Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

A Funnel Cake Discipline

Today I was telling a friend about a funnel cake I bought last night. I didn’t go to a fair or attend a special event; I just know a place that sells funnel cakes and after I went to the track, drank some water, and ate some cucumber slices, at 7pm I decided that I also needed a funnel cake. To make matters worse, the hole-in-the-wall shop that sells these funnel cakes had one thousand people in there (well not one thousand but we’re still in a whole pandemic so ten looks like one thousand) and I could tell they were moving slowly. So what did I do? Sit in my car for half an hour until it cleared out and got my funnel cake and it was delicious. Some may think this isn’t a big deal; sometimes we want what we want. But I realize this is the person I have become. It doesn’t matter what I say I’ll do, it doesn’t matter what the wiser thing to do is, it doesn’t matter how much time I have, I’m going to choose to do what I want to do every time.

I could get lesson plans completed during the week, but I always wait until the night they’re due to get them done. I could be on time most places I go, but I always want to get fifteen more minutes of sleep. I could cook more and inadvertently save more money, but stopping to get something just feels more convenient. I lack discipline and it touches almost every area of my life. We all have bad days and bad weeks and maybe even bad months, but I realize my poor habits are the result of a poor lifestyle I’ve chosen. Don’t get me wrong, my lack of discipline doesn’t hinder me from getting important things done, which almost makes it worse because my every day life isn’t compromised but I know I can be and do so much better.

I am very much an advocate for showing yourself grace and participating in self-care, and I do both of those things often, but I need to do a better job of holding myself accountable. If I say I’m going to get up at 6am, I need to get up. If I say I’m going to work out, I need to work out. I’m okay with not getting it right 100% of the time, but I want to at least strive for 100%. I juggle a lot of things and responsibilities and relationships and that’s not going to change. In the midst of all of that, being disciplined enough to do what I set out to do when I set out to do it, should be a part of that juggling act. So here is a reminder to you (and of course me), that you owe it to yourself to show up in every area of your life as the best version of yourself and that requires discipline. God? Yes. Faith? Yes. Grace? Yes. Perseverance? Yes. Rest? Yes. Support? Yes. Discipline? Definitely.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

March 2021

Celebration Time

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Lately I’ve found myself doing a lot of the former. A while ago, I wrote about standing with your friends while they’re in the fire, but I’m learning how important it is to stand with them when the sun is shining on them and the breeze is blowing just right. With life still being what it is, it makes me feel good to know people are still out here accomplishing goals and just being happy.

Whether it’s a new job or a new relationship or a new apartment or a new move or new book or a new LLC, it doesn’t matter, rejoice with your friends! Send a congratulations text, take them out to dinner, send them Uber Eats, be one of their first customers, give them a book to put on their coffee table, share their post, celebrate your friend. I don’t consider myself to be very celebratory but I’m trying to be more intentional about acknowledging other people’s wins. Sometimes we have no idea how impactful a few words or a small gift can be, but it truly is the thought that counts. It’s also important to note, that it doesn’t have to be limited to close friends. Maybe you all only know each other through social media or maybe you went to high school together and haven’t said much to each other since then, but you can still reach out to them and let them know they’re seen and celebrated. A “like” or “love” reaction, a comment under their post, a picture with their product, it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.

I’m grateful I’ve had people who were with me at my lowest of lows, who showed up for me when I was a complete mess. I’m also grateful I don’t have to enjoy my highest of highs by myself. It makes those special moments even more special when I am able to share them with others. So that is my goal with the people in my life: make the special moments more special by celebrating them.  

October 2020

Dancing Through Discomfort

“Ok, now act like you’re dancing.”

Wait, do what?

A while ago I participated in a little photo shoot and that was the photographer’s direction. “Ok, now act like you’re dancing.” Little known fact about me: in my head (strictly in my head), I’m an amazing dancer. I would joke with my friends that I was one of the dancers of whatever marching band we were watching perform. It’s not something I do in front of people unless I’m at a wedding (I’m the best wedding guest ever!). But there I was, being asked to dance… in front of people. As uncomfortable as I was, I did it. Hands in the air, hips swaying, I was dancing… in front of people. I was sure I looked  ridiculous but then I got the pictures back and I was in complete awe of myself (shout out to my photographer).

