Potential vs. Purpose

Which one is more important to fulfill? Potential or purpose? The answer makes an eternal difference.

My vision for 2018 was to make room, which called for expansion. One way I wanted to do this was by participating in the Ashley Stewart contest. To prep for this event, I did a photoshoot with photographer Brandon Williams, stylist Tenia Taylor, and makeup artist Ryshonda “Peaches” Harris at Crosstown Concourse on Saturday, May 26, 2018.

I also posted the following video for the contest and planned to attend the July 20-21 dates in Atlanta.

Each day, I was detained. On Friday, July 20, I was headed to Atlanta after an appointment with my mom. The appointment lasted longer than expected, and I would not make it to Atlanta in time for the meet and greet.

I tried again on July 21, 2018, but before I left, Mom asked, “Trecie, did you get your car checked out?” In all my preparation, I had not done this. My car is fairly new, but I knew she was right. I realized could not get my car checked out or make it to the fashion show in time.

I was salty about the situation because my Ashley Stewart plans fell through. So I went instead to get my hair done. The beauty shop owner introduced herself to me. It was a joy to meet and greet her. Later, the owner’s friend approached me and said that the owner wanted prayer but did not know how to ask. I called the owner over to talk further with her about her concerns. She said she was dealing with some spiritual issues in her shop. I gave her two of my parents’ books: Spiritual Warfare Against Evil Altars and Covenants by Apostle Alton R. Williams and Conquering Crises at Work by Elder Sherrilyn Williams. She said the books were just what she needed. I then realized why I did not make it to Atlanta.

There’s a lot we can do. But what we can do and what we should do are two different things.

Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church said that Jesus did not fulfill His potential. He fulfilled His purpose. He had all the gifts and could have started his own synagogue, started his own business, and/or done many different activities. Yet, He knew He was here to live, die, and be raised again for all humanity.

In the case of my experience with Ashley Stewart, the contest was potential, but sharing with the beauty salon owner was purpose.

When God’s purpose cross our plans, then our plans must die.

Many are the plans of our hearts, but the Lord’s purpose prevails (Proverbs 19:21).

I have made many plans over the years that have crumbled in the face of God’s ultimate purpose. The Ashley Stewart event was one of them. So I have learned to write my plans in pencil and hand God the eraser. His purpose always turns out better than any plan I could imagine.

When have you yielded to God’s plan instead of yours? What were the results? I would love to hear from you.

Envisioning Better Health? Start Within.

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Health is more than eating right and exercising.
It is addressing the well being of our spirits, souls, and bodies.

I attended a City Current seminar with The Biggest Loser trainer Dolvett Quince on September 21, 2018. He said, “Health is four pillars – physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional. If any one of those pillars are off, then the other pillars will suffer.”

I could write the book on what to do to lose weight: drink eight glass of water a day, cut out meat, sugar, and carbs, sleep 6-8 hours straight, etc. Why I wasn’t doing it consistently is the key to addressing the root of my weight issues. I have had to take a tough, honest look at my walk with Christ, my relationships, daily habits, surroundings, beliefs about myself, and more.

Living Out My Vision for Better Health

Since the beginning of 2019, through God’s grace, I have lost over 20 pounds. I am truly thankful. This is a lifelong process. I’m just walking this journey out with Jesus day by day. However, the following life changes have contributed to this result:

I have my quiet time with the Lord daily. I fill up on Him so I don’t have to fill up on food later.

Rick Warren in his Purpose Driven Life book said that while we can resist the devil, “The Bible never says, ‘Resist temptation.’ It says, ‘Flee temptation.'” Kimberly Taylor of Take Back Your Temple said, “The best way to win a fight is to not even get in the ring.” I moved out of my parents’ house and essentially fled food temptation and stepped out of the ring. My food purchasing decisions are completely mine. I no longer have to contend with soul food, cakes, pies, sodas, etc. I think twice before purchasing any of these items for myself because I don’t want to waste money on food that does not serve me.

I strengthened my decision by hiring an accountability partner Trina Sette, CEO of Go for Goals, to help keep me consistent. The three daily goals I routinely set are: follow the Daniel Plan, do 30 minutes of activity each day, and cut off eating after 9 pm. When I am tempted to venture away from these goals, I remember that she will call me at 10:15 am the next morning. I don’t want to come up short, and I don’t want to waste my money. In this way, accountability serves as the bridge between my decision and my results.

