Guest Blog Post: 6 Steps To Embracing Your Uniqueness

(I am excited that Latotya from PowerfulU Blog is visiting today. As you have probably noticed, I enjoy encouraging others to be who God created them to be. Latoya is continuing in this vein with her own guest blog post. Please read and then share how God has helped you to embrace your unique personality. Blessings, afrotasticlady)

Guest Blog Post by Latoya

In a world that often embraces cookie cutter personalities, and encourages us to model ourselves after the latest, most famous celebrity; daring to embrace your unique voice can seem revolutionary. I must admit though, I was inspired by afrotasticlady’s series to young girls because I found it to be a neat idea of how to use our life experiences to mentor those who are at a stage in life that you have already passed through. We can all benefit from the experiences of others in one way or another, whether we learn what to do or what not to do.

Here are my thoughts on how to embrace your uniqueness:

Discover what makes you different

In order to embrace something, you must be aware of what it is. Observe your strengths and your weaknesses, your likes and your dislikes, your talents and skill, your opinions and ideas and your dreams and aspirations. Make note of nuances in your character in these areas.

Observe those around you and what they are doing. Can you identify with anyone? Are you drawn to anything similar? This can help you to distinguish yourself. It is important to continually make mental notes of things about yourself that you notice are different from everyone else.

I was always a reader. You could always find me wherever books are located, and so I always knew I had a keen interest in the written word, whether I produced it or it was produced by someone else.

 Love what makes you different

Find a level of comfort with what makes you different. Embrace it and treasure it. Do not compare it to others because it is specially given to you to distinguish you from everyone else. Think of what the world would be like if we were all alike. Think of what nature would be like if everything was the same.

Imagine there being only a few colors in the world, a world where there are no shades of your favorite color. The same applies to you. Imagine a world where everyone is identical. Where there are no shades of individuality. In this world everything looks the same. Picture how uninteresting it would be. Your differences help to create a more interesting world. The world is at a disadvantage when we bury our individualities under the weight of being liked by everyone else.

This is not to suggest that you be prideful, but instead, embrace what you are with humility. You are not seeking to throw what you are in other people’s faces but you do not think of yourself any less because of what distinguishes you.

Showcase your talents

With your inner confidence in your God given abilities, you can invite the world to take a look at your talents by stepping out of the shadows and giving them a taste of who you are. Let your light shine. Let your uniqueness be observed. Each time you do this, you get better at it. There is nothing like doing a thing to make you better at doing that thing. It shows that you know what you are capable of and you accept that. You are putting it out there that, this is who I am and I am proud of it.

Refuse to be defined by negative opinions

Be aware of persons who are not appreciative of who you are. Examine your circle by talking to those around you and see how they respond to your intentions. Not everyone can appreciate you for who you are because they probably need to work out their own journey. Do not hold this against them; just understand that if they are not helping you up, you have to decide whether it is worth it.

Some persons in our lives just have to be placed in different categories. Are they supporting who you are or do you need to support who they are? In essence, are they helping you to become a better person or do you need to help them to become a better person? Release yourself from those who seek to hold you hostage with their opinions instead of elevating your character.

Improve your weak areas

Life is about constantly becoming a better version of ourselves. None of us are perfect. We all have areas of our character that could use improvement. That is why we are works in progress. Make mental note of areas that have a negative impact on your life and learn and implement strategies that correct them. We become a better version of ourselves by acknowledging our shortcomings and gradually implementing practices that will change our patterns.

Know that you are God’s grand design

To me, this is the most important step. What could be more valuable than knowing that he who created you had a brilliant plan for your life in mind when you were created. Psalms 139 beautifully captures this thought, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139 13-14 NLT). There is nothing accidental about you. You were created with the greatest intentions.

If we seek to live according to who God made us to be then we can operate with confidence in our uniqueness. Whenever you have any doubts, you can go to the source, the Bible, to hear about how keen your creator was in his design of your intricacies.

 

Latoya

Latoya blogs about living a life of purpose. She is passionate about inspiring others to explore their God given potential and use their gifts and talents to honor God. You can find her blogging at PowerfulU and on Twitter at@powerfulublog.

 

 

 

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May’s 6 Grateful Things List

May's Grateful Things List

Welcome, friends! As usual, I hope you will join me in this conversation about gratitude. Please let me know what you are grateful for in the comments section.

I would love to direct you to one of my blogger buddies, Mia, who highlights the concept of gratitude in her daily Periscopes and on her blog, One Grateful Me.  Please encourage her by checking out her Biblically inspired writing.

Additionally, I am excited that Emelda and I will be hosting our second #WomenCreativesChat on Twitter. We enjoyed chatting about creativity and how to make space for it in our schedules. During this next chat, we will discuss how creativity can aid us in our healing from emotional pain. Please look at the flyer and my vlog for more information.