So many things in life make us uncomfortable. Getting on stage, leading the meeting, asking the question, just one thing after another leaves us out of our comfort zones. But when we fight through that discomfort, something beautiful happens. Something we couldn’t envision, impact we couldn’t imagine, results we couldn’t dream up. Something beautiful. This is just a reminder to stand in your discomfort. Dance through it.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

September 2020 (Photographer: Aleni Barkley)

Destinations and Journeys

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn your hobby into your hustle.
Do the work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

It’s what I keep repeating to myself, but I don’t seem to be measuring up to the expectation. Starting to second guess myself, every move I make drenched in hesitation. If what’s for me is for me, why do I have to work so hard? Why am I constantly having to pick myself up off the ground and lick my own wounds? No one said it would be easy, I just didn’t think it would feel like cruel and unusual punishment. That is until I suffer a win and my labor doesn’t quite feel like it was in vain. Long nights seem worth it. It’s only then that I embrace disappointment and failure no longer seems like an option. And I tell myself…

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn my hobby into my hustle.
Do the work I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

So even when I grow tired and weary, God help me remember this is who You called me to be. Head bowed under an open sky, trying not to cry, help me remember I was made for this and I’d be remiss if I let it pass me by. Remind me stop signs aren’t dead ends, there’s plenty of road ahead. So pedal to the metal, I can’t give up now. Keep me in the fast lane, I don’t want to slow down. There is no destination, this is the journey with plenty of sights to see. Help me take it all in as I…

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn my hobby into my hustle.
Do the work I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

 

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible

 

June 2020

 

To read more about overcoming obstacles, click here.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Well, kind of. Tomorrow the students in my district will return back to school virtually. I’ve technically been back a week (virtually), but tomorrow everything will be official, official. This is probably the most unprepared I’ve felt returning from Summer break. Thankfully, I’ll be able to do everything from the comfort of my home but there are so many unknowns. I’m nosey and like to know things before they happen, so this doesn’t sit well with me. But after talking to God and my coworkers and my friends and my family, I’ve decided it’s not going to be so bad. How do I know? Because I’ve decided it’s just not going to be.

I’ve also decided I’m going to set myself up for greatness and control what I can control. And I encourage you to do the same thing. I was always one of those people who said I could stay home by myself and be happy not going anywhere but this pandemic has shown that to be a lie. My home was/is my safe haven and comfort zone but now it’s become my workplace, and I don’t like that. I don’t have to like it but I have to deal with it, so my goal is to do the following to balance my life out a bit:

  1. Only do work in one area of my house
  2. Stop working at 6pm (I’ve already failed at this today, y’all pray for me)
  3. Get a schedule and keep a schedule while remaining flexible
  4. Schedule time to do nothing
  5. Read my bible
  6. Make spending time with family and friends a priority
  7. I can vent but I still have to get the job done
  8. Get out of the house (safely)

Whether you’ve been back at work for a while or maybe you never left or maybe you have no idea when you’ll return to work or when you’ll get another job, it’s necessary to take steps to create the life you strive to live, even under the strangest circumstances. God has full control and this pandemic is proof of that, if we needed any. He’s given us tools and people to help us navigate through uncertain times. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to stay at a standstill. Decide that today will be better than yesterday and live like it. So even as I return back to a new normal, feeling completely out of control, I’ve decided my reality won’t be so bad.

Matthew 6:34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NLT)

May 2020

Halfway There

Believe it or not, we’re almost halfway through 2020. With everything going on, it certainly feels like we’ve been in 2020 longer than six months. Never in a million years could I have imagined that we would be where we are when I wrote down my goals for 2020. From pandemic to protests, these past six months have not been for the faint of heart. But even with so much going on, you are here! You are alive and breathing, and that’s worth celebrating.

