Faith in the Next Step…

This morning I listened to a song called ‘Lord You’re Mighty’ by a group called Youthful Praise. The lyrics continue to echo in my head as they repeatedly chant: “Lord you’re mighty”…

There are so many reasons that I could cosign with that tune, but right now I just want to hone in on one point – the Lord is MIGHTY because GOD IS EVERYWHERE! I mean literally everywhere! Just look for God in the church and out of the church. You will find God in the flight of the birds and the waving of the trees. God is even on our jobs and in our neighborhoods.

You may be wondering why I’m on this God Love Fest? Well… it’s because this weekend I was struck by the seemingly random yet synchronous events of life! Only GOD could take the seemingly accidental happenings of life and string it together so that it reveals a little bit more about this journey called life.

Let me share what happened.

On Friday, of last week, I decided to participate in a webinar on total body health. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a health nut and the eternal nerd, so I am always seeking to learn something new! While listening to the webinar, the speaker shared that true health involves not only physical health but also mental and spiritual health. She went on to elaborate that health begins with a desire to be healthy and even when we don’t know the next step we have to trust that our desire will guide us in the direction of the information that we seek.

Now fast forward a few days… I was spending some time at my sister’s house and decided to peruse her bookshelf. My fingers for whatever reason stopped on a book entitled The Magic in the Extra Mile by Larry DiAngi. Wasn’t familiar with author, nor his work but for some odd reason I decided to skim through his book. As I peered into the pages, reading some but scanning most, my eyes fell upon these words:

YOU WILL KNOW THE NEXT STEP

How odd! The phrasing of the words in the book was almost identical to the words spoken in the webinar.

It was as if those particular words were being repeated because it was intended for me to not only receive that message but to do something with it!

I now share these same words with you hoping that they inspire you to trust your life path, trust the journey, trust God to give you the next step!

Believe and never stop…

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

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4th of JULY reflections – More than hamburgers, hotdogs, & fireworks!

It’s another 4th of July…

As I reflect on this day known for barbecues, time with the family, and being poolside, my mind wanders. Independence – freedom – the pursuit of happiness. It’s quite ironic that a few days ago I was reflecting on the season of life that I am in. It is a period where I am finally and truly open to change, growth, and releasing the past! So this year is a bit special. July 4th will not only be a time for remembering the freedoms fought for and that we’re still striving for, but it will also signify a turning point my life.

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Moving on to the new can be a very daunting and overwhelming task! Most may opt to remain with the familiar. However happiness, true happiness can only be obtained when we are free – when we allow ourselves the chance to seek the things that encourage our inner passions, creativity, and spirit.

This Independence Day I am channeling the sage wisdom and bravery of my ancestors to walk courageously into happiness!

So what is the first step on the path to happiness?

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It is letting go of the past hurts, pains, and even regrets… this first step is often the HARDEST but it is necessary!

I give myself permission to be happy

I give myself permission to be free

I give myself permission to be whole

I forgive those who have hurt me and …

I liberate myself from feeling any further self-blame that I allowed them to hurt me

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I am eager to see the amazing new things that will walk into my life because I am a new me. Marriage, babies, publishing books, and amassing wealth… an exciting time is on the horizon, indeed!

Well that’s my Independence story, what’s yours? What are you focused on this Fourth of July? Will you take a moment to reflect on what new pursuits will add flavor to your own life?

I hope you do!

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Amen”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How deep are your roots? Will you quit or will you persevere?

Have you ever stopped to reflect back on your life?

April and May of 2015 were really tough months for me. There were many moments of doubts and questions about the path of life I had chosen. Some of the questions arose because this year marked 10 years gone by since the Commencement ceremonies for my doctoral degree. I silently wondered why life seemed so vastly different from how I imagined it would be. The things I pined for in 2005 were in such stark contrast to the wishes of 2015…

I questioned: How did life evolve in the way that it had? And as I glanced around at my struggles of present day I wondered why was my health failing, debt accumulating, and life seeming to move on forward without me?

This can’t be the life of a child of God! Wasn’t I promised abundance, dominion, and lands of milk and honey? If I am blessed, shouldn’t my life reflect that? I started to become so disheartened at the efforts I’ve made to create the life I wanted. The seeds I had planted appeared to be in vain, so shouldn’t I JUST QUIT?