Trina also said during our initial call, “Food is not fun. It is only fuel.” I have had to disconnect food from the many other meanings I was assigning to it. It is not fun. It is not love. It is not comfort. It is not relationship. It is not relief from boredom or stress. It is not something to do. It is not a way to deal with my feelings. I can turn to Jesus for help with these concerns. Food’s only purpose is to give me energy to fulfill God’s vision for my life.

My work cutoff time is now 10 pm. This means I can get to bed earlier, get up earlier, and start my day feeling more refreshed.

Questions to Consider if Struggling With Weight

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If weight loss or maintenance has been a challenge for you as it has for me over the years, I ask that you consider the following questions. Hopefully, the answers will help you uncover the root of the issue.

Do you believe that God loves you?

Do you spend time with God daily?

Have you invited God into your weight loss journey?

Do you love yourself?

Do you know how to say no to yourself?

Do you know how to say no to others?

How are your relationships with others? Who energizes you? Who drains you?

How do you handle comments (good or bad) about your body?

How do you handle offense?

Do you feel your voice matters?

Do you ask for help when you need it?

Do you overcommit?

Do you have a vision for your life?

When you fail, how do you respond?

When someone says, “Just one cookie (or chip or whatever food will throw you off your plan) won’t hurt…” how do you respond?

When you decide to pursue better health, do you strengthen it with accountability to someone outside your world to gain and maintain results?

Is your environment set up to help your health goals?

Do you eat for any other reason than fueling your body?

Is there an area of your life where you need to face fear and step out on faith?

Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to better fulfill God’s purpose for you? Or do you want to lose weight for an event? A mate? Appearance? Revenge? To satisfy someone else’s desire for you? Because you know you should? Etc. (Hint: Besides living for God’s glory, none of these other reasons will work long-term.)

Are there any other questions that you think should be added to the list? What’s your health story? I would love to hear from you.

EnVision That Highlights Alton Williams, Jr.

My brother and CEO of Trap Fitness Alton Williams, Jr. turns 27 today.

Alton Jr. is the definition of determination and perseverance. Scripture states in Psalm 34:19 that many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all. I have seen Alton Jr. persevere through many attacks of the enemy and always come out victorious with his spirit intact. I think this is a reason why God gave him the T.R.A.P. Fitness idea. Usually, the area of our greatest attack is the area of our greatest anointing.

This past October, my siblings and I drew names for Christmas Secret Santa gifts. I did not want any gifts. Instead, I wanted to achieve some personal goals. I drew Alton Jr’s name. He was such a source of wisdom, strength, and encouragement to me over those two months. More importantly, I started forming some habits that will serve me well for the rest of my life. A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life. Alton Jr. did both.

Also, my sister Sheronda and I took one of Alton’s T.R.A.P. Fitness classes on Saturday, February 23. We did several strength training workouts that drenched us in sweat. Toward the end of our circuit training, I got weary while doing the pushups. Alton Jr. got on the floor and did pushups with me to keep me going. I will never forget his act of kindness. It showed that Alton Jr. is a team player who is in the trenches with those he serves. It is one of the many qualities that makes him a great leader.

Alton Jr, for all the ways you have helped facilitate my growth and the growth of countless others, thank you! May 2019 be a year of great expansion, growth, and fulfillment for you. I love you to life! God bless!

Anonymous – How Hidden Years Enrich Your Vision

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This weekend, I read a revolutionary book by Dr. Alicia Britt Chole entitled Anonymous – Jesus’ Hidden Years and Yours.

The premise is that true spiritual strength is born in the hidden places of our lives, when our potential is not seen, when our abilities are not appreciated, when we live in the gap between our dreams and life’s realities. Dr. Chole calls this an “anonymous season of the soul.”

The riches of this book are innumerable, but I will outline three points that resonated strongly with me:

Winter Hides Us So Summer Can’t Ruin Us

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Dr. Chole compares our spiritual development in the hidden years to the development and maturity of trees. Trees are stripped to their foundation in winter. There are no leaves, foliage, or fruit. Their growth is unseen, but not unimportant. They are bare, but not barren. This time strengthens the tree so that it can produce new leaves, foliage, and fruit in the spring and summer months.

