A Millennial Love Story

February has come to an end and what better way to close out the “month of love” then with our final interview from the 2019 love series. For this interview we are excited to be featuring Christina and Christopher Butcher.  At age 25(Christina) and 24 (Christopher) they are both prime examples of what it means to develop a strong friendship before marriage and date with purpose. Their journey has been one of much laughter and joy, filled with faith every step of the way. Our interview covered many topics about love and friendship and how they both knew each other was “the one”. Here is their story:

So, to begin, how long have you two been married?

Chris & Christina: A year and a half (laughs)

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Wow, I can’t believe its already been a year and a half! So, how did you two meet? And you can tell me both sides of the story cause I know sometimes couples have different versions lol.

Christina: So, I’ll go first.  We went to the same college and church at one point in Ohio. I was dating somebody else and he was dating somebody else at the time. After school I left  to come back to my hometown in California. When I came back to Ohio to continue school he reached out (not to slide in my DMs or anything lol) but just to encourage me. During that time I was going through something really hard personally, so what he said was very on point and what I needed to hear. For me, being the guarded and untrusting person that I was (I didn’t trust anybody at the time) I was like ‘wow, this dude is reading my mail’.  So I told him thank you and kept it moving . We eventually became friends but there were no hidden motives. After some time I started wondering like ‘who is this dude’ I want to get to know him better’. I’ll never forget this one time before Thanksgiving. We were doing community work together and talking about our families and then he started talking about football. Ever since then, we just clicked. It was then I realized that I connected with him on all levels and we became really good friends where I could trust him as a person, even with the walls I had up. 

Anything you want to add to that Chris?

Chris: She pretty much got it all lol

Okay, so how long were you two dating before you proposed Chris?

Chris: Well, we were friends for about a year and a half , then we dated for a year before we got engaged. Leading up to that I kept feeling a tug on my heart like she’s the one. And I knew I wanted to marry her.

Christina: Tell her the ring story..

Chris: Oh yea, so at our year mark of dating I was in the mall going to get something, a Christmas gift I believe. And out of the blue I saw a twinkle and next thing I knew I’m at the jewelry counter lol. And I looked down and something told me thats the one for her. So that day I ended up buying her engagement ring. I didn’t know why but I figured when the time comes the Lord would help work everything out.

So did you even know her ring size?!

Chris: Nope, I didn’t know lol. I didn’t even tell my momma. I just knew that was the ring and when I saw it I went with it.

Wow..so can you both tell me how you knew each other was the one?

Chris: I just knew that was my best friend and I wanted to spend time with her forever. 

Was it immediate for you?

Christina: It was immediate for me. well, I shouldn’t say that cause I was still guarded, but even though I didn’t vocalize it I knew.

Chris: Yea, I knew maybe halfway through us being friends.

Christina: Yea. for me he just hit every area that mattered. It wasn’t just a good connection, but spiritually that was important to me that someone I’m with would be more spiritually mature because in the past that person was always me. I appreciated that about him, that we were on the same page morally. And he had good character and integrity and I think thats one thing that really attracted me the most. He didn’t try to be someone else. He was always himself.

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Chris: And the thing I loved about her the most was her independency. She had her head on her shoulders. She knew where she was going and what she wanted to do. I knew she would still be good without me and she loved God. So that did it for me. She had a fire in her to chase after God on her own and I didn’t have to do anything because I had my own drive and she had her own drive. And I just knew if God is at the center he would bring us together. 

Amen, thats so good. So, how long were you two engaged and what was that process like planning for a wedding?

Christina: We were actually only engaged for 6 months and there was definitely a change in the relationship once that happened. I mean we had to start thinking and planning together for our future.  And I think it was such a short engagement because we had a small wedding. We maybe had about 60 people. But things were  just falling into place. After we got engaged we got super blessed. I think a week after the engagement we were blessed with $1,000 and a couple weeks later a family member gave us $3,000. That covered a lot of the expenses we already knew we needed. 