Keep on the lookout for the special edition of my gratitude vlog next month as it is my birthday month. Woot woot! I’m a June baby and I’m also turning #clean30. I’m not a fan of the phrase #dirty30.  Hehe. Anyways, that vlog will be about that one thing versus six things. Be blessed!

2nd Twitter Chat

The Conclusion to the Blog Series: Dear Little Sis

A Conclusion to the Blog Series

Friends, thank you again for reading my “Dear Little Sis” blog series! Even though, I have created a blog series before, I felt that this series was more organized. I actually introduced the series to you instead of plopping it on the blog with little notice. I also outlined some expectations of the series. I am thankful to God that I am growing as a blogger, and I have learned that consistency in your blog sustains your audience.

Initially, I never planned to share these letters with the girls. I know it seems strange that I would write these thoughtful letters and only share them with my readers and blogger friends. But it felt more comfortable to share the letters online with the knowledge that the girls may not ever see them. I was a bit shy with them seeing how I thought about them and what I hoped for them. As much as I encourage other folks to be vulnerable with each other, I am challenged by my own advice.

Yet, one day I was hanging out with my older cousin, and I shared that I had written a letter to her daughter, G. She and G read the letter, and they seemed to have enjoyed it. G even questioned me: “I was a chunky baby?” And I responded with a smile and a “yes.”

I will be sharing the other two letters with JS and BP. I will let them tear away at my vulnerability. I will allow them to view my love towards them. I’m not perfect with loving others, but I constantly pray to God to show me how to love. I desire to love folks powerfully.

Friends, I have a challenge for you. If you have a spiritual or biological “little sis,” I ask that you write her a letter. As you know, this world isn’t easy to live in. I thought I had seen pressure and trials when I was growing up, but the pressure has intensified for our girls today. So, be real and tell your “little sis” what you adore about them and affirm their potential. And if you’re brave, and I know that you are brave, please feel to find me on Twitter to share your letter. You can also send me your letter to afrotasticladyblog@gmail.com, and I will share it as a guest blog post.

Okay, let’s love on our girls!

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Blog Series: Dear Little Sis, BP’s Letter

My third and final letter is to BP! If you need to catch up on the series, please read the Introduction to the Series, the letter to G, and the letter to JS.

Blog Series_ Dear Little Sis, BP's Letter

Dear Little Sis, BP:

I haven’t known you as long as G and JS. You and your family moved up North from Virginia about eight months ago. I’m sure it was a challenge to leave your school, friends, and church. You had to get acquainted with new surroundings. Besides going away to college, I have always lived in the same city. If my parents had moved me away while I was in high school, I would have been displeased, but I would have accepted the transition.

For a while, I felt concerned about how you were getting acclimated. I hadn’t actually talked to you that much, but I wondered if you felt isolated. I wanted you, JS, and G to become friends. JS and G were buddies while you were the “new kid.” Eventually, you all connected at a youth event at our church. We had an alternative to Halloween party. You G, and JS dressed up in goofy costumes. We ate junky food like pizza, chips, and candy. We played charades and a few fierce rounds of musical chairs where you pushed me out of a chair. Ouch…you were determined to win! For the next couple of weeks, we joked about your ruthlessness.

Little sis, I marvel at your boldness! In the fall, I went out with you, your mom, and other women at the church to pray with folks on the streets. Some people accepted Christ while others received prayer for their needs. At seventeen years old, I was more concerned about getting a boyfriend than praying with someone. Though, you approached folks you did not even know and encouraged them to grasp the beauty of Christ!

I recently discovered your love for “Oceans” by Hillsong United. At our church, most people listen to old school or contemporary gospel. So, I screamed when you talked about that song, and we chatted about other Christian artists. I informed you about Needtobreathe and Bethel Music while you educated me on Britt Nicole.

In my letters to G and JS, I gave them guidance on three topics. I will continue in the same pattern with you!

Identity: You were created by God! And since God is marvelous and powerful, you possess those same qualities. If others folks call you plain or insignificant, you can claim the Word: “For we are God’s masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

Dating/Love: When you begin to intentionally date, please be yourself! If you snort when you laugh or you like to binge watch Disney movies, do not hide that from a man. Little sis, he needs to love your authentic self! A man that loves God will appreciate your beauty as well as your flaws! He will pray with you when you are crumbling and cover you in Bible verses.

Creativity: Like G and JS, you are multitalented. You play the violin as well as dance. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of your liturgical dances yet. I have always desired to minister in dance, so I hope you can choreograph something for me in the future. Little sis, don’t let your creativity die. Finally, I am learning to invest in my writing. To write even when I don’t feel like it or when I don’t think I have anything magnificent to say. I have used excuses to not write. I have told myself that my writing isn’t as stylish as my peers. But I know that I write in my own way, and that God placed this passion in me. I pray that you do not stop playing the violin, because you do not sound like your idol.

Little sis, your creativity has purpose! God can use what looks like trash to you to speak to someone else.

Little sis, you are caring! When service has ended, you ask me how I am doing or if I have written any poems lately. I am grateful for your encouragement.

