Family, Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Leadership, Relationships

Throwback Thursday: I Believe in Vampires

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on July 13, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Not the kind that wear capes, have sharp fangs and only come out at night but the ones that you talk to every day, have dinner with you and share some of your deepest thoughts.

One day as I was strolling through “La La” land thanking God for the restoration of a family relationship, I became prey for a vampire. I received a phone call from this same family member that started off really nice but before you know it I was in a full blown shouting match. I hung up without ending the conversation and felt dazed and confused about what had just happened. I had a good “ugly” cry about it before I realized that their issue was not “my” issue and that they had sank their fangs into me, relieved me of all of my good energy and went on about their merry way.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:11 NIV)

Vampires are mythical creatures that live by feeding on other living beings. After they feed on other living beings, they are refreshed and restored. I am sure if you scroll through the Rolodex of your mind, you know a few vampires too. Their approach may be different but the end result is always the same. Every time you talk to a certain person, you may never get into a disagreement but by the time the conversation ends, you feel drained. Sometimes it’s the mere “dumping” of their problems that you aren’t mentally capable of handling. You end up feeling empty and exhausted while they proceed feeling reenergized, refocused and refreshed. That vampire just received a “job well done.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) Most vampires are able to get to you because you have the guard down around your heart. We must protect our heart at all times because our life flows from it. No one can get to our hearts like “good friends and family”…the people we love dearly. After that phone call, I began to take inventory of all of the vampires in my life. Some of them will always be in my life because they are family, so instead of running for the garlic, I am learning how to deal with them and you should too:

  • Return Policy – Give people back their stuff! You need to return all issues that do not belong to you. No longer allow people to make their issue your issue. Hold people accountable and make them take ownership of their stuff.
  • Set Boundaries – This can be hard to do but you have to set boundaries with people. Sometimes you have to change the way that you allow them to communicate with you as well as the frequency of communication.
  • Don’t Dump On Me – Everyday can’t be trash day. There are times when our own lives are in a tailspin and we emotionally can’t take on anyone else’s garbage.
  • Don’t Give Them Power – Stop engaging them. Just cut the conversation short. “You know what, right now I really don’t have the time to talk about this. I will talk to you later.” At this point trying to get them to understand your view isn’t important, just cut the power cord.
  • Be Aware! – Ask God for discernment so that you can see people who were sent to you because you can help them vs. those who really don’t want help. They just want to drain you.
  • Be Ready! – When vampires attack you, Be Ready!  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your protection and Your love! Help me to recognize the vampires in my life and show me how to best deal with them. When I leave my guard down and come under attack, restore me immediately and remind me that these people only come to take me off of my heavenly purpose. Remove those people from my life whose sole mission is to feed off of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

Today, I EMPOWER you to take inventory of the vampires in your life and really think about how you are going to deal with each of them. Guard your heart and don’t allow them to drain you of your energy and your time.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Who’s Changing Your Thermostat?

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 BlackWeBlog Awards!
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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

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Direction/Guidance, Friendships, God, Growth/Maturity

WWJD

A few years ago, you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing the four letter acronym WWJD.  It was printed on wristbands, t-shirts, bags, banners, bookmarks, you name it.  What Would Jesus Do?!  

Then suddenly, just as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.

I’ve noticed recently that sometimes my faith can be just like this, a FAD.  One moment I am standing on His word, calling out to Him for all things and not worrying or stressing about anything.  Then something unexpected comes along.  I am angry, hurt, or confused, and before I know it, I am on the phone with a friend and she is full of answers that start with “what I would do if I were you…” 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 NIV)

A wise man once told me, “Don’t go to people, go to God.”  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.  No matter what you are going through, God can and will handle it.  You see, it’s always easy for others to tell you what they would do if faced with your situation, concern or issue.  However, there isn’t anyone that can give you the word that you need to get through but our Heavenly Father.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being there for me when I need You, even when I am not deserving.  Thank You for Your Living Word that I can go to for whatever I need, whenever I need it.  I pray that You will continue to impress upon me that You are my sole provider of all things and I need to seek guidance from You before I go to anyone else.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to seek ye first the kingdom of GOD!  No matter how big or small, nothing is impossible for our heavenly father.  Before making a decision, go to Him in prayer or try to find a scripture that speaks to the situations that you are dealing with.  I EMPOWER you to go to the Word of God to answer WWJD and not seek answers from others for what they would do.

