Hello Overcomers! I have a few more Hall of Famers, but I wanted to throw this in the ring.
The more I walk this mental health journey, I become more and more aware of the importance of relationships. Relationships are work. In relationships there is give and take and depending on the season, one may be giving more than taking. It takes true friends to tough out those seasons with you.
I find myself wanting to withdraw when I feel like I’ve shared too much or spend a lot of time worrying if I am “too much” or, if this was the day when my friends decide, “okay, I’m done.” I find myself thinking I need to give them a break from me. They constantly prove me wrong.
Being in a healthy relationship feels foreign when you’ve become accustomed to dysfunction – even if the dysfunction is in your head. I’m learning to take off the track shoes and will myself to stay put. I have to remind myself to stay put and allow my friendships to flourish, to accept the help when needed as well as reciprocate when the opportunity arises.
I make an intentional effort to say thank you to those who “stay in the struggle” with me. My friends listen to my rants, reel me in when I’m overthinking, making negative statements about myself, filled with anxiety, and making decisions that are not conducive to my purpose. They point me back to God when I’m out in left field and remind me that I can “cast my cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7).
I had such big plans for the start of 2020. However, I found myself going down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety in slow motion. It was happening so smoothly, I didn’t realize it was happening. Many changes were happening at one time. I started grad school, for starters, as well as a couple other adjustments I hadn’t prepared for. I had a couple of conversations in which I allowed to shake my faith in myself and my purpose. I had subconsciously decided I was done. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Getting out of bed became what felt like impossible – thank God for the right friends.
Dr. Thema, in her “Homecoming Podcast,” says: Internal oppression is believing the lies I’ve been told about myself and, the ways I have been treated is not a reflection of my worth.
The lesson this time? Change the way I speak to me. Adjust how I see myself. It was a clutching my pearls moment because I’ve done so much work! #sigh You ever thought you were looking pretty good until someone who really loves you shows you a mirror and points out you have lipstick on your teeth? 😱 I hear you. There are some things that will not change until I do. In order to make a change, I must change what I believe. I get to decide what’s true of me and what’s not. Every piece of constructive criticism is not an affront to me as a person. I don’t have to accept every negative word spoken to me. Again, I’m learning.
Welcome to 2020, family. Lesson one, two and three is in the books for 2020. One documented failure on deck. However, this documented failure caused me to make some necessary adjustments to the overall plan which I call a win. Isn’t this the ebb and flow of life, though?
I am thankful for friends who love me. I am thankful for friends who will tell me the truth. I am thankful for friends who deal with my imagination, questions, and quirkiness. I am still learning. Learning to embrace who I am. Learning to love the girl who shows up in the mirror, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace that, although improvements will always be needed, I am fabulous and valuable because I’m me. You are fabulous and valuable because you’re YOU!
Dear God, as long as you’re with me. I can overcome anything. Thank you for sending friends to help me along this journey. Amen.
“Keep saying yes to everything He puts in front of you. He’s leading you to it. One step at a time.” Melinda Michelle
Melinda Michelle is a Florida native – born in Jacksonville, raised in Sanford and currently resides in Tallahassee. Tallahassee became her home when she graduated from the renowned HBCU, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Shortly after the completion of her bachelor’s, Melinda received an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Accounting from American Intercontinental University. After enjoying a career in business for a decade, she stepped out on faith to fulfill the purpose inside of her – writing.
Melinda Michelle is the author of eighteen published works. Her titles include both fiction and nonfiction. Although the genres vary, spiritual warfare is her signature subject. She remains true to a theme in all her books – the love and power of the Almighty God. Her work has won awards and brought her before many audiences as a speaker. She has served as a panelist, keynote speaker and conference orator tackling the subject of spiritual warfare for women’s groups, prisons and churches. Her publishing company, Global Multi Media Enterprises, currently has ten authors with over thirty published works. She hopes to expand her company’s reach and catalog in the coming year.
Didn’t that intro sound nice? Now…
Turn with me to the fourth chapter of Pettilations, verse seventeen. Our own Apostle Melinda Michelle says: “be ye ready for the foolery and twists…” (You’ll find out later.) By her own admission, Melinda Michelle is P.E.T.T.Y. How, you say? She taunts us with snippets of scenes in her books in our FB group. She writes scenes so good, I’ve literally stopped and prayed for imaginary people. Her characters preach the word so well, I’ll either be shouting, crying or both. The woman will tell us “I’m in the writing cave, y’all. They getting on my nerves!” We’re all on the edge of our seats like: 😲. Wait what happened? -Silence- Laaaawd!!!!!! Just Petty.😂
I learned about Melinda Michelle Christmas 2017. Immediately I purchased the first book of the Chronicles of Warfare series. I was ready to dive in until I read the description and the first few pages. I shut my phone down! Do You hear me? I shut it down. Nah, fam, I ain’t ready to pick up what this lady is putting down. It took me one year to come back to that book. In a matter of a couple of months, I was caught up on the series and waiting for the next installment.
