Love Should Build Bridges…

Is it julove builds bridgesst me or do you have trouble comprehending the anger seen in society today?

Most times I can’t comprehend the anger and hate that some people carry around in their hearts. I often wonder what makes them so bitter. so hateful. At times, the hate extends into pure evil.

Like some of you, I too read posts on social media. Some are filled with such divisiveness and hatred. There is no one group that has the corner on the ugliness either. I see people who  range from everyday folks to those who have huge followings writing things against people we should be praying for. Yet, we wonder why we see people acting out so terribly. They are following their leaders!

Do we ever think that we have a responsibility to speak love and acceptance rather than always focusing on what is so different about each of us? If we sat alone and asked the God that we say we follow if what we do day in and day out really represents Him, do you know what He would say to you?

I have a theory; I can have my own theory.  I am not saying that it is right, but for me, I think it is. My theory is that God is displeased with many of our actions when what we do brings about divisiveness and hate. I just don’t see God sitting back saying “you call them out of their names; that’s good.” Nor do I see Him saying “Kudos to you. Just run that idiot over with your car.” or for goodness sake, I sure don’t see Him saying “just kill them!”

When I wrote that last one, I felt right away that someone would say, “He did tell them to kill in the Old Testament.” I refuse to believe that He is happy with hate-filled actions.  You don’t have to agree.

loveoneanotherI sit here and stare around my office and look at the framed art on the walls. Many relate to Love. If you recall, my last book was titled, You Call That Love?  I think about this topic a lot.  One piece of art says ” LOVE builds bridges where there are none.”  I sat watching this and thinking about what was being said.  I agree love does build bridges. For one thing, when we want to dismiss the opinions of others, love will cause us to stop and rethink their point of view. We are challenged to listen. We don’t have to agree, but we listen out of respect for the other person’s opinion. Love causes us to stop and think about whether what we do or say hurts another person.  Now, I know many don’t give a crap about hurting another person’s feelings; they say, they need their feelings hurt.  I say, that may be true, but I sure would like another person to give me the benefit of the doubt when I may not be at my best. Wouldn’t you?

Whether we disagree politically, religiously,  or socially, we should be able to do so without being outright nasty to each other.  If you don’t like how I grade your paper, that’s okay, I still respect you and ask the same. If I don’t care for how you raise your kids, that’s okay, they are not mine, they are yours and I should respect that you are doing your best. Just as I would want you to think that I am doing my best also. If we don’t agree politically, I won’t trash talk your position and I don’t want you to trash talk me. When we hold different religious views, I promise to respect how you feel and I pray you will respect how I feel.  In the end, when we disagree, let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt. For us that are Believers, remember what the Word of God says…

“…Knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him”

1 Corinthians 8:1

I know that I am not always right in every single thing I think or do. However, neither are you. Let’s value each other’s differences and seek to see what makes us more alike than different. I think if we do that, we will show LOVE. I believe that’s when the Father of Heaven will be pleased with us.

This Year Can Be Different…

new_years_resolutions_listEvery year starts with lots of New Year’s resolutions.  In fact, all kinds of goals are set. Resolutions range from fitness to career to relationship goals.  Many begin the year with all good intentions but for some reason, not too long into the year, those resolutions begin to fade into the background as every day life issues begin to happen.  Before you know it, you are at the end of the year again, only to look around and find that none of those resolutions you intended to achieve during the year never got started.

Disappointment set in. Then you become discouraged and ask yourself why. Maybe you try to ignore that you didn’t even try after your initial resolution was made, so you get a little perturbed with yourself. You might even blame yourself for not being disciplined enough to ever master your resolutions.  Well, don’t beat yourself up because you can do better.  Yes, you can even if you have tried over and over again.  It’s never too late to start again. You should never stop trying because I truly believe that you will eventually get the right process in place that will work for you. That is, if you won’t quit.

