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.

Isn’t It Romantic?

Tonight, my friend and I saw the romantic comedy Isn’t It Romantic? starring Rebel Wilson as Natalie, a New York architect who works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to deliver coffee and bagels than design the city’s next skyscraper. She gets knocked unconscious in a subway mugging and wakes up to find herself in an alternate universe. Disenchanted by love, Natalie’s worst nightmare comes true when she suddenly realizes she is playing the leading lady in a real-life romantic comedy.

The movie’s self-awareness about the many clichés of romantic comedies make it a joy to watch. It also features several themes about the importance of vision and love.

Worthy of Love

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Young Natalie watches Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

As a young girl, Natalie loved watching the classic romantic comedy Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Her mom says, “It’s just a movie…life’s not a fairy tale. Girls like us don’t get that.” Young Natalie asks why. Natalie’s mom responds, “Well, look in the mirror,  doll. We’re no Julia Roberts.”

In that moment, Natalie’s mom showed her a skewed, lesser vision of herself, her beauty, her worth, and love and shattered her dreams. Natalie believed her mom. 25 years later, this vision manifests in her daily life. She gets used to poor treatment by others at work. Even her pet dog ignores her. Her project manager Josh likes her, but she keeps friend-zoning him.

Be Open, Be Seen

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Whitney encourages Natalie to open up more to love.

While at work, Natalie’s best friend and assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) watches romantic comedies. Natalie rants about the evils of these movies to Whitney who says, “I think people would have an easier time seeing you if you were a little more open.”

F.L.Y. – First Love Yourself

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Natalie and Josh are best friends.

While living in a romantic comedy world, Natalie learns that her best friend Josh (Adam Devine) will marry Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), the Pantene model he only met and dated for a few days. Natalie realizes that she loves Josh and tries to stop the wedding by making him fall for her at a karaoke bar. It does not work. On the day of the wedding, she races to the church and bursts into the ceremony only to realize that she now loves…herself.

Love for herself changes Natalie and her interactions with others. She stops taking out the trash and doing other people’s tasks. She confidently presents her idea at work. And she learns that while she sits in front of an ad of the Pantene cover girl (Priyanka Chopra), Josh is watching her.

God’s Message to Me

For all its satire and cheese, Isn’t It Romantic? sends an important message about self love that I needed to hear. At the end of the movie, my mind went back to part of a prophetic word I received from a gentleman named Joey during the Bethel Conference in California on Valentine’s Day:

“Self love will be a major hallmark of your ministry. God will keep telling you over and over again how much He loves you until it clicks with you.”

Isn’t It Romantic? was a love note from Daddy God for me. Thank You, Lord.

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!

EnVision That! Highlights Tyler Perry

The mouthy matriarch Madea bids farewell after a nearly 20-year run!

Tonight, Sheronda and I enjoyed Tyler Perry and his team in Madea’s Farewell Play Tour.

We found hope and hilarity in the cast. The intermission commercials (i.e. “Throw Hands” and “Madea’s My Feet Hurt Slippers” were just as funny. The music moved us and the show started on time. I particularly loved the moments when Madea cracked up at various cast members and had to collect herself before continuing her tirades. And in trademark Madea fashion, she reprimanded everyone who arrived after the show started at 7 pm. We were hysterical!

Perry shocked the world when he recently announced that he would end the near 20-year run of his most-beloved character Mabel “Madea” Simmons. Yet, fans are getting their final fix with Perry’s 21st stage play, which also stars Tamela Mann as Cora, David Mann as Mr. Brown, and Cassi Davis Patton as Bam. The play runs until mid-May and ends with a four-night stint at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Tickets are available for purchase via Ticketmaster.com.

Perry will also bring the Simmons family together one last time for A Madea Family Funeral, which opens on March 1 and concludes a series of 10 films with the mouthy matriarch.

Tyler Perry’s Rise and Reign

Madea’s character is a combination of Perry’s mother, aunt, and his creativity. As a young boy, Perry endured a traumatic childhood and, in his words, “would go in my head, in my imagination, and leave the situation.” But this practice paved the way for his success. That place in his mind where he went as a child is now where he goes to write. To date, Perry now owns over 1,000 episodes of television, 20 films, six number-one movies, the number-one cable TV show on Tuesday nights, and he is writing, directing, producing it all. Movies usually take 18 months to shoot. Perry’s last movie was shot in eight days.

By God’s grace and Perry’s and his team’s hard work ethic, he is now the most successful African-American filmmaker in history and the ruler of an entertainment empire of hit movies, TV series, and plays. In fact, Perry is so prolific that he is starting his own Tylervision network.

Tyler Perry, we salute you for your trailblazing spirit, your excellence and your tireless commitment to your vision. Madea may say farewell to us, but hers and your influence will live on forever.

EnVision That! salutes Tyler Perry, an entertainment phenomenon.