What areas do you know that you need to ask yourself WWJD, versus asking your friends what they would do?

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Encouragement, Friendships, Inspirational

Dear Friend

There have been a few people in my life that over time have encouraged me, prayed for and with me and spoke life over and into me and some of the situations that I have been through.  I am not sure that I have ever really thanked them for being an imitation of Christ in my life.  We all have friends, but to have a friend, who is a friend of Jesus is something that until recently I have taken for granted.

We see examples of such friendship throughout the Bible.  Ruth and Naomi are one example, “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV)  The love and support that Job received from his friends in his time of need is yet another example. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.” (Job 2:11 NIV)

I wrote this letter to express my gratitude.

Dear Friend,

You have no idea how you have touched my heart and changed my life.  Your ongoing willingness to stand in the gap and pray for me, even before you have prayed for yourself at times, has never gone unnoticed.  I know that many have expressed concern, and offered their love, support and prayers, but none with the genuineness and transparency that you have. The passion that you have to honor God and to see me and others do the same by fulfilling their purposes in Christ has been overwhelming at times.  At any hour of the day or night, a simple encouraging word and your consistent willingness to lend your ear is often unexplainable.  At times you can recognize my struggles when I try my best to mask them with a façade, and you constantly remind me that I am never alone.  Even through the sharing of your own struggles that you would much rather keep to yourself, in obedience to the Holy Spirit you willingly share, standing strong in your faith and knowing that if God can bring you through He can do the same and more for me.  Always quick to listen and slow to speak, and faithful that God will provide revelation in His time, you have been an example of discipline and patience time and again.  I thank you for respecting my feelings and opinions even when you don’t agree, and never being afraid to challenge me to support my ideas and decisions with the Word.  My potential to walk into my destiny has been greatly influenced by your anointing and consistent encouragement and love.

If I have never told you before, for all that you have done, for all that you are, I thank God for you.

Thank you for being my friend.

I love you,

Tiff

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for placing friends in my life that are reflections of you and encourage me to be the same. Forgive  me for those that I have taken for granted, and haven’t expressed my gratitude for in the past.  I pray that I can be a fraction of the blessing to those that consider me a friend, as my friends have been to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be the friend that this letter is written to.  Make today the day that you express gratitude for your friends and sisters in Christ!  Do not let another day pass without letting your friends know that you love them and are thankful for them. 

How do you show your friends that they truly mean the world to you? Share your thoughts below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Thank You for Being a Friend

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth

The Truth Hurts

Let me be honest. In the past few weeks I have had many personal revelations about myself.  Here’s my story…

One of my close friends had a very deep conversation with me.  It pertained to some of my life decisions.  For those of you who don’t know me, I can be pretty closed off with what I choose to share with others.  I do it because people can be pretty judgmental.  I remember sharing something very hurtful that happened to me with a friend to have them not talk to me for a few days.  At that point I felt I did something wrong.  So, I began to just keep things to myself.  I know it isn’t always good to do that, but I’m learning it’s okay to talk to those who sincerely love you.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (KJV)

Sometimes we have to speak truth into our friends’ lives — truth that is neither easy nor pleasant, truth that might just cause a wound.  Sometimes, like me, we are recipients of a friend’s painful words.  Words shared because they love us so much they don’t want us to continue down the wrong path.  Those times are never easy whether we are the giver or receiver.

The Bible says, “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy Truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalms 86:11 KJV)

Sometimes we have to hear painful things about ourselves for our own good.  I’ve realized that God often uses friends in my life to bring about the change He wants for me.  I want to be honest with my friends and I want my friends to be honest with me.  The TRUTH HURTS sometimes, but in the end it’s for the best.

I had to truly take time to elevate myself and listen to God.  As I did this, it took me by surprise as I read John 8:31-32:

Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;   a ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (KJV)

Ephesians 4:15 reads, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (KJV)

What my friend shared with me was spoken with nothing but love, and I’m thankful for her.  I know that as God continues to build me up into a virtuous woman I must understand sometimes that the truth does indeed hurt…OUCH!

Dear Daddy,

Let me not be deceived by words of the enemy.  Allow nothing but the truth to surround me.  Give me a heart of discernment that will encourage me to accept Your word when it is presented to me.  God, You love me so much that You gave Your Son to die so I may live.  Thank You Lord for everything.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to accept the truth although it will sometimes hurt.  Whether it’s truth within friendships, relationships, about your finances, or even about your job, you must be willing to listen to it.  Happy Friday Ladies!!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Ugly Truth

Do you have a problem giving or receiving the truth? How do you stand on truth even when you know it will hurt? Share your story in the comment section.

