Pressing Toward

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

~Phillipians 3:12-14

I’ve heard this particular passage of scripture several times; taught from several angles, but in this post, I want to focus on the “pressing toward the mark” portion. When you make the decision to FORGET those things that are behind you and press TOWARD the mark, you can’t continue to walk forward yet have your hand behind you pulling the rolling luggage of the past. I believe it’s easier for some folk to dwell on “those things behind” because those things are certain and to move forward means to abandon something you knew to be true and TRUST that what’s coming is better. It means you have to walk an unknown path filled with uncertainty and that makes us all VERY uncomfortable. Can’t we just perpetually stay in the “things that are behind us?” It’s very simple; we cannot. I mean you could, but the prize isn’t back there.

So about this pressing. Some of us bench press weights. Some of us just press buttons. Some of us press down on food items to make patties or mix well. The weight lifter can’t look at the weights and expect them to rise. We don’t just plop a glob of meat for a burger on the grill and never mixed the seasonings in; that’s not a taste that will be welcomed. When you press a button on the phone, you expect an app to open or the phone to perform a specific task. The point here is any type of press requires work – low or high impact, so pressing toward a prize is not going to be something that will come easily to you. You must put forth an effort to press. It takes nothing to recall, but it takes everything to press forward.

Your “things behind you” maybe failed attempts at making a relationship work. It could be bad experiences at the hands of “church folk.” It could be trouble with the law that resulted in prison time or other consequences. It could be health treatments that didn’t work. Maybe, it’s alcoholism or drug abuse. Whatever your “things behind you” is, I’m here to encourage you to PRESS TOWARD. Let go of the rolling luggage; loose the weight and PRESS!

Yes – pressing is painful at times, but even a broken arm will heal. An athlete doesn’t quit playing the sport because they were hurt in the past. Yes – pressing may mean old habits get left behind, but get free anyway. Yes – pressing may mean against all you want to hold on to that didn’t work and makes you believe moving forward won’t work, you give it one more shot – DO IT! Pressing may mean a new career path into the unfamiliar – take the job, promotion or business plan and make it happen! Staying settled in the “things that are behind you” closes the door on so much that God has prepared for you.

Your reality is one thing. Your PROMISE is another. Pressing toward the mark goes beyond the realm of what you know to be true because you see and feel it. Pressing toward the mark says, “God, I don’t know but you do and I’m going to trust you.” Thewpid-wp-1418915602340 one time you make up in your mind to forget those things which are behind you and press toward the mark will be when God’s promises manifest in your life. Relationships, jobs, business opportunities, healing, and more is yours, but it’s not behind you. Are you ready to press?

