn’t produce any fruit. This is why the word of God constantly warns us against worrying.  As a result, I have learned this technique.

I literally make a list of pros and cons, I make my decision, pray about the matter and then I throw that list away. The list literally landing in the trash can represents me literally turning the situation over to God. I then do my best to not worry about it anymore because it’s in God’s hands.

Are you humble?

I am grateful when I receive compliments but I’m the absolute worst at taking them. I genuinely feel uncomfortable accepting compliments. Mainly because I know it’s all God, not me. If you knew the hoops I had to go through in order to get to where I am today, you would definitely know and agree that my success is due to me putting Christ first in my life.  

 Once I made the decision to let Christ use me to further His will, my life really did a complete 360. Now I’m not one of those crazy people yelling, “Praise Jesus,” every 5 minutes so that I can make a spectacle of myself (Luke 20:46). I believe in keeping my thoughts in their proper place; meaning, it’s all Christ. With this in mind, I’m a quiet, yet confident person.

 I’ve been told that my demeanor is a mystery. Being quiet people think they can take advantage of me.  When someone attempts to come at me crazy, they quickly realize that being humble doesn’t mean you are a coward.

Now keep in mind that you won’t always receive accolades in life; however, when I do, I always silently say, “ Thank you God,” knowing that my blessings come from Him and not the person who handed them to me.

If you keep all of the aforementioned in mind, your life will serve as a testimony to others. Your life is an advertisement so you need to ensure that you’re doing everything in your power to represent God’s brand in a light that would compel others to wear Him as well.

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!