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.

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.

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.

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It…

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A mission statement is a formal summary of the goals and values of a company, organization, or individual.

This past Sunday, my mom Sherrilyn Williams asked me to create and copy half-sheets with the words Mission Statement at the top for her Sunday School life coaching class.

She shared that a personal mission statement is our written reason for being. It clarifies who we are and what we are about.

Mission statements are vital to individuals, families, organizations, and companies. They reveal our significance and the brightness of our futures.

As Stephen Covey explains, a plane is off course 90% of the time, but it has a definite start and end point. Anytime the plane gets off track, the pilot gently guides it back to its end point until it reaches its destination.

In the same way, our mission statements keep us on track, guide us forward, spark new ideas, shape our personal and company culture, establish consistency, drive action, send a powerful message to others, and simplify and focus our efforts on fulfilling our vision. In many cases, our personal mission statement is a dominant theme in our own lives.

Mission Statement Creation Resources

There are several methods for crafting a mission statement. Some of them include: prayer, Bible reading, identifying core values, identifying contributions, and finding the main idea in our lives, work, and activities, to name a few. Online and hard copy resources abound for developing your summary of values and goals. Here are three:

Mission Statement Builder –https://msb.franklincovey.com/

8 Steps to Writing a Personal Mission Statement – https://liveboldandbloom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/mission_statement_template.pdf

The Five-Step Plan for Creating Personal Mission Statements – http://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/creating-personal-mission-statements

Mission Statement Examples

Here are a few examples of personal and corporate mission statements:

Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN NetworkTo be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.

Richard Branson, CEO of The Virgin Group To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes.

Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment – I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission  statement: to love God and love others.

GoogleTo organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

Facebook To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected

MicrosoftTo empower every person and every organization on the planet  to achieve more

My Mission Statement

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My mission statement is to empower people to discover and fulfill God’s vision for their lives. I do this through articles, videos, vision board parties, seminars, and more.

What is your mission statement? I look forward to hearing from you.

Wild Women Arise

Sarah Jakes Roberts is a powerhouse

Tonight, for my sister Sheronda’s 33rd birthday, I treated her to A Night in the Wild hosted by Sarah Jakes Roberts. And chiiiilllllle! It was its name and so much more!

Held at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven, MS, the night started with a series of engaging texts via multimedia that encouraged the crowd of 2,000+ ladies to share their favorite female-empowerment tunes. The texts also invited us to lift up our cell phone lights if we resonated with the challenges of the many roles we play on a daily basis – wife, mother, sister, career woman, CEO, etc.

Pastor Sarah’s and her husband Pastor Toure’s all-female worship team, including two of their children, ushered us into the presence of God with songs such as New Wine and Do It Again.

We got a taste of Sarah’s Tuesday Facebook Live podcast The Delegation. Sarah’s sister Cora Jakes Coleman helped moderate.

Sarah honored The YWCA of Greater Memphis and its director Marquiepta Odom for their work in empowering women, eliminating racism, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Then Sarah gave the word from Revelation 12: The Woman and the Dragon. Her premise was that, for women, our greatest defense against opposition is regeneration. God made women to grow seed. Seed can mean babies, but it also means the things we produce from within us that look just like God when they come forth. This is why the enemy makes war with women, whether we have or lack seed. As women, we are soil. We grow whatever is planted in us, good or bad. This is also why we must be careful of what we allow to grow inside of us.

Here is a taste of Sarah’s powerful preaching:

Sarah’s message validated God’s call for women to care for our soil, bring forth, nurture, and grow His seed within us.

After Pastor Sarah spoke, she invited Pastor Toure to share what he saw. He said he saw “false caps” over women telling them that they could only go so far. He then proclaimed that women who have not walked in their full authority due to the oppression of certain men, systems, and structures, are now free to do so. “It’s your time! It’s your moment!”

It was one of the most empowering nights of my life! Many thanks to Pastor Sarah, Pastor Cora, Pastor Toure, and their team for allowing the Lord to use them so mightily!

Sarah’s next Woman Evolve event will be held in Denver, Colorado in July. For more information, visit womanevolve.com.