Chris: And that goes back to 6 months prior to the engagement story when I bought the ring. I didn’t know when everything would happen or where. I just had faith that in time things would fall into place. I was definitely grateful for that. It was very humbling.

So what would you say your love journey has taught you thus far?

Christina: lol communication

Christopher: yes, communication is very vital! Like, if you’re gonna be going out, just let me know where you going.

Christina: Yes, you probably can relate to this because we’re both very independent. But at the beginning of the marriage I would just go places…

Christopher: And not even tell me!

Christina: yeah lol, I had to really work on that. Just for even safety reasons letting him know where I’m at and what time I planned to be home. It was definitely a process cause you know you’re just used to being independent and doing what you want. But after I got over that hurdle things got better. Aside from communication, I had to understand that when I explain something to him he won’t always receive it the way I intended for him to. And, as women, we can do like a million things at one time and still get it but thats not always the case for men. 

Chris: Nope its one thing at a time. I need you to walk it out with me lol. Step by step.

Those are some good points. And I definitely can relate. Communication is key in any relationship.

Looking back, whats one piece of advice you both would give your “single” self?

Christina: Thats a good question. Hmm…well I feel like I lived my best life when I was single but thinking more broadly about the things I know we face as singles I’d say let yourself heal fully and not just for a season but completely. Because (I thank God so much for this)  me and Chris both were able to heal for two years before we got into a relationship with one another. We both had come out of toxic relationships and during that two year span we had a time of true singleness. We weren’t messing around. We were really focusing on ourselves and I think thats so important. To heal fully and just do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Cause there were definitely times before meeting him that I didn’t and if you don’t pass those test they will only come back. But I also traveled a lot during my single years and did as much as I could with my best friend Tori. So I guess I would tell myself to do more of that cause I had a lot of fun lol.

Chris: In other words – don’t carry old baggage into your next relationship.

Yes!! Say it for the people in the back!!

How do you two maintain your individuality as a married couple and is that important?

Christina: This is something I had to learn how to balance since I’m a social butterfly. But when I got married I learned I had to think differently about time. Like, before I was married I could go out with my girls when I wanted but now that I’m married I choose my time wisely because most of my time is spent with my husband. Being married we have to communicate with each other our plans and thats how I decide if I want to go out – when we don’t have things already scheduled together. Its important though to make time for one another, because when you’re married just because you live together doesn’t mean your really making time for each other. You can be inside all day but you might be cleaning, working, and doing other things so in the zone its not even quality time with your person. So its important to set time aside quality time, even if its staying in to watch a movie.

So what do you two do for fun?

Christina: Well, before baby (since we have a little one now), we would just go out to the movies, take road trips, go hiking…

Chris:and to different events around the city

Christina: we also love food and dancing lol.

So y’all just be hanging huh! And how has having a baby impacted your lives? 

Chris: Its definitely challenging because now your priority is someone else but its a blessing that we love.

Christina: Yeah and now we cherish the little things more and our dates might look like going to coffee shops together and shopping since he’s still an infant.

So you guys are in the early stages or parenthood right?

Christina: Yeah, we’re still very sleep deprived and all that fun stuff  but its getting better because he’s finally on a schedule and only gets up once in night. 

How would you two say faith has played a role in your relationship

Christina:For us its been everything. You know, I think Chris talked about this earlier but even when we were friends we were both going full force on our individual paths. While your on that path if you come across someone doing the same, ride that out together. And thats what happened with us. And Im thankful for us that we were able to have our faith established before we met so now we are even more on the same page.

Chris:Yeah, and as you grow there is always a new season of building blocks you will overcome. So every season is a new challenge and every season there will be different obstacles to overcome personally. But your faith cannot waiver. Your faith should keep growing. And you will have to stand on the  word God gave you originally through every stage – friendship, dating, marriage, and having a family. In our relationship our faith has definitely helped us and will continue to be our foundation as we work towards our future.

