Leaping Faith… A New Journey Begins.

Have you ever found yourself in a place wondering: “what am I doing here?”

Well, that was me, this past week… I was going through a mini existential crisis, wondering why certain desired things had not yet entered my life. It took everything in me just to be able to go to and from work. I was out of energy, as a car whose fuel tank was on empty. It wasn’t that anything new had occurred; yet somehow the dark cloud of depression had found a way to blot out my sunshine. I guess I was experiencing scripture firsthand because Proverbs 13:12 says that a deferred dream will make one sick… and sick I was feeling indeed.

From this place of feeling like an emotional train wreck, I showed up to volunteer for the Catalyst Conference. For those of you not familiar with the Catalyst Conference, it is a national conference intended to provide education, resources, and tools to leaders who love the Church. From this place of emotional brokenness I had to dig from within to keep a smile on my face as I greeted the arriving guests.

After the second day, all of that smiling on the outside (but not the inside) depleted me. When my duties were done, I fled the conference to sequester myself in my bedroom. But something miraculous happened on the third day of the conference. My duties were done strangely early that morning and I was free to sit in on the conference activities. As I sat there in an arena filled with 8,000+ Christians, I initially watched but then joined in as we sang about the awesome power of God to free us from past hurts, from disappointments, from broken hearts. I realized that I had found the answer to my initial question of “what I was doing there”. It struck me that I was in the right place, at the right time. And it felt good, awesome in fact!

So much so that I see it as a pivotal point in my faith walk with God because two days after the conference ended I decided to give my body back to God. I am now choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Go figure, me? Seems ludicrous yet as I was reminded, during the conference, we serve a God of the IMPOSSIBLE… not the difficult… the Impossible!

And it is in that God I place my faith, all of my future hopes and dreams.

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I am in a new season and it is one that is hope filled. May my story of courage and bravery, in the face of doubt, fear, and tears give you the strength to take your own leap of faith!

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Peace in a WORLD turned upside down! Learning the Art of Inner Contentment & Happiness

I sit here reflecting on this season of life that I’m in… and it is good…

✖ Not because life is perfect

✖ Not because there is an absence of life stressors

✖ And definitely not because I have everything I desire

In fact the amazing thing is that my life feels good in spite of the negative situations I’ve had to face!

How could that be you wonder?

Well, I’ve arrived at this very interesting space in time where I not only truly love myself but I know, I accept, and I appreciate my life purpose – my reason for living – the contribution/mark I intend to leave on this earth.

This place that I’m in is pretty awesome, particularly when I reflect on just a few short months ago I was struggling with the waiting:

https://donnadoctora.com/2015/04/30/spring-anticipation-patience-and-strength/

In that previous blog from Spring 2015, I mentioned the song ‘Conqueror’ by Estelle and Jussie Smollett. At that time, I needed the song to encourage me and help push me in the direction I desired to go. Now I listen to the song, and I smile… it is a smile acknowledging and confirming – YES indeed, I am a Conqueror!

I am a conqueror because I learned the secret…

Would you like me to tell it to you?

Here goes:

You can truly have happiness and peace NO MATTER WHAT is going on around you –

once you’ve found inner contentment!

It took me many, many, MANY, did I say many – years to get here.

But here I am… I finally understand and LIVE the true meaning of inner peace.

Here are two quotes about inner peace:

  • Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Saint Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Saint
  • My faith helps me understand that circumstances don’t dictate my happiness, my inner peace. Denzel Washington, Actor

I leave you with a final word… Namaste; which you will hear Yogis (practitioners of Yoga) say as a form of greeting to one another. It means the spirit within me, honors the spirit within YOU!

May you come to know the inner spirit that dwells within you, so that you may find peace, happiness, and inner contentment!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How to WIN: Tired, Weary, & Faint of Heart

Don’t grow weary and lose heart

Have you ever started a new venture? And thought aaugh! I’m in over my head! Well that’s me lately… Wondering what do I need to know? Who do I need to know? Where do I begin? Why do I feel so far behind? Questions, questions, questions.

The new venture is my journey to write and now to publish my book. It can be a lonely and daunting process, so much so that a gazillion times I’ve contemplated GIVING UP!