And then I came across a quote by Evangelist Billy Graham:

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”

That quote was a necessary reminder to me that being a Christian does not mean I won’t have struggles. In fact, it appears the closer I strive to follow God’s word the more obstacles that seem to cross my path. However, I am encouraged by the knowledge that I am not on this journey alone. God promised to never leave, nor forsake me!

It was from this place of feeling encouraged that I decided to research the idea of bearing fruit.

I found an image that mentioned the importance of planting roots. take-root-bear-fruit-11-638

After seeing that picture, it was as if a light bulb turned on. Of course! It makes sense that the deeper the roots – the greater, the stronger, the more lush the fruit. I realized that this same idea could be applied to my life… I was dreaming BIG, shooting for the stars – which meant it would take time, energy, and effort to plant sturdy roots.

Although we live in a world of instant gratification… I remind myself that the works of God are often not instantaneous and as Christians we must toil, work, endure, and persevere despite what is momentarily seen.

So although my dreams have not yet happened, I trust that if I don’t quit – I shall one day bear fruit and reap the benefits of my labor!

Will you have the courage to plant deep roots within your own life?

Which dream will you pursue without quitting?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

HANGING by a thread… In Life and Laundry…

My task this morning was to do the laundry. The bag overflowing with clothes cued me that this routine chore was overdue. I grabbed the detergent, clutched the laundry bag, and walked out. I took several steps in the direction of my car, but realized that the bag may not survive the entire trip. It was literally hanging by a thread!

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The irony of my current situation was that at various points in the last month, I felt like I was hanging by a proverbial thread.

There were many days during the months of May and June where I felt frustrated, disappointed, and fed up! Maybe it was the agony of waiting for dreams deferred to come true. Or maybe it was that wicked bout of food poisoning followed by a week of bronchial wracked coughs. Whatever it was, I knew I felt like quitting – just throwing in the towel.

But I was rescued by a consistent support team of family and friends, who continued to believe in me even when my vision became so foggy that I could no longer believe in myself… With their encouragement I forged ahead and I began to find the strength to attend to the things I had sorely neglected during my weeks of pity, agony, illness, and despair.

There were many things I learned during this time of instability, but the greatest lesson: even superheroes need a little help. Even though I was courageous, strong, and determined – I could allow myself to lean on those I trust. My ultimate success did not need to be won by “doing it myself.”

Accepting this lesson was a monumental step for me, as I always prided myself for doing things my way, independently and without the assistance of others. However, I’ve come to realize that the truly successful don’t make it to the top because of sole might. Instead their journey was made possible because of knowing when and whom to reach out to for help.

The Greek philosopher Plato is quoted as stating: “people are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

It’s nice to know that in this season of my life wracked with difficulties, I am planted amongst a group of family and friends determined to see me thrive!

If you too can’t make that same assertion, it’s time to reassess those you’ve surrounded yourself with…

Just in case you’re wondering, the laundry bag made it – and so did I. But I decided to make a slight detour, on the way to the Laundromat, to buy a new bag…

Continue to grow, continue to expect, continue to believe…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Tired of Waiting? Me Too! No Patience? Me Either!

This week God has been teaching me a lesson on Delays, Patience, and TRUST!

You see I have been wracked with feelings of unrest because I want to see the fruits of my labor. Just imagine you work at something with everything you’ve got and it doesn’t lead to immediate results, definitely enough to cause you a few gray hairs, that is of the hair that you haven’t already pulled out in frustration!

Well, that’s where I’ve been – in a place of waiting. Delayed in a holding pattern. Just like a plane during heavy traffic, I’m sitting on the tarmac waiting for air traffic control to give me the go-a-head. But alas the signal has not yet to come.

For the past 4 days this has been me. This morning though, I had a thought… this morning instead of praying for the things I desire and are waiting on, this morning I would pray that God give me greater faith so that I might find peace while in purgatory. After that prayer I made an important call to a potential literary agent and guess what was the result? You guessed it – MORE waiting! I hung up the phone with her words “can you wait two more weeks” ringing in my ears! I started to feel somewhat downtrodden as her words seemed to mock me and taunt me with MORE waiting… and then I had the thought…

Delay does not mean Denial…

And I could finally see the purpose to the last few days. This period of waiting was prodding me to have greater confidence about my path, this process, and the finish line!

