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I’m Moving!

Woman Unloading Moving Van

Forever Trina has a new home.  Same look and feel but under new management!

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~Always and Forever Trina

Conflict Management

conflictMe and conflict are enemies. I will avoid it with a 10-foot pole.  I often shy away from it, run from it, duck and dive, bob and weave, exit stage left and will even roger rabbit my way out of a room if challenged with confronting it.  Just not my thing…I literally suck at it. My heart races, voice starts to shake, pretty much any outward expression one would experience when faced with fear is pretty much what happens to me when faced with conflict.

I’m not as quick on my feet as I would like to be.  And as luck would have it, the people that I’ve had confrontational situations with always seem to have the knack for it. It’s like they’ve earned an advanced degree in thwarting any type of ownership, disqualifying any feeling, emotion or opinion you have about a topic and doing it all in one breath. Now, when I say I’m not quick on my feet, it’s regarding a tactful, polite response befitting of a Christian young lady.  If I didn’t have to be loving and caring and think twice about the consequences of my words before they came spewing out my mouth and instead could just shoot straight from the hip, I could go round-for-round. Funny how those nice, colorful, non-edifying words have a way of rolling off your tongue like butter.

At any rate, here’s how my most recent bout with conflict transpired. I was in a leadership class and the topic was ‘The Cause of Confrontation”.  Several great points were made that provided a new perspective on the topic.  One being how conflict has held onto the number one spot for being the baddest of the bad boys for sometime now. But is conflict really all that bad? Or does bad really mean good? Could it be that conflict can bring about growth and development opportunities? Could it be that it’s not about two opposing forces squaring off, or about a winner or a loser but more about active listening?   Hmmm…could it be that I’ve been wrong about conflict all this time? Instead of embracing it I’ve been running from something that could help me reach my fullest potential?

So of course I’m feverishly taking notes, this is some good stuff…some good teaching.  I proceed with…”yeah…that’s good Pastor…you better say that, I’m fist bumping, chest bumping, and ready to rule the world. Well, how about the very next day I was tested with what I learned and I failed with flying colors. If there was ever a complete and utter fail that could go down in history, this would be it. If you Google’d fail, the Wikipedia article that would come up would have my picture beside it. Even the memory verse for the week about the seed falling on good soil was lost on me.  I literally went into commando, rogue mode and failed to apply everything I just learned.

Well…the story didn’t end well, actually it’s still being written.

But one thing is certain, when I woke up the next morning I was desperately needing for God to redeem me, to hold me, to comfort me, to give me peace and direction. Prayerfully, He led me to several scriptures in Proverbs…the book of wisdom.

The one that specifically stood out to me and could be directly applied to this situation was Proverbs 14:17…”A quick-tempered man does foolish things…”

Ouch! God’s word…sharper than any double-edge sword.

So after reading that I’m like, really God…Et tu, Brute (Shakespeare reference…look it up)? I’m being persecuted, forsaken, cast down and destroyed by You too. Yes, quite the drama queen. Of course He calmed that down pretty quickly. And the words I wish would have come back to me in the moment of confrontation, came back to me in my quiet time.

  • Don’t be easily offended
  • Conversations that are bringing about correction can sting
  • Conflict can create growth opportunities

Whew! Powerful stuff!

I am learning how important it is to stay close to God.  He brings correction, it may sting but it’s always followed up with wisdom, love, comfort and peace. But I will say, God is the best public relations and damage control rep I know.  The aftermath of this epic fail could have been a lot worse but the grace of God….it is definitely to be reverenced. I am being blessed in the midst of it all and prayerfully when confronted with conflict in the future I am able to draw upon what I learned from this situation.  I honestly didn’t think I would be tested so quickly this time around but then again, why am I surprised?

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

He Said Yes!

yes-man1He said yes….
to my no
to my maybe later
to my some day
to my doubt
to my distrust
to my wandering
to my, not right now
to my compromise
to my worrying
to my backbiting
to my stressing
to my control issues

Yet, despite all of my No’s…He still said Yes!