In the life of Christ, most of his life was not documented. God hid Jesus so He could have protected, undisturbed room to be and become. His years in Nazareth were formative, to be rested in, not rushed through, and never regretted. They were unapplauded, but not unproductive.

In the same way, in spiritual winters, in the hidden seasons of our lives, when our visions are seemingly on hold, we focus on our character. Our main responsibility is to remain in Christ. God’s work in us does not stop in the winter, but He removes all advertisement to purify our faith, strengthen our character, conserve our energy, and prepare us for the future.

Every Choice Matters

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Dr. Chole recalls a conversation with a mentor named Marie who had suffered a third miscarriage. A well-meaning friend had told Marie, “You know, Marie, God is going to make you even stronger through this.”

Marie appreciated her friend’s thoughts but questioned her conclusion about the purpose of pain. Marie told Dr. Chole, “I feel that trials do not prepare us for what is to come as much as they reveal what we have done with our lives up to this point.”

Trials are a window to the past. Our decisions today foreshadow tomorrow’s challenges and reflect yesterday’s choices. There are no isolated choices. Every choice matters. Every choice we make is an investment in a future we cannot see. Every day is shaped by the days that precede it and affect the days following it. Our past choices in our hidden years cluster and gain momentum that is revealed in decisions we make in the visible years.

The reason why Jesus was able to withstand Satan’s temptations in the wilderness was because of the choices He made in the hidden years: praying, meditating on God’s Word, obeying God without modifying His instructions, and making unrecorded, unapplauded choices that had prepared Him for everything to come. Jesus sacrificing His body on the cross would have been impossible if he had chosen to yield to Satan’s temptation to feed his flesh after a 40-day fast in the desert.

Our Vision Thrives in Hiddenness

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The hidden seasons are a gift from God to us. They build and grow within us God’s Word, self-control, an accurate portrait of God, an unshakable identity, trust in God’s timing, a disciplined imagination, an eternal perspective, and submission-based authority. Our visions thrive in this place of hiddenness because we can trust God with them, whether they come to pass in our lifetime or not.

Our response to the hidden years is to wait, keep our hearts and spirits pure, and befriend stillness and rest. In this way, we can stay close to God and passionately pursue His will on earth, whether seen or unseen.

Our only true temptation in our spiritual lives is to choose against God. But disobeying Him in one area can spread like mold to other areas of our lives.

Jesus overcame this by modeling unmodified obedience. He simply and profoundly obeyed. In this way, He could walk out of temptation uncompromised and into crowds with humble confidence. 

My Experience with the Hidden Years

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Only 10% of an iceberg is visible. The other 90% is submerged in the unseen.

True to its name, Anonymous explains Jesus’ hidden years and mine. In a previous post entitled Vulnerability + Vision = A Call to Courage, I shared that I believe God gave me the EnVision That! idea to help me emerge from hiddenness.

Since graduating college in 2007, I have helped my parents, family, and church in ministry and have spent most days serving in various capacities, ranging from typing, editing, and proofing books to assisting with the finance team, Adelphe women’s ministry, MoMEANTum Young Adult Ministry, outreaches, and more.

I know what Dr. Chole means when she said that we tend to compare our hidden days to “filler food” while waiting for the visible days or the “main course” For several years, I felt like church was all there was and that I had nothing else to offer. This false belief led me to make some negative choices in my health habits, appearance, false intimacy, and attitudes.

Yet, with God, every course is a “main course.” Every moment of our lives matters to Him. He is the one audience we always have, the one audience that matters most. He and His people deserve my best in my health, appearance, intimacy, attitudes, and every part of my life. This book graciously led me to repentance for times when I felt my days, choices, ideas, and life did not matter. They do.

Last year, during our Adelphe worship, I was wrestling with a major decision and received this word from the Lord: “Remember, I lead you step by step,” In fleshing out this EnVision That! idea day by day with videos, graphic design projects, and articles like these, I envision Jesus holding my hand and leading me into the light. I am grateful, humbled, and prayerful that He will guide me every step of the way.

Dare to Believe

In February 2018, I reached out to coaching organization Noomii for help with my career. After initial consultations with three coaches, I worked with the great Marilyn Rose of Marilyn Rose Coaching. Throughout our sessions, Marilyn taught me about energy leadership styles, asked penetrating questions that led to discovering new perspectives, changed certain thought and behavior patterns, encouraged me to believe in my gifts and talents, and challenged me to stand in my truth with love, but without fear. She also offered unlimited support via e-mail, text, and phone calls. For more information, check out her website here: http://www.marilynrosecoaching.com.