And to add salt to the open wound, the process requires you to expose yourself to judgment and critique from agents, publishers, and other writers. It’s enough to make your head spin…

While staring at the to-do list that seemed to stretch to infinity, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and overstressed. I decided to reach out to a good friend who reminded me “Donna if this is your purpose, trust that.” His comment took me somewhat aback. What did he mean by stating that I needed to trust? This wasn’t about trust… This was about manuscript submissions, snippy agents, and nonresponsive publishers. I sat baffled for a few minutes and then the realization came crashing down like a bolt of lighting. I was trying to work overtime to make things happen, forgetting for a second, that since God placed me on this path – God would be the one to make it happen! And that’s when I remembered a bible verse my pastor repetitively recites: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe we are accountable for our actions and we need to make decisions that move us towards a goal. However, I also know that at the end of the day life often happens in a serendipitous way. We can’t line everything up, sometimes it just happens and we have to allow it to do just that.

So now, I will remind myself from time to time, to step back, take a deep breath, treasure the present moment, and trust that the life promised to me shall unfold in time.

For a moment I started to grow weary and lose heart. I allowed doubt and discouragement to slip in. But I’m back on track. The spoils go to those who persevere. I look forward to the finish line, but will also allow myself to enjoy the race!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Do you have ANYthing to be THANKful for?

Praise Before the Blessing

This past Sunday in church my pastor shared a message about the importance of having an attitude of gratitude. He reminded the congregation to FIND A REASON TO BE THANKFUL. And as an exclamation to his point, the choir sang a song with the lyrics I constantly thank you, you constantly bless me.

I left the sanctuary with these thoughts reverberating through my mind. Be thankful, be thankful, be thankful, echoed the reminder. This task is particularly easy when you are able to look around and see whatever it is that you desired and asked God for.

However, what are you to do, when the blessing has not yet arrived?

How can one be thankful for something that is yet to come?

In other words, how can you praise before the blessing?

These are the questions that may run through your mind as you expectantly wait on God to fulfill unanswered prayers.

The good news is that gratefulness, thankfulness, and praise do not begin with what you don’t have. Instead it begins with what you ALREADY have! That means, acknowledging, appreciating, and saying thank you for things you’ve previously received. Be it your health, memory, senses, family, or the simple act of the sun rising on a new day. Give thanks! Not only will this help your mood, it will also open up the windows of opportunity for more goodness to enter your life!

Here are a few useful quotes about gratitude:

  • Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough – Oprah Winfrey
  • Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life – Robert Louis Stevenson, Novelist
  • Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude – Nick Vujicic, Motivational speaker
  • Be thankful for problems. If they were less difficult, someone with less ability might have your job – Jim Lovell, Astronaut

My wish for you is that you choose a spirit of gratitude! You deserve a life of joy, happiness, and fulfillment! The first step to attaining that life begins with heartfelt thanks and praise.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

I’m a GROWN woman…

What is a woman?

I’ve been on quite the journey, as I grew from a young girl to the woman I am today. There were many changes as I shifted from my beginnings (as a Tomboy), into my young lady stages of being a “handful” (think of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderful), and finally into the more balanced and centered woman I am today. I have evolved, akin to the process that a caterpillar embarks on to become a butterfly.

As I reflect on my evolution into womanhood, I can’t help but think about my distorted views of what it meant ‘to be a woman’.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud has been quoted as stating: “Where such men love they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love”. This statement alludes to an invisible division – women are either loved (the Madonna) or lusted (the Whore).

For years I struggled to answer the question: do I want to be loved by a man or desired by him? I wasn’t sure, so I opted to create my own answer. I wanted to be feared, because then I would be viewed as powerful and in control. My chosen path of control and domination seemed to be the best option because loving hurts and control doesn’t, or so I mistakenly thought. I would soon discover, the hard way, that my controlling thoughts, reactions, and mannerisms were not only blocking me from loving a man, they were blocking me from loving myself!

So I went on a quest to find a new definition, my definition for womanhood. And, in time, I reached a place of understanding and acceptance. Soft does not mean weak! A woman, a real woman – can balance strength and calm, initiative and grace, and achievement and nurturance.

I could no longer relate to the disconnection or disharmony Freud referred to. I now know that I can be sexy and I can be lovable – all at the same time! A man can love a woman that he desires, when that woman first loves and desires herself. And when she comes to understand that this entire journey is what we choose to make it – we just have to decide to start making that choice consciously.

I love being a woman! It’s awesome. We are the makers and givers of life.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

P.S. Stay tuned because in my upcoming memoir entitled Shedding Perfection: A Psychologist’s Journey to Self-Healing, I will share my journey with you.

And, if you want to see visual images of my evolution, you can see pictures here: https://donnadoctora.com/the-evolution-of-me/

Love means Accepting HELP…

Would I accept help?

