Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Do It For The Gram:" It's Okay to NOT Have It All Together

This post was previously published for The Sacred Desk.

I'll be the first to admit--I LOVE INSTAGRAM.

And when I say, I LOVE IT, I mean it REALLY LOVE IT.

As a creative, I have tons of fun figuring out how to compact my complex days into a 6-7 video/photo diary that we now call "Instastories," or how to caption a simple moment in time with an in-depth litany that is hopefully captivating...or maybe it's simply me choosing between some of my favorite Beyonce, Jay-Z or Drake lyrics, if I'm being quite honest.

I also get to connect with some really awesome individuals and other creatives that inspire me. And I get to use my account to spread the Gospel and share the behind the scenes of my career.

It's great! And like I said, I LOVE it!

But what would happen if "the gram" shut down!?

Would I still be the same "Just Nic" that I portray?

Would my importance diminish? My impact? My value?

The answer: NO.

That is something I know for sure.

But how often do we, as users of social media, get so caught up in the cycle of who we are on social media, that we forget we have real lives out of that timeline--that there are real people in our lives outside of our Instagram timelines that matter and need reaching out to.

Earlier this week, I reached out to one of my friends from college who I hadn't talked to in quite some time. To be honest, life has just been picking up a lot for me lately and I'm horrible at reaching out to my family and friends; heck my mother still gets on me because sometimes I let a week go by without letting her know I haven't self destructed or cried my life away (I promise I am highly capable of doing so).

But anyways, back to reaching out to my friend. I realized I hadn't seen him on my Instagram timeline for like close to a month. I just so happened to go check on his page and he hadn't posted anything since the end of April. I found it quite strange because due to his job, he kind of has to post a lot for marketing purposes. So I decided to reach out and hit him with a text. In actuality, it took him not posting on the gram for almost a month for me to even notice I hadn't spoken to him outside of social media.

Crazy, right?

When I got a hold of him, he let me know he was fasting from social media, which I found pretty commendable. He went on to say...
You get to see who really sticks with you once you leave social media.
And I felt guilty. He didn't know--he was just happy to hear from me and happy to hear I was doing well. But he had no idea that it was only because of his social media absence that I actually cared to reach out.

But that's a lot of what our generation has become--so obsessed with our social media presence and "doing it for the 'gram" that we forget the real lives outside of the portrayed lives we so intricately illustrate. We obsess over making sure we get the angle right, the lighting right, the filter right, that we often times look past the person we're so badly trying to portray...yet, there are so many of us who claim we're "real."

Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of an Instagram post when your real life is a hot mess.

Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you don't actually like yourself.

Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you can't name one thing to admire about yourself.

Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you can't get out the bed because you're depressed.

Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you just don't seem to have life figured out.

We stress over making "perfect" seem "real" when that was never who we were created to be. We were created to be human. A part of the whole purpose of God coming as Christ to the Earth was so that He could be human--a human sacrifice was needed to pay the cost of sin; human blood needed to be shed to cover it completely.

We stress over denying ourselves our humanity when it's who were were created to be.

Everyday, young women are killing themselves or "fixing" themselves over something they saw on social media that 90% of the time isn't real. Everyday, young men portraying lives they were never called to live, but for the sake of the likes, they'll do it because it validates them.

We've been sacrificing our humanity--the thing that makes us more like Jesus, the thing that makes us beautiful, that makes us real--all for some likes of other broken "perfection" and we wonder why those likes are still never enough when we look in the mirror.

I always find it super interesting that we, as broken people, go to other broken people for validation and for fixing, when we never created ourselves. How can the creation fix the created? Only the Creator can do such.

And even with your brokenness, GOD still finds you worthy and beautiful (Psalm 139:14), for in fact He loves you just that way you are and nothing can nor ever will change that (Romans 8:38-39).

In a world full of portrayed perfection, I'm here to let you know that you don't have to be; you don't have to have it all figured out and it is ABSOLUTELY okay if you don't. Just lean on Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

YOU LACK NOTHING (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)--and it's so easy to think that when you have vast information and a timeline full of people that seem to have it all together infiltrating your mind with the quick motion of your finger tips...but my love--my brother, my sister--YOU LACK NOTHING.

What God has for you, He will give you when the time is right. So therefore as Paul says, don't be anxious for anything (Philippians 4:6-7), instead use what God has given you to magnify Him and to live out your best life.

