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MARCH 2022
Finally Doing Me
Exclusive Subscriber Content
Personal essays and reflections on my faith. life, and work. 
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I cannot believe March is here, but I'm glad it is. While I try to be grateful for all the things God has created, I am not very appreciative of winter. I spent last week working (and playing) in Los Angeles and I wasn't terribly fond of the crisp, 60 degree weather that greeted me. That is, until I arrived back to the East Coast where it was 18 degrees and snowing. Suddenly, I began to appreciate sunny California...even if it was a little breezy. 

The lesson here is that "the good old days" aren't ever realized or celebrated in the moment. We don't know when the "best" days of our life are occurring until we reflect on them. So...I find that it's best to appreciate every day as it comes. Once I learned to be grateful for what each day presented to me, my life became full of abundance...not perfection...but peace, joy, and abundance that I could have never imagined. So, while I've yet to fully appreciate cold and snow, I've learned to appreciate the quiet comfort that winter allows me. I built a sunny prayer room in my home where I spend winter mornings in devotion and meditation with God. That's where I learn more about God and his plan for my life...the one to prosper and not to harm me, the one to give me hope and a future. That's Joshua 29:11, by the way.  Consequently, it's where I learn more about me each day. The gap between knowing who you are and why you're here lies in your relationship with God. Know God. Know You. No God? No you. 

That is the topic of this month's newsletter, "Finally doing me." One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 139...I know I have a lot of favorites, but this is one of my favorite favorites. It is the passage that ultimately led to "doing me." I'll tell you more about it below. 
Have you read TOYI ELIZABETH? 

TOYI ELIZABETH is the story I was born to write. Now that I've written it, I get to create stories I live to write. But, without question, it was the most difficult story I've ever written. It's a fictional memoir based on my life story. The people are characters and the details are creatively woven to protect the privacy of people I love, but the events are true. The pain is real and so is the grace and forgiveness. 

If you've read it, please leave a rating or review on Amazon because it helps others find the story. If you haven't read it, I pray it brings peace, restoration, reconciliation, and healing into your life. 

Buy it on Amazon.
 
Do You, (But with an *)

The fundamental principle of my book, “Stay In Your Lane,” is that you must tap into God to understand who you are, what you want, and why you want it. It takes work because we are often so reactive it becomes difficult to determine whether we’re really doing what we want to do or if we are simply reacting to pain, people, or the past. For example, you may be telling yourself that you want to go on vacation, but that’s not really what you want when you unpack your true feelings. You actually want healthy, happy, peaceful days. Since you don’t know how to create that in your daily life, you default to “I need a vacation.” In actuality, you need to create boundaries, open space, and quiet time in your daily life that revitalizes you like a vacation.

Read More on SHINETYC.COM
I recommend my personal coach, Rev. Kimberly L Williams, FLOW COACH.  Kimberly helps her clients move forward with Faith, Love, Obedience, and Work. Her coaching has been pivotal to help me FLOW in my faith, work, marriage, and motherhood. 
How Psalms 139 Helped me "Do Me"
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I often quote verses 14 and 16 from Psalms 139. They are foundational scriptures to my faith walk and my ability to "stay in my lane." I discovered this passage during the most trying times of my life. It taught me a very important concept that I keep deep in my heart today. When life is out of control, God is still in control. This gives me the full confidence to "do me." I hope that what I've learned gives you the courage, confidence, and strength to DO YOU.

Here's what I know for sure because of Psalms 139.

1. God Knows Me (v. 1-4)
The first four verses of this passage make it clear that God knows me better than I know myself. God knows what is in my heart before I do, because he put it there. He knows everything I've done and everything I will ever do. When I make a mistake, he knew I was going to make it and allows me to learn from it. I have never surprised God. There is nothing about me that I need to hide from God. So, my prayer life became authentic and bold. I'm not proud to admit this...but it's true. I have actually said to God.."What the F@!# are you doing?" I apologized very quickly for that...and he forgave me. He knows sometimes I drop an F-bomb when I'm frustrated. He also knows how much I'd like to stop doing that.

2. I'll Never Fully Get It (v. 5-6)
I'm very smart. I have a way above average IQ. So, while God has given me the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, Psalm 139 makes it clear that I will never know everything. I used to put so much time into figuring out what God was doing in my life and agonizing over the future. Sometimes, you're just not going to know. And even if you know what God is doing, you aren't going to understand why. So, just be obedient to what God is telling you and trust that he knows all the things you don't. 

