Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Decisions,Decisions: Dating an Entrepreneur!

"I'm an entrepreneur," he said.

EVERYTHING in me tensed up! Every red flag went off and my security system shut down! Here we go again! Deja Vu! Can I really do this again?!

A previous boyfriend of mine was an entrepreneur, particularly in the network marketing realm. When we first started dating I thought it was a hobby or just a side hustle. He had a full time job but his passion was helping people find their purpose and passion while making money passively. He couldn't stand his nine to five job. He wasn't a nine to five kind of guy. Money was almost always funny and his dreams were bigger than his bank account.  I remember him selling his t.v to help pay bills, going without at times to pour into the business, mean while trying to be in a relationship with me!

I had just graduated from Physical Therapy school and started my first salary paying job! I was too excited to be making anything with more than two zeros behind it!  I wasn't a woman who asked for too much, but I desired security. I was working and providing for myself, but I desired a man who could treat me every once in a while. I wanted a man that could spoil me here and there. But most of all, I wanted a man who I thought could be my husband, the head of the household, and provide for our future family.

I grew up with a mother who taught me the essence of education and a "good" paying job. I didn't really know what it was to have big dreams or make life goals. My immediate goals were to graduate college and get a job to pay my bills and provide for myself. Outside of that, well, there wasn't much else. I prided myself on being "financially secure" and thought everyone else thought the same, until I met him.

I struggled through out the relationship.  Although I understood his passion and desire, I couldn't help but feel unhappy. We couldn't do a lot of things that other couples would do. His pursuit of his passion took up a majority of his time, and left me competing for quality time and attention. Many times I would offer to front the bill or pay for things just so we could go out and do things. But the male ego is a delicate monster that should not be disturbed.

I sought counsel from everyone! I desired to be that supportive girlfriend, that ride or die chick! I knew he just needed my love and support, but I couldn't fully grasp the vision he was casting.  The picture was cloudy with rain all around it! Needless to say, we didn't work out.

But its amazing the things you learn and how you grow over time. Although I was devastated for a while over the lost of that relationship, God began to reveal the lessons. I found myself making vision boards, and developing goals for the year. I found myself casting visions for what I desire and truly seeking to pursue my passion in life. Here I am almost three years later and I am looking to start my own company! Who would have thought! Absolutely not me! Job security was a must at all times! But God! Now I get a better understanding of the entrepreneurial mind set.

But then the test comes. I meet another guy who tells me he is an entrepreneur. The more we talk, I hear his passion and it resonates with me that he absolutely has the heart and mind of an entrepreneur. And go figure, its in the network marketing realm again! God is EXTRA funny sometimes!  But the closer we get, the more I begin to question myself. Can I really do this again? I'm definitely in a different space and mindset, but there are still some factors that concern me.  He's over 35 years old. He lives with his mother at the moment, but yet he desires marriage and a family. He is not working a full or part time job at the moment. The business is full time. And in talking to him, I absolutely get where he is in life right now. He discovered his passion late in life and made adjustments as needed to pursue it. His work ethic is amazing and most of all he has a heart for God and allows the Holy Spirit to lead him in all his endeavors. Yet, I still have concerns!

Particularly as I get older, I desire security even more. Does this make me a bad person? Do I come off as the gold digging type? Do I miss out on a good man because of a financial difference?

Ladies I wrestle with this dilemma constantly as of late. I've always desired for a man to tell me that I am his best friend, and he couldn't imagine life without me. I want us to dance and sing "started from the bottom now we here" together. I want to support his dreams and push him to the next level.  I want to see him succeed and fulfill his passion! But at the end of the day you must know and embrace what you can and can not deal with. What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to adjust your list?

Don't be afraid to say, I can't do this or this may not be the relationship for me! But always seek God first. God is able to give us the grace to deal with things we absolutely couldn't fathom to deal with. I appreciate and respect the entrepreneurial man. There are so many different avenues of entrepreneurship outside of network marketing. Some simply seek to start their own business from the ground up.  Each still require time, money, and the support of a strong woman behind them.

Every good man is not for me, whether he is an entrepreneur or not. But I 'm learning to support, and look past my particular insecurities and hang ups to see the man and what he fully brings to the table.  I'm particularly looking to see what God has placed in that man and whether not I am the rib to that Adam. But even outside of romantic relationships, I seek to encourage and support my brothers and all those pursuing their own. It takes discipline, persistence, and resilience! And for that, many are called, but few are chosen!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Negativity Killed the Cat!

"Mary Jane it up if you have to," she said.

