Running Your Own Race

What are your biggest goals and dreams?

How do you want your life set up within the next 5-10 years?

What are you doing to get there?

Oh. And another thing…

Are you competing with the ones around you, or yourself?

Before there was Poetic Photosynthesis, there was doubt. As I’ve stated in previous posts, I have always wanted to inspire and uplift people by using the word and promises of God.

However.

Comma.

I felt as if I didn’t qualify for the job. Simply because I am EXTRMELY shy and I felt as if I didn’t have the welcoming personality of a “typical Christian”. And it didn’t help that I have the “you should smile sometimes” look. Now this doesn’t mean that I walk around upset and that I’m not friendly, but again, I am very shy, which is something that roots from another subject for another time.

For a long time, I compared my personality to one of my best friends who has the bubbliest, most inviting personality of all time (in my opinion). She can make a friend in two seconds and her joy is infectious. While me on the other hand, I can’t even open my mouth to introduce myself to someone. And when you do get me talking, I have a sarcastic sense of humor, and a straight forward approach to just about everything. I felt at the time that being a Christian meant that I had to obtain this unreachable level of perfection every day. I thought that I had to have that same bubbly, inviting personality just like my friend. And I came down hard on myself just about every day for not being more like her.

I also doubted my poetry. I thought it wasn’t catchy enough or sassy enough or didn’t have fancy word play involved. And because of this, I never shared my poetry with anyone, even if wanted to. Then comparison came creeping around the corner again when I compared my poetry to one of my closest friends who also writes poetry that is VERY respectable. Although I have done spoken word once before, I was afraid of getting on stage again because I thought I didn’t have “the voice” of a spoken word poet. I thought I wasn’t loud enough and I would fear my nervousness would take over and I wouldn’t be able to get my message across.

But after watching a Joel Osteen sermon, my mind took a turn for the bloom.

During the sermon, he stated that he felt as though he couldn’t be as good of a pastor as his father was, and that his southern accent would hinder his messages from being taken seriously.

He said that he learned he had to embrace what God had given HIM and learn how to enhance it on his own, becoming the best version of himself.

And of course, this was the sun creating a new petal.

After watching the sermon, I began to think of how I dimmed my own light because I felt as if I was not good enough for other things I wanted to accomplish in my life. And I came to the conclusion that, I can’t be like my friend. She was born with her uplifting spirit, but that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough to speak about God because I don’t have the same personality or that it makes me less than a follower and child of God. When I seek out to inspire others, I do it with love, and I think the reason why Joyce Meyer is my favorite preacher is because she has that same “say it like you mean it” approach that I do, which in my opinion is the best teaching method because the message doesn’t just touch the surface of the truth.

I also shared my insecurities with my friend who writes poetry. He told me that as long as I am being genuine with my words, people will feel me.

Two snaps to that.

Our lives were designed specifically for our own race to become the best version of ourselves. And if we stay in a state of consistent competition or comparison with others, we’ll forever lose. There is something we all have to contribute into the world, we wouldn’t be here if we did not. Even if you’re in a place where you don’t know what your purpose is or don’t know how to get where you want to be, pray with faith and ask for guidance in the right direction and ask God to provide you with the resources that you need.

Once you learn to embrace and work towards your own journey, you’ll be able to appreciate the other beautiful souls around you and be able to congratulate other’s accomplishments without that jealousy butterfly in your stomach. You’ll also be able to pray for other’s growth and be able to offer support. If there are good things you can learn from others and interpret them into your own life then that’s a plus (and ultimately our purpose), but the race to greatness is still different.

Each one of our perspectives that we gain from same the lessons we are taught are different from one another, and that alone shows that our bloom is subject to our own races.

Ultimately you’re competing with none other than your awesome self. And you only have room to bloom to better (if that made poetic sense). Your race is your own and you can only reach those dreams of yours with God as the one firing the gun for you to sprint away into greatness.

I love my friend’s warmth in her being, but I just cannot be her. And with God directing me to my dreams, I know I’ll inspire people even with my straight forward approach that is laced with love.

I’m no world-class poet (yet) and my voice may not carry the same volume on stage as the other poets that I admire, but the words that I write are genuine and I can always get better at my onstage presence.

I have embraced the fact that I’m just different. And if I compared myself to anyone else I would be discrediting my individuality. I mean I should seriously win an award for my sarcasm.

And I don’t have to beat anyone to the finish line, I don’t have to try to be like someone else, I don’t need to disown my talents, all I have to do is run MY race and congratulate others’ talents along the way. And if I go outside of my race, I’m sure I’ll fall over a hurdle or five.

Love of self is very essential

Embracing other beautiful souls around us is blissful

And having the knowing that our individuality is what makes us qualified for our own journeys is awesome

Enhance your own journey to what you want it to be like, your competition is your best self.

And another thing! I’ve learned is God will take the most seemingly unqualified individuals and use them for the most honorable positions, and they always get the job done!

So one time for the one time,

Lets Bloom!

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The Spatula

The Spatula

About two weeks ago on a calm Tuesday night after I had just gotten done finishing up some homework and attempting to get ready for a hibernation, I heard God say to me “go wash the dishes“. I wanted to wait until the morning to do so but it would be a clear act of disobedience if I decided to ignore the direction given to me.