However, I will tell you this; it takes more than making resolutions each year to actually achieve them. You have to put some strategy in place. You see, sometimes New Year’s resolutions do not work because they are not well thought out. They are just thoughts that haven’t been formulated to be achieved. When New Year’s resolutions are made, generally, the person making them are just picking something fun to do or they may be frustrated with some area of their lives, so out of frustration,  they pull these types of resolutions out of the air and then announce what they “hope” they can master in the new year. Because they haven’t put any thought to the actual resolution, it fizzles out along the way.  When no results are seen, frustration, maybe even anger or disillusionment sets in and then you begin to tell yourself that New Year’s resolutions never work anyway.  You are right. If they are handled haphazardly, they don’t.

So how to do you ensure that this year’s resolutions don’t turn out the way your previous ones have turned out? Do things differently this year.  Begin your year with pen and paper. Write down your goals, put timelines and actions that need to be taken in order to achieve them. If you do these small actions, you will have better results.

YOU-DONT-NEED-A-NEW-YEAR-TO-MAKE-ADon’t let this year be just another year of loose resolutions when it comes to the things you want to see happen for you this year. Write down your top 3-5 goals for the year. Think through them. Make sure your goals are SMART, which means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. If they are, you are off to a great start.

This year can be different and you can achieve your goals. I don’t care how many times you may have missed the mark before.  Don’t you dare stop trying. Like with anything, the more you try, the more you practice, the better you become.  You may not have been the best at achieving your resolutions in the past, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually. Maybe, you simply need to change your process.

Are you ready to live the life you always dreamed of? Are you ready to do the work, be committed and never give up until you see the results you want to see? Well, that takes time, its takes real commitment, diligence and determination. Most of all, it takes you not listening to others or to your inner voice that may tell you that you failed before, why try now. I tell you why, because you want to be better and you want to do better. As long as you have the desire to do so, you can.

This year can be different, but you have to be different too. So get started the very first day and keep at it everyday for the rest of the year.  You are bound to see better results. Remember, I am rooting for you!

God bless you in the New Year and may He help you with your resolutions too.

How Do You Stay Positive?

Image result for image of positive black womanIs staying positive enough? You may ask, how in the world do I stay positive when so many things seem to be going wrong in my life and in the lives of those around me? Those are fair questions.

Staying positive may not change your circumstances, but it can change how you look at your circumstances. How you look at your circumstances makes all the difference in the world. If you can see the positive in whatever happens in your life, you can recover from the blow quicker. You can be  happier and even healthier, because you won’t be easily overtaken with worry or stress. If you choose to see all that is wrong with the world and also see yourself as a victim, it’s easier to wallow in the situation.

I know that there are those who feel that telling someone to stay positive is just “feel good” talk.  I have heard some say that they can’t have a positive attitude because they are just “wired” that way. They say that they can’t help but get negative. I get that it is easy to allow our minds and attitudes to default to negative. In fact, it maybe a natural reaction for those who do not think about their responses to life’s challenges.  However, I also believe that the default doesn’t have to be negative.  If you would recognize when you are in a stressful situation, that you have a choice in how you respond.  Rather than allowing the situation to dictate it for you, think first and then decide how you will respond.

In my book, I emphasize the importance of learning how to stay positive.  Begin by practicing positivity. If you don’t practice it, you will continue to default to negativity when the stress begins.

What we have to get through our minds is that no matter what others do to us; what circumstances we face, whether bad people or bad situations, someone else has faced the exact same thing before us, while we are going through it and there will be those who go through it after us. Some people have succeeded in spite of their circumstances and some have succumbed to their circumstances.  The question becomes which of these two are you? If you cultivate a positive attitude, you will look more like the former rather than the latter.

I talk about BOOMS in my book. BOOMS are Bold Obstacles Over-taking Mind & Spirit. BOOMS happen to us all. It could be an illness that knocks you to your knees; it could be a broken relationship; devastations at work or in your home. When they happen, they can destroy you if you let them. They can shake your faith and can cause you to question your intellect, skills and abilities.  BOOMS can make you question if you are good enough, smart enough or worth anything. When you recognize BOOMS for what they are,  you can figure out how to handle them.   You can determine that they will not destroy you. You will take control of your life and own it.