Ego? Arrogance? No, CONFIDENCE

2:03 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Did you know there's humility and then there's self-loathing?

I used to be one of those people who shunned every nice word from people. They would compliment me, and I would be quick to say something like, "Whatever" or I would laugh off the compliment as if the person was crazy to suggest something nice about me.

Why did I do that? A few reasons...
  • I was extremely shy, and I hated any form of attention to be on me.
  • I truly did not know how to respond, and yes, I know all about THANK YOU, but..yeah...I'm weird.
  • I didn't want to take the shine away from God because without him, I cease to be.
I wasn't being humble. I was self-loathing. I was not validating the positive traits I possess, traits that God has infused me with and that I have , through the choices I make in this life, enhanced.

And despite how badly I have disserviced God and myself, he has still done a very quick work in me and my life.

Just recently, I realized how quick God has come to my rescue. Yes, I waited (patiently and impatiently) for him to come with things, just like everybody else, but Lord, when he came, he came hard, fast, and repeatedly.

Just two months ago, I hadn't been behind a wheel, I didn't have much to take with me to Lubbock, I was used to be complacent, in being in the life I had "made" for myself for the last eight years.

And in just two months, God got me behind the wheel, and I passed the driving test. God provided for me for those first couple of weeks when I had nothing. God gave in abundance, allowing me to not only lease my very first car, but to drive said car in a new city, a new state. Even with my jitters from being a new driver, he continues to put me behind the wheel and teach me how to be independent and how to get through issues that arise - like running over a bumper in a parking lot (and scaring the mess out of myself), getting my first parking citation (thanks TTU!), and having to go to an auto shop to get my tire pressure checked.

God wanted to equip me with the means to take care of myself, to get where I needed to go, and to be able to get where HE needed me to go to help spread his message on earth.

The last few days, I've been thinking a lot about ego, about arrogance, about confidence.

Why?

Because I've been feeling like a "bad mutha." Every day, I feel closer to being the woman God wants me to be, I feel happier with my decisions. I even feel good about the pains and trips and falls I've experienced because I'm finding solutions in ways the old me would have never considered out of fear and insecurity.

Believe me, it's not my ego or any form of arrogance that has me smiling and thinking my stuff don't stink.

I know, just like I know I'm breathing now and typing this blog that God is the reason for all the changes in my life, and just knowing that makes me feel so unbelievably blessed that there are no words, no emotions high enough, no actions that could ever convey my happiness or my thanks for having such a loving Father.

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Verse of the Week

1:55 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

"I have given you authority …to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." (Luke 10:19, NIV)


How strong should we be because of this verse? VERY strong. God has given us power to control the enemy so that we can keep our minds, hearts, souls, and spirits connected with God and the path he places before us.

Even in the daily struggles and tragedies of life, we have the power to rise above our situations to claim the blessings God has for us.

If you're going through today and can't seem to think of one reason to hope or believe, reread this verse until it runs through you like blood, becoming a part of you.

Nothing can harm you as long as you have God on your side.

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And So It Begins

7:30 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

I got up early. Had two things to do before my 11 a.m. orientation meeting: pick up my permit and get my school ID.

I had been told there would be lines galore, so I made sure to get up and out the house so that I could be at University Parking Services at 7:30 when it opened.

Everything went according to plan 'til I got in the car and on the road. Somehow, some way, I couldn't find the place and found myself circling one particular area three times before frustration, irritation, and tears came.

For all purposes, I'm a new driver and I still get twinges of nervousness when behind the wheel, and being in a new city, a new state just makes matters worse, so in my state of breakdown, I let loose a string of profanity, turned around, and decided to go back home.

Screw a parking permit.

About three, four blocks from my complex, I saw the sign for the university police and went to ask them where UPS was.

When an employee told me the building was right next door (and not called University Parking Services at that), I couldn't help but laugh and ask God, "So, you like playing with me, huh?"

Thank God, there was NO line, and I was in and out in about five minutes.

Next, finding the commuter parking (which is like centuries away from civilization). That wasn't the hard part.

What was hard was looking like a tourist as I held my map close to my face and meandered nearly half the campus to reach the English building. Thirty or so minutes later, I reached it - hot, sweaty, and tired.

I didn't go in. I just knew how to get to SUB (Student Union Building) from it, and that's where I needed to go to get my ID. I did, however, see on a bench under a blanket of trees to catch my breath before another trek.

Again, thank God, there was NO line for the ID, and I was in and out in about five minutes.

