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/

Just keep going… even through fire!

Last week had to be one of the worst weeks I’ve had in a really long time. It was busy, disorganized, frustrating, and just chaotic! Maybe I was feeling this way because I took on a new position at work. Or maybe my feelings could be attributed to the other tasks that I juggle in my free time: dance, mommy duties, family/friend prayer circles, and writing. This was also the same week that saw me kneeling on the floor praying to God for HELP: https://donnadoctora.com/2015/01/30/on-the-job-stress-brought-to-my-knees/

Not sure why, but I do know that by the close of the week I was emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent. As the weekend rolled in it took everything within me just to be able to roll out of the bed.

Eyelids too heavy to open

Lower back sore with tension

My spirit feeling depleted

Feeling beat up and beat down…

But then I remembered something that my dance ministry leader shared with the class. She said: “some of us are anointed to fight the fires of hell”. As I read that short, simple line I could feel chills throughout my body. That one phrase conveyed not only the life journey I had been on, but it also described to a “T” what I was feeling as a result of last week!

I was feeling beat up, spent – because I had been through hell. And as with any good fight, you will have the scars and injuries to prove your battle woes.

However, there is GOOD NEWS…

Even though that was the week I had – I made it through! I felt like quitting, I felt overwhelmed, and I felt like throwing in the towel. But I didn’t… and I MADE IT!

It’s a new week… I feel a renewed sense of hope, courage, and strength…

I guess sometimes we just have to be fearless enough to keep going, NO MATTER WHAT! Keep going, even if that means fighting through strife, difficulty, and struggle.

Here are a few quotes to encourage you to just keep going:

  • “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” – Winston Churchill
  • “I’m not the richest, smartest, or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going, going, going” – Sylvester Stallone
  • “You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow ahead” – George Lucas

May you be encouraged this new week! You WILL MAKE IT!

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

Speak life… What are you thinking and saying?

It’s often been said that you have to “think positive”. And I agree with that sentiment because thoughts become feelings and feelings become actions and actions become what is your reality. So there is a direct link between the things that we think about and what occurs in life.

However, have you ever stopped to think about your thinking?

What do you spend most of your time pondering about?

If you take a survey of your inner mental activity, you will be amazed to see that it will give you a clear picture of the person you are and the direction that your life is moving in…

So if you ever find yourself in a place, in life, where you desire change to occur – it first starts within your mind! Start working to change what you think!

A few things to help you shift your thoughts:

  • Be mindful of what you read and if you’re not a “reader” – you need to begin! Reading feeds the mind
  • Be mindful of what you watch via the internet and/or television
  • Be mindful of the company you keep, as the thoughts of others can be infectious. Negative thinkers can influence how you think about life
  • Remember the power of the tongue

I think #4 is SO important, that I want to spend more time talking about it.

The power of the tongue, what exactly does that mean? It refers to the ability for us to speak things into existence. If you speak positively, then that is likely where your thoughts and focus with shift. By the same token, if you’re a naysayer, doubter, or worrier, then the odds are you’re probably talking about and thinking about the obstacles, struggles, and problems.

You need to be more aware of the things you say or speak over yourself and your life. For me, I speak positivity because it encourages me, it reinforces positive beliefs about self, it refuels my energy tank so that I can persevere, and it confirms what God already told me – that his children are beloved, beautiful, and accepted in spite of their flaws!

So what positive things will you begin speaking over your life?

  • I proclaim that I shall be a published author
  • I assert that I will be seen as a social-emotional leader
  • I anticipate that my writings will provide emotional and social healing to those that it touches
  • And I expect to enjoy my future roles of biological mother and wife

What positive words and thoughts will you start to proclaim, assert, anticipate, and expect in your own life?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Not by random chance or coincidence … God is a God of Order…

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the fact that God is a God of order. You may be wondering, what do I mean by that… well the God we serve believes in arranging things, providing direction, and being a source of stability for us. Don’t believe me – just check out 1 Corinthians 14:33 and you’ll see that we serve a God of order.

Order was on my mind one morning, as I said a prayer for a friend who is at a crossroads and is questioning her decisions. Her words were “pray for me Donna, as I am feeling confused and just unsure about the choice I have to make”. As soon as the request left her mouth, I immediately knew I needed to send a prayer up on her behalf, because God would respond by providing her with instructions that would bring clarity to the confusion and order to the lack of certainty.

I said the prayer and went along my merry way.

A few hours later I found myself meeting with two illustrators, one a professor and the other her student. I had located the professor through her university bio. We chose a date and time to conduct in person introductions and for me to provide them with an understanding of the project to illustrate. They were both quite nice, engaging, and seemed eager to learn about my children’s biblical book idea. As I shared the proposed topics, they expressed interest and provided positive feedback about the focus I was taking. However, it wasn’t their demeanor or even their eagerness to take on the project that blew me away. What caught my attention was when the student expressed that her mother is a minister, and she wished that she had a book like mine when she was growing up. And then I was again flabbergasted that the professor began sharing that she’s Christian and can see herself reading such a book to her two young children.

