The Road To There…

The essential, unequivocal truth is that we are all on a journey somewhere. Where? Who knows, but there is hope even in the unknown, victory in opposition, and clarity in surrendering.


The Byway My-way

As unfortunate as it is for me to admit I am one that struggles with pride – a great sense of pride. The only people that can attest to this are those that know the real me, the Mardy that many do not see. I struggle with being wrong, I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist in more areas than none, and I detest the fact that at times I can be inadequate. I have never liked to ask for help and I have always had this ‘I can do it myself’ type of attitude. That’s my truth, but the old saying goes, “The higher you climb, the harder you fall.”

I must have reached my peak because humility knocked me down on the same path I had become familiar with. Life happened. The byway abruptly turned into a dark, musky alley. I lost all control. I became disoriented seeing that I had to submit myself to something other than myself. The world as I knew it changed instantaneously. This experience was not pleasant, but it was necessary.

It’s uncanny how life has to happen for one to seek God. And that is exactly what I had to do. ‘My-way’ became God-way; “Tre-Wayyy”. My prayer life grew, I began reading the Bible more than occasionally, and attending church via YouTube or Apple Podcast. My overly self-sufficient nature began to crumble and my perspective drastically altered.

I found liberation in not being the only one in the ring fighting. I made decisions that were in alignment with His will for my life, some being quite difficult to grasp and even more arduous to implement. I withdrew my acceptance into a doctoral program and started down a road towards self reflection. I had to remove myself and my desires so that He could begin to move in ways unimaginable. In doing so, I was able to receive my “theme” for the new year – Release: God Provides.


The Road Less Traveled

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

This year has been self-proclaimed and divinely endorsed to be the year of internal growth, spiritual development, and career advancement not only for myself, but for every life-force attached to me. Our roads may vary, but the result shall be the same. Why? Because it has been divinely decreed and ordained.

“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” – Mark‬ ‭11:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Oftentimes we do not have, not because we are not deserving or unqualified, but because we simply do not articulate, plan, and submit. Other times it equates to our lack of effort, or dare I say faith.

Yes, life happens and it always will. Yet, there is an undisturbed, uninterrupted truth — “I [God] have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬)

There is victory even in life’s shortcomings. It was never said the ‘road to there’ would be easy. In fact, Jesus stated, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT) THAT’S THE VICTORY! No matter what internal or external battles you endure, He has overcome even that.

The Powers that be have allowed life to happen to equip you to be the best version of yourself. Your journey has been uniquely contrived so that you may be a beacon of light in a world that follows the same paths and dawdles the same course. But you have been called to “MOVE DIFFERENT“. Your power source is unlimited, untainted, and sadly underutilized. Embrace your processes and move towards your best life by submitting yourself and your desires to the One that is able to enable all that you can fathom. Take the road less traveled by and experience life in abundance. This is OUR SEASON!

Mardarius Thomas

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Mirror, Mirror On The Wall..

One of my most favorite Disney movies is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If I may, I always wanted to identify with Happy, one of the dwarfs. He was always bubbly and vivacious. And if you paid attention, you would have noticed that he had an extreme interest in always attempting to uplift Grumpy, the not so “happy” dwarf. However, as I cogitate over the years, I can see how my personality has regressed to the characteristics of the story’s main antagonist, the Evil Enchantress.

One day she called to her magic mirror and asked, ” Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?” The mirror responded, “Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas she is more fair than thee.” The Queen was angered by the mirrors response and made it her mission to be the fairest in the land. She sought to kill Snow White, her competition.

See Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. had served as my mirror. Social media became my informant on what I could do to stand out. I often times found myself in blatant competition with others. This competition helped me gauge where I was in comparison to those I am/was connected to. I critiqued myself to “measure up” or surpass those around me.

It wasn’t until I decided to “fast” from social media that I began to find new interests about myself that I had not experienced before. In the beginning it was extremely difficult not to have others as the focal point and concentrate on what my goals were. My life was mundane and lackluster, but I refused to get on social media until I could focus on what was important: me.

