CHAPTER ONE-NO MORE EXCUSES
• You are only as free as your mind will allow you to be. Taking control of your life will require you to be proactive, not reactive.
• You are only as free as your mind will allow you to be. Taking control of your life will require you to be proactive, not reactive.
• Each of us has an opportunity to dust off the shame, fear, and pain that threatened to bury us and reemerge with strength and tenacity
• Moving on takes effort, intentionality, and discipline. If you’re going to gather the broken pieces of your life and build again, you must be willing to clear your heart and mind of excuses. Your comeback will become another setback if you focus on all the reasons you could fail.
• Excuses are comfort zones. Life is never short on excuses.
• The walls our fears erect are as unstable as the excuses that created them. Placing our hearts in a fortress will not keep pain at a distance. Pain touches every life, but if you’re open, it will also teach you a valuable life lesson.
• So if we’re going to create a new precedent in our lives, we have to understand how our previous pattern was birthed. You cannot change a past you won’t confront.
• The true testimony of survival is not in what you survived; it is in how you were able to truly live again.
• Shedding excuses is a discipline that must be practiced with our thoughts, communication, and actions.
• Instant gratification often results in long-term disappointment
CHAPTER TWO-FIND YOUR WEEDS
• I’m learning that surviving painful experiences is good, but the danger comes when we don’t take time to actually recover.
• Guarding your heart does not mean that bad things won’t happen to you. It means that you won’t allow those bad things to take root and produce fruit in your mind. Weeds of fear and insecurity leave only room for internal negativity and hopelessness.
• Weeds spring up in gardens where healthy plants have not been cultivated. The same is true in our lives. There are times when we’ve been wounded and, whether through preoccupation or neglect, we’ve ignored certain areas. Then issues spring up and we wonder why.
• What are your weeds? What thoughts and behaviors are keeping you from enjoying the full beauty of the heart God has given you? Your willingness to seek them out will transform your heart, producing compassion and creating opportunities to extend grace to others. The only way to remove the weeds is to combat them with humility. The fruit of such examination is not constant shame; it’s simple humility and grace.
• The desire to relentlessly seek praise from other people is a sign that there is an emptiness within us that can only be discovered by honest self-examination.
• Until you begin to question why you think and feel the way you do, you’ll never be able to have a thriving life.
• It’s important to recognize that the external successes in life are not necessarily a reflection of a healthy soul. In fact, many people are able to capitalize on their insecurities by creating outlets that attract popularity and wealth.
• Many of the indicators we use to determine triumph over difficulty are tangible, but our greatest accomplishment comes when we have the ability to master our souls.
• Remember this: you are strong enough to confront your history. Don’t turn away from your brokenness. Remember that you’re not doing this alone. God foreknew this moment would come. Every now and then we need a reminder that someone else has defeated a giant we must face. Allow this book to be that reminder. Instead of counting the reasons you have to be afraid, give yourself permission to be brave. You’ve already survived the trauma, but you can’t transform your pain into purpose until you’re willing to pick it up again. Roll up your sleeves, wipe your tears, and boldly embrace your truth.
• Pulling those weeds will make the garden of your heart fruitful and beautiful.
CHAPTER THREE-LEARN YOUR PATTERNS
• There’s nothing wrong with not having figured out who you are, but so much can go wrong when you pretend that you have. There is a recurring theme that I have discovered when listening to the stories of people from around the world. We want so badly to convince ourselves that we have it all together that we miss the opportunity to truly come to a place of inner peace. It’s okay that you don’t have all of the answers regarding your life. Faking joy in the face of misery or peace when you have inner turmoil is dangerous.
• You must be willing to ask yourself if you’re making a decision from a place of fear and insecurity or from the strength necessary to maintain your esteem
• In order to avoid repeating toxic patterns, we must be diligent in understanding the circumstances that produced them in the first place.
• The poison that taints our memories of the past didn’t just come from the hurt we experienced; it also came from the sacrifices we made to endure those moments.
• Maybe you rationalize that looking back is pointless because the past is past and we can’t change what happened. Though this is true, we can avoid subsequent mistakes and patterns through self-introspection.
• An unexamined past will always threaten to contaminate the potential of our present.
• My pattern of seeking acceptance and validation was rooted in fear of rejection. My fear of rejection was a result of feeling inadequate. A mind-set of inadequacy convinced me that the only way I would receive validation was to create an illusion of perfection and confidence. The manufacturing of this illusion began long before adulthood. It first surfaced when I was a preteen entering into adolescence
• Have you ever taken time to consider your own emotional patterns? As we talked about thoughts producing emotions and emotions producing actions, we must go one step further and consider the repeated thoughts that create recurring emotions and therefore yield habitual actions. Understanding those patterns will require opening the dark closets of our hearts and dissecting the memories we thought were buried. We must begin to ask ourselves: Why did this happen to me? What did it teach me? How do I keep it from ever happening again?
• Ambition is great, but ambition without wisdom is like a car with no brakes. You may get where you’re going, but you’ll cause a lot of damage along the way.