No, she wasn't referring to smoking weed!!! She was referring to the main character of the BET series Being Mary Jane played by Gabrielle Union.  Union's character, who I can relate to in more ways than one, places yellow sticky notes all over her house, particularly on her bed post, with positive affirmations and quotes that she reads every morning before going to work. Each show starts out with intriguing quotes from various people that foreshadow the shows theme.

It was my second session of counseling and I was truly enjoying the experience. The couch was amazing and my therapist was excellent. I felt comfortable and she was very comforting and encouraging.

"You're not that bad. What you're dealing with is fixable." she said.

The way I came in, I felt as though I was a doomed case! Ten to twelve sessions at the least! And I was prepared to talk it out. And as Iyanla would say, "do the work!" Did I mention that the couch was amazing!!! It was white and soft with beautiful pillows! But I digress.....If you can tell, I have a thing for comfortable furniture and pillows. They are actually VERY therapeutic!

As she asked me particular questions regarding my past relationships I was forced to face my true feelings. Truth was, I was afraid to date again.  I felt like damaged goods. Apparently no one wants to deal with or have patience for someone with my issues.  I didn't feel desirable. I started crying uncontrollably! What was happening!? This lady has me in here crying on the couch and it's only session two! But truthfully, I was so open and vulnerable. It was what I needed. And its nothing like being honest with yourself and feeling free. I was convincing myself and building a mask under false pretense.

She encouraged me to speak and think positive thoughts. Her reference to Mary Jane was actually quite applicable. I had already started an affirmation board in my bed room that I placed various quotes and scriptures upon. But the devil was definitely playing with my mind and emotions. I began to discredit, degrade, and doubt myself. All of who I knew I was was a figment of my imagination.

As I left the session I had a lot on my mind. I had to get back to me. And it was only going to come through constant positivity and affirmation of who I am and who God was forming me to be. With that said, being on this journey of healing and growth I crave positivity. I seek out positive people. I seek to be positive at all times. And I seek to find the positive perspective on all things. Now, I'm not perfect. It is definitely a journey, and I have my moments, but I'm striving.

But with all my positive seeking, I've become extremely sensitive to negative people and thoughts. Even music that is negative or contains a lot of cussing I can't tolerate. I find myself limiting my interaction and conversation with those who tend to speak negative, cuss and seek to pull me into their negative net. And sometimes its some of the closest people to you too!

It wasn't curiosity that killed the cat, it was negativity! People have a way of judging and casting comments for everything they don't understand or can't relate to.  Curiosity says you are interested in learning and want to know more about a particular thing. Negativity says you look to criticize and have a pessimistic outlook about things.

My healing and growth requires positive thoughts and affirmations. The next level in life that God is trying to take me, which is completely out of my comfort zone and a bit scary, requires constant positive thoughts and affirmations. I currently live in a no negativity zone. I even limit the amount of news that I watch! Its just that serious! I don't seek to be oblivious to real life or the current issues, but it can definitely take a toll on your mental stability. I can't control the people around me but I can sure control who and what I allow in my space. Speak life today! Speak Positive today! Your life depends on it today!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Simple Moments

"Give me a hive five," he said as I walked past him, shades on, not paying him any attention!

But from the corner of my eye I noticed he was tall and had a nice smile. So I slowed up. I was walking with a purpose. I decided to answer, but with a little attitude, just so he knew I wasn't really in the mood or place to talk to anyone. But he was cute enough to get a little bit of my conversation.

"For what?" I said. I really thought this response through.  I think I caught him off guard with my response, but he was intrigued enough to engage in conversation.

"You know for what," he said.

I was puzzled for a few seconds and then he pointed out my shirt. I was wearing a shirt given to me by a friend that had the infamous BeyoncĂ© phrase "I woke up like this." I honestly forgot what I was wearing! That would explain the other random looks I was getting as I walked along the beach! I was ready to conclude that either I was looking exceptionally good that day or Florida people were a little odd and had staring problems! I was leaning toward the latter.  My hair was not on its best behavior that day, but apparently I caught his eye for more than just my shirt!

He introduced himself as a minister. Go figure! Walking on the strip of Ft. Lauderdale beach, who knew I would meet a minister of all people! I looked up to the sky and laughed at God. He has such a since of humor. So I figured I would drop my minister title as well! Something I hardly do unless needed.

"Well praise the Lord!" He proclaimed

"Oh Lord! I got a churchy one!" I said to myself.

He began to share with me about his ministry back home in Chicago, which included ministering to women in regards to health, self esteem, etc. I was engaged but still a bit skeptical. What was he trying to sell and was he trying to minister to me!? Do I look like I need help? I mean, I did just finish counseling and definitely dealing with some things, but does it show!? Did he discern all of this! I was ready to shut it all down. I wasn't sure what his motives were. But he had me hooked! His smile was like a million dollars!