At the beginning of every year, a lot of people set goals for the year. Some call them new year’s resolutions, some call them a vision board, some call it a plan, and for some it’s just some stuff they want to get done. Whether it’s lose weight, write more, read your bible, go to church, go to therapy, start your business, eat better, draw more, get a new job, meditate, save more, whatever it is, I’m encouraging you to revisit it. You may have had more time or less time these past three months to accomplish your goals, just know there is still time. We have no idea what tomorrow holds but choose to do something towards your goals today.

One of my goals for this year was to read ten books. I certainly have had more time to get this done but I realized today it’s been a month or so since I finished my last book and I still have six more books to go. So I’m going to choose a book today and continue pursuing that goal. It’s that simple. Just because you’re not where you thought you would be this time of year, doesn’t mean you can’t get there. I know you paid for that gym membership and the gyms closed; start walking around your neighborhood or find some workouts on Youtube that you can do at home. I know you started saving money, then you got let go; even if it’s two dollars from that unemployment check, save that. I know you were set to launch that business and now everything is at a standstill; keep networking and promoting yourself.

When I played basketball, during halftime if my team was down, my coach would always say, “we have another whole half to go. We can do this.” You have another whole half to go. You can do this. We’re only halfway there.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

 

June 2020

2 Years and Counting…

There are bloggers much more successful than I am, meaning they have more followers, they get paid to write, they post more frequently than I do, and a list of other things. But I realize my goal with this blog was never to gain a lot of followers, make money, or become a social media influencer. My goal was simply to encourage and help someone feel less alone in this world. And by that standard, I have been successful. I feel like I’m truly doing God’s will when someone tells me they read my blog and it helped them or they shared it with someone they thought needed to read it.

Of course there have been times when I felt like a particular post didn’t get enough views but I reminded myself of my goal. God may have given you a task, maybe to write a book, start an organization, start a blog, begin a new career, go back to school, whatever it is, make sure you know why you’re doing it. You won’t always have the support you think you need, the outcome won’t always be what you imagined, but as long as you’re fulfilling your why, I believe God is pleased and that’s the ultimate goal. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on whatever that task is:

Be consistent – Whatever you say you’re going to do, commit to doing it. Don’t commit to something crazy because it sounds good or the next person is doing it. Commit to what you know you can do.

Invest some money – I’m not saying spend your life’s savings but we tend to take things more seriously when our money is involved.

Trust God – There’ll be times when you question if you heard God right because nothing seems to be coming together but take Him at His Word.

Thank you for all your support!

January 2020

You Have Food at Home

One of my goals this year (and every year before now) is to dine out less. I use the term “goal” loosely… very loosely. It’s something I would like to accomplish but I’m not working hard to accomplish it. I don’t have a plan but it feels like something I should say I want to do. It’s so easy to pick up some lemon pepper wings or an eight count nugget meal; there’s a place to stop on almost every corner. Even when I buy groceries, most of the time the food spoils because I don’t feel like cooking. But when I finally make enough money to hire a personal chef, I’ll be able to say, “I have food at home.”

Many of us have decided we’re going to have more peace this year and experience more joy, but the worries of this life seem to be everywhere we turn. We’ve been living how we’ve been living for years and peace and joy seem to require too many steps, they’re too costly; attaining either is an inconvenience we’d rather not encounter. But what if I told you, God already has it for you? That He sent His son to do the work and pay the cost so you could enjoy the outcome? What you want, you already have if you’re walking with Jesus. He’s cooked up a meal full of joy and peace with love. You don’t have to go anywhere else to get it, simply go home and enjoy all that God has prepared for you!

When doubt and worry try to tempt you, remind yourself you already have peace. When anger and sadness are within your reach, don’t be afraid to say you already have joy. As humans we go through a range of emotions, but don’t be so quick to indulge in every emotion, every time, for such a long period of time. Don’t be so quick to hold on tight to the things you say are weighing you down. Choose what God has already given you. Even if you can’t taste the joy and peace yet, keep making your way towards home.