Faith is everything and I like how you both recognize its something you have to have individually and as a couple.

Before we close out the interview, are there any books you are currently reading or books that inspired you both before getting married?

Christina: Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere has been powerful and is something I’m currently re-reading.

Chris and Christina: For couples or even if you’re single, we recommend The Purpose and Power of Love Marriage by Myles Monroe. It was given to us for our anniversary and is a powerful book.

End of Interview.

Written by Ja’La Wourman. IG, Twitter @jalajwourman.

 

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Single & Living My Best Life: An Interview With Christa Nutor

As Valentine’s Day weekend comes to an end, we are excited to share our first interview of the February love series with the beautiful Christa Nutor. At age 24, Christa has learned to live life to the fullest while balancing a job in corporate America, maintaining a growing social media presence with her blog, and traveling – all while keeping her faith strong. She currently resides in Portland Oregon but is from Columbus, Ohio with native roots in Ghana. With this being the month of love we wanted Christa to share her faith journey with us as someone who is currently not in a relationship or dating but is indeed living her best life and going after her wildest dreams. This is what she had to say:

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My faith journey as a single is reflective of my faith journey through life. We hear all the time that God is love and my journey has been striving to look more like him every day. While I’m single, I’ve been striving to become more and more like love and to embody that. I take it on as a challenge every-day to receive and give love to those around me more. At the end of the day I want to be known as a person who both lived and loved life well. If that’s the only impact I have in the world that’s fine. 1 Corinthians 13 is a famous passage we hear a lot at people’s weddings. But even as a single we should hold on to that too because It’s not only for married people. I think we should all have that willingness to be more patient, more kind, less jealous, less proud, less self- seeking, (that’s a big one as a single person) more honoring to ourselves and those around us and basically the entire list in the passage. That’s what I strive to do in my faith journey.

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What do you think is the most challenging thing you face being single at 24?

Growing up in church culture its very much a thing to elevate marriage and dating on a pedestal. And although it’s probably very well meaning it can be kind of toxic. As a single person growing up in the church that is something I’ve had to do a lot of heart work on and talk to people with a different mindset.

Marriage is always something I’ve wanted but I also know for me there’s a lot more I need to do before I get there , and when its right it will be right. If I seek out God and lean into my purpose that is me fulfilling his will and the person for me will be doing the same thing. Eventually, our paths will cross. Does it mean it will be easy? No. especially being in my mid 20s a lot of my friends are married, engaged, and having babies which is crazy because I’m actually very young (laughs) and I don’t understand what’s happening but it’s happening (laughs) and so yeah-  its grounding myself and understanding that everyone has their own journey. Celebrating that for them and knowing my journey is what’s right for me. That’s what I hold onto and it makes it easier.

Your story doesn’t end or begin with a relationship. People think the happily ever after is the end of the book. But I don’t think that’s how it works. Let’s remember, Jesus walked this earth as a single person and some of the greatest people in the Bible did too.

That’s so good. Anything else you want to add about why we put so much value in relationships and dating? I think you raise some good points.

I think it can be easy to find our identity in someone else. We search for it in other humans when humans fail us daily. Like, we are so imperfect. I’d much rather put my identity in God who hasn’t failed me or will never fail me. We all have our individual purposes and God has called each of us to individual things. This makes me think of the “The Wait” by Meagan Good and Devon Franklin. They mention in the book something about being purpose partners. They both have purposes and together they partner and build each other up. I think in a relationship we’re supposed to both have purposes, come together, and it becomes something bigger because God is at the center vs  trying to find our purpose or identity in each other.

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What advice do you have for someone struggling to find their identity?

Depends on the stage of life they are in. If someone’s in a dating relationship and they seem to find themselves in that situation, maybe that means take a step back or going on a retreat with people who know you well. For me that would be my sister and close college friends – people who can call me back to who I am because they know me well. Something like that would be a good “come to Jesus” moment lol.