• The patterns in your life will determine the difference between the destruction of your life or the construction of it. It’s up to you to choose.
• The earlier we’re able to identify our insecurities, the better we’ll be at guarding our decisions against them. The last thing you want is to create a life that has been built on fear.
• When you notice a shift in your mood, take a moment to truly take inventory of what led to the shift. Don’t just chock it up to being off-center. Find the root of what’s blocking you from having complete joy. You would be surprised how much simply expressing those emotions can relieve you.
• You can do anything you put your mind to if you are willing to transform your mind by releasing the paradigms that trapped you
• The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re in a shelter, a mansion in Beverly Hills, or a home in Minnesota; you will not magically come to a place of peace in your life. It takes great courage, intentionality, and work to confront unhealthy patterns.
• Once you begin to realize some of the unhealthy patterns associated with your life, you have to wage a defense against them. That defense will have to come in the form of combatting those thoughts or emotions with a prevailing healthier thought
• Vulnerability with God releases the power that negativity has over your life. There are some issues in our lives too great for us to handle on our own. We need divine interventions to remind us that there is a resource available to us that supersedes the obstacles around us. You’re not fighting this battle on your own. God has a perfect plan and will for your life
CHAPTER FOUR-KNOW YOUR ROOTS
• Expecting pain in the future takes away your joy in the present. Worrying steals joy that is already yours.
• Just because things have always been a certain way doesn’t mean that they have to stay that way.
• Many times breakthroughs can be directly connected to our pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and into the consciousness that some of the leaks we have in our souls are a result of what we feel we missed at home.
• Finding the grace to look outside of yourself and at the variables that created the problems in your environment is key to you understanding how you became the person you are.
• You can have peace knowing that just because life started one way doesn’t mean it has to end that way.
• Don’t be so locked in to what everyone else around you thinks you should become that you limit the destiny on your life
• We learn not to promise forever friendships. Like the seasons that come and go, so are the people assigned to our lives to help us endure certain periods.
• Friendships built on insecurities have the potential to produce more uncertainty in your life. Paying careful attention to your friendships is important because friends can and will see you in and advise you during your most vulnerable moments. The person you call friend will be the sounding board you trust to guide and navigate your life.
• The core of friendship is a deep understanding of who the person you’re engaging is. In the best circumstances they will be wise counsel. Their opinions will only lead you back to a place of centering with God.
• We often hear people questioning whether someone could stay connected to them even if their lives changed and they lost their position. While this is something worth considering, there is another perspective that is not often discussed. It’s what happens when your position creates expansion in your life. Often people are loyal to your struggle, so the moment you begin to master your struggle and become more comfortable with the pace and design of your life, they no longer deem themselves valuable. Their feelings of inadequacy cause them to sabotage their friendship with statements that isolate their experience from yours.
• Loyalty is not about how it benefits the other person; rather, it has everything to do with a personal commitment to being a quality person.
CHAPTER SIX-FORGIVE AND REMEMBER
• Unforgiveness will transform you from victim to the villain. I had to come to the realization that my need to hold accountable the person who hurt me was prohibiting me from seeing the role I played in perpetuating my hurt.
• When you dwell in the land of unforgiveness, the only people you attract to your life are those who are comfortable with the same mind-set as you.
• God, You know exactly why I feel the way I do. You know the insecurities that played a role in the situation and the strength that will come as a result of it. I pray that You would help me to see the way that You do. I know that at some point they’ve been hurt and victimized, as we all have. I ask that You would begin to heal their heart and hurt. Open their eyes to the power they have to overcome the things that caused them harm. Help me to release them from the pain they caused me. Let us all move on and grow from this moment. May the hard-earned lesson of this time be a wealth of wisdom for someone else who is struggling with the same thing that we’re currently facing. Bless ____’s heart on this journey that it may be healed and restored. In Jesus’ name.
• No matter how perfect a person seems, they are still trying to figure out this thing called life just like the rest of us. It is a mistake to be merciful only to people who have a struggle you can empathize with
• Whether a person can be in your life after the damage they’ve caused comes down to the vision you have for your life and if you believe they’re a part of that vision. This is when forgive and remember comes into play
• The most powerful thing you can do is choose to believe that regardless of what has happened to you, you will not allow it to change the goodness inside of you.
• Remember what happened to you because it gave you perspective you would have never had otherwise. Remember the insecurities that created hurtful actions in your life so that you can avoid them in the future. Remember that you once felt so broken that you even questioned your sanity. It will help people in similar positions one day to realize they aren’t crazy, or maybe they are, but at least they are not the first to have been in that space before. Your life is the road map that will help other people avoid detours that delay them on their road to manifesting a destiny greater than those moments that have ailed them. Don’t throw it away because you don’t like the marks that have been made. Fold it neatly, tuck it away in your heart, and preserve its beauty because someone is going to need evidence that even lost people find their way home.