In trying to find other methods to “fill the void”, I started listening to Pastor Michael Todd’s “Planted Not Buried” series. This is when revelation began to set in. While God was saying, “Mardarius, you’re planted,” I was saying, “God, why did you leave me here (buried)?” See, planted and buried initially looks the same, but it’s our perspective that makes the difference! (That’s a Word!) Being planted equates to one day bearing fruit, but being buried is being committed to death. My trying to compete with other was putting me to death (depression, anxiety), yet God was trying to position me to bear much fruit. My “mirror” became my affliction until I took the reflection off of others and on the One that said, “I was more than a conqueror.”

Comparison can only lead you to your ultimate demise, if you allow it to settle inside yourself. You can never win by comparing yourself to or competing with others. Eventually, they will wake up with their happily ever after because they walked in purpose (despite opposition) and you’ll continue on in misery because you walked in comparison. I know this because I’ve lived it. Furthermore, validation does not come from people; validation comes from the Creator of people. Therefore, congratulate others in their victories. Celebrate them in their accomplishments. And know that mirrors can always change the focus on what was to what lies ahead.

This is my truth and I boast in it because HIS strength is made perfect in MY weakness. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 Now that the mirror has changed perspectives, I brag differently.

Mardy

Consistently Inconsistent

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. – Anthony Robbins

It is ironic that consistency and inconsistency can dwell in the same place. Yet, they have the ability to coexist.

Have you ever known someone that is consistently inconsistent? Texting you every blue moon to “check in” or randomly calling to let you know that they are still interested in being “invested” in your life. Yea, we all know that person. Yet we have accepted that type of behavior because we expect that of them. It has become the new normal — the standard.

In the same likeness, we too can be consistently inconsistent about our dreams, hopes, and access to success. For example, I know my passion is motivating and inspiring through the written word. So why am I inconsistent with what I enjoy doing?

I’ll tell you why.

It is easy to be poisoned by the world around you if you allow it to enter into yourself. I remember reading a quote that states that “a boat doesn’t sink unless water seeps into it.” This statement can easily be applied to our daily lives. When negativity and inconsistency are what we allow to seep into our mental, we then become a product of our environment. They are what we now know, and the things we must now unlearn.

We unlearn them by: (1) identifying the root of inconsistent behavior; (2) removing stimuli that promote the undesired behavior; (3) modifying our way of thinking (changing our perception of what we should accept); and (4) creating a routine that we follow everyday.

When we identify the root of our own inconsistent behaviors we begin to realize how much we allow things/others to be inconsistent with us. We then have to remove ourselves from people, situations and environments that do not promote our drive to be in constant pursuit of our passions. This may sound unorthodox but these occurrences of inconsistency do not have a positive effect on us. As minute as it may seem, inconsistent people/situations/environments can alter our lives because it has the ability to alter the way we think. Even the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that “…bad company corrupts good character.”

We can easily become our environment if we allow our environment to feed our minds.

Therefore, I charge you to be the fire-starter in your home, at your job, and in your community. One flame has the potential to start a wildfire. We are the flames that can make a difference in the world around us. We just have to consistently pursue the things we desire, remove the things that deadens our flame, and create a new normal. A normal that exemplifies what we will accept and expect. A normal that appreciates and exudes the beauty of our self-worth. And a normal that consistently pursues the very purpose of our being.

We are what we do, say, and accept.

– Mardarius

The Missed Spots

In the spirit of spontaneity and writing with purpose, I have to say it feels bomb to be back. Just like every other blog I have a story, and I hope this is an interesting story for you.

The Prelude

This morning I woke up around 3 o’clock from a terrible dream. A prophetic one even. The feel was dark and eerie. The people were violent. And I could literally feel the oppressions of the environment weighing heavily on me. I woke up in an apprehensive state; one that I could not shake. I prayed and tried to go back to sleep but I couldn’t. So, I got up and started cleaning.

I mean really cleaning.