I like the practicality of that. A lot of times as Christians we say you have to find your identity in Christ but how do we do that? Its always good to have some practical steps to find your way back to God.

Exactly. We should go to the word first but also recognize God puts people in our lives for reasons. Community is how Jesus did life on earth and that’s how we are meant to do life on earth too.

Yes! I love it. My next question is about productivity. What have you been able to accomplish as someone who isn’t dating or married? Can you talk about the importance of making this season of your life the most meaningful?

I think I’ve been able to accomplish and gain a massive amount of self-awareness. The more time I spend with me the more I’m able to grow and understand who it is I want to be. Same with community- the more I spend time with others I learn how much I need them in my own journey. Now, don’t get me wrong. I very much look forward to being in a relationship, but I am enjoying the season that I am in.

I am a natural busy body which you probably can tell. I need to always be doing something. Climbing the corporate ladder is what I love to do. I love to write and share my heart via social media.  Whether I’m single or not, those are the things I plan to accomplish. I don’t think my productivity is tied to my singleness.

Wow. That’s a good point.

It goes back to that purpose partner thing. When I’m no longer single I will still be doing what I’m doing now but with someone by my side who will support me. I’m very much aware that things do change but my heart and how I operate shouldn’t.

Yeah, if I felt like I had to give up my passions just because I’m in a relationship I would need to reevaluate that. Our partners should complete us, not make us give up the very thing we are created to do. But I know some people struggle with this, so what are some practical steps or things you would share with someone who feels challenged with being productive while they are single?

If someone desires a relationship, we used to put them in a category of “waiting” which is that whole idea of putting marriage on a pedestal. But if we’re going to use that lingo we need to know that “waiting” is not a passive thing. It’s not just chillin’. If we’re going to think of ourselves as waiting we need to think about waiting tables, as serving actively with purpose in mind. That’s how I try to think about it because I’m not the type of girl whose just going to sit and wait around because I think something else is coming.

Right! I saw you went to Coachella last year, attended networking events, and tons of socials.

Yes! That’s what I’ve been doing and how I’ve chosen to live my life right now and I absolutely love it. Like I said, I’m passionate about traveling, the business world, and that’s everything I’ve been able to do over the past few years like going to Coachella and blogging. I’m just striving to be the best version of myself and live life to the fullest.

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That’s so good, we hear that a lot but I think what you just described is what it means to live your life to the fullest. Its doing things you love and things that bring you joy.

Exactly, that’s what it means, and I think everyone just finds it for themselves, but it is living your life in a way that brings you joy and makes you feel that everyday gets better.

Okay I have just two more questions. Can you tell us a little bit about your blog TheCurvyChristian.org and what inspired the name?

So, I started my blog about 3 years ago, right after I had graduated from college. For me, I get ideas and if it doesn’t go away I know its something I’m supposed to do. I used to use Facebook and would write these long rants and I noticed how it made me feel to put things into writing, It made things a lot more clear but it also seemed to be resonating with a lot of people. The things I was finding was how the world was not seeing the need for the church but also the church not opening its eyes to see what the world had to offer. And I felt I was in a place to be a bridge between the two. So after I graduated that’s how The Curvy Christian began.

Life’s curvy is pretty much what I say and I’m curvy too so lets figure it out together. From there its evolved and right now I’ve been focusing more on social media- specifically Instagram. I’ve been writing long forms, sharing my views on life and how others can live their life to the fullest as well. Im working on a few new things and I’m just excited for whats to come.

That’s awesome. I can’t wait to see what’s next cause I love everything you have to say and your Instagram is definitely poppin’! 

Before we wrap up this interview, can you tell us what is on Christa’s reading list and what books would you recommend to anyone single, dating, or just trying to better themselves?

Currently, I’m reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama – a great inspirational book for successful women no matter the stage of life your in. I would recommend “Today I Affirm” by Alex Elle – a self-care workbook. (You should also check her out on IG) and “The Road Back to You” by Suzanne Stabile and Ian Chron – a great start for the enneagram personality test that I highly recommend everyone take. 

