A Soldier’s Testimony: Answering God’s Call

Yesterday morning I trembled from the sheer weight of my tears; I was driving and crying, not the safest way to travel. But I couldn’t help myself…

You see… I was overcome with emotion, as I listened to ‘We Magnify Your Name’ by Lecresia Campbell. It’s not my first time hearing the song, and it’s not my first time shedding tears to the lyrics of this tune. Yet this morning was different. As I hummed along with the songstress, I thought about the POWER of God. And I thought about how I want to share with others the magnitude of God’s force that I feel within me. I reflected on my desire to touch the lives of others with this great energy.

To let all of that pour out through dance would be such an amazing testimony to God. Unknown

As I drove and fully acknowledged that I was created to bring forth such a testimony, the tears fell. And as the stream of tears lined my face, I distinctly felt the spirit of the Lord ask me “are you ready?”

Am I ready God? Am I? You tell me, I replied…

The Lord was asking this question, at this juncture because I was finally admitting to myself that I have been running from God my whole entire life. I didn’t want to be the strong warrior he created me to be. Correction, I didn’t believe I could be the strong warrior he created me to be.

Yet every inch of me has always gravitated to things of strength from my fascination with the birds of prey science exhibit in elementary school to my young girl yearnings to be Queen Elizabeth, She-rah, Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen, and even Joan of Ark! These were weird fantasies for a budding girl, yet somehow it was as if I always knew I was made to be a soldier.

But, and this is a huge but… life beat me down. Life weighed me down. And though my spirit yearned to soar, I was overcome by the dampening weight of depression and ravaged by the unceasing angst of anxiety.

So how, God? How could this broken me be useful, much less strong, was the question I pondered for years?

And because I had no answer, I ran. I ran from answering God’s call on my life. I refused to surrender, because to surrender would mean to walk in the vision God had for me – that I am strong!

But God is faithful. God is omnipotent. God is all knowing. He knew what I was made of, he knew I would endure, he knew I would stumble but not crumble under the pressures of life.

And so there I was, in my car, listening to We Magnify Your Name… and God asked “are you ready?”

Who knew that after 40 years, I would be able to answer… Yes… Yes God I’m ready.

This humble servant is ready to don the mantle you had prepared for her, in the beginning. I am no longer afraid of the awesome power of you that shall pour out of me. Use me God.

Amen…

God I don’t want to wait… Surviving the Incubation period.

It’s been said that you have to expect great things in order for them to happen… In other words, our life unfolds because of what we anticipate! Expectations are the root because expectations guide our actions, and our actions then lead to various consequences or results. This idea comes from the Law of Cause and Effect. This same concept is illustrated in science and spirituality. What you do will lead to various results…

But here comes the dilemma! Those results are NOT always spontaneous! Sigh…

This is a dilemma because most of us do things – wanting to see the CHANGE NOW! Sometimes I wanted and needed the change even quicker than NOW. How about RIGHT NOW!

Often when my actions are not leading to desired consequences, I begin to doubt, question, and contemplate faltering! What’s the point, I wonder. It seems to be a waste of time to continue doing something that isn’t working, right?

WRONG!

I’ve had to learn, the hard way, that putting forth effort doesn’t guarantee immediate results, it just guarantees results – even if those results are delayed and slow to come.

Recently, while reading Cindy Trimm’s book Command Your Morning, she shared the idea that before manifestation there is incubation. This means before we can see the results, there is a period that we have to WAIT for the results.

I found this concept so interesting that I decided to Google the word incubation and I came across this idea:

Incubation is time set aside that substantially increases the odds of solving a problem

This was very fascinating to me because in the past I have viewed my deferred dreams as a season of frustration, limitation, and lack. However, I now have a renewed perspective.

Instead of seeing the waiting as a negative, I could rejoice in the knowledge that my waiting is preparing me to be able to tackle the obstacles on my future path, as well as give me a greater appreciation of the blessings still to come!

So if you’re like me, and you’re WAITING, on something to happen in your life; continue to do your part – don’t quit. Remember that your efforts won’t be in vain. Not only do the laws of science support your actions, but God does too! 201208130500

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

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

Needing Energy… SAME God…

I was feeling a bit melancholy this day, as I have been diligently working but still waiting to see the manifestation of my labor.

It is a hard thing to till the land but see no fruit. I began to falter and question and wonder: should I give up? Are my efforts in vain?

In the midst of my doubts I turned to a trusted loved one who reminded me that each and every action matters and is positioning me for my desired outcome. Then he reminded me that he believed in me. His convincing argument helped to bolster my flailing confidence, and it caused me to reflect on another time in life where I doubted my ability to keep going. At the time I was at the tail end of my doctoral program. I was navigating the murky waters of completing my doctoral research and wondering if I would have the energy to make it through! But I persevered and guess what? It’s been ten years since I completed that degree… and I am thankful that I didn’t quit then – so there was no way I could quit now!