Let me tell you something: You got to have on the whole armor of God reading this series, or any of Michelle’s writings for that matter. She will challenge everything you know. Don’t get it twisted children, this is real and although these books are fiction, much of it comes from personal experience. And please, please, please, do your research as you read, you’ll find out she’s not lying about anything. I’m talking demons and angels. Michael and Gabriel. God is talking. The saints are listening – well, some of them. The devil and all his little raggedy friends are after their purpose. Sounds like life right? Yeah.
I had the distinct pleasure of having a meal with Melinda several months ago, and I was floored by the woman she is. Just a side note, I’m okay with not being the sharpest crayon in the box, but I’m smart enough to know when I’m in the presence of greatness, I close my lips and open my ears. When the opportunity presents itself for me to speak, I do my best to make sure I ask legit questions. Not “what’s your favorite color” questions. Nah, tell me the secret to…
Speaking with Melinda was so refreshing. I tried to come up with a better word, but I can’t think of one. Though younger than me, I felt as if I was sitting at the feet of an elder. Now don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t act like an elder, but the words she speaks are laced with wisdom.
Michelle oozes confidence. Michelle knows who she is, which baffled me at first. I took note and planted the seed in my confidence (faith) garden, and I’m watching it grow. She talks about her relationship with God as if He’s her homie – in the most respectful way possible. I know that might seem a little too much for y’all, but guess what? Oh well. We not talking religion, we talking about relationship with God.
Okay, okay. Let’s get into this interview:
Me: Tell me about yourself.
Melinda: I am silly, fun, and adventurous. I believe that being a Christian shouldn’t limit life, but enhance it.
We should embrace life abundantly. My Mother was the first Christian I encountered and she is fun. I enjoy laughing and taking risks.
I am result-oriented. If it’s not yielding results, I’m not doing it. Really, like, it’s above me now and I will leave you in the hand of the Lord.
If God said to do it, I do it. I try and argue sometimes, well a lot of times, but I do it.
“There’s safety in obedience to God.”
My favorite question to ask people when things happen, whether good or bad is, “Where was God?” We should always look for God in every situation. I am optimistic. I always look for God.
I love movies and good food. I love to travel. Not for the purpose of traveling, but for the food. I love Philadelphia for the Philly cheesesteak. The rest of the world is doing it wrong. The New York cheesecake is simply divine, and Popeyes is better in NOLA (New Orleans).
I’m also petty. My readers know. (There’s nothing else to do with that statement but laugh.)
Me:What does being an overcomer mean to you?
Melinda: At first thought, surviving adversity. A person looks at the situation, sees it for what it is, acknowledges it, but doesn’t accept it, choosing to see something different. Pressing to better and greater in order to get to the other side.
Me: What have you Overcome?
Melinda: God’s process. (whoa.)
I was once working on a job where I was not being paid what I was worth. I had to remember why God put me there and trust His promise. Later, I had to trust His process when He told me to leave full-time employment, all the while knowing I am a woman holding degrees and sufficiently employable.
Now, eighteen books later…. I realize His process is to build ministry.
I had to overcome myself in order to be who He called me to be. Overcoming fear.
I write about spiritual warfare and experience attacks all the time. I’ve had to gain confidence in God as my protector. Confidence in being honest with God when I’m overwhelmed. I have overcome every obstacle in my way to get to the path God called me to.
Me: I remember you telling me that you stay in your lane. You know your assignment, and you work it accordingly. Tell me about that?
Melinda:My assignment is to help people understand the spirit world and to teach them how to fight. War strategy is found in the word. I am a spiritual warfare strategist. God gives me wisdom in this. As we know, All warfare is based on deception. The book of Joshua embodies a lot of strategies.
People would ask me for advice, not realizing the advice I gave is in the scripture. There are too many Christians who don’t read their bible. What’s the point of being a Christian if you’re going to half do it? (Hey, I didn’t say it. Just say ouch and keep moving.) The word works if you use it correctly. The key is, whatever your faith can connect to, use it. (Hold on to your socks children, this is about to be really good.)
“God will protect His investment.”
For example, I was living in this house in my twenties. For some reason, I kept getting lumps in my breasts. Speaking with my mom, we began to quote healing scriptures. For some reason, they didn’t resonate with me. One day, my mom called. She said, “I have the scripture for you.” Mom began to quote Ephesians 6:1-3. She told me I was an obedient child, and based on this scripture, God promised a long life. My heart and my spirit clung to that scripture! I believed it. I felt it. So much so, until months later, I was in an eight am service and the preacher called me up to tell me that God was going to heal me of a health issue. I was so invested in the scripture, I had resolved in my heart my healing was imminent. Therefore, I gave him a strange look because I didn’t know what he was talking about. It took me a minute to remember what he was speaking about. He prayed for me during the eight am service, and by the time the eleven am service started the lump that I had was gone.
