Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Positive Reinforcement—Apply Within

My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s done. It’s already decided. The funny part is…I can’t even tell you. I’ve decided to take a step that is beyond my character. I wonder what others will say. I wonder if I’ll even care. They never did. Or did they? Psychotic moment? Or just a recent observation I made?

Most of us are constantly in this moving cycle. Wake up, shower, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch T.V., go to sleep and then start over again. Some people have it even more exciting. Wake up, shower, wake up the kids, change the kids, feed the kids, bring the kids to daycare or school, go to work, pick up the kids, come home, feed the kids, feed yourself, bathe the kids, change the kids, put the kids to sleep, then try to get some sleep---if you can.

Each person has their ‘own cycle’. I admit, mine isn’t as chaotic, however it’s still a cycle. I decided to step out of that cycle today. What I have worked so hard on for the past few years has finally paid off. I want more. I want more out of life and I have to leave my past and current situation to get from point A. to point B… I’ve crossed the finish line, and now I’m heading in a whole different direction.

Skepticism and doubt has always filled my head from the people that I loved the most. Discouraging words always left me wondering what their motives were. Did they want me to fail? Did they pray for my downfall? Anything I have ever wanted—someone in my life would try to diminish my hopes and dreams to tell me that it’s just impossible. It can’t be done; especially you. {Meaning me}

Two very special people have planted hopeful words of encouragement and support in my life. Even when I was at my lowest point, they still gave me that boost of confidence that I needed in order to reach my next level. The first person is Madelene. (My lifetime partner) She has always says, “God makes a way where there is no way.” She always sees the glass half full. I used to call her a ‘dreamer’, and now I know that when you do dream of your goals, they do come into fruition. She believes that most people just see what’s in front of them. Madelene, on the other hand, sees further than that. I love her for that.

The second person will remain nameless, due to negative people stirring up jealous rages over who’s more positive than the other. We’ll just call her “Angel”. Angel will always turn my thoughts around to---“Hey! It can be done!” She always presents a way to get things accomplished. Life seems to be a huge possibility to her, and not an impossible task. She not only gives me words of encouragement, but she shows me a way to do it. Many times, my accomplishments were due to her teachings. She put so much faith in me and believed that I could do anything. Any time I talk to her, I feel uplifted and hopeful. I love her for that.

I grew up with my mother discouraging me from a lot of things. I had to sneak off to get my driver’s license. When I came home all proud that I made it on my first try—she yelled at me as though I was out doing something bad. She discouraged me from doing things that would benefit my life, like traveling or meeting new people. She instilled ‘fear’ in me. She loved me too much. She held on too tightly—trying to protect me from the dangers of the world, when in actuality, she showed me what fear was. I love my mother with all my heart, but I was never encouraged to date, go out, travel or do things a normal adolescent should experience. I was even discouraged from going to college—which meant ‘traveling’. Even today, she discourages me from many things that would enrich my life. I know she doesn’t mean it. I just wish she was a little more encouraging. I’m not blaming her for my regrets in life—what’s done is done. I’m responsible for my own actions. I still love her regardless.

My father was a complete opposite. He believed I could be the president of the United States. God forbid! This world would be in trouble. Anytime he would hear me play the guitar or see my art work, he would say, “Dis’ kid’s gonna be a millionaire—you watch!” My father always thought that. High hopes? Maybe. But it was nice to know that his view of me was much larger than mine…or anyone else’s. Instead of calling me ‘artistic’, his Brooklyn accent botches it up and tells people I’m ‘autistic’. Big difference there poppy! He still believes in me. I love him for that.

I’ve also encountered people; be it friends or acquaintances that had a negative mindset. Every single word out of their mouth dictated such a negative outlook on life. Whining and moaning about this and that, and not seeing the positive out of anything made me absolutely batty. It began to rub off on me. The longer you spend time with negative people; the more you become molded into something similar. I’ve decided to break free from people with negative vibes. I can’t emphasize how unhealthy it is to stay in a relationship with someone (whether a friend or lover) who constantly reinforces negative thinking. Eventually, you end up having the same mindset.

The step that I am taking will be posted eventually. I will write about my “impossible journey”—as some would call it.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13

God will give you anything you request---if it’s in His plan. Sometimes we have to wait an awful long time to get it, and that’s okay. He sees the ‘big picture’. We only see a small scope of what’s going on. Patience is the hardest part for me. I now see what I had to go through in order to achieve what I wanted out of life. God sometimes puts us in a ‘lull’, or a ‘cycle’, that seems to go on forever—but it’s for a reason. There’s a perfect time for everything.