Thanksgiving. It’s that time of year where folks are gathering with friends and family in the name of tradition, favorite holiday foods, and football. I don’t know about you, but in all my Thanksgivings, I barely recall any intentional moments that were created to reflect and express genuine thanks to God (the food blessing doesn’t count, LOL), and to one another.
Over the past 5 years, I have actually developed my own personal practices of gratitude in order to live a life where the glass is half full. I’ve learned that life is all about perspective, and if I can focus on what I do have, as opposed to what I don’t, then I can live a life that’s quite more content and peaceful. Most often, I write a daily gratitude list. Today, I’m choosing to reflect upon the past year, which was filled with many challenges, and say thank you for several things; things that disappointed me, things that humbled me, and the things that got me through it all.
Looking back on life this past year, I am thankful for:
#1- The opportunity to end a relationship: This was the first time I ended a romantic relationship because it wasn’t a good fit for the long run. Past relationships always, and I do mean always, ended with drama. When you’re in your mid thirties, ready to settle down, and love someone, but something just ain’t right? It takes courage to walk away. Ladies, we know when we’re settling. I wasn’t willing to do so. Though it was difficult, it felt amazing to experience myself as a woman who stands up for what she’s worth.
#2- The privilege of recognizing that some friends were never friends...and be cool with it! Like, mad cool!
#3- Discernment: When the Spirit says move, move. That way, when stuff hits the fan, you won’t even catch the residue.
#4- The obedience to pray for people who talk about you. Let me rephrase that… The obedience to pray for the people that you hear talking about you. I am telling you, it is hard to act ugly with someone when the Lord has you praying for them!
#5- The willingness to submit to the leadership of others, even when I don’t agree: As a leader, I recognize that submission is a requirement; it positions you to demonstrate to others how to follow. It takes humility and maturity. Sometimes life circumstances, situations, and relationships will require you to give up being right.
#6- The ability to ask for help from people that I normally would not ask: I recently asked several friends for help with something, and I was immediately met with their love and support. So often, we try to go at life on our own, and there are people who love us, are glad to be apart of our lives, and are ready, and willing to help, if we’d simply humble ourselves to ask.
#7- My personal wealth: I am extremely wealthy. There is so much greatness and grandness on the inside of me! There is no shortage of gifts, creativity, and ideas that lead to billionaire status wealth. In fact, the moment I became bold enough to declare this, is the very moment I began to experience unexpected shifts in relationships, and personal hardship. I find that to be no coincidence at all. I will not be deterred. I’m wealthy; I said what I said.
#8- Friends who believe in me. I have to confess: I have underestimated my friends over the years. I have had so many moments of feeling alone, but the way my friends have recently affirmed my call, vision, and the patterns of God in my life?! My friends are definitely better than yours! LOL!
#9- My hair! I finally reconnected with my hair! For 2 years, I wanted nothing to do with her. Then one day, in the midst of my deep conditioning with a dollar store bag, I looked up and saw how beautiful she was; I wanted to be with her, and care for her properly. While I don’t choose to wear her out right now, I’m definitely willing.
#10- My call to ministry: The call to minster requires a constant yes!!!!! I’ve never shared this before, but I became extremely numb after the Charleston Nine shooting. After the election of Trump, I became deaf to the noise of the world. I tuned everything out for 2 years. Just recently, after completing some continuing education as a minister, I was finally brought to a place where I could no longer hide out in my bubble. I had to consider how to address today’s societal issues from a biblical perspective. I had to be willing to wrestle with whether my own views and judgments aligned with God’s Word. I had to consider the cost of standing on God’s Word when it’s unpopular.
#11- Prayer: Honestly, there are times when I avoid God because I’m afraid of what He will ask of me. However, it is through prayer that I am completely humbled my the fact that He chooses to use me. It is through prayer that I gain the strength and confidence to decree and declare His promises, and operate in the authority He has given me. It is through prayer that I get to lift up others, and I have found so much joy in that, even when I didn’t have the words to pray for myself.
#12- Therapy: While I’m thankful for prayer, I’m also wise enough to to realize that “praying your way through” is not always the answer. I feel the need to say this because all too often, the church and churchy people will try to convince people to “pray things away.” But honey, I’m here to tell you that therapy falls well within the parameters of “faith + works”. In the early part of the summer, after experiencing some difficulty preparing for a speaking engagement, a friend of mine spoke three words: ARE YOU OK? My reply: Actually, I’m not. Y’all, while my spirit was well, but my mind and my emotions were completely tapped out. As human beings comprised of mind, body, and soul, we must take care of ourselves in a holistic manner. I had been so busy pressing and pushing through a variety of life circumstances that I arrived at a point where I was completely stuck and unaligned with purpose.
For $3.65 (my co-pay), my couch time has blessed me with the most clarity I have had in a long time!
With all that said, Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! As a gift from me to you, click here to grab your FREE copy of of my e-devotional, 30 Days of Gratitude & Contentment!
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Chicago native, Brandi Nicole Williams is an author, speaker, faith leader, and entrepreneur. Since completing her BA Sociology at DePaul University in 2004, Brandi has been speaking, facilitating workshops, and leading small groups for women and youth. Through this work she has demonstrated a commitment to equipping and empowering individuals to discover their purpose in life. Brandi obtained her Master’s in Theological Studies in 2012 and often lends her voice to matters such as self-worth, body image, and self-esteem. She also loves intertwining biblical principles with fashion, beauty, and pop culture. Over the past year, Brandi has expanded her reach as a personal development coach and consultant to communities, and organizations, seeking to enhance confidence in clients and staff. Brandi currently resides in Nashville, TN. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and proudly stands 6’3".
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