We have to know the difference between the Red Sea and the Jordan. At the Red Sea, God did the work; at the Jordan, they had to step out. We get to the point in our walk with God where He stops holding our hand. He gives us strategy. The strategies of the Bible may not work in our culture, but we have to ask how to apply it to our lives.
“Find your strategy in the scripture.”
For examples of this, read her series, The Chronicles of Warfare. You will gain an understanding of what Melinda means when she speaks of strategy and waging warfare from a spiritual perspective. Reading the Chronicles of Warfare series changed my life. It changed the way I pray, and it changed my perspective on many things. For example, Psalms 23. Verse four in KJV says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
I’ve always looked at the “shadow of death” as being the source of fear. Melinda gave me another perspective. The shadow of death is my protector, of whom my enemies should be afraid of.
I remember speaking to Michelle about faith – trusting God in the unknown. She told me, “Remember God moves in many ways. Just because He moves one way today, you can’t expect Him to move the same way next week. Be open to His various ways of movement. Trust that He’ll never let you down.”
I had one more question for Melinda.
Me:Where do you see yourself in the next two years?
Melinda:Around the country teaching Christians how to fight whether in small groups, prisons, or large groups internationally. Teaching people how to navigate the spiritual world in order to accomplish the assignment.
I am about the liberation of myself and others from self-imposed prisons. Broderick McBride
Broderick L. McBride is a thought leader and master communicator. He fully embraces the notion that mental health and spiritually go hand in hand; an idea that is deeply engrafted in his teaching and counseling style. Quickly rising as an influential voice in various sectors and communities, McBride travels locally and nationally as a lecturer, public theologian, and mission-based activist.
Merging his faith praxis and interest for social justice, he has become well known for his meaningful contributions to conversations that aid in the reforming of cultures. His academic repertoire includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the prestigious Morehouse College and a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
The Osceola, Arkansas native currently works as the Executive Director of Pastoral Care and Counseling Services at All Nations Worship Assembly – Atlanta. He is slated to release a variety of tools and publications centered on his most notable lectures and research.
Okay, that’s the smart biography. Let me tell you about Broderick McBride. He’s loving, kind, and by far my favorite nephew! Now don’t tell my other nephews I said that, but he is. He’s honest and full of wisdom and integrity.
Broderick is a worldwide preacher, Pastor, and intercessor. All I’m saying is, a sixty-second conversation will fix your life! Iyanla who? If I were a person who believed in reincarnation, I would say that in his former life, Broderick was on the playground with Jesus. Better yet, he may have been one of the disciples…the militant one. Too much? Oh well.
As I spoke to McBride, I saw a mental picture of Mickey Goldmill, Rocky’s trainer. You know who he is right? Good. This is the person of Broderick McBride. He’s strong and wise enough to lead, while at the same time being bold and confident enough to get behind someone and cheer them forward. He’s a trainer both spiritually and naturally. He won’t quit, and he won’t allow you to quit. He encourages us to fight. He encourages us to hope and to believe God for the better. He encourages us to be better.
I have to admit, I am a bit biased about this one. He has definitely played the role of a trainer in my life during my struggles with anxiety, depression, and cutting. But I digress, this ain’t about me. Broderick has been one of the people who have literally and figuratively snatched me back to saneness.
Let’s get to the interview.
Me: Tell me about Broderick.
Broderick: I am resilient, self-aware, and an empath, which means I am emotionally aware of others. Being empathic actually helps with my career and calling.
I am a militant and rebel. I am about the liberation of myself and others from self-imposed prisons. I am militant about my own transformation.
I understand that who Broderick is today will be a totally different Broderick for the better this time next month, next year and so on. I say that because I understand I don’t know everything and as the world continues to turn, not only will I mature in age, I will mature in preference, desires, and what I need.
I believe that what I need now, as a thirty-one-year-old will be completely obsolete when I’m thirty-three. And will change as I grow older. Yes, I am committed to my own personal growth and change. It’s painful as hell sometimes. Life has taught me that pain is worth it. (Yes, you may quote me.)
Me: What does being an overcomer mean to you, and what have you overcome?
Broderick: An overcomer is someone who has endured; they have established a level gain or accomplishment. To prevail against direct opposition. Direct opposition against their destiny, against who they are internally; direct opposition against their own personal growth and healing.
An overcomer is one who has championed the cause against adversity.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t have bumps and bruises. It means that you push through the pain. You push through the strength of the opposition and you push even when telling yourself stop, it’s not worth it. And say, “no, this is what I want. This is the end goal.”