2016 – There are No Words, But I’ll Write a Few

Ok, so here’s a moment of more transparency. Judging by the title, one might think here comes all the reasons I hated 2016. Well, read on because you tumblr_mhclt3xx1m1ruv2gqo1_500may be surprised at the turn it will take. While this year had glimpses of hope, happiness and even joy, it also had tough growing PAINS.
I spent the majority of the year teetering between thinking God wasn’t listening to a word I’m saying to I KNOW He wasn’t listening to well maybe He was cause He allowed things to happen to show I wasn’t forgotten. Then back to, “But God? Why give me this but not fix the situation?”
This year, anxiety attacks, chronic pain, depression, doubt, fear, insecurity all came thundering down a steep mountain, ran me over at times and brought me to my knees – literally. I laughed a little and cried a LOT. I had some fun but then couldn’t sleep. I was blessed with a new job after several months of unemployment and no income, but still no peace. My business had a few great moments, but still no joy. I was BROKEN. I felt like I was reading a book of me wishing I could revise the outcomes, words, characters. I was trapped outside of my own life wanting to desperately bang on the window to say, “NO! Don’t do that! Don’t say that! Don’t go there! SHUT UP! Are you paying attention at all, girl?!” 365 days of never feeling like I could woosah. 365 days of holding my breath thinking, “what next?”.when-you-find-yourself-in-the-desert-place
Now, please, believe me, there was much going on that was much more catastrophic, so I should have felt blessed beyond measure for those things there were NOT happening to me cause it could have been worse. Yes, I know that’s the attitude you should have, but sorry. This blog post is my truth.
I felt like most tears fell in vain. I wanted to scream at God, “Why won’t you do anything?!” But I submit that God WAS doing something. Not outside of me but INSIDE of me. The bible says, “greater is HE that’s in ME…” Problem is I wasn’t allowing the HE in me to be great. Sometimes, we don’t recognize when God IS working out exactly what you prayed for because while we prayed for it and so called “left it with God,” what we REALLY did was have in our mind how it would look to us when God has accomplished the task of answering our prayer. You’re your own blessing event planner. God, it should be done this day at this time with these people invited to the unveiling of how good you are – insert praise break! When it doesn’t look that way, we question, cry, throw tantrums, get angry or depressed. No…just stop!
I have always been very spoiled and self-centered; not in a mean girl, obnoxious sort of way but simply used to getting what I wanted and having my way. I have always wanted the approval and love of others because my love for me was based on their love for me. I had no strength of my own. I had no faith of my own. I was tied to a lifeline to someone or something – my parents, my relatives, my husband, my job, and more. I had to get a wake-up call, and God tried to drop things in my spirit to let me know I wasn’t heading in a direction He was going to bless. I felt it; was convicted by it, but was just dumb, for lack of a better term. Some of us will never truly understand who God is unless He breaks us, and that’s what I meant by growing PAINS. When God sent that wake-up call, I FINALLY took a look at ME, and I didn’t like all there was to see. I’m not a complete and utter lost cause, but I was thrust into finding my worth, strength, true faith, and love for ME outside of anything going on around me. It’s an extremely hard journey and it feels very lonely at times.
One thing I’m coming to terms with is I make mistakes, and I used to be unapologetic about it or try to justify it away. Apologizing isn’t a sign of weakness. It shows you care enough about the other person to make things right. Next, while I’m talented and gifted at certain things, I didn’t love myself and was insecure. I loved myself enough to know I didn’t want to hurt me or leave this world but not enough to believe I’m good enough. Selfish – I lived my life without much regard to those connected to me. I missed most of my son’s infancy doing everything in “busy”ness. And being a wife…refer to my previous blog post, Entering Lightly. All of this was in my mirror. Now, what was I supposed to do? I’m 39. Change is a marathon and not a sprint. I started this journey in 2015, actually, and continued on all year to a better, stronger, more faith-filled me. I fight through anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness daily. I miss the mark a lot. I try too hard a lot. BUT, I contend that I’m not the same person I’ve been. Believe it or not – matters not. My new ever-changing me is walking into 2017 with new hope and God as the guide without me as His co-pilot. It’s amazing that pastor’s message today was “When Was the Last Time You Felt Like the First Time?” The closer I get to God and the more I go after Him, other things have to get better. God is who I’m after – BETTER comes with Him. Happy New Year!
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Entering Lightly

9828431ed4ede369b8709f478e1ac14a“Marriage is not an institution to be entered into lightly…” These words are spoken in most ceremonies when two are to be joined. We listen to it for its ritualistic value, but do we REALLY understand what’s being said in our hearing? Marriage is a big deal! Contrary to the way Hollywood, government, and society at large treat it, the covenant of marriage means something to GOD! Well, this blog post is a moment of transparency. I entered in lightly!

I love “love.” Meaning I believe in it wholeheartedly. I love to be loved. Blah blah blah…whatever and stuff. The kind of love I liked was make believe – the things that fairy tales, myths, and legends are made of. The kind of love I liked was one-sided – the prince loves ME and dotes on ME. He’d whisk me away and live life happily ever after. The end. NOT! This immature love concept blinded me to the true love I really had trying to make it a feat of grand cinematography. How dumb was that?! I’m going to help someone who is a wife now, has consented to be someone’s wife or hoping to be a wife someday. Just hear me out and not listen in judgment.

