We often do so much for others that taking care of ourselves individually goes untouched. I’m not talking about getting our nails and hair done – those are things we do to keep our masks shining. The concept of self-care is deceptively simple: making time to take of yourself for the benefit of your overall mental and physical well-being. But if you’re human who exists in this world – the real world, where burnout, depression, anxiety, pain, illness, trauma, oppression, shitty families, violence, tragedy, breakups, divorces, death, unemployment, addiction, and good old fashioned bad times exist – you know that “taking care of yourself” is never a simple thing.
There is no denying that alcohol and other mind-altering substances give the user some type of pleasant sensation. Even if the “high” does not constitute a state of euphoria, it is at least a respite from unpleasant sensations of anxiety, tension, and depression, and awkward self-consciousness. The use of such chemicals is nothing other than the pursuit of contentment.
There’s a frustrating misconception that anything that is not 100 percent selfless is selfish. But taking care of ourselves and caring for and considering others are not mutually exclusive. In fact, taking care of our own health and well-being empowers us to be better friends, partners, coworkers, bosses, family members, and humans. Without doing the essential work of showing up for ourselves, how can we expect to be in any shape to show up for others? As the old saying goes, you have to put your oxygen mask on before you can assist anyone else.
One of the most common criticisms of self-care is that it’s unfair and unrealistic to put all this pressure on yourself to be in charge of your own well-being. And that’s absolutely true—there’s nothing more annoying than the old adage that you can “choose happiness,” as if you’ve always had the power to zap away your misery and have just been squandering it. None of us has the capacity to soothe all that ails us on our own. Self-care is as much about opening yourself up to the many ways others can help you as it is about taking care of yourself. It’s educating yourself on resources, giving yourself permission to access professional help without shame, and asking for what you need.
We have options we can attend self-care groups or twelve-step groups, we can try therapy and we can stay stuck. One thing I’ve found out is that I must stay centered with God in my life before I attempt any outside intervention.
1, Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:26-30 MSG
2. When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, GOD! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
There are 5 temples mentioned in the bible – 1. The Garden 2. The Tabernacle 3. Solomon’s Temple, The “First” Temple 4. Herod’s Temple, The “Second” Temple 5. The Church. It is written – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. It is worth mentioning that in the New Testament, no synagogue, temple, chapel, tabernacle, building, or any other meeting place was ever called a “church.” The term always referred to the Christian assembly and, in the New Testament, it was used for both the local community of believers and the overall collection of Christians.
The Origin in America
The first Africans in the New World arrived with Spanish and Portuguese explorers and settlers. By 1600 an estimated 275,000 Africans, both free and slave, were in Central and South America and the Caribbean area. Africans first arrived in the area that became the United States in 1619, when a handful of captives were sold by the captain of a Dutch man-of-war to settlers at Jamestown. Others were brought in increasing numbers to fill the desire for labor in a country where land was plentiful and labor scarce. By the end of the 17th century, approximately 1,300,000 Africans had landed in the New World. From 1701 to 1810 the number reached 6,000,000, with another 1,800,000 arriving after 1810. Some Africans were brought directly to the English colonies in North America. Others landed as slaves in the West Indies and were later resold and shipped to the mainland.
Slavery in America
The earliest African arrivals were viewed in the same way as indentured servants from Europe. This similarity did not long continue. By the latter half of the 17th century, clear differences existed in the treatment of black and white servants. A 1662 Virginia law assumed Africans would remain servants for life, and a 1667 act declared that “Baptisme doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom.” By 1740 the slavery system in colonial America was fully developed. A Virginia law in that year declared slaves to be “chattel personal in the hands of their owners and possessors for all intents, construction, and purpose whatsoever.”
The first recorded slave revolt in the United States happened in Gloucester, Virginia, in 1663, an event involving white indentured servants as well as black slaves.
In 1672, there were reports of fugitive slaves forming groups to harass plantation owners. The first recorded all-black slave revolt occurred in Virginia in 1687.
Virginia was the host of several thwarted uprisings, including one in Richmond in 1800 and Spotsylvania County in 1815, but the state was also the scene of the most notorious slave rebellion in American history: Nat Turner’s Revolt.
