Identity Crisis

mirror-reflection-600x370Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Mark 8:27-30 (NIV)

When I read this scripture it had me thinking…

Who do people say I am? Who do I say I am? Who do You say I am?

I set out to answer the first two  questions and this is what surfaced…melancholy, not a naturally happy person, prone to depression, glass half-empty, realist/idealist, cynical, bitter, moody, emotional, analytical, up and down, flawed in my thinking, not good at public speaking, not a good friend, selfish, plays the victim.

Yeah, I know, not too positive, huh?  This list was written after a somewhat challenging day but even still, has been a recurring theme in my life.  Something I keep coming back to.  These labels, these defining words never seem to go away.  I just can’t seem to shake them.  Why?

Are we predisposed to certain things…a way of thinking, personality traits, personality flaws?

Why are some people overly happy while other people overly sad?

Why are some people so mean spirited, while others are so kind?thought-bubble-updated

The more and more I think about these questions and whether I am predisposed to being one way over the other, my initial answer is no, of course not….then after further thought my answer is yes….then after even more thought my answer is yes and no…it depends.  Sadly, that is a true depiction of my thought processes on a variety of topics.  Why can’t I just pick a side? Well…not everything is that simple…not everything is that black and white.

It’s easy to say I was born this way but I don’t know if I believe that.  We are all born into this world the same way, naked and unashamed.  But although that is true, the one  major difference is the family and environments we are born into.  This is where the gray area is.  Haven’t you seen siblings or heard stories of siblings who grew up in the same household, afforded the same opportunities but yet they are like night and day.  One is a hellion while the other is a picture of perfection.  God has made us uniquely different so our perception of reality will be different.  How things are perceived from one person to the next will inevitably vary.  I believe this is by design.  The intricacies of the human mind and human nature will leave you standing in awe – absolutely mind blowing and boggling all at the same time.

What am I trying to say here?  We have been born into an imperfect world thanks to Adam and Eve.  Our perceptions of life and how we cope and deal with things are formed at a very young age.  Our coping mechanisms make it easier to deal with the hardships of life.  Some choose to drink, some choose to laugh, some choose sarcasm or cynicism.  Whatever your vice, it was what was taught to you or learned or innately developed to cushion the blow that life can sometimes throw at you.  It’s to protect you.  As children, our parents should provide that protection, they should shield us from the elements, the evils of the world.  But what if they were unable or incapable of providing that? What if they were the ones you needed shielding from?  Growing up you feel your parents are perfect.  Even if you know and see the flaws there is still something deep down inside that wants to believe and paint them as superman or superwoman.  But our parents are just as flawed and just as human as we are.  I feel they did the best they could with what they were given but it boils down to “you don’t know, what you don’t know”.  How do you know to do better if you don’t know what better is…you were never exposed to it.  Your parents teach you, their parents taught them , and so on.  A pattern develops…and unfortunately, so do generational curses.

lion

Our identity, for a large part of our life, is what we see in our parents, other people and then painted by life’s experiences.  It is only when we come into the true revelation of God that we are able to see clearly.  We gain a different perspective because our identity is no longer limited to an imperfect person or an imperfect world but it is now framed by a perfect God.  Who else to tell you who you are then the one who made you?

Now what?  Since birth I’ve been “told” I’m one person and now you’re telling me, not so, that’s not who you are, your true identity is in Christ? And now I must deprogram and debug all these years of what I accepted as being me???  Kinda scary but yet exciting at the same time.  Scary because it’s like, it took this long to finally come to terms with who I am, so how many more years will it take me to find me again?  But even with that thought, it’s still exciting to think of exploring and embarking on a new journey and direction in life.  Especially when the things you learned to accept about yourself aren’t the most flattering and have likely been that thing you were fighting or still trying to overcome.  You can now say, I am not those things.  I thought that was who I was but because now I know my identity is in Christ, those labels put on me are null and void and I am now on a mission to find out what God says about me.

There may be some resistance against this new revelation, both internal and external, but that is a natural reaction to change and something you will need to push past. I have a t-shirt that was given to me by a marine that says, “pain is weakness leaving the body”.  In my pain, I am becoming stronger.  In my discomfort, I am being stretched.