Needing entertainment, I decided to plug my earbuds into my closed ears and listen to Andra Day’s “Rise Up”. While getting halfway through the dish load, I came face to face with the battle of trying to get dried pancake mix off of a spatula. There was one particular area that I couldn’t just scrub off, so I tossed it to the other side of the sink to wash it last so I could have “time” to scrub harder. But then I heard something in me say “don’t give up on that spatula”.

Definitely comical I know, but I automatically knew what God was telling me. There had been this one thing in my life that I felt as though I couldn’t seem to shake off, and while trying to remove it from my life I would give up after failing and would hope to be better during my next attempt. So in that moment I knew God was telling me that the one thing I had been struggling with is not something to give up on and come back to later, I have to continue to “scrub” it away, one aggressive back and forth motion at a time. Because if I held it off for a later date, it’ll be that much harder to get rid of.

So you bet I picked the spatula back up and it only took a couple of scrubs to get the remainder of the pancake mix off of the spatula.

Which had me thinking at the time, what if I’m already close to conquering this hardship? And that if I gave up on trying to get rid of it, it’ll just stay inside of me, which won’t give me peace.

And I’m happy to say now, that I think I’m about 99.9% there, I feel better that I haven’t given up GIVING UP something that would only take away the beauty of my bloom.

So whatever your gunk on your spatula may be, get it off. And don’t give up when you’re feeling as though the harder you scrub the more stubborn the gunk is, because you have the power to scrub it away.

The power is in your hands.

Literally.

It’s amazing how God can bring a task as little as washing dishes to open your eyes to something, with the help of an inspirational tune from Andra Day.

Stepping into Spiritual Freedom

I have recently found that Instagram has accounts that are dedicated to uplifting others by using the word of God, and that I notice that some of my Facebook friends post their testimonies on how great God has been to them. But there are some people who see these posts and may even take the time to tap “like” on the post, but leave their faith in the dark.

I was one of those people. The struggle to repost was real.  And I’ll tell you why I believe people are afraid of talking about God.

The entire concept of being afraid of speaking or posting about God is all rooted in, of course, fear. Fear of rejection from others, not being understood, being labeled a “Jesus Freak”, false perceptions of being a boring individual, or making yourself believe that you now have to be perfect in order to talk about God are some of the reasons why people may praise God behind closed doors. Or at least these were my reasons.

I had a blog identical to this one about 7 years ago. I was only in 8th grade but even then I had a strong connection with my spirit and God. I simply just wanted to inspire people and let them know about God’s grace. I was no expert (and never will be) about uplifting others, but I just always had a strong desire to help. But I constantly worried about people labeling me as a “Jesus Freak” and thinking I would be judging every action of theirs. Talking about God in middle school wasn’t the “coolest” thing, so I just kept my mouth closed. At the time I didn’t realize that loving God whole-heartedly wasn’t a bad thing, and that I could never judge anyone’s actions because I am also a sinner, but I continued to let doubt and fear into my mind.

Eventually, I gave up after only a couple of months of blogging material that no one knew about because I was afraid to tell anyone about it. But I always knew I still wanted to help in some type of way. Between the time of 7 years ago and today, I have written poetry whenever I was going through trying times for therapeutic purposes. I also wanted to one day publish a book of my poetry to help others through their trying times.

But the urge to blog again came back around fall of 2015. This time around I told myself I have to just do it!  I acknowledged my fears and told myself that I would have to push past every negative emotion that came about. God brought it to my attention that there was no harm in what I was doing and that I should never be fearful of speaking about the greatness of His doing. I realized that I don’t have to fear because God will always have my back and as long as my intentions are good, I won’t have to care for opinions or hide in the dark about my faith. It is my duty as a child of God to tell people about Him, so I’ll be iight.

This is a side of me a lot of people don’t know about because of my fears. I’m too blunt with my words sometimes and I haven’t always been a chipper person, which made me feel as if I was unqualified for this, but nah, I know me and I know what God is doing in this soul of mine.

I mean really, people will always have something to say, but when you live in your truth words cannot shake you. I love Wale’s song “The White Shoes” where he says “ Take this good advice. Cause they gonna judge you for life, say we can’t always be fly, but we gon’ be good long as them sneakers white”. This REALLY spoke to me. To me the white shoe was a symbol of our heart and intentions that we keep with us everyday ,and we have to keep them “white” to continue gracefully without interruption from the dirt that comes on our personal journeys. (even though I know that wasn’t EXACTLY his message).

And generally speaking, never, I mean NEVER be afraid to do what is thriving in your heart. I mean who knows how many people I could have inspired if I hadn’t given up?

We all have a special light, and mine was God using my love of writing along with my desire to help others through my relationship with Him that would shine brighter than any fear of mine.

Talking about God is not the way of the world and it won’t always get you the most likes on Instagram, but I am not of the world, so I’ll continue to shine my light and shut out any fear that may come for me. I am not quitting, not this time. And I am not ashamed to say I love God either.

And one thing I realized is that the fears that I had before I had never even experienced, so I gave up due to events that I had never even occurred.

That’s what fear does to us people.

Ultimately, my goal is to see you bloom and push past any hardship that you are facing or have faced. If I can inspire at least one person, then my dream would have come true in that moment. I will be as honest with my words as possible, and I hope I touch whoever God brings to this blog.

-m.j.j