I saw a FINE guy walking down the hall in high school. He had blossomed from the year before into a muscular, dark, bald piece of art. We were friends and football was a bit of the glue of our friendship at the time. He was a defensive lineman and I was a varsity cheerleader. He was nice, clean cut, and cute but I was into thugs and “bad” boys. Little did I know that this nice guy, totally unlike what I thought I liked or would fall for, would be my boyfriend much less my husband in the near future.

September 20, 1994 – after a failed attempt at trying to go together (broken off stupidly by me still going for thugs and less-thans), Mr. Clean Cut and I were an item. There was something pure about him. In his eyes, I saw sincerity. I felt like no one mattered except me when we were together. And STILL, no clue what my part in love was…entering lightly. Fast forward, we graduated from high school, with honors (had to throw that in there; he’s smart too 😊) and were off to different colleges. Entering lightly…still no clue.

We called ourselves breaking up in college for a few months but still only spent time and talked to each other. That break up was short lived. December 25, 1997 – a proposal! Plans were being made to build a forever life together. My story was being written nicely…entering lightly. He was loving me far beyond what I could imagine and I was loving him not even fathoming my reciprocal duty…just lost in it.

June 12, 1999, was a gorgeous, yet hot day. I was gonna marry the man of my dreams. He spoiled me and treated me like a queen. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for me. Me me me…and more me. “Marriage is not an institution to be entered into lightly.” I entered in light as a feather, but when that feather became a boulder, love came crashing down and I was faced with something that wasn’t the pomp and circumstance of a romantic, uplifting, whimsical and magical tale. I had to re-evaluate just where my love stood and what it meant to me to preserve it for who God sent to me. I submit to you that I had it all wrong, and by the time I got it – I found myself in one hell of a fight. If it helps even one person not have to go through this, then this post did its job. Strap in.

Our relationship was purely built on how my boyfriend loved me. As long as I was the center of his world, all was right with the world. I didn’t have to give much thought to how I felt about him. He loved me so of course, I loved him. He didn’t care about anything I had or anything I was doing. He honestly and truly just loved me. The problem with that is I didn’t know how to receive a love that genuine, so I wore it out and took it for granted. I didn’t think much of myself because I always looked outside of me for validation. You MUST love you or who God sent to findeth a good thing in you won’t even matter. Entering lightly…

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 I did what I wanted when I wanted, how I wanted without much regard for the man in my life. I ignored what was said and what wasn’t said. Now wait; I know what you’re thinking – I can’t be a mind reader. This is true, BUT there’s a lot of conversation in silence. I was determined when I said I do that he wasn’t gonna tell me what to do. At that point, I was out of the will of God concerning my role as a wife. Ephesians 5 calls for wives to be submissive to their husbands and respect them. I did respect him but I was nowhere near submissive, so I guess in that regard, I didn’t respect him as the head. Ladies, it takes NOTHING away from your womanhood, feminism or independence to be submissive. God made man the head for a reason. Don’t buck His system! Your strength won’t leave you. Submission is not kryptonite so you won’t lose your powers. You are a team, but he is the head…period. When you’re out of order, it is bound to blow up in your face. I KNOW of what I speak. I was told I never listen and Imma do what I want anyway. After a while, it’s no longer a joke. What you laugh off and dismiss may be crying later. Entering lightly…