He asked me where I was headed and I told him to sit on the beach. So we proceeded to walk toward the beach together. But before we went, he let his boys know that he would catch up with them later. I immediately let him know I didn't want to disturb their time. He then made it clear to me that they would be ok and he was looking to get to know me. I smiled to myself just a little bit. It's nothing like a man, even if he was a stranger, making you feel like number one, and in front of his friends!

We took off our shoes and headed toward the water engaged in great conversation. I bought a beach towel earlier, so we sat on the beach and continued talking for at least another hour. We laughed and talked about everything from ministry, family, relationships, scripture, etc.  He complimented me numerous times and shared that if I did live in Chicago we would definitely date. Long distance relationships were the furthest from each of our minds. We settled in just enjoying the moment. There were absolutely no expectations and I was absolutely ok with that. A friendship could definitely blossom!

As it got later we headed back toward the strip for him to meet up with his friends and for me to wait for my ride. The moment was coming to and end. And honestly, I didn't want it to end! This only happens in movies! And this movie I was truly enjoying. I honestly thought of various ways in which I could stay longer but I knew I had to go. The ball was over Cinderella. He walked me out to the street as my ride pulled up. We gave each other a hug and agreed to keep in touch and be friends.

I learned a few things from this experience:

1) Wearing shirts with phrases on them attract attention and are great conversation starters (but remember what you have on so everyone doesn't seem weird to you by staring and you don't catch an attitude with everyone!)

2) Enjoy the moments and people that God allows to come into your space

He was a stranger. Never met him a day before in my life and not sure I will ever see or hear from him again. But that day he made an impact and provided what I needed at that time. Every man that stops to talk to you or entertains conversation with you doesn't have to be the one or your next boo. He can simply be for the moment. His companionship for those few hours and conversation had me smiling and singing in my Ice Cube voice, "today was a good day." I felt like it was God's way of showing me that there are still good men out there; men that are kind, generous, understanding, and don't mind listening to me talk! Now if the man was faking and running game, believe me, he did a great job. And either way, there was no harm done and again, I got what I needed.

Vacations have a way of making you feel free and open to new things and new people. Why not live everyday like its a vacation. Be open to new. Be open to single moments. Be open to random reminders and deposits from God! He loves you that much!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tick Tock, It don't Stop!

"Do I act like my biological clock is ticking?" she asked me.

A friend of mine was talking with a guy she met at work and he apparently told her her biological clock was ticking! Side note, men that is NOT a statement to make to a woman, particularly a black woman! We already have enough to deal with. This biological clock statement might just push us over the edge!

Sitting in church today, watching the children's Easter/Resurrection program, I couldn't help but smile and think to myself, "I cant wait to have my own kids in the Easter program, and with a bomb Easter outfit! My baby would be the best up there!" But I digress! I immediately had to shut the clock all the way off!! Here I go again! I'm not ready for kids! They are cute to look at, but I wouldn't know the first thing to do with a child right now, especially without a husband! And as busy as I am, we would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Not a good look or a good feeling!

The actual theory of biological clocks has gotten out of hand! It scares women into believing that past a certain age, the birth of a child may be a figment of their imagination. It kills dreams and pushes many women into desperation, settling for the then and now, or pulling a Mary Jane and impregnating themselves, by themselves!

The reality is, the "biological clock" is a true mechanism in the body that determines sleep and wake patterns, as well as the "age predictor" to measure and predict the ability to have children safely and born healthy. And reality is, the older women become, it may be more difficulty to conceive children. As Christian women, we have been beaten over the head to "trust God" and "wait on Him". And my favorite,"Your season is coming." Giving birth is an amazing experience that most women, despite the pain that will await, want to experience. We almost look at it as the epitome of being a woman.  We bring forth life through child birth. That's what we were created to do. But I'm coming to truly understand that a woman's ability to give life exceeds actual child birth. We as women have so much to offer the world through our minds and our spirit. We are givers of life every time we wake up and decide to go about our day allowing God to use us. And there so many children surrounding us who need our love and attention. It's good ground to practice on!

And I just find it hard to believe that God would have so many stories of women in the bible having children in their latter years just to make their stories more interesting. His aim was to demonstrate his power and the level of trust we must have in him, or reveal our lack their of. Many times our struggle is all apart of the growing process, particularly as women. I am learning constant lessons EVERYDAY!

