All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Proverbs 16:2

My mom raised us by the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even if you don’t agree with someone you still need to treat them with respect. Now, my mom was right to instill these qualities in me. 

However, I screwed up because I didn’t have a balance. I  just assumed that other people were raised with these values as well. I was a little slow y’all so it took me a while to discover that not everyone makes decisions with pure intentions.

What really got me thinking about this topic is because lately, I’ve had way too many people that I removed from my life and/or have demonstrated that they’re real garbage people attempt to slither their way back into my life. Now that I’m older, I can spot these fake, toxic people a mile away.

It’s incredibly insulting to me when people assume that just because time has gone by that I’m going to forget their wrongdoings and welcome them back into my life with open arms. Especially when they have not apologized. Not on my watch! 

Please don’t get it twisted. I’m not holding a grudge, but using common sense. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. If someone shows you who they are, believe them. There is a difference between making a mistake and intentionally choosing to engage in behavior that is at the expense of my well-being.

When I make a decision to do something or help someone, I don’t have an ulterior motive. My intentions are pure. I help people because I want to help. I don’t have any strings attached. I don’t do so out of seeking recognition. I really go out of my way to help people because I know what it feels like to be lost, I know what it’s like to be broke, I know how it feels to be betrayed and the list goes on…I do my best to make sure my motives are pure because I know based on Col 3:23 that I’m to live my life and work unto God, not to please people.

There’s so much sadness and chaos in this world. I want to be that ray of light to help other people realize that with Christ on your side nothing is impossible. I’ve been in way too many impossible situations that should have crushed me, but I’m still standing. 

I know the reason why I’m still standing is that my motive for why I make decisions has been pure. I put God first and leave all the consequences to Him.

Can you say the same? When you make a decision do you have pure intentions? If you answer ‘yes’ good for you, but if the answer is a ‘maybe’ or ‘no,’ let’s examine why that is the case. I’m not perfect and I didn’t get to where I am overnight. Even though I thought my heart was in the right place, there have been times where I made decisions out of fear, impatience, and defeat.

When I was younger, I made a lot of decisions out of fear. I had so many insecurities and I was afraid of what other people might think about me. I didn’t want to stand by myself. Deep down we all have a desire to belong and we want people to like us. However, you have to keep this desire in check. “If you’re everything to everyone, then you risk being no one,” I created this quote as my mission statement and it’s how I end every Hustle in Faith episode. 

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I do my best to ensure that my life reflects that statement. For one reason or another, there are folks out there that don’t want you to be great. Your success is a constant reminder of their failures. I don’t know about you but I cannot continue living my life making other people happy at the expense of my own happiness. 

Yet, this is exactly what happens when you make a decision out of fear. Some of my greatest blessings came from overcoming my fears. I was honestly super afraid of buying a house, but I took the leap of faith and now many of these episodes are written from my balcony overlooking Lake Michigan. 

There have been other instances in my life where I’ve been afraid to stand up for myself in life and on the job. Especially on the job!  I used to be afraid of titles.  I used to be like, “Oh my goodness this person is a Director, President, etc. Now, I could honestly care less. If you treat me with respect then I’ll treat you with respect. If you’re foolish enough to deviate from that simple rule well that is on you. Trust me, I will make sure that you know never to do that again.

Decisions made from fear short change us from receiving the blessings that God wants to give us. He doesn’t put the blessings in our hands, he puts them within our reach. It’s up to us to take that first step of faith to go get it.  If you’re too afraid to take that first step, you’re never going to reach your full potential.

When fear becomes embedded in your soul, it’s going to prompt you to feel impatient. Fear will cause you to want to get out of a situation as fast as possible. However, allowing fear and impatience to take the lead in your decision-making process can oftentimes create a bigger mess. Now, had I just taken a step back, allowed myself to calm myself down I would stop feeling fearful and wouldn’t feel like I had to make a decision right then and there.  

I absolutely hate the quote, “When opportunity knocks you better open it.” This statement is setting you up for failure. We are way too quick to assume that those knocks are opportunities.  Many times when you hear knocking it could be Satan on the other side of the door trying to set you up. He knows so many of us are just tired of waiting for what it is that we want even though we haven’t put forth the effort needed to obtain what we desire in order to move forward in life.

So many people want something for nothing. We complain about not getting XYZ when we haven’t done ABC first.  A goal without a plan is just a wish. If your goal is to run a business, what plans do you have in place to make it happen?  Not having the answer to that question can prompt people to give up which leads us to one of the sneakiest emotions that cause us to make horrible decisions…defeat.

When you operate from a defeated mindset, you’re allowing your external circumstances to dictate your success.  We’re looking at the resource instead of the Source. Spoiler alert, the Source is God. All the things that we have faith in are temporary. What happens when the money goes away, the looks go away, and I hate to say it but even when the people go away? You’re left with yourself. As a Christian, at the end of the day, you’ve got God and Christ.  At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you know who’s in control.

It reminds me of the situation I’m in right now.  I can’t go into too many details, but it’s a total David and Goliath situation. I’m surrounded by these people who clearly thought that because they have money, the numbers, and this arrogant sense of entitlement that there was no way in the world that someone like me would ever challenge them. And yet, here we are. It’s been quite the ride to see how quickly their house of cards has come tumbling down. I have to say it’s been extremely satisfying to see these entitled monsters finally get what they deserve. 

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Yet none of this would be possible if I was operating from a defeated mindset. Honestly, I’m used to being in an underdog position. In a weird way, being in this position has played a role in why I’m successful. For the life of me, I don’t understand why people rely on stereotypes or assume that because I’m quiet that I’m shy or standoffish or because I’m friendly I’m a pushover. Again, depending on where we met usually determines which one of those I get accused of being.

Honestly, they didn’t get the memo that I’m not shy, standoffish, or a pushover. It’s just that as I’ve grown older I just don’t have the energy to deal with fake people, people who just want to complain or sit around and talk about how they want to change instead of putting in the work to make it happen. Based on my experiences, I don’t jump right into friendships or relationships without determining if that person’s words actually match their actions. People can talk a good. I know because I’ve worked in the Marketing/ Sales arena. 

People who talk a lot tend to be full of hot air. They hope that you don’t look behind the curtain and start to question their motives. I’m a good listener who questions everything. That’s a deadly combination for someone who is fake or lazy and tends to rely on stereotypes or other folks to think for them. 

I think me being a good listener who questions everything is why I’ve always been good at my job. Again, in a weird way, I attribute my success to constantly being an underdog. When people underestimate you, they tend to say and do things that they normally wouldn’t do if they view you as their equal. It’s up to you to leverage their faulty belief of your capabilities to your advantage. If you want to live an impactful life then you need to get accustomed to being independent.

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Civil Rights Activist John Lewis

If you have a desire to make decisions that are pure and have your best interest at heart, you can’t allow fear, impatience, or defeat to creep into your decision-making process. When you start making decisions from this perspective, you will lose some folks along the way, but the peace and confidence that you gain in exchange are priceless. 

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