You are who you are. No other wife is like you and no other husband is like him. Comparison is one of the poisonous arrows that shoots through your relationship heart. I had the picture perfect relationship playing in my mind, but that wasn’t my reality. I wanted this couple’s reality cause he washes his wife’s car. I wanted that couple’s reality because he gets his wife’s hair and nails done. This husband compliments his wife in public and online and on and on. I didn’t know if they were smiling in public and fighting like cats and dogs at home. I didn’t know if that hair and nails appointment were to make up for something someone forgot or did that was hurtful. I didn’t know that she was being submissive and taking care of home. Point is, I had the perfect man for me just the way he was, but I didn’t take the time to see HIM right and when my eyes were opened, his were dimming. Entering lightly…

Wake up and understand, what you choose is not always God’s choice. He may not fit who we envisioned but who are we to say, “no God. Not him. Too tall. Too short. Wrong job.”? Check yourself. I have come to know when you enter lightly…

  • Your perception of love is YOUR reality and when your significant other doesn’t live up to the perception, resentment may well up and you seek to change what was really a God-send.
  • You take love for granted as if it will always be as magical as the day you declared “I do” in front of God and witnesses. Love isn’t one moment in time. It is a daily job and decision.
  • When things aren’t going “as planned,” you make other plans that could be turning to others, becoming a work-a-holic, primarily focusing on kids or anything to disengage.
  • You bring preconceived notions on how things gonna be and what you’re not gonna do and all the other person will (better) do – tall tales and myths…
  • You think that how you are coming into marriage is never to be changed. You can’t bring your spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed self into a union! It may be ok at first but it will wear thin…I KNOW what I’m talking about.
short-sweet-marriage-quotesI have come to learn and still processing…
  • I really do love my husband and it really is unconditional.
  • If it’s worth it, love your way through it and hold on until your fingers get locked up and then hold tighter.
  • Prayer changes things even if the thing is YOU.
Don’t wait until you have to put the pieces back together. Don’t enter lightly. Saying “I do” lasts far beyond the ceremony.

Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry – Built to Last


In this “Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry” blog series, we have explored 3 gem characteristics – quality, authenticity, and being worth more. In this last installment of the series, we will take a look at being built to last. The last criteria of a gem is that it is long-lasting. Think about that for a minute. We’ve purchased costume jewelry in the past and after a while, it starts to lose its color; the paint starts to rub off; pieces of it fall off, or it pops all together making it unable to be worn at all, so you throw it away. You find it isn’t worth your time to fix it. You’ll just get a new one…no big deal, right?

External Builds

Often times we start out in a gem situation. Then as time moves on, any or all of these outside entities can start to show signs of wear.

  • Your career comes to a halt or you realize that it isn’t what you were put on Earth to do; the environment changes due to new management or administration making things difficult to accomplish.
  • He or she is the love of your life. You don’t see one without the other. You’re the best of friends and life is grand cause you’re in each other’s air space. Then the bomb drops…BOOM! Love as you know it has pieces falling off. Chains are popping and you can’t find your charms that rolled under some furniture.
  • The keys to a dream home are in your hands. You had plans to raise your children there, have huge family gatherings, and enjoy the outdoor space. Next thing you know, the roof pops – foreclosure looms, floods come with no insurance.

The gems of your life are falling apart? Let me encourage you AND myself. Just because it looks like costume jewelry doesn’t make it so. What distinguishes true gems is the ability to last through ALL that life throws at it. You don’t throw away a real diamond because the necklace popped or the ring no longer fits. Our cherished heirlooms don’t lose value because a small piece is missing. We still hold them dear and do our best to preserve them because they can be passed down to be of benefit to future generations. There’s a story in our treasures! Stay with me…

Yes, where ever we are in life is where we are and there IS a reason. BUT we still live and breathe. That means the gem can be saved. It is still just as real as the day you obtained it. Your career goals. Your purpose. Your relationship. Your whatever…is real and meaningful. Don’t give your gems over to be pawned for way less than you deserve. Even if the light is a little dim; change the setting and new life can spring forth. Put that priceless pendant on a new gold, silver or platinum chain. Now, what you thought was a lost cause lives again. Walk in your purpose. The road to it takes twists and turns, but keep going. An even larger gem is waiting.