Now I will say…
Yes, I’m committed
Yes, today
Yes, I believe
Yes, I trust You
Yes, I will remain steadfast and unmovable
Yes, right now
Yes, I will uphold Your standard
Yes, I will accept Your peace
Yes, I will praise You
Yes, I will rest in You
Yes, I will release all control to You

Why? Because You did it for me on Calvary!

You knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb.  You knew every success and failure I would encounter.  You knew every straight and crooked path I would take.  You knew every detour in life and shamefully, even the number of times I would deny even knowing You…in my action and inaction…and You still said Yes!

God, I will commit to continue making this the year of my Yes!

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~ForeverTrina

“Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.”  James 4:8 MSG

 

The “V” Word!

img_4387“… vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” Brenee Brown

I was introduced to Brenee Brown and her TEDtalk on vulnerability a few years back….from a counselor actually. And to my surprise, her name came up again in a sermon my Pastor was preaching and he too was introduced to her by a counselor. Kindred spirits maybe? Either that or a prerequisite to being a counselor is to listen or read her material.

I digress…

How many of us would benefit from being more vulnerable in our relationships…both personal and professional?

When I think of vulnerability, I also think of her friends, secret and shame and even her friend of a friend, fear. The inability to be vulnerable typical stems from information you may be withholding…a secret that you don’t want exposed, something that may bring you, your family or other innocent bystanders’ shame. You hold on to whatever it is so tightly that it actually produces the opposite effect of what one would expect.

Fear is usually lurking somewhere in the background of all of this.  A fear of being found out or maybe a fear of being rejected by others. So in our angst to avoid the exposure or the uncomfortable feeling that comes along with being vulnerable we instead create disconnection rather than closer, healthier relationships.

Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

These uncomfortable feelings have an end date. We are so busy ducking and diving and hiding but not seeking that we end up missing out on some great opportunities to grow, relate, understand and simply be human.

We subconsciously jump from the frying pan into the fire. We move further from our intended end goal of closer connections and relationships and never stop to figure out why.

We endure self-inflicted pain and bondage versus the freedom God desires for us.

Secrets can ruin relationships. And the enemy knows that. He would like nothing more than to divide a marriage, a friendship and a family. We’re stronger together and more susceptible to his tricks when we’re apart. So he will use that one thing to bring about separation and use it as a curse when it was designed to be a blessing.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10


So, I love the movie “Peeples”. It is absolutely hilarious. Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier and Craig Robinson are a few of the stars in this movie.

Spoiler alert…

The family in this movie has its fair share of secrets. It didn’t destroy the family but it could have. The family was pretty much held hostage by the pride of the father.

Pride…another friend of vulnerability…this chick is popular! But definitely not the friend you want…it can lead the further disconnection in relationships.

And had the father not decided to “unfriend” his pride the story could have ended differently. Something to think of in our own lives. How many times have we allowed pride to further bury a secret and once it was finally revealed or dug up it blew up in our face?  To leave everyone exposed, hurt and possibly even betrayed.

~

So the major theme of the movie was surrounding secrets.  There was actually a cute little song that went along with this theme…”Speak it, don’t leak it”. You wanna hear it? Here it go!

Speak it, don’t leak it
Don’t keep your feelings secret
Say it, don’t spray it
That’s how the big kids play it
Don’t repress it, express it
They ain’t no crime in confessing
When you’re dealing with your feelings, you would rather be concealing…
So if you thinking about that #1
There ain’t no curing in that urine
Speak it, don’t leak it!

Cute, huh? Aside from the “explicit lyric”.  Haha…

But I say all that to say, true freedom is found in vulnerability. Nothing good can come from the inability to be vulnerable due to secrets, shame, fear or pride. I’ve seen this play out in my life, relationships and even career.  My own insecurities set me back and I am now trying to make up for lost time.  But thankfully, God is a redeemer of time.  God can do in seconds what would typically take years. Let Him!

Lay it at His feet today and watch Him allow you to prosper just as your soul prospers.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina

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)