An overcomer one who is tenacious and has the audacity to say, “I am not giving up until I get what I want.” “I am not giving up what has been promised over my life.”
I’ve overcome many things. Some to which I’m not aware of. I have overcome death, survivor’s remorse suicidal thoughts. I have overcome, and am overcoming low self-esteem and low self-value and view.
I am aware this goes against me being a militant and my fight for freedom from self-imposed prisons but it’s true. There are moments I live in a dichotomy within myself. As much as I fight for my liberation and receiving the liberation that has been given to me by the spirit of Christ, there are still areas within me that are still committed, to an extent, to stay bound. (Wait, because sometimes being bound can feel safe compared to the alternative. Crazy, right?) I have to consistently come back to the mirror, have an interview with me, and remind myself that I will not stay in this space. There’s too much at stake.
When I say I’ve overcome death, I mean I’ve always had to fight. From birth up to now. Had my mom knew she was pregnant, there’s a possibility I could have been aborted because she didn’t want another child. When she finally found out she was pregnant with me, she was too far along to do anything about it. They wouldn’t accept her for an abortion. She was pregnant and still having a cycle. In this, I know God kept me covered in the womb.
As a newborn, I had to have major surgery to which they told my mom there was a slim chance of my survival. I went from surgery as an infant, to being abused by a family friend before I became a toddler. An act that ultimately led to the death of my brother, leaving me to be raised as an only child. I wrestled with, “God, why did you take my brother and not me?”
Survivor’s remorse also from coming out of the delta in Arkansas where the average family lives below the poverty line, and move to Atlanta with nothing to my name. All I had was my faith. Not the faith of my parents, my faith. I knew there was something in this city I wanted. It’s something I’m called to and I’m pursuing it by any means necessary.
Sticking my feet down in the ground and not letting up even in the way that I pray. Many admire what I do in intercession. They say, “Mac, you pray so hard. You’re six-foot, but whenever you engage in intercession it’s as if you’re nine feet tall or invincible.”
The way I approach intercession is the way I approach anything I desire in life. No doesn’t stop me; it can be overturned. In my history with God, what I’ve seen God do with me, in me, and for me, gives me the energy to still stand in the midst of adversity and refuse to accept anything that doesn’t represent God’s truth for me.
I body slam adversity. I mean, I put it in a full nelson until it surrenders to me.
Me: That tenacity and resilience, is it something that’s grown over time or something you had to work at?
Broderick: Fight is embedded in my DNA. I come from a family of fighters. My dad is a fighter, fighter naturally. And as far as know, he’s never lost a battle, praise God. My mom is a fighter as well, but she is a fighter with her words and actions. When I look at the history of my family, my ancestors were fighters.
I come from entrepreneurs. My great grandfather, an entrepreneur, was one of the first black men in the state of Arkansas to owned a T Model Ford truck when they were first invented. He was a blacksmith.
To be a black man in the rural south with your own business, in lieu of Klan territory was something powerful. This same grandfather killed a klansman with his bare hands because he refused to pay him.
When I look at my history, fighting is in my blood. It’s all I know to do. Over time, however, I had to learn what to fight for. Just because you are a fighter doesn’t mean you are a healthy fighter. You can be a toxic fighter, like a man beating up on women or fighting to keep people oppressed – that’s not me, fam. Not at all.
I have a strong heart for the underdog on any level. I hate to see people misused, abused and bullied. I hate to see that. My parents had to “straighten me up” as a kid, in order to redirect it. If they had not, the fighter in me would have become very destructive. Had my mom not introduced me to Christ at an early age, the fighter in me would have been a destroyer.
It’s interesting that when hell realizes it can’t destroy you personally, it will attempt to use what’s in you to destroy you. It will attempt to gain access to what’s in you to cause you to self-destruct or self-implode and utterly destroy yourself. (Read that again. Selah.)
My mom saw the fighter in me at a very early age and redirected it. I was introduced to Christ, the power of community, and being surrounded by my elders shifted the fighter in me to where I wasn’t as physical per se, but I would fight with my words. I’ll fight you by my actions, I’ll fight you behind the scenes, especially if it’s something worth fighting for.
Me:There’s an ongoing discussion about introverts vs extroverts. How do you manage introversion as a Pastor? How do you manage self-care knowing that you are called to people, but you need time to recuperate and refresh?
Broderick: I’m going to tell you a story, and I hope the story explains how I do it. (Hold on children, this is about to get good.)
So, in the Bible, there was a brother who was paralyzed. I believe the text says he was paralyzed from birth. He has four friends who hear about Jesus in this small village. The scripture says, the Spirit of the Lord was present to heal. I had never read that in any text whenever Jesus worked miracles (Luke 5:17). For this particular miracle, the scripture points out “the spirit of the Lord was there to heal.”