Children are amazing to me! There is nothing in this world that makes me smile more than a child in all their glory. From the smart things they say, to their amazing energy and excitement about life! They are carefree and depend on the adult to meet their needs. And immediately God reminded me, Kristin, instead of desiring to have a child right now, act like one! Enjoy your life, live care free, and depend on me!

I recall growing up and knowing that my mother would absolutely always take care of me. She gave me what i needed, and most of the time the things that I wanted. It came with responsibilities and being on my best behavior, but she rewarded me for it. It eventually became habit to act right and know that something good would come from it, even if it was just her telling me "I'm proud of you!"

Without a man or a child in my life right now, I am complete. From day to day I have to remind myself of that, but society just won't let you off that easy! But what I won't do is allow society to continue to dictate a life that they didn't give to me and have no control over. Reminding myself of who I am, and whose I am. For now, I will use my biological clock, not to fuel my anxiety of child birth and marriage, but to enjoy the life I have been given each day and use it to give birth to someone or something. Give birth to your dreams, aspirations, and desires! Do what you thought you couldn't do, go where you've always wanted to go, and give to others who need more than you!

And I will simply end with this familiar scripture, in the Message version, Matthew 6:30-34 reads,

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Contentment Check-Up

"How old are you?" she asked as she pressed around my stomach.

"I'm thirty," I said.

"Are you married?" she asked as she dug deeper into my stomach.

"No mam, I'm single," I said.

"Ok, well that's good, but you should get married soon, after thirty you start to lose value," she declared with a straight face!

I almost burst out laughing in her face! The audacity! But the sincerity! I came for an annual physical check up and I get relationship advice from an 80 year old Indian woman who was about 3 feet tall. She proceeded to tell me that men over 30 believe that women lose value and wouldn't look at them much after a certain age.  Well, I'm three months into being thirty, guess I can kiss my self value goodbye. I should just wear all black and go into mourning with ashes on my face like they did in the bible days.

Everywhere you turn society is either scaring us into believing that after a certain age babies may be impossible or a high risk with complications. If you are educated and make a significant amount of income you are intimidating and should "dumb" yourself down or else men wont approach you. And if you're a Christian woman, you better just hold to God's unchanging hand!

I went in for a simple health physical, and walked out reevaluating my contentment status and life in general. Am I really content with my life right now? Kristin, remember, "Its Already Done!" We can really convince ourselves that we are in a good place, that God is enough, along with friends, family, career, etc. The truth is, contentment is a roller coaster experience, or more like a Ferris wheel. You may find yourself low, or at the bottom, anxious about life and the next steps; but as life keeps going, the ride gets higher and you find yourself content, happy about life, and not so anxious about what is to come. You're satisfied and happy where you are. Then life happens. You either slowly transition back to that low, unsatisfied, discontent place, or like a roller coaster, you hit the bottom fast and question how you got back to this place.

Between "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart," and "But godliness with contentment is great gain," there is a struggle that happens.  We ride the wave of "desires of your heart" but fail to add godliness to the contentment so that we may gain those desires. The struggle is really where we ultimately learn, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Many of us have desires, and for the majority of us, God placed them there. And believe me, I've had  plenty of desires that were not of the Lord! But I'm certain that marriage is a desire that God placed in me. I can honestly say that I was not that girl that dreamed of a wedding since she was a kid and planned the entire wedding by the age of 18.  Just within the last few years has the desire of marriage become strong for me; some from the outside pressure of society and peers, but I truly have a desire for marriage from a godly stand point. I see marriage as a ministry and birthing children as a privilege to bring forth life and raise kingdom kids who will make major impacts in this world.

God recently revealed to me that, although he places a desire within us, He is the prioritizer of those desires. The problem we have as humans is that we like to make our own priorities and we order things in our life with the help of society, television, and our peers around us. Marriage is not the only desire He has placed in my heart, yet I act and prioritize it like it is. I also desire to own my own business, write a book, travel, etc. Society tells me at the age of 30 it should be a priority. But God says, not yet. Its not at the top of his list right now. There is other work for me to do and some self healing to take place. And I am ok with that! It lets me know that my father knows what I need at this moment.  A relationship and marriage is not it RIGHT NOW, but it is on His to-do list.  And unlike us, His to-do list will ALWAYS get done, and in a timely manner!

Over these last few weeks God has revealed himself in such amazing ways and  has opened up numerous opportunities for ministry. He has awakened some dormant desires and placed fire to others. I have work to do! So I'm going to "chill out." Continue to enjoy life. The doctor may have just been doing a check up and giving her advice, but God was giving me a well needed spiritual contentment check-up as well.

Scripture References:
Psalm 37:4
1 Timothy 6:6
1 Corinthians 12:9