The civil rights movement was an organized effort by black Americans to end racial discrimination and gain equal rights under the law. It began in the late 1940s and ended in the late 1960s. Although tumultuous at times, the movement was mostly nonviolent and resulted in laws to protect every American’s constitutional rights, regardless of color, race, sex or national origin.
In general, the federal government stayed out of the civil rights struggle until 1964, when President Johnson pushed a Civil Rights Act through Congress that prohibited discrimination in public places, gave the Justice Department permission to sue states that discriminated against women and minorities and promised equal opportunities in the workplace to all. The next year, the Voting Rights Act eliminated poll taxes, literacy requirements and other tools that southern whites had traditionally used to keep blacks from voting.
But these laws did not solve the problems facing African Americans: They did not eliminate racism or poverty and they did not improve the conditions in many black urban neighborhoods. Many black leaders began to rethink their goals, and some embraced a more militant ideology of separatism and self-defense.
Civil Rights History Time Line
July 26, 1948: President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the Armed Services.
May 17, 1954: Brown v. Board of Education, a consolidation of five cases into one, is decided by the Supreme Court, effectively ending racial segregation in public schools. Many schools, however, remained segregated.
August 28, 1955: Emmett Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago is brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly flirting with a white woman. His murderers are acquitted, and the case bring international attention to the civil rights movement after Jet magazine publishes a photo of Till’s beaten body at his open-casket funeral.
December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her defiant stance prompts a year-long Montgomery bus boycott.
January 10-11, 1957: Sixty black pastors and civil rights leaders from several southern states—including Martin Luther King, Jr.—meet in Atlanta, Georgia to coordinate nonviolent protests against racial discrimination and segregation.
September 4, 1957: Nine black students known as the “Little Rock Nine” are blocked from integrating into Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually sends federal troops to escort the students, however, they continue to be harassed.
September 9, 1957: Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law to help protect voter rights. The law allows federal prosecution of those who suppress another’s right to vote.
February 1, 1960: Four African American college students in Greensboro, North Carolina refuse to leave a Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter without being served. The Greensboro Four—Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil—were inspired by the nonviolent protest of Gandhi. The Greensboro Sit-In, as it came to be called, sparks similar “sit-ins” throughout the city and in other states.
November 14, 1960: Six-year-old Ruby Bridges is escorted by four armed federal marshals as she becomes the first student to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. Her actions inspired Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With (1964).
1961: Throughout 1961, black and white activists, known as freedom riders, took bus trips through the American South to protest segregated bus terminals and attempted to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters. The Freedom Rides were marked by horrific violence from white protestors, they drew international attention to their cause.
June 11, 1963: Governor George C. Wallace stands in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block two black students from registering. The standoff continues until President John F. Kennedy sends the National Guard to the campus.
August 28, 1963: Approximately 250,000 people take part in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Martin Luther King gives his “I Have A Dream” speech as the closing address in front of the Lincoln Memorial, stating, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
September 15, 1963: A bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama kills four young girls and injures several other people prior to Sunday services. The bombing fuels angry protests.
July 2, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, preventing employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Title VII of the Act establishes the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help prevent workplace discrimination.
February 21, 1965: Black religious leader Malcolm X is assassinated during a rally by members of the Nation of Islam.
March 7, 1965: Bloody Sunday. In the Selma to Montgomery March, around 600 civil rights marchers walk to Selma, Alabama to Montgomery—the state’s capital—in protest of black voter suppression. Local police block and brutally attack them. After successfully fighting in court for their right to march, Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders lead two more marches and finally reach Montgomery on March 25.
August 6, 1965: President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent the use of literacy tests as a voting requirement. It also allowed federal examiners to review voter qualifications and federal observers to monitor polling places.
April 4, 1968:Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray is convicted of the murder in 1969.
April 11, 1968: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, providing equal housing opportunity regardless of race, religion or national origin.
June 2020: The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is a civil rights and police reform bill drafted by Democrats in the United States Congress, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 8, 2020. The legislation aims to combat police misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in policing.