Jesus was inside of this house teaching and it was impossible for them to get their friend inside to Jesus. They take it upon themselves to climb on top of the edifice and they tear the roof off. They lower their friend down in front of Jesus and Jesus heals their friend because of their faith.
What blesses me the most about this story. (Wait! There’s more?! Ssshhh, pay attention! Okay.) The text doesn’t imply they had any tools. It doesn’t imply they had a ladder it doesn’t imply they had rope it doesn’t even imply they had architectural skills on how to detach a roof and ensure the building doesn’t collapse or fall in on the people. What it does imply is they had enough faith to inconvenience themselves in order to get their friend to Jesus.
In my role, I am committed to inconveniencing myself to get the people to Jesus. So what I am an introvert?
So what I am an introvert? (Wait, what? 😯) I know that my smile can be the instrument that leads someone to Jesus. I know that my hug can be the instrument that leads someone to Jesus. I know that me stepping outside of my comfort zone of being quiet and being able to walk up to a person and spark a conversation can be the instrument that leads someone to Jesus.
I’ve pushed myself in whatever environment I’m in because along with me having a heart for the underdog, I know what it feels like to be overlooked and mismanaged in the presence of other people. I never want it to be said that I mismanaged or devalued another human. Whenever I am in the presence of another person, I don’t care who they are, I want them to feel as if we are family, that we have known each other for a long time. I want them to feel that their differences don’t matter that I see them as human, worthy of respect. That’s it.
However, when you show me something different? Well… that’s another talk show. That’s when the introverted side of me kicks in, but I am always willing to inconvenience myself for somebody to know Jesus.
The way I manage the introverted side of me is by committing a lot of time to silence. I almost live in silence. If you were to come to my home, I don’t have a television on. I may be on my phone but I don’t watch tv. I read physical books. I have a kindle, but I don’t use it. (OMG!) Its something about picking up a book off the shelf and flipping through its pages, touching its pages, writing in the margins. (Has he been here before? My word!)
If I had a choice between music and TV, I pick music. It’s how I re-up myself. I drive in silence. I aggressively protect my off days. I will usually stay in, and it feels good to sit in silence and not do anything. Sometimes people misinterpret my silence as being standoffish or stuck up, but I’ve resolved that the way people interpret my silence is a personal problem that has nothing to do with me. That’s a battle they have to fight, not me. It took some time for me to come to that resolve. It took me about twenty-five of my thirty-one years of life to resolve that I don’t have to explain my silence. My silence is mine. This is a piece of my soul that I choose to be selfish with and I have the righteous choice to be selfish with that part of me because my silence is how I commune with the divine. It’s how I replenish the water to me. I take the responsibility of being revealed by other people off of them.
Me: Should we be expecting a book from you soon?
Broderick: I am committed to getting something out soon. (Keep your eyes and ears open, fam. Really)
Broderick is also the co-host of the popular podcast, The Let Outt, which has recently finished its second season. Run over to Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts to check out this show. It’s hilarious, serious, and educational along with a dose of “get your life together, fam.” They have hot topics, a segment called mirror, mirror, unpopular opinion, and tips for being a better intercessor. You can thank me later.
You know me, Nicole Sharon. My friend Margo asked me who was going to interview me for The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame. It would be weird to interview myself so I’ll answer the questions.
The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame is an idea that I’ve been pondering in my mind for a few years. I was reading Hebrews 11, which is known as the Hall of Faith and I wondered, “What if I did this in a modern way?” In October 2019, during a time when I felt my faith level diving especially low, I decided to jump out “in faith” and invite some people on this journey.
I have more “Hall of Famers” coming soon. Stay tuned.
On Being an Overcomer:
I look at everything in the face that tried to kill me and laugh – including the girl in the mirror. It’s not my first response, but it’s my final response. I made it through! Depression. Anxiety. Self-injury. Suicide. Ha!
Oh, I cried. A lot. I felt shame. I felt condemned. I felt angry. I felt defeated. Once I got through feeling all that, I recognized God’s strength is available to me. I realized I don’t have to lean on my strength at all. I also realized He puts community around me who really love me. It’s been hard for me to fully receive it, but I’m learning.
What have I overcome?
I’ve been writing this blog since April 2018, and I want to tell you something. This overcoming is one day at a time. Sometimes one hour, one minute, one second…
There’s always something. There’s always an irrational thought to destroy. There’s always a hurdle to, well, overcome. There’s always me. As long as there’s a me, there will be something I need to overcome.
I’m saying this because many times we attribute our issues to external circumstances when I’d venture to say about 97.5% of the problem is ourselves.
Not one person has the ability to stop my greatness but me.
