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Why we all need to choose forgiveness…

Why we all need to choose forgiveness…

“You don’t know who you are until God sets you free.”

When Pastor Austin said this in church yesterday I was stuck to my seat. It’s so very true. Have you ever been lost in a situation that you don’t know who you are anymore?

That was my story a year ago.

When I was in church yesterday I was convicted. I’m absolutely grateful that I’m not in the same place I was in a year ago, but I haven’t completely forgiven the people that treated me terribly from Summer 2014 – 2015.

I’ve never hated anything or anyone so much and I know that the key to all of my dreams will only be revealed once I forgive them.

How can I be grateful that I’m no longer in that situation but I choose not to forgive them. How does that work?

How they treated me was not for me to understand. It was for me to grow deeper in my faith. Jesus is the only reason why I kept my cool. I’m serious. Not laughing or giggling. I’m being real here. The situation was unbearable at times. I constantly asked myself, “What Would Jesus Do?”

When I received my walking papers last year it was a month earlier than MY PLANNED departure date.

Now…that…was…God!

I was so miserable, and my mental state was at risk. My plan was to exit stage left and just consider the situation a BUST. I was completely OVER IT. God had a better plan (Always better than our own right) and allowed me to exit with style and grace. They were stunned, and I was rejoicing on the inside with a smile on the outside. I felt like breakdancing!  The peace that I received on that day was so calm.  That storm was officially over.

Even though I left that place and never went back. I didn’t forgive. That’s on me. I’ve talked about bitterness and not forgiving can block you from your blessings. So, I had to take a long, hard look in the mirror. The negative energy was still present, and I needed to let go.

I decided to purge those feelings, and leave them on this post:

I forgive those that tried to rob me of my joy and smile. 

I forgive those that tried to hinder my growth. 

I forgive myself for allowing others to mistreat me. 

I know that God has set me free, and everyday I’m trying my hardest to glorify God’s Kingdom. I know sometimes it’s hard to forgive but if Jesus can forgive, so can I. One day at a time.

Today, I am able to focus on my many projects, and I honestly couldn’t be happier.

I know who I am, and I’ve never felt so free in my life.

**Chains Broken**

Day 10 – “Purpose” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 10 – “Purpose” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

What is your purpose?  Do you know?  The last time I spoke about purpose I was on Periscope crying.  Don’t worry I saved that video, because I want to reflect on that breakthrough.  I may share it again publicly one day.

I certainly didn’t arrive at what my purpose was overnight, and sometimes I feel that my purpose morphs into other things, but arrives at the same end point.  Storytelling.

Yesterday, I discussed being thankful for my passion.  Yes, I believe there is a difference between your purpose and passion.  Now, hold on, work with me.  Your passion is what you love to do, and your purpose is what you were put here to do.  Can they overlap?  Sure. Mine certainly do.  Does it take some time to figure it out?  It depends.  Once you accept your purpose, the journey is not easy, and that’s why I’m #SteeleThankful.

My passion is clearly history.  I mean, no brainer, I have other passions, but that’s definitely #1.  My purpose, I wrestled with it for a long time. A LONG TIME!  I used to joke about having a “trusting face.”  I said people trust me with their life stories, even strangers.  How can I be an example and let them know everything will be okay? When I arrived at the notion of being a filmmaker, it almost frightened me.  Documentaries intrigued me.  The art of capturing a story and telling it in such a succinct way was the challenge.  Was I up for it?

When my first documentary project idea came along I thought, “yes, that’s it, I’m going to change the world with this one.”  Life happened.    The loss of my dad shattered my own world, and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to relive a moment that we shared together.  I was in my room one day and it hit me.  All the videos that I recorded were for a reason.  It was for this divine purpose.

I changed my focus.  It was no longer about changing the world, it was about providing closure, one person at a time, and that changes their world! If I could provide a safe place for someone to share their story and in turn impact others, I was on the right track.  Only one person besides myself has seen my home videos.  That was my test.  Could I do this?  I’m asking others to be vulnerable but was I able to do the same.  Goes back to walking in your purpose isn’t easy, oh but it’s worth it.  Your purpose can keep you up at night.  It had me sleeping with my journal next to my bed every night.