Relationships can tarnish, lose color, have missing pieces, and look like cheap, useless, costume jewelry – tossed around and lost and no one cares to look for it because why? Who needs worthless companionship? I submit to you that there is such a thing as JEWELRY CLEANER and JEWELRY REPAIR. You NEVER abandon your fine jewelry when all it needs is a good cleaning and/or repair. I mean, if it means anything to you, but only you can answer that. Again, it’s still real…just fix it and let it shine. These are examples of things outside of ourselves, but what about the internal builds?

Internal Builds

There is a brilliance within each of us, but we allowed the costume jewelry of life to dull the gem within. We put this costume jewelry on and it wears in our skin like a heavy, tacky, bulky chain. We adorn ourselves in elaborate “jewels” like:

  • Fear
  • Failure
  • Loss
  • Financial setbacks
  • Rejection
  • Insecurity

The list grows until you’re weighted down in stuff that was never meant to last. We decided to wear it and never take it off. You are fine jewelry – a gem and you put the diamond you are in a weak setting! Fear can go, but you are built to last. So what you failed at something? Yes, it hurts. Yes, it stings. Yes, you may be angry. Yes, you may not want to try again, but if you don’t, you let the costume jewelry take over your prize possession – YOU!

img_3057Gems are long-lasting. Far beyond insecurities, rejection, or anything else that seeks to tarnish you from the inside out. Recognize those internal battles for what they are; they are temporary. They can never last unless you choose to wear them every day. Don’t pass them down to future generations. Build love, respect, worthiness, and strength because those precious jewels are here to stay. You, gems, are built to last. Be brilliant. Be great. Be a gem and LIVE ON!

Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry – You’re Worth More!

Did you catch the first two installments of the Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry blog series? To recap, please go back and read…

Let’s Talk Quality

A Look at Authenticity

The next part of the definition of fine jewelry is that it’s “often considered an investment or something worth collecting and passing down…” When we choose to invest in something, we’re saying you’re worth more than what I’m initially giving you, so therefore more will be returned to me. You’re saying you can get behind the grand idea because it’s a worthwhile effort. We tend to not give our investment of time or money to what we don’t consider to be worth it. Some of us may also possess things that have been passed down from other family members or we acquired it through an estate sale or auction. No matter the means by which you attained it, it’s worth a lot of money and truly is a timely treasure. Here, I’m speaking of things, but what about you? Do you realize that as a gem, you are worth more? Do you understand you are a worthy investment? Maybe by the end of this blog post, you will at least be on the right track to this realization. Here are 3 ways to demonstrate you’re on the path to realizing you’re worth more.

  1. Own your no.
  2. Opinions, trials, and current realities do not determine your worth
  3. Stand on your worth and know you’re worthy to take such a stand.

Own Your No

In an effort to be a gem, we turn ourselves into costume jewelry because we feel that saying yes to all requests helps us to shine. We feel needed or fulfilled in some way or that others will draw to us because of our gracious and giving nature. The real deal is that most people won’t think twice about telling you no despite the fact that you are their yes man or woman. You vow to stop doing stuff for certain people only to turn around and say yes again for fear of losing them as a friend or “influential” acquaintance. Maybe they’ll be offended or mad if you say no and stop talking to you. I’m here to tell you in this blog post – SO WHAT?! Some of these folks have a false sense of entitlement because they think they have done so much for you, why can’t you do anything for them. Forget the fact that you say yes to 9 of the 10 things they ask of you. The first time you say no, you’d swear the apocalypse was near. Now, you never do anything for them. You’re never there when they need you. Blah blah blah… The phone calls are few. The text messages are non existent. Blah blah blah…img_2986-1

Saying yes to most things caused me to lose way more than I ever gained. I lost time when my son was a baby. I missed grand opportunities to enjoy my husband. I felt I HAD to do all this “stuff.” People were depending on me. Who else would do it? Just craziness…I was well into my 30s and I’ll be 40 next year before I realized that no is NOT a 4-letter word. I take that back, it IS a 4-letter word and that word is FREE! Saying no frees you. Saying no keeps your integrity in tact because saying yes to a thing only to realize you can’t put forth the effort or expertise throws a negative light on you. Saying no shows those who really love and care about you that they mean something to you. You can’t get time lost back.