I was down to my last dollar and running low on gas. I shared my plight with him, not because I wanted sympathy and/or assistance, but only to explain why I needed to bail on our plans due to monetary reasons. His reply – “will you allow me to help? Will you receive it?” I found his question somewhat baffling. I had never voiced that I was opposed to help, but I guess by not requesting support I inadvertently communicated that I didn’t want it.

This disconnect was somewhat perplexing to me… he wanted me to ask for help.

Why would I ask for help? It was so confusing and somewhat in opposition to my independent and go-getter personality. I rationalized that my struggles were my responsibility to handle. However, he clearly saw it differently. He believed that he was somehow responsible for my welfare.

I continued to mull over this situation, until I ran over this quote about love:

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

That quote reminded me that we are each here to look out for one another, that we are each responsible for one another, and that when we love – love won’t allow us to turn a blind eye to someone in need.

But I continued to ponder my discomfort with asking for help. And I finally realized that my resistance to asking for support was based on my unwillingness to be vulnerable. You see if I always did things for myself, then I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else. However, when I reflected further I realized that to refuse the hand of another was to keep myself separate and to make a decision based upon pride. If I were honest with myself, both are limited ways to live one’s existence.

So I decided to push myself to do something different. The art of growth – is allowing change and doing something new. In the end I allowed him to provide me gas money. He felt good that he could assist, and I felt better that I was continuing to be brave enough to be a new me.

“Generosity is giving more than you can…pride is taking less than you need” – Poet Kahlil Gibran

“It’s only in our minds that we are separate from the rest of the world” – Psychologist Gay Luce

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

What’s going to happen? Believe…

I sat here listening to the contemporary song by Jekalyn Carr, and what caught my attention was the chorus where she repetitively sings: It’s Going to Happen.

I turned that same phrase over and over in my mind… It’s going to happen… It’s going to happen… It’s going to happen.

Some may say that it’s easy for the talented songstress to have such optimism because of her youth. And others may wonder incredulously, how could she sing that a statement with such certainty?

But I challenge you to pause for a moment and consider, how successful, how productive, and how fulfilled you would be if you wholeheartedly believed your dreams, your desires, and your purpose was a certainty!

Just imagine, with me, a life where you were lucky enough to do what feels good to your heart, and right with your soul… Now let’s go one step further…

What if I told you: That life is attainable. That life is possible. And you don’t need luck to have it!

All you have to do – right where you are, in whatever current situation you are, start to speak what positive blessings you want to come into your life. But you can’t just voice these desires as a passing thought. You have to believe it! When you believe in it, it shall come to pass…

Remember it’s going to happen – but will you have the courage and audacity to believe it?

The choice is yours…

What is the ‘it’ that you’re waiting on? Visualize it, as if it were already a reality! And then take baby steps towards manifesting that vision.

Here are three quotes to encourage you on the path of choosing to believe that your IT, is going to happen!

  • “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
  • “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it” – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
  • “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Start to believe in the impossible, that which does not yet exist – for that vision is merely the beginning of wonderful adventures that await YOU!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

God: Am I safe?

This morning I woke up and had a desire to hear Vickie Winan’s contemporary gospel song “Safe In His Arms”. Not sure why that song dropped into my spirit, but this often happens to me. Seemingly out of nowhere I will have a strong urge to listen to a certain tune.

As the melody streamed out of my laptop, I initially began to dance as I was enveloped by Vickie’s beautiful voice. However, in the middle of a movement I stopped when she bellowed the phrase “when the storms of life come raging, he’s going to hide me”. It was as if I were frozen and stuck in that position. I stared at myself in the mirror and I started to go down memory lane. And I was saddened as thought after thought revealed storms that not only came raging but they left me devastated!

I began to wonder: Where were YOU God when I was struggling, when I was floundering, and when I was failing? It wasn’t the angry tirade of a disobedient child, but it was an incessant barrage of questions, as I attempted to reconcile the words of the song with the reality of my life.

The song said God would hide me and shelter me amidst all the calamities. Yet it seemed that I had been knocked down by wave after wave in the sea of life.

But do you know what came to me in the midst of my questioning? God’s answer came.

Me: God you’re supposed to hide me, but I got hurt; what happened?

God: Sweet Donna, I did hide you. You see the devil wasn’t trying to hurt you. The devil was trying to TAKE YOU OUT! Terminate you.

