Transparency is Key

Having the ability to communicate, in my opinion, is one of the most valuable elements you should be able to display in any type of relationship.  Being transparent is sometimes a scary endeavor, especially in relationships, old or new.  I believe transparency is something that we often have to learn how to do and discern when it should be implemented, because after all, you do not want to reveal too much to make yourself easy to be taken advantage of or make yourself easy to walk away from.

The word transparent can be described as something to easily detect or see through.  Just thinking about the definition may leave you wondering why you would want to make this a habit in your life.  As soon as I read the definition, I immediately thought of weakness and being in a fragile state.  However, being transparent is not that at all because you have to possess control over what you are willing to share and when you will be able to share with other people.  I find that it takes your ability to trust yourself and to recognize when it is safe to express who you are.  I believe it is a learned habit that can be learned in the environment you grew up in or just through life experiences.  For example, you may know someone or may be that someone who has no problem holding their tongue when it comes to their business or anyone else’s for that matter.  It comes natural to them to express how they feel or to “be 100” in almost any situation.  On the other hand, you may know someone who is on the opposite end of the spectrum and has difficulty expressing their concerns or who they are.  Let me tell you, that is a difficult place to be in.

For me, learning how to be transparent was pretty much like the last straw.  I finally realized suppressing how I felt and hiding who I was, was how I ignored many things about myself and put other people’s perception about me first.  It got to the point where I did not care any longer because I was in a position where I had to be honest with myself, which was not easy for me.  Eventually, after working through some internal obstacles, it started to become less complicated and I believe it has helped me with making better choices and has allowed to be more of an authentic person.  In my opinion, once you grasp the art of transparency, other good habits will form, particularly if you do not possess these habits, such as being observant, trusting, honest, and having the power of discernment.  All of these traits are powerful and worth having.

Instead of thinking of transparency as a negative, I hope that it is something that you strive to gain as a positive trait about you.  It may be difficult at first, but as you continue it will get better over time.  It will be refreshing to be someone who is original, open, and slightly vulnerable, which is perfectly okay.  Overall, there can only be one you, so why not show the best you that you have to offer.

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Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Patterson

Over the summer I was required by my woman’s ministry at my church to read a book of my choice and write a one page summary that includes how the book impacted my thoughts.  The book, “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge,” by Mark Patterson was a book that kept me engaged in prayer, but also helped me understand the purpose of prayer.  After writing my summary, I felt that I should share my personal thoughts about the book on the blog because I could not help but think, what if someone is confused, discouraged, and ready to give up.  I am not a spiritual leader by any means, but I know that I am constantly learning and accepting the process in my spiritual journey.  Overall, I hope you find this to be enlightening and perhaps a blessing to you.

Peace Keisha

In the book, “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge,” author Mark Patterson discusses how to pray and have a more closer and intimate relationship with God using forty of his personal stories of prayer.  Each day the book presents a prayer challenge with the use of God’s word and how He views prayer.  For forty days, I was able to not only read about the power of prayer, but understand the importance of prayer and know that every time I talk to God, it is a time for me to come before God knowing that there is nothing too big or too small for Him to handle.  While reading this book, I chose to write daily notes so that I am able to review and meditate over them when I feel discouraged or when I need to seek God’s voice.  “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge,” is a book that reminds me that God loves me regardless of my faults and He desires for me to pray continuously for the impossible.  There is nothing that I should not be able to ask of Him because I have faith that God will lead me in the right direction.  However, it is my decision to, like Patterson states, “Put feet to your faith”.  I have to be unafraid to move, even when I am unsure of the outcome and continue to have persistence.  The author discusses how one should have crazy faith.  My prayers should be bold and I should not be afraid to think big dreams.  In the book, prayer was compared to a seed.  If I plant a seed it disappears for a season, however, it eventually bears fruit that will bless future generations.  I cannot think that my prayers will go unanswered when I do not hear from God.  Instead, I have to understand that my prayer has been planted and like any other seed, God is providing my prayer with nutrients that it needs in order for it to grow and thrive, even when I cannot see that He is taking care of my prayer.  This book reminds me that faith is an important factor when it comes to knowing, trusting, and talking to God.  The phrase, “Step out on faith,” is often used in spiritual circles, but this book made me realize that my fear cannot overcome my faith.  In the book, Patterson states, “If you don’t get out of the boat, you will never walk on water”.  That quote was so powerful to me because there are51GAbPt-KzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ many things in my life I believe I cannot do, mainly because of fear, but this quote reminds me that if I allow fear to direct my choices, I will never experience the miracle God has waiting for me.  This book also helped me to focus on the blessings that I do have and reminded me to continue to give praise.  Having gratitude kills discouragement.  Even if I do not have everything I want and I do not understand everything that is happening in my life, I have to be grateful for what I have and also for making it through the experiences I had to encounter.  Overall, “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge,” is a book that explains the significance of prayer.  God rejoices when I take the smallest steps in the right direction, meaning the little things I do, is not overlooked by God.  I have to continue to pray, believe, and stand on God’s word.  I will not let the discouragement of what I am going through make me forget the benefits of belonging to the God who has been so good to me.  He has saved me, blessed me, forgiven me, restored me, satisfied me, healed me, crowned me, and renewed me– Mark Patterson.

Seeking Affirmation

It is always nice to hear someone you know complimenting you on your beauty, intelligence, and overall, someone who is supportive about the decisions you make in your life, but that is just the thing…it is your life.  Why must you always need to hear from someone else how well you are doing or just how special you are?  Is it because you do not know how special you are or maybe it is because you think of yourself as less than and need someone else or other people to affirm your actions?  After all, affirmations and compliments are not the same thing.

Receiving compliments are, at times, just what you need to get through your day or put a smile on your face, especially when they are unexpected.  However when you seek for affirmation, it is as if you live a life of uncertainty about yourself.  If you ever feel as if you are hunting for any and every praise and accolade from someone else for what you do or how you present yourself, then I am writing to assure you, you are looking in the wrong place.  No one on this earth can give you the confidence, reassurance, or a feeling of happiness like you can give yourself.

As a young woman, I had the experience of looking for all of those things from other people.  I needed others to validate that I was making the right decisions or that my appearance was deemed acceptable.  Sometimes, I believe we are often caught up in what others think and value their opinions more than our very own, which is a trap that we often fall victim to. However, I had to realize that there was a difference between simply asking for an opinion and seeking validation.  If you think about it, people can only offer their opinions about you.  How can their opinions be what defines you?  We are already aware that all people are not honest, trustworthy, and to be quite frank, have issues of their own.  People cannot always assess what you are doing clearly because of their convoluted lives. Instead of always trusting others’ opinions, you may have to do some self-reflecting and ask yourself if you want to base your life and your perception of yourself solely on others’ perspective.

Nonetheless, it is nothing wrong with asking for advice or accepting compliments.  Sometimes you need that second opinion or you need to hear something positive about yourself every now and again, but basing your decisions about how you operate in your own life on someone else’s perspective negates the fact that you are a unique individual and that you have been equipped with everything you need to be confident, intelligent, and successful.  Even if you currently do not believe this about yourself, give yourself your own compliments, write down what makes you unique, and repeat those to yourself.  Think of something about you that you love and something that you want to work on so you will be able to love in the future and continue from there.

You will notice that it is a process, but you end up learning more about yourself and seeking less affirmations from others.  Once you are able to seek what you need within yourself, you will not always feel reassured when someone compliments you or seems to be supportive with your decisions because you already know, that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.