So I am going to end this the same way I started…Who do people say I am? Who do I say I am? Who do You say I am?   Do not allow other people or even the perception you have of yourself define who you are.  Make sure you find your true identity in Christ.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

Confession

111412_1129_attackingth12I have a confession….

I am human…I have emotions…and I sometimes get frustrated…angry even.

Surprised? Don’t be…David exhibits these same human emotions all throughout Psalms.

And despite his propensity to experience emotional ups and downs – the calling placed on his life was clear. God chose to use David in spite of David. Sound familiar?

I am so thankful for a faithful and gracious God. A God who sees beyond my faults and still chooses to use me. A God who despite my personal struggles and some even justly deserved, still calls me.

Y’all, I can be a big ball of emotions sometimes…and this ball can sometimes roll me over and knock me down…and anyone in its path for that matter. Just the other day I was frustrated about a particular situation and could not clearly articulate how I was feeling or find a tactful way to say what was on my mind so I went back to the familiar and displayed a less than pleasant attitude. Almost immediately, I was very disappointed in myself and in the way I handled the situation. I’m a lady after all, a professional and classy lady…a professional, classy, Christian lady and there are just some things you don’t do when you carry all those titles. I’m like royalty…Mrs. Obama status. Okay…maybe I’m going a bit too far but you know what I mean. I felt things could have been done differently but hindsight is always 20/20.

So how I can move forward from this? What can I take away from the situation and use as a lesson learned and do better in the future?  Because promise me, there will be a future opportunity for me to take this fun little exam again.

Well, first things first, I gotta find a way to bottle up that ball of emotion and use it for good and not evil. The emotions in and of themselves are not bad…that means I actually care, but still, the way in which they are displayed can use some fine tuning…some refocus…and some redirection.  Secondly, I must trust that the grace of God will cover me in those situations when my mouth out runs my brain.  Yes, this can happen.

So in a nutshell, we can either choose to be overcome by our emotions and ultimately defeated or choose to use them as the fuel to push us forward and become victorious.

You decide…

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~ForeverTrina

 

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16(NIV)

Blog Bite: Fuel of Frustration

Don’t succumb to the frustrations of life…

“The most faithful people are the most frustrated people. Why? Because they’re committed to the cause….they’re dedicated…”

Allow your frustrations to fuel your dedication…your commitment…your next level.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

We Can’t Be Friends…Can We?

alone-black-and-white-person-photography-Favim.com-763729

“We’re not alone – here within his love…Emmanuel – He is still with us.”

I absolutely love this worship song at my church. I break down each and every time we sing it.  Why does this song touch me so much? Because I’ve been there…all too many times.

I have recently come to terms with the calling placed on my life.  I now know and accept that I am different…God has called me to stand out…to be set apart and because of this there will inevitably be times when my friend…let’s call her “Alone” will come to visit.

Alone is one of those friends who often stops by unannounced and for an undetermined amount of time.  She dumps all her problems on you to the point that by the end of the conversation you’re drained and left to pick up the pieces of her life… that have now become your life. She’s one of those house guests that leaves a path of destruction. You know every place she’s been and everything she’s touched.  You are now having restless and sleepless nights while she’s sleeping like a baby…snoring even.

How could you have let this happen? You’ve allowed her to drop her baggage in your house and you can’t  seem to do anything about it.  She’s left isolation, self-pity, victimism, fear, doubt, and depression.  She even gossips and spreads lies about who you are.

How did it get this far? Didn’t we use to be besties? Has she always been this emotionally destructive and I’m just now opening my eyes to see her for who she really is and has been all along?

Alone, we can’t be friends anymore….can we? Maybe we just need to define some boundaries.  Yeah, yeah…that’s it…boundaries.  First of all…you can’t call all hours of the day and night…I have a job…I need my sleep! Second of all…you can no longer stop by unannounced, you need to call, text, tweet, something! And third of all…now this is key so listen up, please stop leaving your baggage behind and for goodness sake, pick up after yourself. I’m tired of picking up the pieces of what you leave behind.

Now though I’d prefer to rid myself of you from my life all together, I know that’s not possible. So I will embrace the good with the bad. Love the person, hate the sin…that’s what pastors say, right?

I will embrace Alone. Thank her for the good that she brings to this relationship. How when she’s around God is always near, waiting for me to invite Him in so He can shower me with His love and reveal secrets that only He can.