Positions and Conditions

Position – where we are

Whether in war or sports or in an aircraft, position matters. Most of us desire to be in a certain position in life. A place we strive to go or maintain our stance in. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves in places we had no intentions of being. Years will pass and we’ll have no idea how we ended up where we are. The children of Israel were serving other gods, not realizing that in doing so, they were pushing themselves further from God (2 Kings 17:18-20). Maybe you’ve allowed time to get away or perhaps you got distracted by the things of this world and you’re not in the financial or spiritual or relational or professional position you thought you would be in by now, but I encourage you to be aware of where you are and the steps you’re currently taking to get to your ideal position.

Condition – how we are

How are you? We’re usually asked multiple times a day and our usual response is “I’m fine” or “Everything is good.” But how are you really? What does your heart look like? Out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23) so ask yourself, how is it? How long have you been carrying that achy feeling? Is there a joy you can’t explain? Or has an emptiness crept in? It’s so easy to go through this life not feeling. We’re neither happy nor sad. We’re busy doing and not being. I encourage you to stop and consider the condition you’re in.

Positions and Conditions

As we live our lives, it is important that we keep in mind our position and condition. Too many people are where they want to be in life but they’re not emotionally well. While others are emotionally sound, but can’t tell you the last personal goal they achieved. After I got my last degree, I soon got an amazing apartment and a job I couldn’t have dreamed of being any better than it was, but I was a wreck inside. Now that I’ve allowed God to heal those broken parts, I’m questioning my current position. I believe this is what life is about: a constant self-evaluation as we strive to live the lives God intended us to, impacting those He intended us to. Check your position and condition.

 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

In the right position with the right conditions (August 2019)

Promise Not to Tell

Silence gives consent. Silence kills. If you don’t say anything, it’s like it never happened. We usually hear these phrases when something bad happens. But I’ve noticed that I often remain silent when good things happen. I remember when I bought my house a couple of summers ago and my coworker asked why I didn’t share during the meeting when the principal asked if anyone had any good news. It’s like I was embarrassed God allowed me to accomplish such a goal. Or like me and the devil had promised each other I wouldn’t share what God had done. What have you unknowingly promised the devil you wouldn’t tell?

It’s not that serious. No one cares. I don’t want to come off as conceited. I’m just a private person. We use every excuse we can think of not to tell of God’s goodness. Even when given the opportunity to share, we make His glory a secret. We hold on to it like our grandmother’s finest china that will break if anyone but us knows what God has done. We call it modesty, not wanting too much spotlight. That modesty can also be translated into fear. If people find out, will they hold you to a certain expectation? What happens if they think that you think you’re better than they are? Do they even know how much you trust God with your life? And if they do find out, will you be “too saved”?

Sometimes we share what we have, but not who gave it to us. We worked so hard to get to where we are, and if we’re not careful we’ll have people believing we did it by our self. I’m soooo guilty of all of the above. Either I don’t say anything at all or I just casually mention my accomplishments with no mention of the God who I know helped me achieve those goals. I would tell myself that people already know I love God so surely they know I realize it’s because of Him that I’ve been able to do what I’ve done… But why not take every chance to remind them? Why not say it out loud so I know it’s real? Why not show the devil that me and him don’t have any secrets?

I am committed to telling people how good God has been to me (not what I’ve done, but what He’s done), with the hope of inspiring them to pursue whatever He’s purposed in their hearts because if He’s done it for me, surely He’ll do it for them. This doesn’t mean making a Facebook status about everything good that happens to me with the hashtag #allglorytoGod or posting a picture on Instagram of every place I’ve been blessed to travel to. I’m definitely not opposed to sharing what you want on your page but don’t ever feel obligated to do so. It can be as simple as texting a friend “God did it again! I passed my test!” Or while at dinner sharing how thankful you are that God blessed you with the job of your dreams. Or talking to young people about where you were at their age and how God brought you out. All of this is part of moving beyond just telling what we’ve done and truly telling someone about the Source of our resources. So if you too are committed to making God famous, hold up your glass of apple cider and let’s make a toast to breaking the promise of not telling!

Psalms 109:30 I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

July 2019