Isn’t that life? Ups and downs? If you’ve ever been to the hospital or seen someone’s heart being monitored on the machine, the up and down marks represent life.
At the bottom of it all, I’ve learned that overcoming is giving myself the same grace I extend to others – forgiving me. That means giving myself permission to heal – no matter what the process looks like. Some days painful, frustrating, or sad. Some days are joyful and calm. Understanding the process. Knowing it’s okay.
I thought I knew how to receive love. This year has taught me to allow people in past the surface level. I didn’t realize how much I’ve learned to hide and isolate. I am learning, really learning, the value of community. Allowing myself to be loved, confronted, encouraged, and prayed for. I found myself asking why? Why are they being so kind to me? Why do they care?
I forgot my own advice: God will not put you on this earth and not give anyone the heart to love you. Somebody on this earth loves you. It’s up to you to allow them.
Overcoming is the process. Healthy decisions. Failures. Wins. Good days. Bad days. Learning from failures. Learning to love who I am. It’s all overcoming.
The suffix “ing” means action or process.
It looks like this:
I am overcoming.
I will overcome.
A fall doesn’t equate to failure. It also doesn’t mean I have to start over.
Having said that, my affirmation is that my journey is mine. I am learning to forgive myself quickly and continue my journey. This season is not a life sentence, it’s a part of my journey.
My journey is important. I am learning patience with myself in the journey.
I am learning that I am not a bother to others. I am learning that community is still important. I am learning it’s okay to fall sometimes as long as I resolve to continue on my journey. It’s like running into a McDonald’s in every city on a road trip. It doesn’t mean I went backward; I just ran into the same issue.
This year, I expected to have a great year with no setbacks. I found myself in a very low space and, for the first time in a long time, I considered the alternative. However, God is kind. He reminded me that I have a reason to live and this season will pass.
Every time I go through this, I learn something different about myself. I also learn more about the grace of God. He’s so longsuffering. I also learn something about the people He places in my life. I can’t imagine what they feel, and I am slowly learning to trust that I am loved and I am worth the investment of their time and prayers.
A bump in the road doesn’t mean stop, it just means slow down. Think, regroup, pray. But you may still proceed.
I took my first professional photo shoot in about thirty years.
I’ve officially launched a business! Business license and everything! Nicole Sharon, LLC: I am a professional writing coach. I offer these services: proofreading, transcription, and administrative support.
Where to find me?
My links are on this site. Feel free to follow.
On IG and Twitter:
The Life of an Overcomer (blog page)
Nicole Sharon, LLC (business page)
Nicole Sharon (personal page)
Here’s a clip from the movie “War Room.” It sums up my year:
This is a tough time of the year for many. I understand. I can’t wait for January. You don’t have to lean on your own strength or try to fight on your own. God is here to help you. Allow your friends to be your strength. My Pastor said to me: “You have family. You no longer have to fight on your own. When you don’t have the strength, allow them to fight for you.”
I’m telling you the same thing. You are loved. You are worth the investment. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but you are. Feel free to reach out to me. Let me know how you’re doing. Have a great holiday season!
I am embarking on a new project called The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame. The purpose is to highlight people who are pursuing their purpose in the face of tragedy, trauma, and the obstacles that come with life.
Meet K’la Fleming, the Author. K’la recently released her first book titled, WOW: Woman of Worth.
I had an awesome time speaking with K’la. Here is the highlight of our conversation:
Nicole: Tell me about yourself?
K’la: I took a step of faith and moved to Atlanta two years ago from Norfolk, VA. I didn’t initially want to move here but I had a dream that let me know moving was in my best interest. Although it has been a journey, I have embraced my new life as well as experienced tremendous growth. These past few years has taken me on a path to self-acceptance.
I light up a room with my loud personality. I am loving and I love people. I am also spontaneous.
Nicole: What does being an overcomer mean to you?
K’la: In the face of obstacles, it’s the ability to step over, go around or use them as a stepping stone. Keeping the boxing gloves on and polished. Being equipped with the armor of God. Letting go of something that would hinder your progress.
Nicole: The boxing glove is a great analogy for an overcomer. What have you overcome?
K’la: Saying yes to everything, being a people pleaser, low self-esteem and fear. Feeling uncomfortable because I was often accused for being extra. Not knowing at the time people will accuse you of being extra when they’re not comfortable with themselves.
Nicole: How did you overcome these obstacles?
K’la: I had to learn to stop dumbing myself down.
When I’m in a room with other creatives, I have to resist the notion to hide and decide to speak up. I realize I have something of value to add.
I had fear of moving here because I didn’t want to lose friends, having to navigate what’s next and tackling a big city.
Also, my safe space is my room. Learning to have the same confidence in a public setting that I have at home. Being able to notice things I love to do and display confidence without minimizing herself.