And because I had such an early start, thanks to all the people who told me to expect lines, I had a little over an hour to chill before orientation, and I did, nearly falling asleep and providing new students on a tour with my pleasant snores.

The orientation, which I was so nervous about, actually was great. Got to meet my fellow fellows and the director. Got a major pep talk and overview of the program. Got to share my interests and talk to people, and I found I openly talked. Me thinks I was missing talking with people face to face, LOL

After the meeting and a lunch with other students in the department, I made the trek back to the car and headed home.

Once there, I sat, staring at my TTU card and smiled.

I called my mom, told her about my day, and said, "No matter the whining, complaining, and worry I exude over the next several years, Mommy, know this: I got this."

And I do. I'm excited about this and ready to be around people and have intelligent conversation and do research and write papers.

It'll be hard. I'll be cranky. I'll be sleep-deprived. I'll wonder why I tortured myself through this.

But I'll be fine.

Why?

'Cause...I got this.


I'm official, baby.

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The Devil Is a Liar, Part Three

8:40 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Devil's truth: You Can't Win


The devil likes to pick. He likes to niggle his way into the dark crevices of your mind, find the tiniest things that make you weak, and water them, nurture them until they rear their ugly huge heads, darkening everything in your path.

The devil starts small because he knows that if he festers in enough of your small weaknesses, he will break you. He will make you feel and believe the whisper he sends through your mind: You Can't Win.

When you get that promotion and think everything's aces, BAM, here comes the devil to say, "You can't win. The recession is still going on, and who's to say your company won't downsize?"

When you meet that man who seems to make your heart sing and you think he might be the "one," BAM, here comes the devil to say, "You can't win. Remember how much your father hated you? Remember when you were raped? Remember the bad relationships that followed that? How you think you can have a real, good relationship?"

When you go to celebrate your girlfriend's purchase of a new home and while there, you're happy and drinking mimosas, BAM, here comes the devil to say, "You can't win. You've been looking for a house for how long? Wasn't it you that convinced her to grab a piece of the American Dream? Where's your dream? That's right. It's not coming true."

No matter the scenario, whether you're at a place of blessings in abundance or you're patiently waiting for your blessings to arrive, the devil waits, ready to pounce.

What he fails to realize is "light shines in the darkness for the godly" (Psalms 112:4a, NLT).

And just as he works his way into the crevices of our dark hurts and pains, light can filter into those dark moments and provide us with the hope, the faith we need to continue.

When Tiff and I left for Lubbock, I had enough money (at least I was hoping) to pay for gas both ways, a few (read: very few) necessities for the apartment, and a bit of food. After that, I had six bucks in my wallet and wasn't expecting another piece of money to fall into my lap for at least three weeks.

On our first night in Lubbock, we went to the Dollar Tree, and we were looking through the kitchen stuff.

Initially, inside, I was terribly upset. I was scared, frightened. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. I wasn't sure I'd be strong enough to be on my own again, especially considering I knew God had me here for a specific mission. Could I do what he needed?

A million and one dreaded thoughts circled in my head, and then Tiffany touched my arm.

I jumped and said, "Yeah?"

In her hand, she held pot holders and oven mitts and kitchen towels with a funky brown, green, and orange design.

"You like these?"

I smiled and took them. "Yes, you know I love me some brown...and green."

And as Tiffany busied herself, finding little dollar gems for me to buy, I held those pot holders, oven mitts, and kitchen towels, and smiled. My heart almost grew bigger than me, and I could feel the tears were imminent.

"Ooh," Tiffany said in that awe voice, "I feel the presence of God all through here. Hit me just now."

And I smiled and looked at her and said, "I feel happy right now."

"You excited?" she asked, and I could tell that she truly wanted nothing but for me to be happy.

"I'm getting there." I pointed a holder at her and added, "Your excitement for me is making me excited. I'm getting there."

And as we continued through Dollar Tree, I didn't let go of that feeling, that sliver of light that shined into my dark thoughts to whisper its own words to me and to the devil, "She is mine, and she can do all things through me because I strengthen her. You can't have her. Go."

And as we left Dollar Tree on our way to Walmart, I felt the devil do just that. GO.

And nearly three weeks later, as God has blessed me with the means to give to others and to get a few things for myself, I smile.

In my wallet, I still have the six one-dollar bills.


