A Visit to the Barbershop

The Labyrinth of Life

 16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do;  I will not forsake them.  Isaiah 42:16

Do you feel that you’re on a road to nowhere? That life has pushed you down a twisted path that is based on poor choices and decisions and uncontrolled circumstances determined by external sources?

The more effort you put into your life, the more energy is sucked out of you. No matter what you try to do seems to work. Even though you may feel like you will never get to your destination, your life is constantly being diverted and misdirected. From dead ends, left turns and wrong turns that lead to right turns, it’s like a labyrinth of frustration, confusion, aggravation, not to mention stress. You may feel like a rat on a wheel, running to nowhere.

Just because you can’t see a way out, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. The forced direction that you experience, may possibly be how the Lord orders and directs your steps. With each twist and turn, the Lord is guiding your steps to the purpose and plan he has for your life. Who said life was easy? It’s not a direct shot even for the best of us. Some people may have fewer turns than others, yet we will hopefully end up exactly where we need to be.

Before you make a decision, you should always check your spirit. Do you have peace with your decision? Does something feel off? Do you feel nervous, tense, or afraid?

The Holy Spirit guides you with a sense of peace. He offers wisdom and guidance. Do not ignore your intuition. That is the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Fear can be very tricky because it can be a warning sign prior to danger, but it can also be a false alarm from satan himself. Either way, fear is not of God and you must learn to test the spirit prior to making any decision.

No matter where you are on your journey, keep on moving. God is not the master of confusion and He did not create you for failure. If you get tired and weary along the way, take a break or just pause for a minute (praise break), recharge your battery (meditate on scriptures), and walk-in faith (prayer).

The Lord has the ultimate blueprint and knows what He’s doing even if you don’t. He has the ultimate global positioning system (GPS). Let Him lead the way because He will never lead you wrong. “He will lead you by the still waters.” Psalm 23:2

 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.  Proverbs 4:18

Let it Go!

12-before-let-go

Why is it so hard for people to let go and embrace the new? They hold unto bad relationships, bad memories, bad habits, bad experiences, negative thinking and the list goes on and on.

There is a sense of freedom and liberation when you release whatever may be negative in your life. You can’t soar if you have a burden or walk around with unforgiveness in your heart.

close-your-eyes-clear-your-heart-let-it-go1 How do you do it? Simply, stop rehearsing it in your mind or talking about it. By  letting it go, you release negative emotions or anything that may be attached to  the experience, relationship or whatever you need to let go in your life. By letting  go of anger, bitterness, and resentment and replacing those negative emotions  with positive energy, you are taking back the power that was stolen from you in  the first place.

No one can control your thoughts, words, feeling or actions but  “YOU.” You are responsible with how you react and respond to a situation or  circumstance. You can’t change anybody’s ways of thinking but your own. It’s a  slow process at times, but you have to make a conscious effort. It’s not easy, but it  can be done.

If you’re struggling with a bad habit that you want to get rid of, you may need to go to a support group to gain encouragement. We are not born to be on an island by ourselves. We need each other. Just by being around others that can understand you, provides a great support system. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 Even though there are problems that are created which is not our fault. The majority of problems that we encounter is based on the mentality of people. Some problems are influenced by others and some problems are brought on by our own thoughts and actions. We must take responsibility for our actions and what we desire to change in our lives. I’m definitely not saying to ignore what you want to release. It all depends on what you need to let go in your life.

What you face will need to be handled and challenged head on before you let it go. But, at all cost you must face the reality of what you need to let go in your life. The process of change is gradual, but nothing in life remains the same. When you look back, you will realize how much you’ve grown through the process. Just like a butterfly, the cocoon stage is very ugly but through processing, the butterfly metamorphosis into a beautiful insect.

Peace & Blessings,

Renewing Your Mind

As we anxiously wait for the first day of summer, let us not forget this is the perfect time to reflect on the goals we set during the beginning of the year. We are halfway through 2010. Let us not to forget to evaluate our lives and what we plan to achieve by the end of the year. We are always reminded during Spring to clean out the clutter, so we may receive new things.

Let us not forget to clean out our minds which include bad memories and habits, defeated thoughts and attitudes or anything else that may be holding us back from receiving what God has promised us as His children. “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Old things have passed away. Behold, I make all things new.” II Corth 5:17

Refocus on Priorities

It’s important to take time to reflect on your life in a positive way. Don’t beat yourself up for goals that you haven’t attained just yet. But, just learn to refocus on priorities and set small goals to work towards what you desire to achieve.

Build a Support System

Also, you must pay close attention to your social environment. You should build a strong support system of family, friends, neighbors, classmates and church associates.

What type of people do you surround yourself? Make sure you are surrounding yourself with positive people who will inspire, encourage and motivate you. Pay attention to the details of the heart of people that you interact with on a daily basis. What are their motives or intentions? Are their actions and words positive or negative? Take note of their behavior and decide whether you choose to be around them. You are valuable and so is your time.

You should spend time expanding your mind. If you don’t enjoy reading, make it a point to watch a movie or documentary that will give you a different perspective on life. You need to refresh your mind. Water your mind with knowledge and watch it grow. In scripture it states, “My people will perish for the lack of knowledge.” So, don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who think differently than you do. Expose yourself to new cultures, races, creeds, religions or non-religious people. Be open to new ideas, opinions and thoughts. You can have a healthy conversation without having a debate or argument. That’s what makes life interesting. You do not have to agree with the person, but please make sure you respect them.