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.”  She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry.  Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service.  She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden.  Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation.  Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

Friendships, Jealously, Love, Love Series

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3 NIV)

Women can birth a child, successfully run a home and a business, and so much more. But can women have healthy and happy friendships with other women? Many have answered “no” to this question. I can’t tell you how many times I hear another woman say, “I don’t have many female friends because (insert negative stereotype here)”. I have uttered these words myself.

One only needs to flip through the television channels to see women portrayed as manipulative, money-hungry, scandalous beings. There are groups of women who live and die by shows such as Bad Girls Club and the Real Housewives series, but why? Each one of these shows, I believe, tap into the source of where the actions of gossiping, backstabbing and manipulation is birthed.  The source is insecurity and jealousy. You might disagree, but please keep reading. In the opening verse we read that people are really battling with their desires and will go as far as to kill to get what they want. The real source of your discontentment comes from your desire to have more than what you currently have. There’s a difference between having a dream for your life and being envious of someone who has what you think you want.

As women of God we should not envy someone else because she is married and we are single or because she has a nice house and we are in an apartment or because she has a well paying job and we are unemployed. Our God is not limited by our circumstances; He is limited by your faith and your motives. If you continue to envy your sister you are blocking your own blessings. Instead of comparing your life to hers, begin to pray for her (because you don’ t know the cost of her blessing) and that God will remove that spirit of envy from you.

If you do not have positive women in your life you might need to be creative in your pursuit of Godly friendships. My sophomore year of college I felt God leading me to really seek Him, but I didn’t want to do this journey by myself so I started a women’s Bible study called Heavenly Inspired Sisters (HIS). HIS has now grown into a lifelong friendship between eight wonderful women of God who have shown me there is nothing like having a sister in the faith.  Had I not stepped out on faith and started my own ministry I would not reap the benefits of having these wonderful women in my life. I would like to challenge you to get outside of your comfort zone and let go of any excuses of why you cannot be friends with a woman. If you are reading EmpowerMoments, I encourage you to link up with this ministry. We have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and you can send prayers to us right here on the site. You have an avenue to reach out to your fellow sisters in Christ, if you so choose.

Some of My Sisters in Christ

In this season of ‘love’ let us not forget to love our sisters  for we are our sisters’ keeper and it is up to each one of us to make an effort. Remember even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was able to have a confidant in her cousin Elizabeth, Naomi had Ruth, Mary had Martha and so on. The Bible is filled with powerful women of God who had a sister in Christ to support them. 

 

Dear Daddy,                                             

Thank You so much for giving us love in a variety of forms from family relationships to friendships. We pray right now that our hearts will be open to Your Will for our lives. We ask that those who are seeking Godly friendships will learn how to cultivate those relationships so You will be glorified. We ask that You give each woman a spirit of discernment so we know when the enemy tries to play on our emotions and insecurities. We pray for wholeness and completeness in You, for in that we have no need to compare. We thank You in advance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to love your sister as yourself. It is time to let go of the negative stereotypes we hold of other women and begin to love as Christ would have us to love one another.

Ladies, how has having a sister in Christ shaped your walk? Tell us on FB or Twitter

Celebrate sisterhood with our sister Whitney Houston’s “Count on Me”

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Attitude, Family, Forgiveness, Friendships, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Patience, Relationships, Self-Control

Don’t Let It Get To You!

This week I had a different EmpowerMoment to send but my spirit was so vexed by a current disagreement that I honestly could not complete it. I woke up at 5:00am with a vexed spirit and even tried to participate in a prayer call at that hour but couldn’t mumble a word. My mind has been consumed with this disagreement and it’s consequences.  Have you ever been in a situation where as much as you tried to take the high road, be the bigger person, and have patience with a person none of it worked?  After all of your bending over backwards and being accommodating, you were still mistreated and your kindness was mistaken for weakness. This is where I find myself on today. It isn’t the first time that I have been on the receiving end of someone’s dishonesty. Today I am doing my best to not let it get to me. That doesn’t mean that I am being a door mat. It means that I will be honest and won’t change who I am based on who they are. Throughout life, we will bear the unfortunate brunt of false accusations, mistreatment and abuse from so called friends, family and co-workers. As I sit back and reflect, I know that this is an attempt to throw me off my ‘A’ game. This is an attempt for the devil to get to me. The fact that I was so mad that I couldn’t pray and my spirit so vexed that I couldn’t finish my EmpowerMoment signifies that the devil has already started making headway; however, I serve notice right now that no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. Isaiah 54:17 KJV