When I feel like shrinking back, I remind myself what God says about me by listening to recordings or reading something I’ve written. I choose to face and embrace those feelings and push past it anyway.
I remind myself to embrace who I am. I embrace my laugh which is unique and contagious. I celebrate my personality because it is big. People connect to me because my personality and laugh is contagious. It’s scary at times, but being confident that it’s how it’s supposed to be.
I have to get over assumptions, what I’d think people think about me. As a result of my assuming, I would shut down or remove myself from situations in order to avoid uncomfortable interactions that may happen.
Nicole: Tell me about WOW? What is the message you want your readers to know?
K’la: WOW is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend in April 2018. After the conversation, I began writing from the words that were coming in my head.
The purpose of WOW is to highlight God as father. It’s about transformation from a woman of insecurity to a woman of worth. In my mind I saw a vision of God as father and Him being available and letting me know I am worthy of His time and everything he has to give.
I’m thinking about what I know versus what I “know.” It’s said there is only eighteen inches between my head and my heart. Eighteen inches? That’s less than two feet! This is baffling to me.
This is how this looks to me: Knowledge in my head refers to things I’ve learned. I read it, I took a class, I heard about it. Maybe its information I have committed to memory. I may not have personal proof, but I believe what I’ve been told. However, when I receive new information, the information I have is challenged causing me to be unsure of what I knew before.
Knowledge in my heart is information I know based on evidence or rather history. For example, you can’t make me believe that my red shoes aren’t going to be comfortable. Every time I wear them, they are comfortable. I can take long walks without my feet hurting. Or, you would have a hard time convincing me that “Ann” is an evil woman. It would easier to believe that maybe Ann had a bad day or possibly an evil twin. I’ve known Ann for thirty years and she’s honest, sincere, kind, patient and loyal. Based on my history with Ann, I know it would take an extreme circumstance to rile her up.
This leads me to my case.
I know I’m great – in my head.
I know I’m smart – in my head.
I know I’m capable of reaching my goals – in my head.
I know I can succeed in business – in my head.
I know what the Bible says about me. I am God’s treasure. I am beloved. I know these things – in my head.
Then why don’t I live like I know? Why don’t I hold my head up like I know? Why is fear, self-sabotage, and retreat my default response? Time after time, I have this conversation with myself. I have this conversation with others. I journal about it. I write a goal list. I tell myself I can do it. I’m ready to go. Until it’s time to actually go or what we say now: level up.
Also, why do I have more confidence in Ann than I have in myself? Wasn’t I smart to pick a friend like her? Doesn’t that show good judgement on my part? Why can’t I give myself credit for my accomplishments?
Now, it’s a week later, and I haven’t started on the goal I set and I am fussing at myself. The self-condemnation and verbal abuse. The problem with this conversation is it’s counterproductive. Berating myself doesn’t motivate me to do anything different. Even when my peers encourage me, I can’t receive it because the negative things I say to myself is speaking louder in my head than the encouragement and vote of confidence they are offering.
You may say: Wait! Aren’t you the same girl who tells us about declarations and affirmations? Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?
Well, yeah. Yes, it does make me a hypocrite. I’m a hypocrite in process of change. I recently learned my declarations must be statements that I believe. If it’s something I want to believe then I should repeat it as such. So, I will admit, this revelation has changed the way I do declarations. For example, instead of making the declaration “I am confident.” The new declaration or affirmation is, “I am learning to have confidence in myself. I am learning to acquire wisdom from my losses. I am also learning to celebrate my wins.”
The latter statement is different because it makes me personally responsible for steps to build my confidence level.
As I implement this new knowledge, my goal is to be more consistent in what I know I’m supposed to do; things I enjoy doing.
There’s much unrest this time of the year. Lots of conversation and bemoaning regarding what has or has not been accomplished for the calendar year. For me, it produces anxiety because, without a solid plan, the “discussion” is counterproductive. And didn’t we moan about this last year? Cycles…
So, I take time out to evaluate. And I deal with the why. Why didn’t I do what I set out to do? What about my thinking and sabotaged me into not pursuing my dreams?
What’s the point, you say? I’m reminding us that any successes we have achieved in life means we have the tools to be successful again. If we had the tools to win before, we can win again. Let that sink into your heart. Let’s learn to cheer for ourselves with the same energy we cheer for others.
I have a 7-Day Journey available on this page. Just click the link and download. Please follow and share. Let me know what you think. I think I’ll go back and read it again.
This weekend I did something out of the ordinary. I took a time out. In efforts to protect my peace and make sure I am keeping my cup full, I decided to spend the day at a monastery. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit, is located in Conyers, GA with beautiful trees and landscaping. I was drawn to it for one thing – silence. I needed it. I didn’t have a plan for the day. I took three journals along with an open heart.