End of Interview.

You can follow Christa on Instagram @TheCurvyChrista and visit her blog at TheCurvyChristian.org.

Written by Ja’La Wourman. IG, Twitter @jalajwourman.

 

Introducing the February Love Series

Love is in the air and this month RG4C is happy to kick off the second installment of our Love Series. We started this series back in February 2018 featuring 3 married couples from all walks of life. The couples shared personal experiences and perspectives with our readers on their journey of faith, love, and personal growth. In the weeks to come, we are excited to share with you all two new interviews we conducted with a newly married couple as well as a single business woman by day and entrepreneur by night; all millennials, might I add.

But why a Love Series?

To be honest, many of the stories we are bombarded with on the daily glorify relationships and love, but we typically don’t hear from couples or individuals who keep God at the center of it all. As I look back on my own journey in dating relationships, it wasn’t until I spent a season of about five years getting to know myself better and growing spiritually that I was ready to consider dating when the time presented itself. And even then, it was no longer a priority in my life so the moment God sent someone my way, I was caught way off guard! But isn’t that how it should be?

There is a quote I love by Maya Angelou that says, “A woman’s heart must be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him to find her.” What I love about this quote is 1) its true! and 2) its biblical! The Bible says in Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” Now, a lot of people may say “well, I don’t need to be found” and yes, that may be true if we think about being “found” in a passive sense. In this instance, however, we are regarding the establishment of relationships- romantic or otherwise- as a process of two people finding each other. The point here, then, is that keeping God central to our lives will allow us to find and be found by those that are meant for us. When we take our eyes off Him, we give people and even things our emotions, energy, and complete focus. And if we are not careful, our desires can soon turn into idols in our life.

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Through my own experiences and learning from shortcomings, I’ve come to recognize that God reveals things to us in his perfect time, when our eyes are focused on Him. Especially when it comes to relationships. And the same thing will be revealed to your significant other as you both focus on cultivating yourself and growing into the person you were created to be. But what does that look like in action?

Stay tuned for our articles on February 15 and 22 that will address this question and more as we hear from different people who have walked this journey and are living proof that God does His best work when we remain close to Him.

Blessings,

Ja’La Wourman

RG4C Founder / Editor in Chief

Why You Aren’t Reaching Your Goals

Its a new year, vision board parties are in full swing, and many of you (including myself) have a list of goals you want to achieve in 2019.  My list was surprisingly not as long this time around, but I still managed to fill up close to two pages with every little thing I could think of that I would like to accomplish.

If you’ve followed my personal blog or youtube channel, I shared in December the top 5 things I learned in 2018, many of them centering around growth, discipline, and hard work that led to some pretty successful accomplishments. What I realized during that time was, when it comes to goal setting, we typically don’t have a plan of action on how to reach our desired outcome. And when this happens, we are left at the end of the year wondering why we weren’t able to achieve any, or most of our goals. According to U.S News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February, and when you think about it that statistic makes sense.

I’ve been in that same position countless time, often wondering why it was so hard to change my lifestyle and reach new goals I set forth at the beginning of the year. Which is why I made some changes in 2018 that I hope will resonate with you today.

Now, I’m not a goal setting expert, but after reaching about 75% of my goals in 2018 I have a few lessons that I think can benefit someone else in 2019. Of course, there will be many additional things to consider when trying to reach your individual goals, but here are five things you should definitely think about regardless of what you are trying to achieve:

1. Write the vision, make it plain

Habakkuk 2:2-3 reads “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (NLT). This particular scripture has been a favorite of mine since 2013 and for good reasons.

When I came across it, a few weeks before graduating with my Bachelors Degree, I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be post-grad. Granted, I was headed to Bible College in a month to pursue a ministry degree, there were so many areas of my life that still seemed unclear on how I would ultimately achieve my goals of going to graduate school one day and becoming a professor. What I did in that moment was write a letter to myself – (more like a vision statement) of where I saw myself in 5-10 years. Unknown to me at the time, writing that vision was an act of faith, with the scripture to remind me of God’s promise to bring it to pass someday even when things seemed to be going in a different direction.