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Verse of the Week

11:25 AM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me." (Micah 7:8, KJV)


We spend a lot of time licking wounds. We fall, and we cry and bemoan and whine and complain about the incident too many times. Then, we spend an equal amount of time thinking about the incident, too. And though tears are not bad and talking about an incident isn't bad in and of itself, the problem only increases when we begin to think about others, the ones who expect to see us fall, who actually want to see us fall. When we start thinking about them, embarrassment, shame, and disappointment can filter into us, keeping us in the mess we've created.

Whenever I read this scripture, my back straightens. I feel taller, stronger, able to conquer every and any obstacle that comes before me, and then stand and tell my enemies, my haters, "Yep, I'm back again because God got my back."

No matter what befalls you, no matter the hoards of people who abound, waiting for your downfall, remember you have a Father who will always lift you up, dust you off, and set you back on your path - if you want him to do that for you.

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The Devil Is a Liar, Part Two

3:41 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Devil's truth: Black Women Can't Get Along


In my life, there was a time I didn't believe this. Then, there was a stretch of time that I did believe this. And now, I'm back where I started; let me explain.

I fully believed black women could get along. I had a long list of black women, in my family and friends and with working environments, who were there for me, lending an ear, offering a hug, giving advice that turned out to be the thing I needed to hear. And even though I always heard conversations about how black women were catty, and mean, and self-focused, and back-biting, I never believed it because I had PROOF to the contrary.

And then I entered graduate school ~ won't even say which one, and you guys know it's been many, LOL

I met a black female professor who offered to take me under her wing my first semester, to show me the ropes. "We have to look out for one another, you know" was the essence of her words, her actions.

And I was happy because I assumed this would be another black woman I could add to a long list of supportive black women.

But things turned bad quickly, and by the end of my first semester - after I had put together a conference, took over classes when needed, and did a million other things for her as an independent study student - I received a C and was dismissed from the school (needed As or Bs to stay in the program). Went as high up on the chain as I could possibly go and still, no one listened. I was let loose.

This one instance washed away all the good black women from my list. I tried to get past it, but shortly thereafter, I ran into other altercations with black women who seemingly wanted to help me or forge alliances only to betray me, stab me in the back, and leave me wounded.

Was I bitter? Hell yes. Was I angry? Most definitely, and it showed as I decided to just stay away from most people and keep to myself.

The devil had won out. He had managed to take something good and mar it, and I was letting him by not going back to my list and showing him my PROOF.

But God has a way of working his way into you when you think you've turned yourself off from the world. He introduced me to strong, confident, self-assured black women who were great in their own right but also wanted to connect with other great women to empower.

He introduced me to my best friend, he introduced me to women - both online and off - who would become like sisters to me...physically and spiritually.

One of strong black women is Tiffany Phillips. When I first met her, I didn't like her, and she tells everyone this story! I had already pegged her as a black women set on self and ready to trample others in her path, but I had to work with her on a project. I couldn't run from her.

In spending time with Tiff, I learned that first impressions aren't always the best. You don't get to see what's inside of a person. What matters to her. And through our working together, I learned she was a giving, loving, supportive, G0d-fearing woman who would give you whatever you needed if she had it.

She reconnected me with church. She was there when I was baptized. She encouraged me to grow and go deeper in my faith walk. She rallied behind me when I was treated unfairly and shook the pom poms when God things began to happen in my life. She drove me the 12 hours to Lubbock, a drive which was full of good talk, revelation, love, and sisterhood. She made this journey to Lubbock less fearful. She made me excited during times fear, anxiety, and doubt weighed heavily on me. She prophesied over me. She woke me up early in the morning about dreams she had of me and allowed me to share my fears.

She's been a wonderful black woman in my life, and because of her and countless others that God has placed in my life over the last few years, I can say, "The devil is a liar. Not everyone is going to be to our liken, but that is no reason to cast a whole lot away. There are good people, no matter the race, the sex, and when it's your time, God will place those people in your life and restore your faith."

And it's my time. And God has kept his promise.

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Verse of the Week

2:46 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

"…faith without works is dead."
(James 2:20, NKJ)


Short and to the point.

We can't just bemoan and cry out to God and then sit and do nothing.

Yes, we are supposed to get out of God's way, but nowhere does he say we should go take a nap and let him handle everything.

We still need to move, to act, to walk in the path God places before us and conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to God and that makes us ready to receive our blessings.

Every time I read this, I have to ask, "What do you want me to do, God?" I want to be in constant motion - whether in prayer, thought, movable action - so that when God's ready to drop the blessings, I'm there to receive them.