Guard Your Heart and Thoughts

It’s important to guard your thoughts. It’s so easy to dwell on negative emotions or words that will eventually influence your mind and behavior. Be mindful of what you allow to enter into your mind. There are many negative influences that surround us in the world and it doesn’t take long for a negative seed to be planted in your mind which eventually takes root. It’s much like weeds growing among beautiful, green grass. Weeds tend to multiply quickly and destroy the view. If you feed your mind junk, that’s exactly what you will eventually believe or think.

We are constantly influenced by images, words and stereotypes that influence the way we think. We have been so programmed that we often do not really learn to think for ourselves anymore. Don’t rely on gossip or rumors, but confront the source to get the correct information. Let’s be conscious of what we choose to listen to since this has a strong impact on how we see ourselves and others and can eventually influence our overall behavior.

Fill your mind with God’s word. It’s the most important thing you can do to withstand the attacks from the enemy. The only way to win the battles that come against you is to put on the armor of the Lord. To overcome the storms of life, you must read and study God’s word. It’s filled with power, truth, protection, guidance and His promises. Through daily mediation on God’s word, you will start to build faith, strength and courage to overcome the challenges and obstacles that you face. Through prayer, you will build a relationship with the Lord and will be shielded through your trials and tribulations. Even though bad things will still happen, hold onto your faith. You will have to endure many tests in life. Keeping your heart and mind grounded in the word of God, will eventually lead you to the harvest He has prepared for you.

How Do You Like Your Meals….Hot, Cold or Lukewarm?

Last night, I went to heat up some leftovers in the microwave. When I took it out, it was lukewarm. I instantly popped it back into the microwave. I feel there’s nothing worse than cold spaghetti.

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Purpose Through Pain

I need to vent. Hopefully, my writing will not come across negative, but I don’t care. I need to release my emotions. I need to be free….unexhibited without judgement or opinion. I realize my pen has a powerful voice and over the years my self-expression has been full of anger, frustration and anger, but through life experiences my pen fetish has developed into hope and inspiration.

I realize God is working in and through me for His purpose. I am human. I have struggles and face many challenges just like the best of us. I’m real and raw without fear or intimidation. There is power in exposure. There is also value in identifying and being true to yourself and your experiences.

Life has a way of forcing you in a direction that you never planned. Some call it fate while others may call it destiny but in between the past and future lies the present chaos of life. It’s the choices and decisions that sums up your journey in a nutshell. Each day is like a puzzle that sometimes fits perfectly or may not come together the way you thought it would. But, if you continue walking down the path, you will begin to see a glimpse of the full picture unfold.

At this point in my life, I never would of imagined my life to flip upside down so quickly. It has forced me in a totally different direction than I originally planned. I’m forced to re-invent and re-design a whole new life for myself. I have to admit it’s more than I could of ever imagined. Somehow, I feel I am still going in the right direction even though it may feel uncomfortable. I never realized how much strength, patience, endurance and faith I possessed.

I truly believe that’s why we are here. There is purpose through pain. When we deal with our struggles, we can heal and be a light to help others through the darkness.

We also become more sensitive to other’s circumstances and conditions. I believe that’s why God allows us to go through problems. We gain compassion, understanding, wisdom, strength, endurance and faith. We become more like God’s character. His essence is based on love. He requires us to love one another, but first you must understand how to love yourself.

Through it all, the foundation is based on love. I would of never made it through my storms without knowing the love of God. Regardless of how things may seem, the things we seek in this lifetime is vanity and chasing of the wind. It will all vanish. We ourselves are vapors passing through the sands of time.

Have you ever thought of yourself as a miracle? You are. There is something special about you. Everyone fails, stumbles and makes mistakes. Life happens regardless of race, class or gender. If you feel defeated, overwhelmed, discouraged….just flat out exhausted from life, you need to take time out to reflect and see your core — your value.

Be still and take a deep look inside. If you really don’t like what you see, you can make a change for the better. Nothing is impossible with God, but it helps to know and understand His character. You are a designer’s original. He created, molded and shaped you. Stop looking to be a clone. Just be who you are. Just be.

It’s not about gaining money and status. You have richness within. Develop your character based on integrity, respect, value and purpose. When you understand who you really are in Christ, you will find peace. The world will not shake you and you will not be defined by the world. You will realize that you can’t control things. The promises of God will stand when the world fades.

The Unknown Road

The End of the Road-2005 Copyright Yolanda Berry
Artwork by Yolanda Berry

On my way to church one day, I was determined to finally make it there on time. There’s a new road that has recently been constructed that connects to another street. I normally take a left turn at the light instead of continuing on the new road facing me straight ahead, but this morning I decided to travel the unknown road to find out where it would lead me.

As I traveled down the road, I felt a little anxiety hoping that I wouldn’t get lost so I could make it to church on time.  On the path I normally take, I would have to wait at the stoplight for long periods of time since it was not a heavily traveled street on Sundays. 

 Fortunately, I discovered that the road turned out to be a shortcut to a major parkway and in return took me closer to my destination than my old, traveled path. While I was driving, I immediately started thinking about the decisions made in life. Some people are so set in their ways or habits that they rarely take the road less traveled. They are either afraid of change or afraid of where it may lead. They never consider an alternate route. Unfortunately, they waste valuable time waiting at a red light or traveling farther than they have to go.  Sometimes risking the unknown maybe is the exact solution we need to lead us to our destination.