God is fully aware and fully equipped to give you what you deserve for your destiny (Jeremiah 29:11) and trust that He won't delay it.

So, I challenge you, fam, instead of "doing it for the 'gram," put the phone down, log out for a few days, and plug in to the Source for your affirmation.

That angle, that money phone to your ear, and that car you can't afford aren't worth your peace. Your worth can't be bought with some likes; your worth was bought with Christ's life--don't pawn it off for an IG picture.

It's okay to not have it all together, because eventually everything works out in His timing.

Have faith & trust Him.
xo, Nic.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Level Up & Don’t Settle, Fam

This blog post was originally published for The Sacred Desk

I can't really remember when she first started saying this, but my mama used to tell me all the time as a teenager, "Nicole, don't settle." then, she was referring to my dating choices and she had every right and concern to repeat this motto. If I'm being completely honest, I've been not so great at picking acceptable suitors...even now. From the time I was about 16 to now at the not-so-awesome-because-I-feel-old-and-30-is-like-tomorrow-but-not-really-age of 24, I've made some pretty piss poor choices in partners...and I really mean that. Why? Because I've settled A LOT...and settled for reasons that I'm pretty sure most of you can relate to.

I've settled because I thought my love was "enough to save them."

Pretty arrogant, don't you think?

I've settled because I was too comfortable and didn't "want to get to know anyone else."

Pretty ignorant, don't you think?

And my favorite of them all I've settled because I thought I was "too much."

Too much--what do you mean by 'too much,' Nic?

So glad you asked, fam!

In the progression of my adulthood humanity and all its complexities--as it does for anyone else, life happens, social media consumes you, insecurities haunt you, generational curses chase you ALL the way down, adulting just seems to suck more often than not, and you somehow get to the point where you have the uncanny audacity to allow a crappy partner or tow, or however many, to convince you that you are "too much"--too sensitive, too demanding, too difficult, too woman, too man, too impulsive, too ambitious, too human, and even too Christian.

And despite knowing what God says about you (Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 1:7, Romans 8:17), you and that uncanny audacity allow that partner or partners' good for nothing comments on the nature of your humanity to counter what God says about you. And then finally, you somehow allow yourself to be convinced that those comments are the truth--and you begin to believe them, and sooner than later those comments become your truth.

About a year and a half ago, I was convinced that what I require in a relationship was "too much." I was sitting on my couch one night, staring at my bookcase, listening to some sad song, and my mind was made up that things like loyalty, commitment, transparency, affection, communication, understanding, respect, and trust were too much to ask for--that being pursued was too much to ask for. And I truly believed that...and just as I was ready to adjust and operate in this new belief, God was like...
Little girl, I did not die on a cross, sacrifice my life, die for your sins, extend you grace, and somehow manage to deal with your brat attacks & doubt for you to think that BASIC...may I repeat, BASIC, requirements are 'too much.'
He speaks to me like that y'all...He has to. The too deep God with the deep voice that speaks in tongues and code and I aren't really homies, because I'm slow and quite frankly, that's just not our relationship. We're honest..and He's ALWAYS blunt...again, He has to be; I told you I'm slow.

Back to the matter at hand though.

So I hear this and I'm a little baffled. I'm a little irritated because in my opinion, I'm a Christian with an active relationship with God--I talk to Him and we have it out; nothing is off limits. I've prayed for the salvation and deliverance of my partners and I remained diligent in doing so. I tried my hardest to love them and treat them with the best love and resect, but still here I was abandoned and "too much." Like "Ayo, Dad? You couldn't give the kid a heads up MONTHS ago when I was here praying and crying, praying and crying, begging and crying, and begging and crying about these jokers? And you still call them your sons? GOD, WHAT'S REALLY GOOD, MY G?!"

I had an attitude...with God...insane right? Like how do you even have an attitude with God, how does that work? And legit I would say out loud, "Dad? I have an attitude with you!" Pointing my finger up at Him and everything--I'm a case y'all. I had an attitude, but it was because He was right. And more than me realizing He was right, I also realized that it was me who was wrong because I settled.

I settled for partners who I knew weren't capable of living up to what my needs were in a relationship. I settled for chaos in those relationships with those partners and had the nerve to call it "love"--FOOLISH! settled for those thoughts that I allowed myself to believe about myself that were untrue because those thoughts didn't line up with God's Word and His affirmations for me.