So we started as slaves, we were freed, we couldn’t vote so we marched, and we marched and we boycotted and we marched. Black men women and children have been brutally murdered in the streets of the US since forever and it wasn’t until #GeorgeFloyd that we began marching and protesting again. So if at first you don’t succeed try, try again… When will marching and protested end racism – it won’t! So what is the answer – this writer tends to think that it will take everyone learning how the Hand of God works.
Recent racially charged incidents including the tragic death of George Floyd have stirred ensuing riots and torn open the rawest of wounds – racism. Judging a person according to skin color is an ancient sin. For that reason, God gave this ancient solution.
In the earliest words of Scripture, God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth” (Genesis 1:26). Let us, who is “us” – If you search the Bible you will find that when the Almighty speaks of “us” or “our,” He is addressing His Power not the angles otherwise we would have wings.
How then can we stop police brutality and end racism when each of us understands who we are in relationship to God and the power we have within…
History.com Editors. (2009, November 12). Slave rebellions. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery-iv-slave-rebellions
Search results. (n.d.). Scholastic | Books for Kids | Parent & Teacher Resources. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/search-results/?search=1&prefilter=&filters=teachers_ss_dp:articles-and-collections%7C*&text=black%20history#lessons-plans
History.com Editors. (2009, November 9). Martin Luther King, Jr. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr
‘Teacher’s Manual’ by American educator Thomas H. Palmer and ‘The Children of the New Forest‘ by English novelist Frederick Maryat (1792-1848).
(“Max Lucado: What is the answer to racism? This profound yet simple promise,” 2020)
I would see her every day in front of my building, wandering looking lost – yet I was enjoying my freedom;
She looked homeless, without friends – yet I was enjoying my freedom.
Did she have family she could call on – while I was busy enjoying my freedom?
I would get home from work, exhausted from a hard day’s work and there she was looking lost and hungry – yet I was enjoying my freedom.
The night would fall and there she was looking just as distraught as she did yesterday – yet I was enjoying my freedom.
I would often mention her to my friends – as if I had come to know her, yet I never spoke a word to her; you see I was enjoying my freedom.
There were days I would see her and become so angry – but I was enjoying my freedom.
This young lady was ever growing on me, my thoughts began to get consumed by her every day as I arrived home; who was she, what could I say to her that she would hea – I wanted her to experience my freedom.
I would see her walking, standing or just looking lost – but either I was too busy, it was too cold, it was too late in the day, it was too dark, she wasn’t ready for my conversation; I had something more important to do; I’ll check in with her the next time I see her –I was too busy enjoying my freedom.
Where had she gone, I realized she was no longer roaming the streets where I lived – what happened to her; was she in the hospital, was she laying in a dark place unable to call for help – I had now become Concerned…
When I told this story to a few gentlemen who were selling items from their local church they strongly suggested I yield to the Spirit and talk to her because she may be getting ready to leave this world…
I was too late, I never saw her again, I searched for her day after day; week after week; I left clothes for her on the banister, I prayed for her – I was no longer too busy enjoying my freedom – yet I felt such a colossal sense of loss especially since I was perspicacious about this woman who I had never met or spoken to I had never, could never or simply just refused to take just a few minutes of my freedom to say hello, how are you, can I help – I was like you too before I started enjoying my freedom…
I never dismiss that small voice that directs to me a stranger – some folk get angry with me, some are afraid for me – some question if that is why I’m here… I just know that every time I yield I get a sweet sense that He is with me.
An unknown author of the Book of Isiah said “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
Well personally the enemy came like a flood and is trying to wash away my provisions. When I rose this morning, I had a talk with the Lord, even though He had already told me of things to come, (being human) I asked again instead of just giving thanks; ok you might say it was a lack of faith to ask again for help instead of giving thanks – I get that. Anywho I received an invite to watch Kenny Matthews this morning on Periscope. I usually don’t watch all invites but this morning while I was reading Psalms I decided to check it out.