In the midst of all of this inner turbulence during the last few days, God reminded me that even delays have their purpose. Feels good to know that God hasn’t forgotten me, and my waiting is not in vain.

In the words of Poet Friedrich Nietzsche: “On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow

So have you ever been delayed by God? How did you handle the waiting? Or if you’re waiting now, what are you doing with this time? Share your thoughts.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser.

Sometimes life is such a lonely journey because you are the only one traveling your particular course… family, friends, loved ones can listen, empathize, and attempt to relate but have you ever had a moment where that was just not enough?

Well last night I was having one of those evenings…

I am in the midst of following a path that I believe I was destined to follow, but sometimes staying on the path is hard because of obstacles, challenges, and setbacks. Each difficulty seems to beg the question:

– Maybe you’re not on the right path Donna?

And the follow up to that question, is the thought:

– If you’re going in the right direction, why haven’t you reaped rewards for your efforts, by now?

Those questions, those doubts, the fears make it so tempting to give in, to turn back, and to give up. But if I did that then I would be sealing the coffin on my fate. Quitting is a guaranteed loss, whereas to persevere means I continue to put myself in position to win!

Yet I was still at a loss – my options seemed to be 1) continue to sacrifice and struggle while chasing dreams that seem so far-fetched and out of reach or 2) take the more realistic approach, play it safe, and take the well intentioned advice to give up my dreams…

Neither option seemed to be appealing and I went to bed with a heavy heart; a heart full of hurt that had no more tears because too many were shed during the day.

As I closed my eyes I had the final thought: “the advice they’re all giving won’t work because I’ve been doing it already. I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I’ve read. I attend church. I do self-care activities. I’ve waited. I’ve done everything humanly possible, so now what?” And then I remembered the line from Donnie McClurkin’s famous song Stand: “after you’ve done all you can, you just STAND!”

And as if to confirm that I am on the right track, this morning still needing some encouragement I decided to read another dream chasers story. Figured they too had experienced moments of doubt. Thought their story might inspire me. I Google’d ‘Tyler Perry and Quit Your Dreams’ and stumbled upon a 2008 post from him that said:

I am a dreamer and sometimes when you have dreams you are met with obstacles, and your dreams will start to fade. But what I’ve found is that when God has given you a dream, no matter what it is, when you want to give up and believing becomes hard, and when you can’t go any further, the dream itself will start to believe for you. The dream itself will start to carry you through with visions and hope and encouragement.

So, the new mantra for Tyler Perry Studios is “A Place Where Dreams Believe…” Don’t worry if you’re met with opposition on your path to your goals. When you’ve done all you can, stand and surrender. God will allow your dream to motivate you.

What confirmation for me that I was indeed on the right track. That others before me had felt the same moments of doubt and questioning. And to continue on my path means that in the end I will WIN!

So I intend to STAND.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Do Superheroes exist? Modern day powers: Intuition and Faith

Is seeing really believing? Or is our vision the last sense to know?

I pondered these questions after reading an article about 11 creatures that possess a SIXTH SENSE. Sea turtles measure the Earth’s magnetic field in order to locate their home, Bats use ultrasound to “view” their surroundings, and Salmon use their sense of smell to identify their stream of water. It would seem that if these creatures have superhero like powers, shouldn’t WE?

Some scientists argue that we DO have a sixth sense, often referred to as our instinct or intuition (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Scientific-Facts-About-Intuition-Developing-Intuition). I’ve always wondered about intuition. Seems like a valid concept, as there has been moments I “felt” an occurrence before it even happened. However, one recent afternoon in particular is most memorable.

A popular blogger that I follow posted an announcement about a friend’s upcoming free webinar. I decided to participate in the talk, which was focused on fertility and conception. The information shared was interesting and it was quite relaxing to join in on the five-minute group meditation time. Although I am not a stranger to the practice of meditation, this session was strikingly different!

To begin – the webinar facilitator mentioned that while meditating “you may see a symbol. Just notice it, and then continue to focus on your breathing.” When prompted, I closed my eyes, relaxed my muscles, and focused on my breathing.