My first stop was the sanctuary. The architecture was simple and beautiful. Going on a Sunday was not a good idea since the visitor center, museum, shop and garden were closed to the public. On the other hand, it was an excellent idea few people were there. After walking around for a while, I found a “nook” in a corner, in the shade which had the perfect breeze. I unpacked my journals and sat. I breathed in the silence and waited. I waited to cool off first, then I waited to, once again, still my mind.
Wait! Let me backup to the sanctuary. I wasn’t seated five minutes before my eyes started this random leaking thing. I felt peaceful. I knelt on the floor. I felt like I was where I needed to be in the moment to get direction and clarity. I’ll be honest. I have a great deal of things I want to accomplish in life; many people I want to help – but I want it to manifest NOW. I have many questions and prayers prayed. I was restless for answers.
The theme of the day quickly came as I sat in the sanctuary:
“Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.” James 1:3-4
I had to submit to that. I had to realize that in order to get where I’m going, the process is unavoidable. I’ve said many times, the lesson is in the journey. I have to heed my own advice.
This, my dear friends, is the life of an overcomer. We learn our lessons. We give ourselves space and grace to grow. We practice self-care. We reflect and make adjustments. Don’t trust your feelings or your thoughts. You may not “feel” like an overcomer. You may even have the evidence to back up that feeling. Truth remains – You. Are. An. Overcomer.
We work our process. We may kick, scream or cry, but we work, we wait, we grow.
The process may be slow. It seems like we are waiting an extreme amount of time, but the lessons are worth it. The journey will be worth it.
Think about how many years it takes a tree to grow to maturity. You and me? We’ll get there.
In this life of mental health, we tend to struggle with consistency. Consistency and discipline is so important.
For me, when I’m doing well, I forget that I have meds to take. I forget that I need to get out and get sunlight. I forget that I need to keep making positive declarations. I forget that I should get some form of exercise. I forget that I must continue to engage in things that contribute to me having good mental health.
I am the first to admit, you can be working your plan and still have “moments.” However, there are many times that the problem is that we’re not working our plan.
Even if you have to write a daily routine, stick to your plan. A deviation to your plan will clue you into the idea that something is off. We can be more proactive with our mental health when we have a plan.
Community – tell your plan to your community of friends. Allow them the space to remind you of your plan to help get you back on track. Allow them the opportunity to support you. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a “moment,” you don’t realize you’re in that moment until it becomes some days and you find it hard to pull out of it.
Having a plan, and a community who knows your plan helps everyone involved to assist you. Also, ask your counselor to help you manage as new things come up. Utilize every resource available to you.
If you work your plan, your plan will work for you.
I’d love to hear from you. What would you like for me to discuss? How are you doing? You can also follow me on my social media pages.
Hello all! I decided today would be a great day to share an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. Enjoy…
Amy was so depressed. She didn’t want to bother her friends. She knew they were busy. However, after being in bed three days, her guardian angel, Hope, was flustered.
“I hate to bust your angelic wings, but what she needs is a little Joy. No pun intended.” Joy quipped.
“Oh dear heaven!” Hope slapped her wings together in frustration. “Here you are again, in my personal business.”
“You don’t have any personal business. This is all God’s business or did you forget? I keep telling you the Joy of the Lord is where strength comes from.”
“And we also know that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ That’s why I’m here. So go…” While Hope and Joy are arguing, Amy is holding a bottle of pills. She’s sick of it all.
“Ladies! Ladies!” Love steps in. “Stop it. You’re off focus again. Look.” Amy was pouring a glass of water and had several bottles of pills lined up on the counter. Hope and Joy looked at each other. They knew what to do. Before Amy could reach for the first bottle, a strong wind blew through her kitchen and pills and bottles were flying everywhere!
Conveniently, most of the pills flew down the drain. Amy was so stunned with what was going on around her she didn’t hear her doorbell ringing. Her best friend, Keya, was at the door. After ringing the doorbell for several minutes, Keya decided to use her spare key to get in.
Hearing all the commotion, Kenya rushed to the kitchen. “Amy! What’s the matter? I got your text. Why didn’t you tell me you were so depressed? I’m so sorry I haven’t been here.” Amy was still stunned as she looked at her friend.
“You got a text? I turned my phone off three days ago.” Keya showed her a text message that came from her phone. It read, “I love you, sister, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”
After a long talk, Keya decided to take Amy home with her until her mother flew into town. Spending time in the nurturing warmth of a mother’s love would help tremendously. She would also seek counseling and formulate a safety plan.
A safety plan is a specific plan you set in place for yourself to ensure your safety whether physical or emotional. The plan usually includes coping mechanism, phone numbers, and maybe personal reminders for you or ways you can distract yourself.
If you are ever feeling like Amy, please contact either of these numbers: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 Or text: Crisis Text Line: Text RISE to 741741