His message was your gift will get you that which is for you; your character will help you maintain it. God is so amazing even if and when our faith falters – He has so much grace and mercy to dish out to all those that don’t deserve it, He saw need to sprinkle a little more on my path this morning.
Thank you Lord and Kenny Matthews for being a vessel this morning.
Over the years, I’ve always thought to myself, “why am I here?”. It wasn’t to be a life time soldier in the US Marine Corp, three years was forced sufficient (Mommy said I had to come home and not re-enlist – had to listen to mommy since I had no identity). I thought I would close mortgages for Merrill Lynch, three years was sufficient (considering they relocated to Florida). I suppose I was in that dark hallway searching for a light – you see I lost my identity as a student, and as a soldier. After losing my job as a loan closer for Merrill Lynch I moved further away from the light. During the years I worked for Merrill Lynch I was so full of pride and ego that I actually thought when asked by others, where was I employed, I thought bright blinking lights were shining behind my head – “She’s a Loan Closer at Merrill Lynch – Yes She’s Some BigWig”. I continued to fall into a black hole, I had no guidance, I didn’t know that as I traveled the Bus of Life that I was never alone, but it sure felt like it. Every stop along the way I would find a job and claim that as my identity; the position I had defined who I was. I never looked for a job at a place where I could “belong” or that had a vision that I cared about. I looked for a job that would give me definition by the corporation’s name brand (if you will). When we come across a word we are not familiar with we go to the dictionary, I was unfamiliar with Wendy and never had the gumption to find a “living dictionary” to help me connect the dots of my scattered outline of myself.
Then “he” comes along, looking rather handsome and I fall in love. He proposes, we get married and finally, Wendy is defined. The marriage has now taken away all the guilt of having a child out of wedlock, it has validated that of all the men I was involved with I could become someone’s wife. I could now have a “home”, a father for my child, my mother will now love me and my father will not see me as his little lost girl. Thirteen years later when the marriage fell apart, my “identity” fell apart too, and I literally lost my mind.
It has taken a few years to recover from that pain. Still searching, I asked questions to my friends, family members, and professors, how do I find my purpose, what is my purpose. Clergy folk suggested I pray and ask God what my gift is… gift I’m looking for something a little more than a gift. After achieving 2 Masters degrees I thought this is it, I’m going to New York and get myself a $200K a year job and raise my head higher than my neck and then I will have arrived! Well the story didn’t quite go like that. I went to New York at only $75K and had to leave because I felt the house of cards falling down at home in Connecticut (that was the beginning of the divorce drama). I thought about self-employment, I am the owner of a newly formed consulting company which is still taking shape, in other words, no income!
… One day many years ago I had a conversation with my dad, he said to me, “Wendy when you get up in the morning and have to think twice about going to work, it’s time to go.” Several jobs later I was still searching for that job that I did not have to think twice about or that filled my egotistical needs. At the end of my rope, years had gone by women are CEOs, COOs, VP, etc., etc., I’m still an African American Woman with no purpose, no identity. In 1998 a woman told me I needed to write a book about my life. I thought ok, I started the book, and subsequently I have been given the same message “you should write a book” a hundred times. I was on a phone interview and the employer said to me, “I want to read your book when you finish writing it”, I was floored surely our conversation included nothing about me emotionally only my work ethics and what I thought I could do for the company. Each time I start to write on the book, my life has a sense of purpose (I can still revert to I need to have substantial income), when I’m centered and writing, I feel a sense of calmness and peace within; this overrides the necessity of feeding my ego. Of course, being human I tend to deviate from writing (my primary purpose) and think perhaps I need to verbalize my book – there’s something to be said about obedience…
Have I found my purpose, absolutely! Years ago I started working as a Substitute Teacher in my home state. I told my network of friends what I was about to embark on and their eyebrows raised and they informed me the school, I was going to work in was one of the worst schools in town. The next morning, I rise and go to work, the first hour, I hear every profane word known to man. I was called several names, none of which I will write here, I had doors slammed in my face, I saw fighting, gambling, sexual perversion – you name it and I had 6 hours to go. I was in, hook-line-and sinker, I LOVED it. I reached down inside and pulled my painful experiences up and out and began to talk to the children, I didn’t scream or shout. I made them look me in the eye when they talked to me, I gave them the freedom to ask real life questions and I gave myself some freedom to share some personal information about my Bus Ride through this thing called life. When I met them where they were, they slammed the door open to the possibility that I could be trusted, I would listen and I could hear them. I don’t make 100K or 75K doing this, but I have the most awesome stories to share when I get home. I don’t mind getting up in the morning and I never question is this right for me. Lastly, if I were independently wealthy I would volunteer – that is my definition of Purpose, what do you love doing and would do it for free?