When you have some free time, look up BarlowGirl on Youtube. They are a Christian band with a rock-like sound. They don’t record music anymore, but their old music videos are online. I used to love their music, and I think you would enjoy them. In their song “I Need You To Love Me,” they sing about how God’s love impacts them! I will leave you with some of the lyrics:

“Your love makes me forget what I have been

Your love makes me see who I really am

Your love makes me forget what I have been”

“I Need You To Love Me” by BarlowGirl

Love,

Monica aka afrotasticlady

 

 

Blog Series: Dear Little Sis, JS’s Letter

My second letter is to JS, a spunky young woman! I realize there was a gap between the first and second letter, so I thank you for your patience. Please check out the first letter to G if you haven’t read it. Blessings, afrotasticlady

Blog Series_ Dear Little Sis, JS's Letter

Dear Little Sis, JS:

I cannot remember when I exactly met you. Yet, I recall when your mama was pregnant with you. I went to another church for a while, and when I returned you were in elementary school. Your distinctive qualities are your glasses and your thick, black hair. You have thick hair like me. Sometimes, you let it hang and you annoyingly whip your neck around. Hehe! Mostly, you wear it in a ponytail.

I am reminded of when I was your age, and my hair was so thick that my mama didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I spent long hours in my cousin/hairdresser’s house or the hair salon so that it could be more manageable. A jar of white stuff, a hot blow dryer, and a curling iron/flat iron became my friends. Well, I was usually frightened that the hairdresser would nick me with the iron. “Hold your ear,” he or she stated. And I obeyed, because I didn’t want to get burned. But I suffered as the metal accidentally touched my skin. I learned that it was painful for your hair to look gorgeous, but I moved more confidently when I left the salon.

Don’t worry; I am not trying to convert you into a naturalista. I am aware that your mama finds it easier to take you to salon. I just seem to go back to my “relaxer days” when I look at you. Those interesting days of glaring at hair magazines and pointing out the style that I desired to the hair dresser. As you sit across from me in Sunday School class, I notice how your hair accents your already beautiful face.

In class, you and G thoughtfully talk about God’s character. Last Sunday, I asked you both, “what are you grateful to God for?” In your diverse gratitude list, you mentioned “food.” You know, I am always grateful for food. You understand how critical it is to thank God for the little things. For those things that nourish you such as Chick-fil-A sauce.  

Little sis, remember to carry that spirit of gratitude throughout your life! When you get older and you’re bruised by challenges, stop and thank God! Reflect on the good things that you have. And yes, you may still be dealing with stuff even after you have thanked Him, but at least you saw light within the mess.

In my letter to G, I shared advice on three topics. I am going to do the same with you.

Identity: You are a child of God. You are definitely a daughter and a sister. Your parents are ministers. Your grandpa is a minister and your grandma is involved with missions work. Some folks will see you as a product of a minister family and not as your own person. They will say, “Aren’t you __________’s daughter?” And you are their daughter, but you are a daughter of the King first. I do not want to discard your roots or your family history. Though, I hope that you are careful about allowing others to put you in their narrow categories. Categories can trick you into underestimating your power. Your power is derived from God.

 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” I Peter 2:9

Dating/Love: Before you seriously date, make sure you love yourself! Love your gifts and your quirks. My next statement is cliché, but I do not believe you can love a man if you despise yourself. If you need to wait a little longer to date so you can become comfortable with yourself, then do it. Don’t force yourself to date someone, because you feel the societal pressure to get married. The world tells you that if you are 30 years old and over and have not married, that there’s something wrong with you. The world will call you a “spinster.” But block out the taunting and follow God’s plan!

Creativity: You sing on the praise and worship team with your mom, aunt, and uncle. During a service, I was awed by your rendition of the Planetshakers “The Anthem.” Your sweet voice embraced the lyrics: “Hallelujah, You have won the victory. Hallelujah, You have won it all for me.” I probably cried as I usually do when a song greatly ministers to me. I know that you want to be an actress, a lawyer, and teacher when you grow up, and I pray that you find the best combination of career(s) that work for you. But I hope that you consult God about being a worship leader. You could end up leading worship somewhere when a person decides to give their life to Christ. God can use you in that lovely way.

Little sis, I love how you interpret Biblical passages as though you are a mini preacher. Your family has certainly influenced you. I enjoy hearing your prayers. At first, you are timid, but then you strongly pray for your family members and the “bad” kid in your class. Once, your mama was surprised that you prayed aloud. I am glad that you are praying in public now, so when you get older it won’t be too distressing to do it.

Little sis, you are a bouncy creative. I chuckle when you sing songs from the High School Musical movies. After a few rounds of singing, I tell you to switch it up.

I know that I am the Queen of Cheese, so here’s a quote for you to ponder:

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” –Duke Ellington

Love,

Monica aka afrotasticlady

 

*Participated in the following linkup!

Open Mic Monday