I still struggle with it sometimes.  The comfortable 9-5 lifestyle be calling me.  Then I ask myself, am I running into these roadblocks because I’m not obeying my life’s journey, and not trusting what God told me.  God clearly told me to have faith, you know the size of a mustard seed.  Do you know how SMALL that is?

My purpose is listening.  Listening leads to understanding, understanding leads to wisdom, and wisdom leads to one heck of a journey, impacting one person at a time.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

“I don’t have it!”

“I don’t have it!”

This term is generally used when it comes to the topic of money.  In my younger days I rarely used this term.  I believed I could do everything.  I was walking around singing, “money ain’t a thang.”  UNTIL I CHECKED MY BANK ACCOUNT!

I can remember the time my account was overdraft and I was determined to leave my hometown.  I purchased a plane ticket and knew I didn’t have enough money in there.  My account was in overdraft for so long that they closed my account.  I had that account since high school.

It inconvenienced me!  When it came to direct deposit at my new job I was no longer able to use my debit card.  It was gone.  I was forced to say, “I don’t have it!”

I had to turn that discomfort into power.  It’s okay to say, “I don’t have it.”  Right now, I don’t have the money to blow on a night out with the girls.  How about having your girls come over and hang at your house.  Hey, it’s cheaper!  Sometimes you have to use that phrase to get to where you really want to be.  I know I want to purchase a loft and I have to remember do I really need to waste my money on this new purse.  Will it help me to get that new place?  I just tell myself, “I don’t have it,” because it won’t help me on this journey to a carefree lifestyle.

When is it okay to say, “I don’t have it?” Tell me in the comments section!

Dear TimeHop…

Dear TimeHop…

Dear TimeHop,

 

Where did you come from? Who sent you? I am constantly reminded of my crazy college days, and immature behavior! You have the nerve to even go back 10 years ago. Who remembers what they did last month at the bar, and decided to tweet about it? Well, next year, best believe TimeHop will remind you!

 

Fortunately, I don’t feel that way. On yesterday I was feeling quite blah. You know the feeling of being a professional and all of a sudden wanting to warp back to the days of no responsibility. What did I sign up for? I prayed for this! I prayed for independence, I prayed for the spirit of individuality, and the spirit of endurance. The spirit to endure everything that was before me and to believe that everything was going to work itself out on this journey, that’s what I believed.

 

TimeHop reminded me of the shift I experienced 5 years ago. I was never the type to become emotionally moved by anything. I viewed it as a sign of weakness. On September 21, 2010, I declared to the world on Facebook that I would try my best to become more empathic, and to own my emotional dysfunction. I knew that the young lady that was in a traumatic accident 6 months prior was not going to change overnight so I declared to the world that I was truly going to trust the process. TimeHop is viewed as my capsule of thoughts that I once forgot about but never erased from the digital world.

 

Do I look back on some of my actions or thoughts and get upset? Nope, I had to realize it was all apart of the process. I chose this journey! I choose to decide how to live my life! So, on this Monday, September 21, 2015, I choose life and to live it more abundantly, with no regrets, what ifs, or doubt.

 

 

Loner and a Rebel – A story about a rebellious teenage nerd…

Loner and a Rebel – A story about a rebellious teenage nerd…

I was a recent high school graduate. I believed I had done everything correctly in life. Graduated high school with honors, involved in numerous extracurricular activities, and what I thought ready for the next phase, COLLEGE! My plan was to always graduate and enroll at four-year HBCU (Historically Black College/University). Well, that plan didn’t work. “She’s not ready yet.” I wasn’t ready for a four-year school? Despite knowing that my grades could pretty much guarantee an acceptance letter from the schools of my choosing. “A two-year community college would work best for her right now.” What did I do when I learned that my closest friends were going away to school and I was staying local in my small town that began to feel like a terrible episode of “Cheers,” because of the company I was keeping everybody was starting to know my name?  I REBELLED!