After God’s response all I could do was stand in silence. I had never thought about it that way. I had lost much, but it’s true that I could have lost so much more! And even more amazing is that all I have lost, God intends to restore it back! So much so that the overflow shall run over.

I share this hoping to encourage you that no matter what you’re going through or have been through – don’t quit!

  • If you just keep striving, you will make it. There are no assurances in life, but if you never stop that guarantees you will eventually finish the race.
  • And, never take for granted that things could ALWAYS be worse! So be thankful for what you have, trusting that anything you’ve lost will be returned on to you.

TRUST

BELIEVE

EXPECT

RECEIVE

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Healed Hearts in 2015

It was an interesting day. I had three different people thank me for my blog posts. While I was humbled and appreciative of their feedback, it was the phrase “thank you for allowing God to use you” that caught my attention. Those who know me know I don’t believe in random coincidences, and the repetitiveness of the message struck me, as this is more than just a fluke of nature. So I decided to think a bit more about their choice of words…

Thank you for allowing God to use you…

It seemed that they viewed me as a messenger conveying something from God through my blog. That’s a pretty awesome confirmation, as the focus of my message is always to share something that will inspire, uplift, and spread some love. However, as a writer you’re not always sure if you hit the mark, until you hear the reactions from the receiver of your words. It felt nice to be acknowledged – I was doing something positive and worthwhile. But even larger than that, I was doing something that people could see God from within me. Now that, for me, was mind blowing!

It blew my mind because my spiritual walk has not been a straight and narrow path. There have been many twists and turns, even some days where I wondered if God had forgotten me. But then the tide began to change, and with one touch I could feel God turning my life around. The shift was so GREAT that it prompted me to start penning my memoir; a memoir that I am still in the process of writing.

At times I wondered why did God seem to overlook me in one season, but then in the next I can so clearly feel God’s presence all around me and within me? And then, I came across a chapter in the Stormie Omartian book that talked about hardened hearts. She explained that God needs our hearts to be softened.

Wow… I wondered to myself “could it be that my heart had been hardened before?” Then I reflected on all of the hurts, disappointments, broken promises, lies, and all the other negative encounters I’ve endured. Yes, it would seem that I had sealed off my heart to protect myself from further injury. However, once I started to open myself back up – to seek God and to love God, it made it a lot easier to heal from everything I had endured. And I guess that why God can now use me.

My hope, for you, is that whatever blockages, whatever has happened to you that keeps you closed off and protecting yourself from hurt – I pray that 2015 is the year that you are healed from it. For in your healing, you will then allow God to make you a vessel of his message, so that you might then go out and bring hope, light, and inspiration to someone else.

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂

Your emotional imprint… What’s your impact?

I sit here shedding tears… yet AGAIN…

Why am I crying? Well, I received yet another confirmation that this journey I have been on was not for me…

Why would that make me cry? Because it was God reminding me yet again “fret not child”, for God sees and knows all, and the battle is NOT Mine. It was also a validation that the struggles I have endured, the pain that wouldn’t go away, and the doubt – oh the doubt, none of it was in vain. It will ALL, and I mean all – be used for good. Good that will help release, free, and uplift others. And, good that will result in overflow to bless my loved ones and little ole’ me!

So what was the trigger that prompted this teary entry?

I received an email from a dance mentor of mine. She was responding to my email where I informed her that I wouldn’t be able to complete the dance minister training program because the rule was to choose the dance program OR the writing program. And I chose writing… not because I see myself as a writer, but because I prayed about it and everything within my soul said this is the season for my writing to be released!

I sat there reading her response and I saw the words

“… Going through EITI (dance program) would have been for YOU but going through EIAI (writing program) is for someone who needs to read your story and whose deliverance is captured within the lines that you are penning even now”.

Her words hit the nail on the head and captured the weighty sacrifice I had made. Not only in having to choose between the two programs, but also in the many things I gave up on this quest to emotionally heal. Here was my mentor restating what I knew, that the things we experience in life are often not for us. Many times it’s so we can go through it and then help someone ELSE!

This reminder that my life is mine yet at the same time it is not mine is mind-boggling. But it’s true… we each live to impact one another. We, however, have the choice of whether that impact will be positive and encouraging, or negative and defeating.

What imprint are you leaving on this world? What imprint are you teaching your children to leave upon this world? Have you taught them the power of sacrifice? Do they know how to give, just because, and not look to receive in return? Do you live by these same ideals?

I will leave you with a quote by William Shakespeare: “how far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world”