One of the first encouraging words she gave was the following poem Dare to Believe.  I hope it also empowers you for your life’s vision.

Everybody Knows:
You can’t be all things to all people.
You can’t do all things at once.
You can’t do all things equally well.
You can’t do all things better than everyone else.
Your humanity is showing just like everyone else’s.

So:
You have to find out who you are, and be that.
You have to decide what comes first, and do that.
You have to discover your strengths, and use them.
You have to learn not to compete with others,
Because no one else is in the contest of being you.

Then:
You will have learned to accept your own uniqueness.
You will have learned to set priorities and make decisions.
You will have learned to live with your limitations.
You will have learned to give yourself the respect that is due.
And you’ll be a most vital mortal.

Dare To Believe:
That you are a wonderful, unique person.
That you are a once-in-all-history event.
That it’s more than a right, it’s your duty, to be who you are.
That life is not a problem to solve, but a gift to cherish.
And you’ll be able to stay one up on what used to get you down.

Making Peace With Me

This poem addresses one of my greatest challenges: the comparison trap. Every time I compare myself, my gifts, talents, limitations, and challenges with others, I lose my joy. I used to ask, “Why don’t I have Beyonce’s body? Why can’t I live overseas? Why can’t I strike out on my own without any family ties? Why can’t I go to Hollywood?”

Over time, I have made peace with the fact that I have broad shoulders instead of an hourglass frame, that my calling starts in America, that one of God’s purposes for me is to love, serve and empower my family, church, and community, and that the seemingly glamorous Hollywood is largely smoke and mirrors.

Which one of these points in the poem is the greatest challenge for you? What is your biggest takeaway? I would love to hear from you.

What You Need is Already Inside You

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Legend Has It

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According to an old legend, there was once a time when all human beings were gods, but they so abused their divinity that the chief god decided to take it away from them and hide it where it could never be found.

Where to hide their divinity was the question. A council of gods got together to decide. Some suggested that the treasure be buried deep in the earth. Others suggested that it be dropped in the ocean. Still others thought about placing it on top of a mountain. But since humans were able to reach all those places, the gods gave up on these ideas.

The gods finally decided to hide humans’ divinity within the humans themselves because they would never think to look for it there. It was the perfect hiding place. Since that time, humans have been digging, diving, climbing, and exploring, searching for something already inside themselves.

From the Inside Looking Out

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After graduating from Oral Roberts University in 2007, I started helping my parents in ministry. I loved my work, but my life revolved around it. I often felt isolated from family, friends, and the world. I suffered silently. I read books, attended success conferences and events. I was motivated at first, but I still felt stuck. I was not happy.

Yet, I remembered that my dad Alton Williams once told me, “What you need is already inside you.”  You are limitless. God has wired you to succeed. It’s not about trying harder, making more effort, having more willpower or discipline. Although these activities are great, the key to revealing who you are is connecting with God in your heart.  We can do this through reading the Word, praying, being still and allowing God to speak to us, and finding a group of believers who can encourage you in your journey.

Dad also introduced me to a program by Dr. Jim Richards of Impact Ministries called Essential Heart Physics that showed me how to meet with God each day in my heart. Here God reveals who you really are. This is where transformation takes place. For more information about this ministry, please visit http://www.impactministries.com.

Our Lives Reflect Our Hearts

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I had an epiphany. The best is within us. Everything we need to succeed in life is within us. What we see within us is greater than what we see and pursue around us. Our lives are a direct reflection of what is happening in our hearts. As long as I focused on outward behavior alone, there was no lasting change. We experience transformation and success, however, when we start living from our hearts.

Based on this revelation, I started creating vision boards. Then I received a divine idea for EnVision That! on February 1, 2018 and started fleshing it out to include vision board presentations, seminars, consultations, articles, videos, and more.

God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God placed treasure in us earthen vessels so that His power may be revealed in us (2 Corinthians 4:7). People cannot say “Look, here it is” or “There it is,” for the kingdom of God (or the rule of an eternal, sovereign God over all the universe) is within us (Luke 17:21).

So what vision, idea, or dream has God given you to share with the world? I would love to hear from you.