Don’t allow anyone to take you on a guilt trip. Don’t buy that ticket. You say no and you mean it.

Opinions, Trials, and Current Realities Do Not Determine Your Worth

Begin to understand who and what really matters. Some things and some people aren’t worth the time in thought you give them. The opinion of others are just that…opinions. Meaning, someone out there doesn’t feel the way they do, but you take so much stock in this one in particular that your whole world crumbles if “they” see you in a negative light. Perception is a quirky thing. How people see you is NOT your fault, so don’t base your worth on someone else’s thoughts.

You’ve been through some rough times in life. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you had to interrupt your schooling. Maybe you’ve had to move due to foreclosure or eviction. Maybe you’ve experience infant loss like I did. I don’t know your story, but if these things happened in the past, that means you got through it. More than likely the worst of the situation is over. Your worth didn’t diminish in those times of crisis. You’re worth more than a lost house. You’re worth more than time lost from school. img_2984None of these circumstances make you any less worthy than you were before any of it happened to you. Even now, your faith can be tested and your reality may not be what you want it to be. Or it could be everything you want it to be. Good, bad or indifferent – it still doesn’t determine your worthiness.

Worth is internal and eternal.


Stand on Your Worth and Know You’re Worthy to Take Such a Stand

You, loves, are worthy investments because God gave His son to save you. There is a purpose only to be fulfilled by you, and if you were worthless, what good would you be to God to carry out His purpose? I mean if you want to feel that way about yourself, He can always get someone else but His heart is for you to do it.

You declare that you are worthy and make no apologies for it. Yes, you’ve been through some things. Yes, you’ve had a plethora of successes in life. Yes, you’ve been on the mountain and below the valley. You are God’s worthy investment. You are a precious jewel. Diamonds make no apologies for shining. Rubies don’t let anyone steal their sparkle. You sparkle, shine and illuminate WORTH.

Worth More…costume jewelry – wear it, don’t be it.

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Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry – A Look at Authenticity

14611533479171574704512In last week’s blog post, I talked about being a gem in terms of knowing your worth and realizing that you are a quality product created by God for a purpose. Continuing on with the “Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry” blog series, let’s examine authenticity. One of the criteria for fine jewelry is based on “the authenticity of the stones set into the pieces.” This means the stones have to be real, pure, genuine…follow me?

A real diamond doesn’t seek to be a ruby. A genuine pearl has no need to be an emerald. All of those stones in their true state are valuable, and a buyer will pay a hefty price to own them. Notice, I said in their TRUE state. You see, a cubic zirconia can hope and wish all day to be as brilliant as a diamond, but the reality of a cubic zirconia is that it isn’t the real thing. No amount of mining will yield you a cubic zirconia. No amount of money will give cubic zirconia the same value over time. It just isn’t a diamond. If rubies aren’t your thing, the ruby won’t cease to be a pure gem because you don’t prefer such a stone. It won’t try to change to green because they would be accepted as an emerald. It isn’t natural. I’m going somewhere with this, and here it is… Be-Yourself1

Every gem has qualities that make them unique, and you can’t take that away from them. It doesn’t matter if those you want to accept you don’t. They may not be the crowd for you. They may not be the client for you. They may not be the mate for you. They may not be the friend for you. Anything or anyone who puts you in a position that you feel the need to put on a one-woman or one-man show featuring many different characters probably isn’t the company you need to be keeping. I’m not speaking of making life changes in response to self-awareness, revelation and growth. I’m talking about flat out being somebody else…period.