My Purpose is to help guide one through the hallway…
There is a church that has 6 members and they are “advertising” on the news for parishioners… Are you kidding me!!!! Shouldn’t the interpretation of God’s message be sufficient?
God created Lucifer good in his original state, but Lucifer became evil by his own designs.
Devil – an evil spirit
Demons – take possession of wicked men and are subject to the devil;
Lucifer the light bearer – The misconceptions between Lucifer and Satan, as the exact same entity or name, started with the misinterpretations of the Gospel by various sectors. Lucifer is a name that was mentioned only once in the KJV or King James Version of the Bible, specifically in Isaiah 14:12. However, in Hebrew, the literal translation for his name would mean ‘to shine’ or ‘to bear light.’
Satan – an adversary – the devil, god of this world, must obtain permission from God before acting on any human being.
Contrary to mass belief, Satan and Lucifer are two different names and are not the same exact entities. This is the current misconception that many Bible believers have come to know for many generations already.
Lucifer is actually the angel of God that He named in heaven as one of the most, or perhaps the most perfect angel ever created. It was only when Lucifer was cast down from heaven that his alternate entity was known as Satan. Lucifer was banished because of his pure egoism, not to mention his pride that was regarded as his greatest sin.
Lucifer is the name of an angel whereas Satan is the name given to the devil. It is said that Satan has lived in the Spirit world for more than 6,000 years. In this regard, he has not yet been visible to human beings. It is however foretold that he will make himself visible soon by appearing physically in the world and will call himself the Beast, a very remarkable being that will proclaim himself as God.
Lucifer is not the opposite of God because he was also a creature made by God. He can thus be more likened to Michael the Archangel, in terms of position. On the other hand, Satan connotes more on the idea of an opposing resistance.
This monarch would be depicted as a man who will see the collapse of his dominion. He will die like a man, eaten by worms and his grave being walked upon. This could not be Satan because Satan has no physical form. He is a spirit that lives in the dark Spirit world.
Lucifer – the light, bearer or bringer
Isiah 14:12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Luke 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
Demons take possession of wicked men and are subject to the devil.
Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
It was the devil who tempted Christ – Matthew 4:1 – Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
In my early days of salvation, one of my favorite songs was a song by Kirk Franklin – The Storm is Over now – https://youtu.be/awtPSl6zFNU?list=PLCE00BF3507C2FEC2 Just when I thought the storm was over, it wasn’t long before I found myself back in not a new storm but back in an “old” storm! Years later I found myself out of that storm and lived in the spirit of gratitude for a long time. Every Friday night I would do my laundry and prepare dinner. After my laundry I would put away all my clothes and iron everything that required ironing. During this process I would listen to Gospel music. Like clockwork I would do the exact same thing for about a year. I found that later on when life was doing that which it is designed to do began to wear me down, I would remember the peace I experienced while during my Friday night program. One day after I veered away from my ritual – (you see the cares of this world had infiltrated my peaceful cocoon) I found myself in place where my spirit was disturbed and my feathers had been definitely ruffled. I remembered the ritual of the laundry I thought to myself okay I’ll go do some laundry and get back to that peaceful place. However, I didn’t have any laundry to do, so I did the next best thing, I put on the music, I put up the ironing board and just began to iron anything and sure enough God showed up!!! Years later I was telling this story to a friend his name was Brother Rob, he said, sometimes you have to be in that place where He can find you!!!
Do whatever it takes to find Him and He’ll find you…..