With Sarah Jakes Roberts and Cora Jakes Coleman

For a Limited Time…

Maximizing our time is critical to accomplishing God’s vision for our lives.

Time is a nonrenewable resource. Once it is gone, we can never get it back. So it is imperative that we use it wisely so that we can acccomplish all God has assigned to us. Below are three methods I use to maximize my time.

Check In With God Daily

Any time spent with God is time well spent.

Time spent with God is never wasted. By praying, listening to Him, and meditating on His Word, He helps us determine what is important and what is not. He can streamline and simplify our days so we can focus on fulfilling His vision for our lives.

During my quiet time on February 11, I read the following devotional from Small Straws in a Soft Wind by Marsha Burns: Fix your gaze on Me, says the Lord.  Everything in the world around you is designed to distract you and pull you down.  Your spiritual vitality will come from establishing your relationship with Me first.  Then, you can deal with the issues of life with wisdom and the power of the Spirit.  1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Just Say No

We must say no to the good so we can say yes to the great.

As stated in the above paragraph, many people, activities and responsibilities vie for our time and attention each day. There is no way we can accomplish God’s vision for our lives without focus. Saying yes to one thing means we simultaneously say no to many others.

For instance, saying yes to fleshing out this EnVision That! idea means I have said no to having a TV in my home. Watching TV would waste valuable time that I could spend reading, writing, creating, producing, planning, and implementing.

Also, I once worked on a ministry project that somehow snowballed from just taking meeting notes to prepping folders, decorations, food, and other items for an entire event one Sunday afternoon. No duties had been delegated. Ironically, that day, my father was ministering on, “Are We a Mary or Martha Church?”  I did not hear the message because I was busy being Martha for the fellowship event. The event went well, but I was completely drained and burned out. I cried in my office and felt like I heard the Lord say, “You are doing things I never told you to do.”

From then on, I have been more careful about what I agree to do. My top priority is accomplishing God’s vision for my life. I do not want to stand before Him and hear Him say, “That’s all you accomplished with the years of life I gave you?”

The Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro Technique is a powerful time management method.

When I need to break a big project down into smaller chunks or if I am struggling with motivation or procrastination, I sometimes set up a pressurized situation with the Pomodoro Method. I set a timer for 25 minutes and work only on one task until complete. Then I take a 5 minute break, reset the timer, and begin again. This method focuses me, increases my accountability and productivity, and maintains my motivation. Each project and assignment moves me closer to fulfilling God’s vision for my life.

Have you ever used any of the above methods to maximize your time? What other time management tips do you recommend? I would love to hear from you!

Morrie Schwartz’s Tuesday Teachings

My sister Sheronda recommended author Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morrie.  In this precious work, Morrie Schwartz is an extremely lovable college professor in his late sixties who learns that he is dying. The story of his last few weeks on earth is told by Mitch, one of Morrie’s former students, who runs into him during his final days. Below are just three of the many takeaways I gleaned from this book.

Our Values Will Decide Our Vision

In the chapter titled “Taking Attendance,” Morrie discusses the importance of pursuing a meaningful vision and life.

Pursuing God’s vision for our lives will always give us meaning, purpose, significance, and legacy.

Learning How to Die Helps Us Live

In another chapter, Morrie and Mitch discuss death. Morrie once thought he would be a healthy old man, not an old man dying from ALS. He confirms that we usually do not believe we will die, so we often live on autopilot. Yet,

Realizing that we must all one day stand before God and account for our time on earth, and realizing that how we live on earth will determine how we live in eternity, will prompt us to wholeheartedly pursue His vision for us.

Without Love, We Have Nothing

Morrie told Mitch that one of his many visitors asked him if he worried about being forgotten after he died. He said he did not think he would because of the many people he was involved with in close, intimate ways. He quoted poet W.H. Auden: “Love each other or perish.”

Love is the most powerful force in the world. It is stronger than death, and it makes our vision worth accomplishing.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a gem of a book that stays with readers long after the last page. It is required reading in high schools and colleges across the country…and for those who want to lead the full, abundant lives that God intended for us all.