Breathe in – Breathe out

Breathe in – Breathe out

A few minutes passed and then I saw 3 symbols: a cross, an ankh, and a heart. Seeing the cross made sense because my faith is an important aspect of ME. Even the heart made sense because it represents love. But the ankh… why did I see an ankh?

After the session was complete, I decided to Google the mysterious symbol. And guess what I discovered? The ankh is an Egyptian symbol often seen in the hands of a God or Goddess and believed to represent life, conception, and immortality.

Reading the definition of the ankh blew me AWAY! There I was meditating during a conception webinar, I see a symbol that I had no prior understanding of its meaning, and I later discover that the symbol represents the very topic I was listening to!

Call it a strange coincidence or a random occurrence. But I see it as divine prophecy of the day in the future when I shall conceive a child. How can I believe this? Well, because I have faith in “things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

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

You are a potter, life is clay… What shall you make of it?

I was recently listening to Ruben Studdard’s song “I Need An Angel.” I’ve always liked that song, but on this day my attention gravitated to these words:

Take me – Shake me – Mold Me – Change Me – Teach Me – Fill Me – Save me…

Those particular lyrics echoed in my mind as I pondered what things did I want God to change in me… Hmmm… that was a tough decision because I finally feel I am on the right path. However, if you were able to pin me down about 7 years ago, I would have had a LONG laundry list of items that I wanted God to correct!

But isn’t that the beauty of life. If we don’t like the direction it is going in, we have the ultimate power to change it! No we can’t change others and no we can’t always change our immediate circumstances, be if we START with making small changes within ourselves, it Will ultimately SHIFT EVERY Thing around us!

How awesome is that! That God gave us the ability to have choice and power to create life!

Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves – Rollo May, Psychologist

A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself – James Allen, Writer

Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character – Samuel Butler, Author 

I think it’s pretty exciting to have that much freedom and influence over the life that we live. But I will admit it’s also pretty scary to have that much responsibility. To know that all of our choices: big and small, affect the state of our existence.

The first 30 years of my life I took for granted our ability to affect the life that we live. However, around age 30 I had a great realization! But I had to spend the next 10 years cleaning up the mess that I made in my 20s! Now that I’m 40, I intend to use the learned lessons to create the life I’ve always wanted… And I’m already in the process of doing just that!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Believe it UNTIL you achieve it and receive it

The saying “fake it until you make it” has become quite pertinent to this phase of my life!

I decided to take on a new professional role. Although there is much that I know about my field, there is A LOT that I do not now about this particular position.

Earlier in my career the lack of certainty would probably have driven me nuts. However, I have developed an unshakeable confidence in myself. A self-assurance that allows me to quite comfortably say, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I intend to find out”. Resourcefulness… it is indeed a useful tool – one that is necessary if you are going to have any success and move from faking it to actually making it.

But, I’ve been asked, on countless occasions, “How are you able to be so resourceful?” It would seem that this is the common question because so many people wonder, doubt, and fear striking out and trying a new thing. Often, people allow this type of thinking to keep them stuck, complacent, and stagnant. Not Me!

  • I am a need to know person – I am always in pursuit of knowledge and understanding. It is this desire to grasp new information that propels me forward despite any thoughts of doubt
  • There is also a philosophy that I live by – that I think trumps “fake it until you make it”. That philosophy is “Believe until you receive” or “Believe until you achieve”. Basically the idea is that I won’t stop going after something until I have attained it.

So my openness to new ideas and my steadfast belief in a particular goal, is the formula I am using on my path to success. And I believe my method shall work, for I have seen evidence of its effectiveness. One such example I reflected on recently, are the new births that have recently occurred. Let me explain.

Within the past 12 months, I have had over 10 girlfriends give birth to a newborn. Blessings abound! However, what is particularly miraculous about this is that at least half of them gave birth to their first child, a child that they were greatly anticipating. Each of these women had an idea that they steadfastly believed in and continued to pursue until it manifested.

I believe we can extrapolate this example and apply it to just about any life situation.

What new idea will you birth in 2015? Will you choose to believe it so much that it has no choice but to become a reality for you?

For me personally, my eyes are set on completing and publishing my book, acclimating to my new job, and starting my own family.

What are you set on accomplishing in 2015?

Remember Believe it UNTIL you achieve it and receive it!

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