I shed a few tears of frustration and reminded myself that if my loved one believed in me, then I should too. I gathered up my courage, dug down deep to unearth some resolve, and sent a prayer up to heaven –

God I just need a sign… please let me know that I’m on the right track.

Later that evening the sign came. I participated in a webinar and the facilitator stated that people should “Stop looking at the ending and celebrate where you are right now!” That was a great reminder for me, because that perspective helped me to see that I was defining the fruit of my labor as the finish line or completion of the goal. But I needed to take a step back and appreciate all of the little things – all of the baby steps that I’ve been taking.

This quote from David A. Bednar also served as a helpful reminder to me about the importance of stepping back and appreciating what we have been given in each moment, instead of waiting for a future moment to come:

Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals” Former president of Brigham Young University

So I realized that I needed to take stock of the strides I had already made! And I also realized what’s the sense in worrying when I know that I serve a God who keeps his promise. As Gospel artist Tye Tribbett sings: God is the SAME GOD! So the God who saw we me through my journey to finish my doctoral program is the same God who will see me through to my next level.

I hope whenever you face moments of doubt and despair, you too will take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come and be reminded that the SAME GOD will see you through each and every time.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Your BREAKthrough… Thrive…

Are you waiting on a BREAK through?

In the bible there is a verse that talks about God TRANSFORMING sadness. Psalm 30:11 states: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

What I LOVE about this verse, is that it reminds us of two important lessons.

The first lesson is that though life is often plagued with struggles and strife, we can find PEACE amidst the chaos. The ability to dance or praise in the middle of mourning or sadness, would suggest one has the ability to feel GOOD no matter the external circumstance. How’s that possible, you may wonder? Well… Our feelings are not caused by the things that happen to us instead our feelings are chosen by us in response to the things that happen to us. In other words, we have a CHOICE. We can choose distress or ease? We can choose anger or calm? We can choose sadness or happiness? We make these choices by deciding what to concentrate on and what to give our attention to. You want to feel good, you want a sense of peace – choose that, even when you find yourself in the middle of a challenge or adversity.

The second lesson is that all situations can be turned around. No matter how bleak or hopeless a circumstance appears, it’s not over until it’s actually over or you quit. So adopt an attitude of persistence and perseverance. Be ENCOURAGED that you will make it through and be ready to remind yourself of this, on those days when it just seems impossible! I personally have experienced many situations that seemed hopeless, yet here I still stand. And my ability to keep going motivated me to share my story in my soon to be published memoir (Shedding Perfection: A Psychologist’s Journey to Self-healing). However, we each have a story. We each can have the conviction to keep going, we just need to be reminded of it, from time to time.

I want to leave you with a final word from a song that I came upon by happenstance. I was at the gym, my usual Sunday spot since I am raising a boy that loves basketball! As we were preparing to leave I hear on the radio these words ”we were made to thrive”. I immediately stop in my tracks so that I can Google the source of the lyrics. It is a song by Casting Crowns. When you get a moment, you may want to check it out… It is a great reminder that in this life we are living – breakthroughs are possible! Joy is possible! Transformation is possible!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Find and Work your Purpose

Purpose is the reason for one’s life. It’s often said that our purpose on earth is to help one another. There are an infinite number of ways to help. But we are all different. Therefore, our unique purpose is identified when we find our individual way of helping others.

Purpose is such a central piece of who we are that most of us spend life trying to identify our purpose.

Do you know your purpose?

Do you know what special contribution you were created to do in order to help others?

If you’re wondering how to identify your purpose, the first place to start is to consider your gifts. For when we find a way to use our talents to help others, we have discovered our purpose.

Here are a few quotes on the idea of purpose:

  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others – Philosopher Albert Schweitzer
  • I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation – Pastor Joel Osteen
  • I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste – Author Srikumar S. Rao

I mentioned earlier that identifying one’s purpose is an important part of life. Not only because it allows us to help others, but also because with purpose we experience an increased sense of fulfillment, joy, and peace – in day to day life.

So are you willing to discover your purpose? If you’re needing a resource to help you figure it out, take a look at this quiz from Oprah’s website: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz

This year, may you endeavor to find more fulfillment, joy, and peace in your life!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Tap into endless Creativity

I am a new blogger. Or at least I view myself as new, considering that I began consistently blogging about six months ago. For years I contemplated starting a blog, but just never got around to it. I made excuse after excuse.

I didn’t have the time

I didn’t have the energy

And even scarier, I didn’t have enough to say…

Or at least I didn’t think I’d have enough to say. I wondered things like “how will I know what to post?” or “what if I run out of topics to discuss?”