Now, I’ve always loved history. For as far back as I remember. I especially loved learning about historical figures that resembled myself. I remember sitting in a History class at the community college and the professor was jumping on the desk and everything. He was attempting to get the class excited about the subject. The one subject I had grown to love was not exciting for me. Why? I was pissed about my current situation. I was still pissed that my friends were away at school and I was wasting my life away at a community college. I felt worthless, I felt as though everything I worked so hard for in high school was irrelevant. Educators told me to be active, well rounded, that’s what schools look for when applying to universities. That day I decided to walk out and not come back. I had reached my breaking point. Even though the first year was paid for…I didn’t care…I began to rebel. I think I only passed one class that semester. A freshman orientation class was the only positive thing on my transcript after the first semester. I said you know I’ll give it try next semester. Same results. I took a full load (4 or 5 classes) and only passed one class. I still didn’t care.

The next fall semester I was no longer on scholarship and I remember my dad writing a check to the accounting office for all the fees for the semester. I thought okay, I’ll attempt to give a damn, and take this semester seriously. I made an appointment with a guidance counselor. I don’t even remember the woman’s name but I can tell you this if she’s still a counselor at the community college I would love to see her right about now. She sat behind her desk and asked me what my problem was, among other questions but here’s the kicker “WAS I ON DRUGS?” You read that correctly she asked if I was on drugs. I remember being puzzled and not knowing how to respond in a respectful manner so I chose to walk out of her office and never come back. I knew if I stayed a minute longer I would’ve crapped on my family’s good name. I decided to withdraw that semester and flip that school the bird.

Maybe they were right. I wasn’t ready for a four-year university. At the rate I was going I was going to be the nerd from high school that was now employed at the local diner begging for tips and my sanity. So, I had to think what am I going to do now? There was another community college about 20 minutes away. The same community college that my sister attended and received her Associate’s degree. I said I’ve got nothing to lose, let me give it a try. My bright idea to start at this other community college for the Winter semester was genius **insert sarcastic grin** and I didn’t think about traveling an extra 20-25 minutes for classes. I did it though. The guidance counselor I met with came up with a plan of action after looking at my previous college transcripts and my high school transcripts. With a puzzled look on his face, he took a deep breath and asked me, “Okay, please tell me what’s wrong? Why are you unhappy?” I sat in that office and poured my heart out to this man. He assured me that I could bounce back but I have to want this and no four-year school would touch me with grades like before. I told him I was determined and I would produce results. I just had to find my motivation. My motivation was getting the heck away from my hometown. At the end of the Winter semester I was finally able to show my dad a report card. Before, I never produced one, I would always change the subject but this time I hand delivered the mail with my grades in the envelope. I even remember my class schedule from that semester.

 

  1. American History 101
  2. English 101
  3. Psychology 101
  4. World Religion

 

Drum roll please! I managed to receive a 3.75 that semester. I couldn’t believe it myself. I was fighting ole man winter, pride, and others to get those grades. I switched up my circle of friends temporarily to get the job done too. I had a goal and was motivated to complete it. I knew I wanted to move away and I didn’t want anyone or anything standing in the way of me accomplishing it.

I was convinced that if I had a goal, estimated end date, and a little elbow grease that I could be unstoppable. I enrolled in the Spring and Summer semesters after that successful Winter semester and continued to be on a roll. I transferred to a four-year school for the fall semester and thanked my former guidance counselor for doing what he was sent to do in that season of my life. I rebelled earlier on and realized where it would have me, in the same place as a lot of the people I despised to be around.

What happened after you transferred? Well, I received my BA and fast forward to 2014 I finally was able to experience life on an HBCU campus, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Library Science – Archives & Records Management Degree.

I still find it in me to rebel from time to time but I’m grateful for the lessons I learned as a teenager, and I’m sure my parents are too!

18 year old - Rebellious Teenager
18 year old – Rebellious Teenager
Grad School Graduation with Award Winning Research Poster
Grad School Graduation with Award Winning Research Poster