3. God is Always Here  (v. 7-12)
We think God is in the sanctuary but not in the mall. We think God is at Bible study but not at Happy Hour. That's just not true. God is everywhere with us. We can't go anywhere that God is not present. That means that in the darkest, most disappointing days of your life, God was there. God was with me in the abuse, abandonment, and betrayal of my life. When I realized this it gave me peace. Nobody is getting over on you. God is there, even when you aren't. He knows what's being done and said everywhere. He will give you favor in places you haven't even been yet. I'm a witness! God is with your children, your spouse, your parents. You don't need to physically be anywhere to access God. The devil will trick you into thinking that you are far from God and trapped in darkness. That's a lie. You're in an adulterous relationship...Call on God!  You're drunk or high...Call on God! You just stole something... call on God!  You lied....Call on God! You are never too deep in darkness that God doesn't see you. He's always with you so call out to God.

4. I'm Exactly Enough (v.13-15)
We're born in the perfect, unblemished image of God. Then, as soon as we leave the hospital, life starts to chip away at us one experience at a time. By the middle school years, everybody wants to be the same. Nobody wants to be different. We raise our children to conform to what we want them to be. We struggle with our spouses to become our version of a partner, rather than God's version. It took me a long time but I realized through this scripture that I am wonderfully weird and I have gifts that are unique to me. I'm "extra" and people have criticized my personality since I was a girl. If you don't hear anything I say today...hear this...YOU ARE EXACTLY WHO GOD WANTS YOU TO BE for what he created you to do. Some people don't like me and they can't even tell you why... I'm just not their cup of tea. Amen! Those people have not been written into my life...which brings me to the next verse...my absolute favorite. 

5. The Story is Finished (V.16)
The biggest revelation of my life (thus far) has come from this verse. Every day of my life has been written before I was born. God is not making stuff up as I go along. This is not some kind of choose your own adventure story. I'm not making "wrong" choices. Each and every choice leads me to another page in the book God has written for me. There are no mistakes that lead to failure. Every step leads to God's will for your life. Submit to that. Learn from that. Trust God to make your path straight. My failed marriage led to my current covenant marriage. My miscarriages led to two amazing sons. My corporate career led to my production company. My ridiculous, amazing, hard to believe life led to my ministry and my career as a writer. I've got stories for days y'all.  But MY STORY...the one God wrote for me is already finished. It was finished before I was born. Now, I'm living it.


6. It's Not A Fairytale (v. 17-22)
The story is finished and the plan is for you prosper. When you love God, everything works out for your good. However....notice what this section tells us. There are wicked haters and enemies among us. It took over forty years for me to accept that life happens and we will have trouble. Granted, Jesus literally says this in John 16:33. That's why I tell you to #readyourbible Life isn't a fairytale. There are hard times but God is always with us in those times (See #3) and we will always emerge victorious. So...don't get discouraged when life gets hard. Trust God. 

7. God had to show me who I was (v. 23-24)
The Bible doesn't promise that all things work together for the good of everyone. Read Romans 8:28. It says all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord AND are called according to his purpose for them. You've got to be one of "the people." You cannot "do you" unless you know you. You cannot know "you" unless you spend time with God.  Pray. Read your bible. Be friends with other Christians and talk with them about God. Ask God to show you who you are. That's what David is doing in this passage. It's what I do every day.

***
 
Alright...here's the thing. The principles I listed above are only for "the people of God." It doesn't work the same for everybody. You can't be confident that you are who you think you are or that you are enough if you aren't submitted to God. I know the inspirational rhetoric on social media tells you that you are enough. You are only enough if you are in Christ Jesus. Otherwise, you're missing a lot. God is always with you, but you have to acknowledge his presence. God has written a story for you, but you must choose to live it. 

If you aren't sure where you stand in this whole thing... if you don't know if you are one of "the people" pray with me...

God Almighty, Let your name be glorified in my life. Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done in my life as it is in heaven. Dear God, I accept your son Jesus as the lord of my life and the savior of my soul. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so I can "do me" as you have created me to do. In the name of Jesus I pray this prayer. Amen. 


Smooches! Now go do YOU...the YOU God created you to be. 
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