CHAPTER SEVEN-CONNECTING WITH GOD
• I have come to the realization that you are more than a body taking up space on this earth. Your life was manifested because of a need that existed in the world. Feelings of unworthiness don’t just damage our relationships; they diminish our ability to maximize the power available to us through our divine connection with God.
• When you become so consumed with counting what is going wrong with your life that you don’t take the time to truly appreciate what is going well, you invite despair.
• If you’re going to truly embrace the love that is constantly surrounding you, you’re going to have to become more honest and transparent in your life than you’ve ever been. God’s power is made strong in our lives when it is met with the frailty of our human experience. He wants to show us that He has been with us through every moment we’ve ever faced, but we’ll have to ask Him to give us the vulnerability required to see His hand on our lives. Beneath our tough exteriors and the stories we’ve had to tell ourselves to survive is the truth that many of us have been functioning while broken. God already has a plan to restore all that we feel we’ve lost, but we must be willing to cry out to Him first.
• You do not choose purpose. Purpose chooses you. When something on the inside of you connects with what’s happening outside of you, it is a sign that a portion of your life is a part of the solution. The first step to fulfilling your purpose is allowing yourself to have one. We can get caught up with a list of things we are never going to do, but then become dissatisfied with the life that we possess. If you’re going to tap in to the unlimited potential that is available to you, then you must remove the limits from your life. I am even willing to venture out on a limb and suggest that if you have a strong aversion to something, but constantly have the opportunity to do it, your purpose may be tracking you down.
• The first thing to understand about purpose is that it will always be rooted in service toward the betterment of humanity.
• The thing that I thought would isolate me from connecting with the women was ultimately the very thing that made me stand out among them.
• Your talent does not give you purpose; it is how you apply your talent that does.
• It took me some time to learn that simply being good at something does not mean it should be your purpose. In fact, it is the mystery of your potential that makes it clear God’s thoughts are higher than ours. If the people around you could determine what your future is supposed to look like, you would have no need to ask God to direct your path. No one knows but Him what you were placed on this earth to do, but there are some foundational tools that can assist you in beginning to see and constantly maintain His plan for you.
• In order to be effective, purpose requires discipline. What separates talented people from purposeful ones is what they’re willing to face to become better in their craft. I want to share with you the disciplines you must master to manifest a long-standing purpose
• The first one is the discipline of commitment.
• The next discipline that purpose requires is focus.
• Here’s the reality: many people have the gift you currently possess, but what they do not have is your heart and unique ability to translate that gift into the world and culture.
• The third discipline you must learn in the pursuit of purpose is learning to lose
• The last is the discipline to learn. The best thing you can do when in a room of great people is study what makes them great.
• Unfortunately, the word intimacy has become synonymous with sex, and what I’m talking about is much deeper than the physical act of two people coming together. True intimacy is when two souls begin to intertwine in such a way that you can no longer tell where one person’s soul begins and where the other’s ends.
• Relationships that we choose reflect the relationship we have with ourselves.
• Don’t give another person permission to hold your heart unless you know their hands belong to God.
• If you want to constantly win at this thing called love, you have to be willing to let go of every misconception you’ve ever had about relationships and roles.
• When we learn to be content with His plan and His timing for our lives, we are given the beautiful gift of falling deeper in love with Him, ourselves, and the life He’s given us.
• You’re signing up to help someone sort through their issues, applaud their victories, and pray over their hurts. You won’t always get it right, but the moments you do will help you survive the moments you don’t.
• So how do you lay a foundation that prepares your home to withstand the winds and storms of life? It begins with understanding what values you must have in order to function in a relationship
CHAPTER TEN-SHOW ME HOW
• Outside your comfort zone there are emotions, opportunities, and memories to be made. It will require that you stretch yourself. It will force you to make calculated moves, but the idea of comfort is an illusion. It limits your ability to grow and master the art of knowing your full potential and soul
• Do not compare your growth with anyone else’s. The only person you are competing with is who you were yesterday. You don’t have to feel intimidated by what someone else accomplishes. God will reveal in His own time and in His own pace what the next levels are for you. All you have to do is continue to leave your heart and mind open to the possibilities that anything can happen
• Think about the people in the world far or near whom you admire. It’s important to realize the only reason you admire someone is because there is something inside of you that can be developed into what you admire about them.
• Through the gift of digital media we now have access to millions of people around the world. Find someone who reflects a portion of who you want to become and begin to recognize and appreciate his or her uniqueness. Mentorship is not imitating the people you’re attracted to. Mentorship is observing someone’s decision making so that it can influence how you see the world. You cannot be mentored by someone who is struggling in the same area as you. The person who mentors you should be accomplished in an area that you are hoping to grow in.
• I learned that effectiveness has nothing to do with delivery and everything to do with the power of what you’re saying
• True mentorship is when someone’s life serves as evidence that you can survive whatever comes you.
• I’ve discovered that growth requires a discipline to do what most cannot because they are unwilling to risk discomfort.
• The only thing standing in your way right now is you. You’re the key that opens every door assigned to you. Do whatever it takes to unleash you!
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