The act of writing down any vision is 2-fold. It is a demonstration to ourselves and to God that we believe in the desire He has placed in our heart even if our current circumstance does not align with what we write down. It also is an acknowledgment that we believe that God will one day bring it to pass. And now, two years into my PhD with only two more years to go, I can testify that the vision I wrote down 7 years ago has come to pass and will continue to manifest itself in even greater ways!

2. Meditate on the why

When we write down our vision and goals, a lot of us will stop there. But I think its important to then meditate on why you want to achieve that thing. The meditation (or reflecting process) allows you to evaluate if this is something you truly desire and also the magnitude of what it will require from you to get there. For instance, during the meditation phase, we can ask ourselves why do we want to achieve this goal? Is it to prove something to someone else? A passion of ours we can’t seem to let go of? Or, is it a lifestyle change that needs to be made? Whatever the case may be, meditating on your goals reveals your true intentions and will also reveal what it will require to get there (i.e additional training, getting a degree, eliminating something from your daily routine, etc)

3. Create a Plan of Execution

So, you’ve wrote your vision and now you know why you want to achieve this goal and what it will take to get there. But, do you have a plan? A plan of execution is crucial and if you don’t make it to this phase you will likely not reach your goal. When you take time to make a plan of execution you can map out critical steps you’ll need to take that you didn’t realize before. For instance, if your goal is to save 1,000 this year you might start by mapping out how much money you plan to save each month based off how much money you have left over once you’ve paid monthly bills. Breaking your large goal into smaller ones makes it easier to track your progress and see what is working and what you can improve on.

Another important factor to consider in your plan is what to do when you mess up or fall behind. Because lets face it, the path will likely have some hills, valleys, zig-zags, or even cracks to trip you up. Will you start from the very beginning, or pick up where you left off? The important thing to remember here is recognizing you don’t have to stop if you mess up, but you may need to adjust or reevaluate your steps.

4. Reward yourself for milestones along the way

There is a misconception that rewards only happen for major milestones or when you finally reach your goal, but actually- each step along the way should be treated as a major milestone. When we reward ourselves for progress, our desire to keep going stays strong and we are more likely to continue when things get hard. Rewarding ourselves is also a way to stay disciplined. When I am working on major writing assignments, I like to set weekly writing goals, and when I meet those goals or get close to the word count I typically will reward myself with something small like buying a speciality drink from Starbucks or watching a few shows on Netflix since I don’t have time to do that during the week. Cutting out something from your lifestyle and rewarding yourself with it for progress towards your goal will keep you motivated and feeling good along the way!

5. Don’t give up until you reach your desired outcome,

We’ve heard this time and time again – don’t give up. But more importantly,  we shouldn’t give up until we the desired outcome. Striving to achieve something new in your life will not be easy because it will require small or major changes in your routine – but it is possible with discipline, consistency, and accountability. Rewarding yourself along the way for progress will keep you going, and believing that God will ultimately help you get there is the fuel you need to continue moving forward. And when you reach that goal. keep going! Don’t stop there but continue to challenge yourself to go after the dreams and desires that seem impossible.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” – Mark 9:23 (NKJV)

What are some ways you’ve managed to reach your goals? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Blessings,

Ja’La W.

In 2019, Lets Be Real With Ourselves.

We all follow influencers on social media sites. You know the ones. They have perfectly filtered pictures, seemingly candid poses, and tens of thousands of followers. They’re always doing something cool and trendy in really amazing places.

HOW ARE THEY SO PERFECT?!

Truth is, they’re not. They’re just like us. By looking at their Instagram, you wouldn’t think that though. People only show the things we want them to see about us. Using photoshop apps to enhance those brief moments of ‘perfection’.

As time goes on, the impact social media has on us can shape our self esteem and the way we view ourselves, the way we view others in our personal lives, but also –  how we “market” ourselves. From using the right filters, to captions, the time of day of posting, the overall message that we try to send, our ‘likes’, and who we follow all influence how we market our social media presence versus how we present ourselves in real life. Somewhere along the way, our physical appearance became the most important thing about social media. I myself am guilty of this. Who I am on social media does not match who I am as a person. How much we show is what they know. 

Sometimes, I feel like my life isn’t anything special because I only have a thousand followers on instagram and my pictures aren’t perfect (now that I write that thought out I realize how ridiculous it sounds -BUT IT’S TRUE) Sometimes, I’ll have my boyfriend take hundreds of pictures of me only to hate all of them because I feel they’re not good enough for me to post.

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Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Last year, however, I decided to write about my struggles. It helped me cope with everything and then I decided to publish them. One of the scariest part about it was that people would see that I have flaws, not just externally, but internally.

Which one is worse? The “flaws” we can see, or the ones we can hide every day?

Lets dig deeper into this.

I’ve been modeling since I was 12, and it’s a tough industry.  All the rumors you might have heard about it are most definitely true. So I would only show pictures from photoshoots instead of my life. When I published my blog, that facade was broken. The pretty girl I posted was severely depressed and has crippling anxiety; no one knew. Not for lack of caring but for lack of sharing. Now, my “marketing strategy” has changed, I went from “the pretty girl” to “the girl who’s not just a pretty face”.

Now, my story is an extreme one, but it happens all the time. It’s a cliche, but it’s true when they say you don’t know someone’s story until you know them. If we’re honest with ourselves, everyone has their own internal struggles.

So how do we break the cycle and not let social media get the best of us?

1) Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Easier said than done, right? Being vulnerable is one of the most amazing things we can do. Let your feelings come to you! Are you sad? Are you angry? Are you anxious? Don’t fight your feelings because you feel like you should. Being human means we can feel, we have emotions, and sometimes those emotions are raw and hit you when you least expect it.

2) Be optimistic & have faith!

Did you bomb an exam you thought you were going to ace? Has your work ethic seemed to be at an all time low? Don’t pretend like it doesn’t matter, but don’t let it consume you either. Keep moving forward! Your future is still bright and success is still achievable if you have faith and believe in yourself.

3) Be Honest. Be Real. Be True!

Have you ever been afraid to post something for fear of the reaction?

  • “what if I lose followers?” – WHO CARES. ‘THANK YOU, NEXT!’
  • “what if it’s controversial” – We’re all entitled to our opinions. 
  • “what if no one likes it” – Do you like it?

Moral of the story: you get to decide how you want the world to see you, and you also decide what you want to see from the world. Just like your friends, choose who you follow wisely. And make sure what you post represents the real you.

This article was written by Andi Tolbert. Follow her on IG at @adriannadt and read her blog at http://www.prettytruths.wordpress.com

*Featured image Photo by Josh Rose on Unsplash

#WakePraySlay

“Wake, Pray, Slay” has become a popular colloquialism among women both young and old. The word “slay” specifically gained favor in pop culture when the world heard it in Beyoncé’s popular song “Formation.” To slay is defined by the Urban dictionary as “killing it, dominating, to succeed in something amazing.” For most Christian women, this is how we would love to master every day: waking up grateful for another day of life, spending time talking with God or meditating on His word, and then leaving out of our homes to head to school or work, passing an exam, rocking a presentation or perhaps being the recipient of a well-deserved promotion. If I may be honest, this is MUCH easier said than done. Why? Because #life. Or how about #adulting?

If you’re anything like me, you might wake up some mornings and rush to the phone or tablet to check email or social media. Sometimes, I oversleep and then just rush around trying to get out of the house on time. Other mornings, I wake up focusing on whatever issue was troubling me before I went to bed. This is not my current reality but some of you are mothers and have children that depend on you to help them “wake, pray, slay” their days. The mornings can be such a busy time and even if we want to wake and pray, we don’t take intentional steps to do so before we head out to slay the day.

A morning routine is critical to having a successful, productive day. There have been dozens of studies on how being intentional in the morning helps a person conquer their school or work day. A morning routine is a set of things one does from the time they wake up until the time they leave the house. We all have a routine, whether it is intentional or not. Is the routine that you have helping you slay your day? Or, is it contributing to the negativity that you experience throughout the day?

wakeprayslay

Forbes Magazine published an article in May 2018 that discussed a book written by Benjamin Stall and Michael Xander that detailed the morning routines of “super productive” people, My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. In this book, they described approximately 300 morning rituals and shared insights on how readers could apply these rituals in their own lives. Some of the highlights of the article are that people should be intentional about how they start their mornings, that the routine should be easy to follow, and that people should try many things before settling on a final routine. Bottom line: if we want to slay each day, a morning routine is an important key to being able to do that.

Wake and pray works for me as a routine, and probably will for you if implemented on a consistent basis. I’ll go out on a limb and say it works for most Christian women and men. How many of us find that within a few hours of work we are either frustrated, upset, anxious, worried, and the list goes on. This routine helps me to handle the craziness of #life that pops up in the beginning of my day. There are so many scriptures that tout the benefits of going to God in the morning:

  • Psalms 5:3- “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning, I will direct it to You. And I will look up.”

When we #wakeandpray, we make room to hear God’s voice and figure out what HE wants us to do.

  • Ezekiel 12:8- “In the morning, the word of the Lord came to me, saying,”

Spending time with Him in the morning gives Him an opportunity to speak to us all the things we need to slay the day. Worshipping Him during our morning routine helps the Holy Spirit fill us so that we can respond positively to every situation we face during the day.

  • Psalms 30:5- “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”

No matter what happened to us the previous day, we get to start over in the morning. God gives us a new day! When we #wakeandpray, the Lord refreshes us and our awareness of His joy becomes real.

  • Psalms 143:8- “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.”

In the quiet of the morning, before we let in the world, having focused time in the word brings reminders of God’s love, provision and His plan for our lives. He orders our steps and we can trust Him to work out all things for our good.

So, What does Wake, Pray, Slay look like for me?

I get up and drink some water (hydration is important!) before I leave the bed. I go prepare my pre-workout drink. I come back to bed with my drink, my bible and my pens. I pick up reading my bible in the last place I left off or just go wherever I feel led to read. I read for 30-45 minutes then I workout for 30-45 minutes, shower and get dressed for work. While I shower, I listen to a sermon or gospel music to continue to stay connected to God and keep my peace.

By the time I leave the house, I am sufficiently “prayed up!” While I’m driving, the Lord will continue downloading things I need for the day: I rehearse difficult conversations I may need to have, He puts a new dream on my heart, I feel His love and protection. No matter what greets me when I walk into work, I’m prepared all because I did my Wake, Pray, (Workout) Slay routine.

Now, you may not have as much time as I have in the morning. It doesn’t take long to Wake, Pray, Slay. If you only have 20 minutes, read a short devotional or just get ready for your day to praise music or a sermon. Podcasts are a great way to get the word daily! The bible in II Peter 3:8 says “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day with the Lord.” The Lord will multiply the time you sow when you spend it with Him. I challenge you to develop your own morning routine and watch how your days are transformed with productivity and positivity.

References

  1. Wilding, M. (2018, May). What You Can Learn From The Morning Routines of Super Productive People, Forbes Magazine, retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites /melodywilding/2018/05/16/what-you-can-learn-from-the-morning-routines-of-productive-people/amp/

  2. Stall, B., Xander, M. (2018) My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. Portfolio Publishing

  3. “Slay.” Urban Dictionary. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=slay. Accessed 23 September 2018.

 

– This article was written by Kelli Tolbert. You can follow her on Instagram @Jolligirl3