I guess Alone isn’t all bad…

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

 

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10 (NKJV)

High School Drama

So my girlfriend turned me on to this teeny bopper show…One Tree Hill. I turned my nose up to it at first but it has unexpectedly drawn me in…go figure.

High school drama can be pretty interesting. Correction…this high school’s drama is pretty interesting. It’s not your normal, everyday high school drama we’ve all come to know and love. It’s not laced with the violence of gangs or even the bickering of young girls….at least not yet, I’m only on season one. This drama is deeper than that. But I guess all drama has a root and is deeper than the action being portrayed. I just like the subtle way in which this drama-filled high school’s story unfolds.

The very sad part is how I found a way to correlate the lives of these tv characters to our everyday lives. Yes, you and me.

Simply put, The source of their drama is family. And the source of a lot of our drama is family. We are all, in one way or another, trying to break free and function outside the dysfunction we unfortunately had a front row seat to growing up. Our need and desire to function after the dysfunction is real. Learning how to simply “be” after peeling back all the layers that life tends to pile on is a struggle.

The lyrics to the theme song say it all…

I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately

All I have to do is think of me and I have peace of mind

I’m tired of looking ’round rooms wondering what I gotta do

Or who I’m supposed to be

I don’t want to be anything other than me

It’s amazing how something so seemingly surface could be so incredibly deep.

Just a bunch of kids trying to figure out their place in life outside of what expectations were placed on them, whether it be family, society or even themselves. Sound familiar? Some of us as adults are still living this today.

Still on a journey to becoming who we were meant to be. Still peeling back layers, still trying to get to the root of it all.

So when will the journey to becoming end? When will I finally rid myself of this high school drama? Only God knows. But my advice to you would be to sit back, pop in that old ‘Xscape’ cassette and make ‘Just Kicking It’ your theme song. Because you’re about to be laid back, kicking it and enjoying the ride for some time. The road to becoming is cross country…not down the street or around the corner. Settle in!

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

“…The race is not always to the swift…” Ecclesiastes 9:11 (MSG)

Something’s Gotta Give…

Ladies, ladies, ladies…have you ever been like that after a breakup? I know God said there’s a time to mourn, a time to laugh and a time to cry….but the time to cry part of the scripture is on repeat right now. The scripture in my Bible seems to be reading more like a time to cry, and cry and cry…. surely I don’t have anymore tears left in these tear ducts of mine. I haven’t even been drinking that much water lately…so where can the water be coming from? I’m like a well that won’t run dry!

We have definitely all been there. Whether it was with a breakup or some other life altering situation.  When we’re in the middle of it there doesn’t seem to be a way out. The light that should be in the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be lost.

But I can attest to the fact that the light is eventually found. I haven’t gotten this far in life without a few heartbreaks and other disappointments under my belt. And fortunately, the tears were never cried in vain and I was always catapulted to the next level afterwards. Remember, sometimes the one thing that we  try to hold onto so tightly is possibly the one thing that God is trying to get us to release so he can move us higher. Whether it’s higher in your career, higher in your educational pursuits or maybe higher in peace or joy or simply reliance on Him.

So the next time you feel the pain will never end and you can’t seem to turn the water works off, realize its okay, there is a purpose and plan for those tears so just ensure you cry with a purpose. Don’t stay down, make sure you get back up.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

Blog Bite: Be a Man…

This sermon clip is hilarious….at least I think so anyway. Pastor Judah Smith talks about how men should be the initiators and we as women should be the responders. We were never intended to be the aggressor in the relationship. We don’t need to help him out.

Sound familiar? That’s kinda what we do with God.  When He’s not moving fast enough we decide to take it upon ourselves to make some moves of our own.

Ladies, please allow God to be God and a Man to be a Man.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.” Proverbs 3:5 (The Message)

Pimp Slapped

Has anyone ever payed you a backhanded compliment?

A compliment like…

You are too skinny, You are too tall, You are too short, You are too smart, You are too quiet, You are too healthy, You exercise too much, Your feet are too big, etc, etc, etc…

These compliments (you’ll read later why I refer to them this way) can often catch you off guard and you say to yourself, did she really say that??? You almost have to pray to keep from returning a slap or two yourself.