When people mistreat you, talk about you, or scandalize your name, it’s okay to defend yourself but don’t let it get to you! To paraphrase Luke 17:3, when people trespass against us we are to let them know their actions and IF they repent, forgive them. Forgiveness is a choice so you can choose to do so with or without their repentance; however, you are responsible for holding people accountable for their actions against you.

I know who I am. I am bossy and at many times stubborn but what I am not is dishonest. There are certain traits that each of us have that are a part of our character. We cannot move from that foundation. We have to stand in truth despite attacks on our character. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 KJV The truth is liberating. Being authentically who you are is a freeing experience. You cannot control other people actions but you can control your reaction. I used to be this “go-off”, “cuss you slap out” person but I know I’ve been changed. Every now and then I can get caught up, but I try to handle situations as diplomatically as possible even when the flesh urges me otherwise.  I encourage you to do the same. Pray for those who despitefully use you, but don’t let it get to you! I am reminding myself of that today.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for reminding me that I will face adversity even from those closest to me but those things should never change who I am or react in a way that is not pleasing to You. Help me to stand in truth even when it is difficult. I ask that You repair rifts caused by discord and heal those who are still scarred emotionally from people who have mistreated them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to get over it. Remain firm in who you are and committed to the truth. Don’t Let It Get To You! The longer that you hold on to what people do to you, the more you will hurt yourself. You are better than that!

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Forgiveness, Friendships, Listening

Don’t Talk…Just Listen

It started out as a funny text messaging conversation, then it turned into venting and before I knew it I lost my friend. I was shocked and dazed at the same time. Where did this venom come from? What did I do to deserve this? How did she transfer all of her negative emotions to me? I had become the victim of misplaced anger.

My friend was going through it and as she started venting to me, I started making suggestions and having “an answer” but that’s not what my friend wanted. She wanted me to LISTEN. After I made a comment or two I was chastised about how she did not want my advice, she only wanted me to listen. After I let her know that I was now angry, I put down my phone fuming. I think I saw smoke coming from my ears.  I wasn’t upset about what she said as much as I was about the timing. Although I am not a big fan of criticism, I can take it; however, coming to me when you are angry with someone else ticks me off.  I was officially HOT!

The next day my friend apologized for her rudeness but things didn’t go back to normal. I was still mad. As a matter of fact, I tried to talk to her about it two days later letting her know where she went wrong but I couldn’t shake the anger I was feeling. After I sat and thought about it, this isn’t the first time that someone brought up my ability to listen. Often I get it confused because I have some friends that if I don’t say anything they think that something is wrong; however, that wasn’t the situation with this friend.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. “ (Matthew 18:15 KJV)

As I moped around with these negative thoughts consuming my mind, the spirit spoke to me and asked “Why are YOU mad?” Although you could not control the time or the place, your sister came to you and told you how you offended her.  You are so caught up in her timing that you have missed the message. I realized that the problem wasn’t her, it was I. In my quest to be helpful, I misjudged what my friend needed at that time. She needed an ear not a preacher. I called her and begged her pardon and I have gained my sister back.

“My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 NIV)

In this circumstance, I did everything opposite of what we were instructed to do in His word. Sometimes there is purpose in being still and just LISTENING. We don’t have to have the answer.  This reminds me that even in the time I spend with Him, I don’t have to always talk but I should focus more on hearing from Him.  Only in my silence will I truly understand the message.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me realize that I don’t always have the answers and even when I do, there is a time and a place to share them. Help me to be a better friend and to be able to discern what my friends need when they need it. Remind me that it isn’t all about me finding a solution or giving my advice but it’s about me being there and taking the time to listen. Thank You for listening to me and help me be a better listener to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to LISTEN. Even in the midst of confusion and anger, I encourage you to be silent. Don’t miss the message because it didn’t show up in a way that you thought it should. If your sister tells you how you’ve offended her, instead of becoming angry take heed and move forward. Remember the old cliché: you were blessed with two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”