I’m a writer (obviously), social media manager, educator and speaker. I come with a myriad of gifts and talents within those realms. Of course, I’m not the only person who does all or one of these things, but I am the only VYCE who does them. No one can do me; of that, I’m 200% sure. The question becomes do you want what Vyce has to offer or not. If it’s “not,” no love lost, but what I won’t do is compromise my authenticity to become something or someone else to appease you. What God has for me is set up just for me. Have you ever thought that maybe you delayed your blessing because God had it for you but couldn’t find you because you were in deep undercover posing as someone else? Think about it. While you were being fake costume jewelry and shutting down the light of the gem you are, your “manna” was being held up. Ouch is all I can muster.

I was in deep undercover when it came to my purpose. Because I knew it but didn’t own it, I walked away from my purpose trying to go an easier route only to be miserable somewhere I didn’t belong. I launched a business not owning my purpose, so things sounded forced or contrived and not authentic. Now, I have a clarity that pushes me into revamping a few things that speak to my passions and my calling – not what I was trying to be and ready to run away from because it just didn’t seem right. wallpaper

Sometimes, others either can’t or won’t see the rare find of a gem because they’ve been blinded by the bling of diamond-LIKE stones. It’s ok. A sapphire is still a sapphire in the display case or on your finger, wrist, ear or neck. Cheapening yourself to costume jewelry so you’ll be accepted makes you shiny, but FAKE. The right buyer finally came into Jared’s looking for you, a real gem, and you hid in Claire’s?! You lost out trying to be something you’re not when you were brilliant all the time in your own right. Just be you!

Actors rehearse for hours, months, and years perfecting a role for a film or stage production. They get on stage and embody a character. Often times, they get asked in interviews how close is that character to their real personality. Many of us have perfected the real life character we play each and every day. We could earn an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony. Shoot, Milli Vanilli won a grammy, being someone else! I ask you how close is the character you play to the real you? Sometimes in costume jewelry, there might very well be an authentic stone in the setting, but its value is decreased because of the counterfeits around it. The genuine gem will bring light on its own; just get rid of the counterfeits. All the extra stuff isn’t necessary.
Theday235re is a peace that comes with just being yourself. You don’t have to keep a running record of who you were yesterday because you are the same every day. No, maybe not in the same bubbly mood all the time, but still you. No one has to take bets on who will show up on any given day. A gem is showing up every day. No need to be an imposter on your own life. The world doesn’t need another object taking on a gem persona. It needs a real, genuine, bona fide, original and precious stone. It needs you and only YOU can fill that void. Authenticity – wear costume jewelry; don’t be it.

Gems…NOT Costume Jewelry – Let’s Talk Quality

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I did a Google search on the difference between gems (fine jewelry) and costume jewelry. Part of eBay’s definition stated, “The difference between fine jewelry and costume jewelry is the quality of the metal used in the jewelry and the authenticity of the stones set into the pieces.” It goes on to explain some other criteria that I’ll address in another blog post, but for this one, I want to zero in on quality. It is my prayer that you read it with the question, “Am I a gem or costume jewelry?” in mind and be ready to answer it. Are you gold or gold plated? Are you a diamond or glass? Are you platinum or nickel? Think about it and walk with me through this discovery.

For most of my life, I’ve always thrived on the validation of others. If people didn’t like what I did or what I said or where I was going with my life, then I must be headed in the wrong direction. My never ending quest to please people was on! Perfectionism will eat away at your peace; please, believe it. Even though I had the appearance of shininess, I was trapped in a locket of self-doubt, fear, insecurity, and uncertainty of purpose. Knowing that I’m God’s child and that alone makes me qualified to be quality wasn’t an easy revelation to come to. I’m blogging on quality…