Now, I must admit I’m not the world’s cleanest person or one that thoroughly enjoys cleaning but this type of cleaning was intense for me. I started with the stove. I scrubbed, scratched, and scraped. But I kept noticing spots I missed. I would go back and clean the noticed spot to only notice I missed other spots. I started to get really frustrated because I just knew I couldn’t suck this bad at cleaning. Sure, I’m a guy but I know I can clean a stove.

Keep reading, it gets interesting.

I really started to go Taz, the Tasmanian Devil, on these missed spots. I was scrubbing so profusely that my hands started to become tender. I wiped down the area and guess what? I still missed some spots. Then out of nowhere an intriguing thought entered my mind. “I wish my mom was here to help. She could clean this stove perfectly?”

As trivial as this may sound, this small incident reminded me of my life. I was reminded that I don’t have to clean this mess up on my own. God is always there to cover those “missed spots” just like my mom would with the stove scenario.

The Unexpected “Solution”

This was the reality that I needed in this season of my life. I just did not expect for it to come to me in this way. You see, I started a blog entitled “Under the Mask” to discuss my battle with anxiety and depression and depression within the African American community. But God has a mysterious and unique way of answering our prayers and our articulating it to others. Now I see that this was my way to tie it all into my story.

For the past few months I have struggled more with my depression than normal. Although it is not common for many African Americans to seek counsel where I am from, I had been going to therapy to find the underlining causes for my depressed state and trying to find solutions to cope. Therapy helped and I am truly grateful and I would recommend it to anyone. However, it was this morning that I realized that counsel without the implementation of my faith was not doing me, or my mental state, justice. I had been expecting to clean the mess on a natural level but neglecting the spiritual aspect of wellness.

Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. – Proverbs 11:14

Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, That you may be wise in the time to come.Proverbs 19:20

But the Bible also states:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Rest lies within your utilization of therapy and finding room at the Cross. In a statement mentioned in “A Piece About Peace” written by Shalon Gillon, she explains that maybe the piece that we’re missing is the One who bled, hung, and died. She was right.

To the reader:

The crosses you bear are not solely your own. The struggles you have are not the end result. The messes you experience do not have to be cleaned up by you alone. Just like me and the stove, I needed some help from a professional, preferably my mom in that instance, but therapy and God concerning my emotional and mental state. Seek therapy in moments of distress, talk to God for moments of comfort, and do not bury yourself behind a mask to satisfy the world.

Like this blog, my story shall continue.

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for moments of truth. Grant us clarity in the midst of confusion, serenity in chaos, and peace in times of storm. Amen.

– Mardarius

A Piece of Peace

Peace

pēs/

noun

  • harmony in personal relations

What is peace?

Well, it depends on the person in which defines it. When I think of peace, I think of FREEDOM. Peace is choosing NOT to be bound, consciously or subconsciously. Peace is deciding that I will NOT continue to let life get the best of me, but allow life to increase the best in me. My definition of peace is the ability to keep a level head in moments of difficulty. The struggle of obtaining such peace is challenging; especially for a “knuck if you buck” type individual like myself.

I hope from the paragraph above that you gathered one important aspect about obtaining peace. That aspect is that having or obtaining peace is a CHOICE. You have the power to change your perspective about the world around you and the ability to choose to live a life free of long-term disturbances.

YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE THAT LIFE; IT WON’T CHOOSE YOU.

The time that we have on this earth will be filled with trouble, but it is our perception that will determine how we internalize our “mountain and valley” moments.

Here is my transparency moment: For the past few weeks it has been difficult for me to write because I internalized a negative environment and chose to let that environment take my peace of mind. I was not in a place to encourage anyone else because hell, I needed the encouragement myself. I allowed that environment to poison me. I would go day-to-day with no intent to encourage anyone else or make a conscious effort to make a difference; I was different and I knew that. Then came my “come to Jesus” moment. One day a great friend of mine “gathered me up” after being fed up with my negative demeanor. He said, “You have to remain positive despite your negative environment. They don’t deserve to take what you have worked so hard for. If you’re going to be on this path of positivity and preaching to others about it, then I expect more from you.”

From that moment forward, I decided to RECLAIM MY PEACE. I can’t allow anyone to take that piece of me away (my peace of mind). I cannot allow my spiritual being to be tainted. I had to decide that my environment would not change me, but I would alter it. I chose peace AGAIN. I encourage each of you to CHOOSE TO ALLOW PEACE TO REST UPON YOU. Until you make that choice, peace will never find you. So today, choose to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 You deserve peace, so CLAIM IT! The choice is yours! 

Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. – Ronald Reagan


Shalon, what is peace?

As a believer, when I think of PEACE, the Cross comes to mind.

Peace is the ability to look past your struggles, down falls, failures, dark days and see Jesus hanging on the Cross.

His Sacrifice granted us the ability to choose the Life we want to live. If we want Peace, we can have it. Peace is a choice. Peace is placing and eliminating things and people to effectively live our best life. However; our idea of living, must align with HIS WILL.

A lot of people do not know just how easy it is to obtain peace. Many believe that you must pray for peace. Which is true, but peace is freely given to us through Christ Jesus. It’s all about perspective. Your idea of Peace may be different from mine, but our ultimate goal is the same.

Philippians 4:7 says that, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.

This simply means that even though we see disaster all around us and even though our lives may not be going as planned; but to just know that God is the Author and the Finisher, should allow our minds to be at ease. Just to know that He is in control and He is Merciful and Just to be able to turn things around for us in the blink of an eye. Knowing who He is and the power He possesses should give us internal peace in the midst of our minds that is trying to comprehend and figure out what is going on around us.

According to 1 Peter 3:11, It is His will for us to, “Seek Peace and Pursue it”.

This lets us know that it is going to take some action from Us. You just cannot walk around saying, “I want peace this, and I just need some peace that.” You must first SEEK peace and then PURSUE it.

In seeking Peace, we will find God.

When you find Him, you must pursue.  Pursue in the dictionary means to follow.

If you truly want everlasting Peace and Peace that will never leave your life; you must follow Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 describes Him as the Prince of Peace.

So, if your struggling in this area and desire peace in Your life; consider that just maybe the Piece of Peace that you’re missing is the one who hung, bled, and died on the Cross!

SEEK and PURSUE


 Ending Affirmation

I have peace because I choose peace; I pursue peace. Peace shall rest upon me and it will surpass all understanding.

Lord, help me to seek and pursue peace through your Word. Help me to be directed by Your will and not my own. Continue to preserve my peace in moments of difficulty. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thank you for reading.

 

  Mardy                                                Shalon Ess

The Power of … Letting Go

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. -Steve Maraboli

Disclaimer

I must say I write this piece in hopes to liberate myself and hopefully to do the same for many that read. It is never easy to let go of people or past experiences that you’ve fostered over the years. Trust me, we all have our crosses to bear but what if I told you there is power in letting go. Would you believe me?


Conveniently Bound

Did you know holding on to certain people or situations cause you to be “conveniently bound”? Here’s what I mean. What happened in your past was your past, right? The people you allow into you life is your choice, right? If those situations or individuals are hindering your progression in life, why hold on? I’ll tell you why. It is because we have grown to cope with and deal with dead situations and dead relationships. Instead of releasing and dealing with the pain of letting go of our past or the people we foster, we decide it’s easier to hold on due to comfortability of the familiar.

Writer Tony Robbins states:

For many of us, we get stuck in the past because of our need for certainty. Certainty is fundamentally about survival. We all need to feel certain that we can avoid pain, and, ideally, find some comfort. Continuous pain means continuous damage, and that eventually leads to our demise. It’s frightening to step into the unknown. It’s difficult to be vulnerable. And it can be overwhelmingly uncomfortable to have that sense of uncertainty about what lies ahead. So we hang on to the past – because even if it’s steeped in pain, it’s what we are familiar with and what we have certainty about.

I could not agree more. In reference to my last blog, we have to step out on faith even when we decide to let go of the familiar. You don’t have to be bound to your past or to the individuals that don’t appreciate your worth. I know you may have been hurt by family members/loved ones, situations that have occurred in the past, but why keep allowing those situations to hinder your future. You owe it to yourself to let go. Forgive even when the apology you’ve longed for has never been extended. Love even when your world is filled with hatred. You owe it to yourself. This is for your wellbeing, not theirs.


How To Let Go

1. Determine your personal reason for letting go. For me, it is to rid myself of painful memories or poisonous people that had no positive influence on where I want to go in life. By determining my reasoning, my actions are aligning.

2. Prepare your mind. I will be the first to say that the task of letting go is not easy. The process is strenuous but, if done properly, very rewarding. During your time of reflection, feed your mind positivity, listen to motivational stories, surround yourself with people that motivate and encourage you to move forward, and make a conscious effort to only allow positive thoughts to enter into your mental. Start preparing your mind for the transition and ensure that the things you are letting go are no longer worth holding on to.

3. Take ACTION! Now that you’ve defined your reasoning and prepared your mind, it is time to actually do the work. Face the issues head on, forgive the situations/people, and detach yourself from them so you can begin to heal and flourish.

4. Don’t pick up old habits. Now that you’ve freed yourself it should be easy to make a clear indication of what situations and types of people you should avoid. Make a vow to yourself to never allow yourself to be imprisoned by the same things you’ve worked to be set free from. Don’t let go to regress; let go to progress.

This process is key to move forward.


In The End.

I will AGAIN reiterate, letting go is not always easy but sometimes it is necessary. You can’t allow yourself to maneuver through life with baggage you’ve carried for years. You went through a bad break up? Let it go. You don’t feel accepted? Let it go. Your parent(s) were absent in your life? Let it go. Situations like these were meant to build you, not break you. This time choose to be free and allow that freedom to take full liberty over your life. I owe it to myself, and you owe it to yourself to let go. As the world renown gospel artist, Vickie Winans, states, “shake loose everything that binds you up” because you deserve to live a life of abundance and not of captivity. 😌

<<<<<

Mardy

The Power of … FAITH

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Introduction

It is important that I note the reasoning for this piece. Before the coming of the new year, I asked for a stronger and more established faith. (Yes, this will be more of a religious, sacred blog but I’m sure nonbelievers and other religious groups could aid from this as well). It seems as if from the time I asked for an increased level of faith, my faith began to be tested. Literally, in the past 15 days, my life has been in utter turmoil.

So one night while I was driving home from work I asked God, “What is really going on?!” (I talk to God just like I talk to any individual). NOTHING! No answer at all. So here I go again, “God, you’re going have to work some things out for me immediately.” (This was me demanding that he move the oppositions in my life.) Still, NOTHING.

If you’re anything like me, you reflect on your day every single day. So yesterday (January 8, 2018), I was just thinking about my day (as usual) and worrying about stuff (as usual). Then a simple thought crossed my mind, “Where is your faith?”

Faith

When I got home I immediately looked up scriptures about faith. Here is the first thing I found:

“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭AMPC‬

I can only speak for me but when I can’t see anything but obstacles and oppositions I tend to worry profusely. I am blinded by the things I see but not by the things I hope for.

Blind Faith

Can we see air? Can we see the WiFi signal as it is transmitted to our electronic devices? Faith works the same way. It can’t be seen because it is “perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses”. I can’t see faith, neither can I feel it, taste it, hear it, or smell it; but I have to know it’s available if I put it to work.

If we choose to be blinded by faith and not by what we can sense, imagine the magnitude of how grand our perception of life shall be! We must choose to only see dreams and not struggles; a future and not the past; hope instead of fear. I may be preaching to the choir but as I mentioned before, each blog is “an attempt to save my own soul.” This blog was inspired to do just that.

Where is your faith when the weight of the world is crushing your hopes and dreams?

Your faith (hope) should be in your abilities to achieve anything you set out to do. And to the believer, your faith should be rooted in Him. That is your source, your power, and your strength. Believe you can, and you will. Be blessed.

Mardy