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Why ...Plain Upon Tablets?

6:00 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

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If the Lord...never does anything else for me...

9:52 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

EVERY time I hear this song, my body is filled with God's love. I can do nothing but laugh, cry, and dance. Beverly Crawford is ANOINTED...as is this powerful song.

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Verse of the Week

1:16 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV)


I read this verse about six, seven times in a row the other day, each time feeling it in my spirit, in my heart, in my soul. It's an amazing testament to God's love for us. He gave us a position as prophet before our scream of birth echoed in a hospital's delivery room. He made us holy, he purified us before we grew inside our mother's womb. He knew everything about us, from beginning to end, before the union that created us even bloomed. How could we not feel like we are wonderful, we are something important to this world? When I read this verse, I know that I am somebody, have always been somebody before I even became a body on this earth.

If that don't make you smile, I don't know what will.

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The Devil Is a Liar, Part One

11:36 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

Devil's truth: Things won't come to pass


The devil tells me this a lot. Even when I know intellectually, even when I have been told by God that something is already done and on its way, the devil steps in to ask, "Are you sure?"

And like a weak human, I tilt my head to the side, looking like the RCA dog and ask, "Well, am I sure?"

And then all hell, literally, breaks loose.

This happened to me the weeks leading up to my move to Lubbock, Texas.

I had been unemployed during the summer except for my editing gigs, and money was tight. I had counted and tallied and counted, tallied again and knew I would have the money necessary for my apartment, the move, and some leftover for necessities the first few weeks.

Then things happened.

Money from my editing gigs didn't flow in like it was supposed to.

Money was needed for the household I kept up with my siblings.

People here and there needed things, and I felt compelled to help.

And with just a week before the move, I was strapped for cash and desperate.

But I knew, or thought I knew God had this moment in the bag for me. He was the one that told me to apply to Texas Tech. He was the one that told me things would be provided for me, that I would be OK.

But I doubted him because of the devil telling me "Things won't come to pass, no matter what you think God said to you."

And I chose to believe him.

And I went looking for a loan.

Terrible mistake. I had just, months before, got myself away from using any type of loan to help for quickie money, and I vowed to never go back.

But I was desperate. I was scared. I was not trusting my mind.

And as painful as it is to admit, I wasn't trusting my God.

I didn't get a loan, but what I did get was a former loaner taking money from my bank account and putting me in the negative...just two days from the move.

And I snapped. Thought it would be the third nervous breakdown of my life.

I remember crying to my brother, "I'm such a screw up. I never do the right thing. I'm stupid. I always mess up, make mistakes. No wonder nothing good ever happens to me."

Pity Party can't even convey correctly how bad off I was.

But my brother talked to me, made me laugh, made me realize that I was still alive, and as long as that was true, there was a chance for change, for something good to happen.

And it did.

Up to the very day of the move.

Money from editing gigs came in the day of the move.

My mother was able to scrounge up money to give me the day of the move.

By the time I got in the car to begin my travels, I had a money order for the rent, money for gas, and money for necessities.


The moral of this story?

The devil IS a liar. Things do come to pass.

And they only do because God said they would and because we hold fast to what God says and walks into those things he has given to us.

I was quickly humbled by this experience, realizing that it's not always for me to grab the reins of my life and dictate what's going to happen. I realize that when God tells me something, there are no words, no money more valuable than that word.

It is true.

It is the TRUTH.

And as long as I hold fast to those truths, cloak myself in God's word and his will for my life, I will learn to let go of my need to control and let God do what he needs to do for me.

Simply put: "If you believe, you will receive…" (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

Believe in God and what he says to you, what he has for you. He will never steer you wrong.

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The Devil Is a Liar Series

11:25 PM Shonell Bacon 0 Comments

A lot of changes have occurred in my life recently - all for my good, and over the next several blog entries, I will be detailing these changes, these experiences through a series titled, The Devil Is a Liar. Why this series title?

Because throughout my recent journey, a lot of "truths" have been debunked, and I realize that I need to get even closer to God and in touch with myself in order to cast out the devil's truths and get to the heart of every matter of concern to me and my spiritual walk.

I hope, in some way, these blogs help you, make you realize that we all go through things, have ups and down, have moments of fear and despair, but we can get up, we can wipe the tears, and we can keep moving forward in our destiny.

No matter what the devil says, he is...and will always be...a liar.

First part coming shortly...

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