In this life I have learned that people will always have an opinion….that they unfortunately always feel led to share.

You will always be too much of something to someone….

Except God! God is purposeful and intentional. He placed certain things in you and left certain things out of you to be used for His glory. He did not make a mistake.

It took me some time to get to the point where I am no longer offended by all the ‘too’s’ of the world. So continue with the criticism…continue throwing shade because we all know that we only throw shade on what’s shining. So I guess I’m shining pretty bright!

Do I dim my light as to not blind others???

No!

I have been blessed with the confidence of knowing who I am in Christ and who he has called me to be. Criticisms are a direct reflection of the insecurities an individual has yet to resolve within themselves. Therefore, know that the very thing you are “too much” of is the very thing that God is using in you to reach your destiny.

Next time you’re pimp slapped with a back-handed compliment, turn the other cheek and say I know I am and I’m so glad. But make sure you say it in that back in the day, on the playground voice when you’re trying to defend yourself against the school bully by saying the anticlimactic…ultimate comeback of… “I know you are but what am I”.  And finish it up by sticking your tongue out…and praising God for your deliverance!

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

 

“You stare and stare at the obvious, but you can’t see the forest for the trees. If you’re looking for a clear example of someone on Christ’s side, why do you so quickly cut me out? Believe me, I am quite sure of my standing with Christ…..” 2 Corinthians 10:7 (The Message)

 

Giraffe or Turtle?


A young lady shared this video with me and a few others the other day. I had to tell her that she should have put some type of disclaimer or warning label on the video because I was listening to it while driving home from work and literally wanted to raise my hands, stomp my feet and shout out loud!  Somehow I managed to fight back the tears, maintain control of the car and even resisted the urge to pull over for a praise break! This word was definitely fiya! So on point, so on time, so needed!

I am a giraffe. Not everyone is going to understand my views, my vision and my purpose and it’s unfair for me to expect them to….especially if you’re a turtle.  Our perspectives are not the same. Our worldviews are not even on the same level.

So the next time you are conversing with a turtle and find yourself frustrated or even discouraged, ask yourself (although the answer is evident), who am I talking to? Do not allow a turtle to slow down your progress or deter you from your destiny. You are a giraffe and the very nature of who you are will continue to drive you to higher heights, a higher vision and ultimately a higher purpose which is in Christ Jesus.

Thank you for the reminder, TD! I’m gonna have to put your sermon podcasts back in rotation!

Be Brave, Be You, Be Blessed!

~ForeverTrina

Raining Checks!

checklistI love checklists. I use them at work to measure whether I had a productive day or not. It brings me great joy when I can check off all the items on my list. One day I was checking things off one after the other….check, check, check…it was raining checks that day. I had an extra pep in my step. Then it happened…I had a conference call. I walked in with no “to do’s” and walked out with a full list…enough to last a week…to only be faced with more “to do’s” the next week. When would it end? Would it ever end? The answer is…no. There is always work to be done. Same is true for the kingdom of God. Your work will never be done. I use to think there was a magic formula to Christianity. If I pray and read my bible I’m all good. 1 + 1 should equal 2, right? Uh, no, have you met God? He uses that new mathematical system that can only be learned by reading one Book and even then you may never be able to fully comprehend the mysteries of His math. So basically you will never get to the point where you have “arrived”.

Well, I still kinda struggle with this. Just like my checklists, I like to see something tangible to show my progress. I look for an endpoint. A point where I can finally rest and coast. I’ve been climbing the corporate ladder and the Christianity ladder for years and I’m tired. But just like with every project assigned at work and the endless “to do’s”, same goes for the life of a Christian. The Enemy is very real and is on top of his game 24/7…365. And this being a leap year…366. Meaning, we don’t get a break. The Enemy is waiting for you to fall off your game. Stop reading your Word, stop praying, stop fighting  in the spirit. I have fallen prey to this more often then I’d like to admit.

So now what, what’s a girl to do? One word…realization. Realize that the road to your purpose will never end and you can never stop working on it. You will  encounter obstacles along the way and although it’s easy to do “let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

And in the words of Uncle Luke – don’t stop, get it, get it!

Be Brave, Be You, Be Blessed!

~ForeverTrina

 

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 (NIV)