However the amazing thing is that as I write more I find increased motivation and inspiration. The more I blog, the more I have to blog about. This is the wonderful cycle I’ve found myself in…

And the best news is that creativity is infinite! So there was no need for me to fear running out of things to say. Poet Maya Angelou eloquently captured the endless fountain of inspiration in this quote: “you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.

So what’s the moral of this message? If you want more, you have to do more. If you want to be inspired, you want to achieve success, and you want to tap into your creative abilities, you just have to start. You just have to use them!

If you’re wondering how to start… just take the first step by doing something different, something new. Take a look at this quote from motivational speaker Denis Waitley: “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown

And if you’re wondering where your creativity lies, remember that we are all creative, just in different ways. As educational advisor Ken Robinson states: “you can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance

So as I end this post, I want you to remember that creativity is infinite, we are all creative, and we tap into our creative potential by stepping out and doing something new.

I am excited about life and have renewed purpose as I delve into my creativity within the areas of writing, teaching, and speaking.

What is your creative ability and what new things will you do with it this year?

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna

Forget Perfection, Be Persistent

I recently gave a presentation that went really well until… I made one mistake. I hesitated but quickly regrouped, attempting to gloss over my error. On the outside the misstep was probably not noticeable but on the inside my stomach was in knots and I continued to replay the blunder, over and over and over, in my head. While reviewing comments from participants no one seemed to notice the error, even when I pointedly asked: “so how obvious was my stutter?” No one heard it.

It was confusing, why was I fixated on something that others didn’t even seem to catch? Maybe because somewhere in my mind I have the false notion that success is equated with perfection.

However, the funny thing about success is that the “accomplished” individuals achieved their position not because of perfection but often in spite of their imperfection. For it was their mistakes that provided exposure to valuable experiences and necessary lessons.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at a few examples:

  • The American Negro Theater initially rejected Sidney Poitier. He was later was accepted into the theater and went on to become the first African American male to win an Oscar for a leading role.
  • The University of Southern California (USC) Film School denied Steven Spielberg’s application. Years later he was chosen to become an honorary alum by USC.
  • Michael Jordan’s high school varsity team rejected him when he was a sophomore.
  • Twenty-seven publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book.

And these snippets are just a few! There are many more stories of individuals who achieved greatness, only after an initial failure or setback. Their testimonies were the reminder I needed that excellence comes through persistence not perfection.

So in the end I needed to get over my mistake, and instead focus on the positive experience that I gained from doing the presentation.

How might this post help you? I hope it inspires you to persevere even when you face setbacks on the road to bringing about all of your dreams.

I’ll leave you with a final point, a quote that I came across:

“Good things come to those who work their Asses off and never give up!”

Note: if you want to read a few additional examples of successful individuals who overcame setbacks, here is the link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kimberlywang/extraordinarily-successful-people-who-failed-miserably-be#.ndBOb500j

Living my Dreams… Courageous, Determined, and Patient

I was in the midst of writing a new blog post and ran across these three quotes. Although the quotes were off the topic of the post I was crafting at that time, I had to save them and decided to share them now:

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties – Erich Fromm, Psychologist

When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go – Carol Burnett, Actress

When you have a dream that you can’t let go of, trust your instincts and pursue it. But remember: Real dreams take work, they take patience, and sometimes they require you to dig down very deep. Be sure you’re willing to do that – Harvey MacKay, Entrepreneur

All three quotes resonated with encouragement to continue pursuing my dreams! However they also provided the reminder that my dream chasing would require courage, determination to never let go, and patience. Ah patience… definitely not my strongest character trait. But at this stage of my life I am so certain about my purpose and so adamant that I am destined to make an important contribution, that I will patiently and persistently keep knocking on doors until my dreams come true.

Some may say I’m hardheaded…

Some see me as defiant…

And both are probably spot-on, but I see it as I was made for a purpose and it’s my job to bring that purpose to life.

Back at the start of 2014 I created an online vision board. There were many images that I included but one in particular I wanted to share. The picture says: “I am a social emotional leader”. Which is kind of funny, because at the time of creating the vision board, I didn’t consciously think of myself as a leader in my profession, nor did I have any idea how I was going to manifest that outcome. However, they say that there is power in the tongue! So because I not only spoke but also acted in ways to support what I was speaking, doors of opportunity started to open. And now that picture doesn’t seem so far-fetched. In fact, it seems to be a foreshadowing of what’s to come. Go figure!

So that somewhat explains why the 3 quotes at the start of this post grabbed my attention!

But a question remains… will YOU be courageous, trusting, persistent, and patient enough to follow your heart’s desires? The choice is yours…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna