Who do I say I am?

As I finished my corporate workday, this question continued to be asked of me “…But Lauren, who do you say you are?”

I’d think on it for a second and then lose focus and continue on with my work. After the 4th time I figured I should probably take the question seriously. If God’s asking four times then He must need my attention (I’m so hard headed).

So I put everything down and simply answered the question…well tried to, but I found it a little difficult. Truth is, when I first got the question over a week ago, I couldn’t answer it then either and it’s easiest to just ignore/avoid. So that’s what I did…avoided. But here it is again…“Lauren, who do you say you are?”

I am Lauren…I’m dope; full of love and light; super caring. i’m a good problem solver. i’m a beautiful human being with lots to share with others. i’m confident; I have a presence that is often felt, but not overbearing; I am Lauren…I’m empathetic – my heart is big; I’m a good listener with deep-rooted wisdom. I am Lauren…I’m goofy and a little awkward at times.

That took me a little time to answer, honestly. I know I’m a dope person. It’s just not always a fluid thought – but why is that? I think at one point it used to be, but it faded some when I started second guessing myself in everything I did and thought. I started caring more of how I came off to others and even what they thought.

We are quick to ask what others think of us or even who we want to be to the world, but WHO DO YOU SAY YOU ARE? I hope that question stays with you until you can answer it and its fluid for you. I kind of want it haunt you (and me). Not in an eerie way…I just want us to ask ourselves and know the answer. Its your truth. Your truth is to be treasured far more than who and what everyone else says.

We gotta affirm that which is inside and not just what others see in us. Because when we know it’ll be shown in how we walk, talk, AND how we think.

So…who do you say you are?

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Delayed celebration.

Im a tardy “celebrator.” And naturally it always lessens the effect; the moment; the blessing.

It’s like i take a moment to celebrate and put it in a drawer labeled: “open and enjoy later.” But then time passes and i forget all about my things to celebrate.

And some things just don’t get better with time. I think this is one of those. It’s not wine. But it’s not milk either. It’s not like you forget it in the fridge and it starts to curdle and spoil. It’s just kind of there…like food you dont eat while it’s hot.

I don’t know if it’s this Latino blood in me or what, but all food intended to be hot, should be enjoyed HOT! And I’d even argue to say that it taste better that way too. (It irks me to no end to receive luke warm food at a restaurant. i don’t send it back anymore tho, i get worried people spit in it).

Anyhoo, what I’m saying is, if something is served to you, i think you should enjoy it in its intended form/purpose. This applies to celebratory moments, blessings, people, relationships (thadd and i almost never became “we” because i wasn’t too fond of his natural short form (just kidding, but not really)).

So I’m personally committing myself to celebrate more and to do so more often than not. Im confident that means I’ll have more posts and blogs detailing those celebrations. If y’all don’t see any – call me out. And if you need to celebrate more too – just do it. No excuses. And tell me – I’ll help hold you accountable too.

– Lauren Still Working on Relinquishing (and celebrating)

Opening up to others.

Talking is really therapeutic.

(Trying not to laugh or scoff  at myself for stating the seemingly obvious, because obviously that wasn’t too obvious for me! And honestly, it may not truly be to you either.)

I like to stay true to what I preach, but I realize more often than not, I’m quick to listen and encourage others to speak up about what’s going on, but I’m not nearly as forthcoming. I’m a private person who has tons of conversations in my head so I feel like I’m addressing issues, and sometimes it is more appropriate to have those self reflection times. But in these last few days, I’ve had some people check on me and open their hearts and ears for me and I’ve said some things out loud and (OH MY GOODNESS) there have been some revelations on things I’ve been conversing with myself about in my head for weeks…months…years…

Just like that, saying some things out loud to other people has created a different type of atmosphere and freedom around me. Things have been revealed. Sound counsel has been delivered. Prayers have been answered. Doors have been opened and closed. Truths have been illuminated. 

I don’t know your “thing,” but for me, I think it’s almost always been the way that I share and let people in – I struggle with that. Since I can remember, I’ve been more of a private person…not exactly sure why that is, however my momma raised me to be independent, but i think in some ways I’d internalized that to mean I have to work out almost everything for myself…then in the last couple of years, I’ve relinquished a bit more and it became what God and I work out together and now I feel like more than ever I’m being forced to see the beauty and power in relationships with others. Because quite frankly, I don’t think this season can be faced without me acknowledging my need for others and then actually opening up to others.

With work, I gotta accept that I don’t know what I don’t know and lean on the wisdom and guidance of others to help me.

With my relationship with my man, I/we have to seek sound counsel that can help us walk our journey.

With my business plan, I have to allow others to share with me what they have so I can learn and even have a chance at success.

I could go on and on with the list, but at the end of the day none of this can happen if I just continue to have conversations in my head with myself. I have to branch out. I have to get outside my comfort zone. This season calls for new things…sometimes I wonder if I’m ready for them, but honestly, I don’t have to be ready or super knowledgeable, I just have to be willing to try…one day at a time.

So hold me accountable y’all! Future posts should show results of me reaching out and conversing openly with others…

-Lauren

The Dream is Yours for the Taking

No one really gets anywhere without a fight. Some stories are a bit more obvious than others, but underneath the success, I think you’ll find that there’s almost always a fight. The underlying grind and determination to get to the goal is pertinent to the journey. 

If you want something, go get it – be committed to that dream and who assigned you to that dream. I know God doesn’t give me butterflies and excitement and visuals of things that weren’t meant for me. It’s my job however to be committed to God and the dreams that He’s given me and then to live them – by doing the work to get it.

I don’t know what your dream looks like or what obstacles await you, but you CAN be confident in your dream and work toward it. It’ll be tough and will require some faith in action, but be assured that there’s beauty in that struggle and the goal can be attained.

 

Be blessed!<3

 

Hiding. 

I’m not so sure life was meant to be lived in a bubble, however at times I’ve found myself trying to create that type of atmosphere. It started off as a lifestyle change…

When you’re changing, there are certain things you don’t want nor need to indulge in anymore. Much of my change was mental, so there was a huge need for me to separate myself from certain things and turn off others. Due to the fact I’m kind of an all or nothing type of gal, I can often take things to the extremes.

However, I’ve observed a lot of those extremes become not so rigid with time and reality checks. But there are times that I still find myself unable to cash out those checks…

In my mind, there are constructs of what certain things should look like, how certain things should be done, etc. When those things don’t play out how I think they should/supposed to, I judge them as – good or bad; wrong or right. I find myself doing this a lot in my walk as a Christian…

When I found myself at a low place, it seemed God was the only one who could help me…and He did. But in order to receive help, I had to help myself too. So over a long period there was a lot of giving up and giving in that took place. After some time, I became super serious about wanting change and newness in my life, and out went everything that I felt conviction in my spirit about (It wasn’t quite that simple, but roll with me for a second). As I began to walk in this new-found lifestyle, I found a lot more peace and clarity. I needed the time of separation to meet myself and God. (As hard as those times were at times, I wouldn’t change any of it.)

Naturally, I grew and matured and started to truly become. I had peace about decisions I made and I was unapologetic in a lot of ways. I had happiness and joy in my life and I thought “The weather so breezy, man, why can’t life always be this easy?” (yes, that’s a Kanye reference). My point is, for the most part, everything felt safe. But looking back, I realize I still missed the unpredictability of weather in the outside world. I was living in somewhat of a protective, climate-controlled bubble because of all the rules and constructs I had set up during my time of separation.

Separation is needed, but when we become comfortable with separation as an excuse for not doing what we know we need to do – then separation just becomes an excuse to hide.

Hiding is definitely a defense mechanism. Staying out of harm’s way, often times sounds like the best plan. And I’ve watched myself set up boundaries in order to stay away from harm. However, I’m learning that more times than not, I am the harm I’m fighting so hard to get away from.

 

I become convinced and content in my little bubble while I ignore every reason why I need to take a different approach. Hiding becomes my excuse to be blind, stand-offish, judgmental, unloving, irrational, ignorant, intolerant, etc.

It’s so easy to assess right and wrong outside your bubble while completely ignoring your own right and wrongness inside the bubble.

And in all of this, I had a deep fear of exposing myself to outside elements. I had made up in my mind what I would and would not do. But if you’re really trying to do life with the people God places in your life, you’ll soon find that a limited mindset leaves you in a limited space with limited growth. 

And if I’m truly trusting God as much as I proclaim, then I’ll trust him when He pushes me to take the training wheels off or remove parts of my climate-controlled bubble.

If there’s one thing I am trying to communicate in this – it’s for lovers and followers of God to not hide behind rules, religion, their expectations, judgement, etc. as a means to live. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul urges the people of Ephesus to “Live a life worthy of your calling.” A call may come for us to separate ourselves from things of old, but living a calling cannot be done in the confines of something we’re hiding behind.

I know I’ve been hiding; scared to live out in the open; Scared of finding out how weak or strong I am; scared of failing or succeeding; scared of not fitting a stereotype or the construct in my mind…

But, I can’t hide forever. I really can’t. My spirit won’t let me, nor will God. Some great people God’s placed in my life won’t let me either!

We’re just not meant to live in a bubble forever. Sure, it serves its purpose for a time, but eventually you have to emerge. Like the dope poet Propaganda said: “Caterpillars who fall in love with their cocoons…lose.”

Stop hiding.

Safe. 

It’s scary to leave your “safe” place when you don’t have a script or instruction manual to know what to say or do. It’s scary to leave your “safe” place when what’s around you is new and foreign. It’s scary to leave your “safe” place for things that are unfamiliar.

But what exactly are you defining as “safe”?

Psalm 91:1-2 says – Those who live in the shelter of the Most High, will find rest in the shadow of The Almighty. He alone is my refuge, my place of SAFETY: He is my God and I trust Him. 

Is God not safe enough for you?? 

The task seems daunting when we don’t feel “safe” leaving our “comfort,” but God…yes God is THE SAFE PLACE

Trust what He’s intentionally showing you. Trust what He’s purposed for you. Jump into God’s safety and take risks today!

❤️