I did that—not God.

I settled—not God.

And contrary to popular belief, our relationships with our partners aren’t the only relationships where we settle.

We settle in our relationship with God, too. We “slip up”—we do things that we know we have no business doing, we extend the boundaries that we’ve set to assist us in our commitments to righteous living, we become lax in our pursuit of God, we fall back on being in His Word daily and say “we’re just too busy,” we go to church less, we stop reaching out to those who hold us accountable and say they were “judging us,” we get comfortable with sin and we settle with mediocre.

I’ve been there—in fact, I’ve been feeling like that lately. I almost felt too stuck in my mediocre pursuit and commitment to God that I wasn’t sure I was the right person to be doing any kind of sermon at all. I felt inadequate to do this because there are times where I’m convinced that I’m “too unworthy”—there are times I’m convinced that God has left the room.

Can you imagine if God left the room? What would that look like, feel like?

There are times I feel like God has left the room…but then again, He speaks to me…
Little girl, GET UP! Stop being dramatic. Yeah, you messed up—slipped up…but I was still in the room. I may have turned my back, but I was still in the room. There is no place, no depth I am not willing to go to find you and bring you back to where you belong. I was in that room…where you are, I am with you. I will not leave you. But I need you to stop running from me. 
Imagine that?

Imagine that there is no depth He is not willing to go to save you (Hebrews 7:25), no person, place, or thing, heaven, or hell (Romans 8:38-39), nothing He isn’t willing to give up for you (Romans 8:32)—not a thing.

Imagine that?

Imagine knowing you’re unworthy, knowing you ain’t worth grace, knowing you ain’t worth what was done on that Cross, but He still wants you?

And He knows you’re trifling, and He knows your flaws, and He knows AAAAAALLLLLLL your filth, but He still thinks you’re to die for (John 3:16)?

Imagine that?

And imagine, that even with all your calamity and all your humanity, you still have a purpose—you still are called to that purpose and He still desires for you to be His. He still wants to work with you and use you for His most beautiful glory.

Imagine that?

Well He does, fam—He does.

And He doesn’t want you to settle. He came that you might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

We get caught up settling because we forget or lose sight of who God says that we are. We forget that the “basic” requirements are the foundation of something bigger, and the moment we allow ourselves to settle and adjust with becoming okay if those requirements are not made, we rob ourselves of the chance to live in abundance.

When we settle, we limit our chances of living in that abundance that Christ gave us access to. The whole point of Christ coming to Earth was so that we could LIVE—free from sin and rich in purpose for the glory of God. We can’t unlock the riches and blessings of the Kingdom if we’re settling for mediocre.

You are CALLED (Jeremiah 29:11), you are LOVED (Romans 8:38), you are WORTHY OF PURSUIT (Luke 19:10), and you are SAVED (Romans 6:14, 23).

There is an abundant life waiting for you, sis. There is an abundant life waiting for you, brother. And God wants to give it to you, but He needs you to LEVEL UP—He needs you to stop settling.

You are not too much—you are enough…that’s what He says, trust me…He told me!

In this day and age, it’s easy to become settled and complacent. When it seems like everyone else around you is progressing in some kind of situationship that they hashtag for “Relationship Goals,” when it seems people are getting by doing the bare minimum and you just want to stop living paycheck to paycheck…when you just want to be seen for who you really are and for that to be enough…it’s easy to settle.

But don’t. PUSH, and LEVEL UP.

When that partner tries to tell you you’re doing the most and you’re just too much when you’re asking for the basic requirements…


When you find yourself backsliding and feel like you’ve gone too far…


When you find yourself being lazy in your pursuit of God, your missing your daily devotions, missing church, missing small group, missing accountability…


When you aren’t feeling too hot about yourself and wonder if you are loved and if anyone sees you…

Level up, fam, and Don’t Settle.

Grace & Peace;
xo, Nic.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Why I Started Life Coaching

Back for like the SECOND time since I started this whole vlogging thing. 
Man, oh man, is it a commitment! 
But so is working on yourself and that's what I've been doing since my last vlog.
I started life coaching a few months back & I wanted to share with you all how I got there,
what I've learned since & how I plan to continue my healing process.
I also break down the difference between life coaching & counseling,
 based off of my personal experiences.

xo, Nic.