***Own Your Value***

God is excellent, and He creates excellence. If He created you, then you are excellent – fearfully and wonderfully made! Your life is a hot commodity, not to be taken lightly because blood was shed for it. When my pastor talked about this in the message, it was an “aha” moment for me. Of course, I know Jesus died on the cross for my sins but I never equated that to my value. More on value as it relates to gems vs costume jewelry…

Costume jewelry puts on a shine fest for others but the moment those others don’t respond to their fluorescence, they’re ready to run and quit. Costume jewelry allows others to use them until every bit of energy you have is gone and they still want more because you feel if you have the “backing” of someone you put on a pedestal, then you’ve arrived. Costume jewelry has no value. Remember, God creates excellence, and if we were made in His image, then costume jewelry we are NOT!

30426b2022ab209498361730fd89ab66We have something to offer this world whether it be through our careers, daily walk, businesses, organizations, campaigns, and causes. What we have can only be delivered through us. That’s important my friends! So what if there’s another car salesman who sells hundreds of cars. So what if the teacher next door is national board certified. So what
if there’s another photographer within the same area you work in. The way you sell a car, teach students and take pictures is the way YOU do it, and it’s valuable to somebody. You own your value.

In the world of business, don’t allow people to diminish your value by trying to get something for nothing. If you want to perform services out of the kindness of your heart, then that’s your choice, but no one should expect, obligate or guilt you into doing free work. It’s amazing to me how some folk sing your praises until there’s a fee for your services. The song hits a flat note and the chords aren’t in perfect harmony. All of sudden, your stellar work is just ok. Now, they wanna see who else can do the same thing. In these instances, that costume jewelry mindset will try to rear its head. Doubt will set in. Thoughts of, “Maybe, I’m not good enough to make a business out of this. What was I thinking? No one will want what I have to offer.” This negative self-talk will turn the gem you started out as into costume jewelry really fast. Sometimes your closest friends and even family won’t see the value of what you do because it’s you, but don’t take it personally. They may not be your target market, and sometimes they eventfully come around. Their value meter of you doesn’t negate the value meter you have for yourself. Don’t waiver in owning your entrepreneurial or career choice worth. The right people will see it and run to write that check or get you to the people who are ready to move forward with you on their team.

From a personal standpoint, life is something. You’re going along, minding your own business, not bothering a soul, and then just like a pounding headache, pain and anguish come to visit you – completely unannounced and uninvited. Life’s circumstances will make you feel like costume jewelry – worthless, thrown around, popped, if lost no one cares kind of stuff. I don’t know what’s going on in your life. Maybe you’re dealing with sickness, relationships issues, being passed over for career opportunities, past hurts, abuse, guilt, depression or any other situation that eats away at your self-worth. I’ve been there. Some days, I AM there, but what I know is that I’m worth it every day God gives me life, it’s worth living. That’s it – period. I know my purpose and I’m not going to let “they” or “me” detour me. On the days, I don’t believe it, I pray and keep saying it. Ephesians 2:10 says I am His workmanship…GOD’S workmanship. I’m not worthless and unwanted. I’m GOD’S workmanship, and as stated previously, He creates excellence!

9be832f5682a49c2f96a4c49b08a0df2Real gold and silver will tarnish a little over time, but it doesn’t make them any less real. It doesn’t lessen their quality. All you do is clean it, and it’s good as the day you purchased it. When it’s fake, you have to be careful because the metal-like substance can rub off altogether leaving you with something that you don’t want to wear or present to anyone. Are you following me here? Even though you may get dealt a bad hand over time, you are still just as valuable as pure gold or silver. You’re more valuable and of greater quality. You may feel tarnished and worn, but a “clean” with a new perspective, positive thoughts, fresh ideas, and strategies. “Clean” with people who love you and truly have your back. “Clean” with the love of God and stand on His promise. “Clean” knowing that under all the “tarnish” there’s still a valuable being. Be blessed…

YOU ARE NOT COSTUME JEWELRY! Wear it; don’t be it.