So why did it amaze me that both the professor and student proclaimed themselves as Christians? Because I had contacted them in what I thought was a random fashion. However, I soon realized that our meeting was not by chance – it was by design. God’s design… And there is it was… A perfect example of my initial point…

We serve a God of order.

When God does something it will bring clarity, it will bring peace, it will make sense, and it will seemingly just “fall into place”.

So if you have big dreams and there are things you desire to do…

First be sure that it’s your purpose, because if it’s your purpose, God will bring order and allow it to come true.

Second, don’t be afraid to step out and just try! Because, God will bless your attempts – when you are doing what you’ve been blessed and called to do.

And lastly, have a little faith in the vision and dreams that God has given you.

So remember, God given purpose, Step out and try, and finally Have a little faith.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

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 🙂

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 🙂

Be gone negativity… Hello abundant life.

In this season of my life I have found myself surrounded by prayer.

I have continued the ongoing Morning Prayer circle with two girlfriends and I decided to join in on the 30-day Evening Prayer led by an aunt. Who would have thought that I would be spending so much time engaged in corporate prayer?

I grew up in the church and always believed in God, but never thought of myself as “one of those Christians”. I initiated neither opportunity. All I did was be responsive when it was laid on my doorstep. So, this is where I find myself, prayer all around me.

And guess what… it has been an eye opening experience, thus far. It appears as if God is preparing me for a new assignment. Therefore, the prayer coming from all sides seems to be God’s way of getting me ready for all that is coming. In the King James Version of the Bible there is a verse that states: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). This verse talks about the need to remain alert, be ready for action, demonstrate self-control, and think clearly. Basically you need to be “on point”. My increased time in prayer is doing just that. It is helping me to refocus, recharge, and remain steadfast in my pursuit of ALL that God has promised to me.

Within my prayer group discussions I have learned and shared a great deal thus far, but one particular prayer topic stands out in my mind. It was during the previous week, while reading for the evening prayer group, I came across a chapter entitled “Pray as Though Your Life Depends On It”… This chapter from Stormie Omartian’s book was a great reminder that prayer is indeed a lifeline connection, to God – the giver of earthly and eternal life.

Often we all think about God when life is called into question – so when we are near death. However, if we thought about God during our earthly comings and goings, we’d live a more fruitful, prosperous, and loving existence. And that is where I am focused in 2015. The question I will ask myself all year is – how can I live a life that is more abundantly rich, full, and gratifying?

I expect that I shall continue to grow and be stretched, as I strive for a life that is plentiful. But there are two immediate things that I know, right now, will support an abundant life:

  • I refuse to engage in negative interactions. Any and all things that attempt to bring negativity my way, I immediately know that is NOT of God, so why engage – I just say NO to the haters, naysayers, and detractors…
  • I know who I am… so while earthly validation makes my ego feel good, it is the spiritual validation that provides me a sense of rest, peace, and fulfillment

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂

What’s your unique brand?

Yesterday afternoon I was en route to my 12-year-old’s basketball game. As I enjoyed the leisurely drive, I decided to pass the time by tuning in to my favorite gospel radio station, Magic 102.5. When I turned the dial, I heard the familiar voice of the afternoon DJ, K.D. Bo. Although I have enjoyed his show on previous occasions, there was something particularly attention grabbing during that afternoon’s show. K. D. said:

Be faithful to the brand God placed in you – and you too will be successful

His point seemed to highlight a few key things:

  • We each are given something unique from God
  • The gifts and talents we are given have the potential to make a significant impact and contribution
  • If we turn inward, we will discover a pure talent that is available to be tapped into

This was a very timely message for me, as I continue this journey of writing my memoir. At times, during the creative process, it is so easy to wonder “is what I have to say relevant”, “will anyone care”, and “do I have enough of what it takes to be truly be successful”? When the doubts begin to creep up, it can serve as a distraction to getting the task done.

However, K. D Bo’s message was a reminder that because we each have a unique, and valuable contribution to make, that book, that business, that idea can truly only be implemented by YOU… So I will steadfastly continue on my quest to not only complete but to also publish my first book.

What’s very interesting about this is that I am in the midst of a spiritual fast. I decided to give up something desired for 66 days in order to demonstrate my faithfulness in knowing God will answer earnest prayers. You won’t believe what I’m giving up… I decided to abstain from all carnal activities for more than two months. And do you know why I am enduring this major sacrifice? It is to request that God provide me with endurance and completion; the strength, determination, and conviction to finish the work that I began.

So how ironic but fitting that the radio message would provide me the needed encouragement to continue.

I intend to press on until I succeed, knowing that my story can only be told by me – and so what I have to say is unique, divinely gifted, and destined to make me fruitful.

What gifts/talents were you gifted? Will you decide to unearth and tap into the potential within, this year?

The world is awaiting YOUR contribution!

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna