How to Make Your Dreams Come True: Five Lessons from Watching Kevin Durant

I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of the game known as Basketball, and I will also admit that I could care less about who wins or loses the NBA Finals. However, I do stay in the loop of things for conversation purposes. I never want to be the lady that is clueless when people are talking sports. With that being said, I remember the rage that was shown by Oklahoma fans around the country when Kevin Durant announced he was headed to Cali. He left his royal throne in Oklahoma and settled for being on the King’s (Steph Curry) Advisory Board. Many called Durant a traitor. In their loyalty as a fans, they failed to see the NBA as the business that it is and “loyalty” is not a business practice of the organization. Kevin made a decision to do what would make his dream come true. Watching Kevin Durant’s transition in the last year has provided me with some nuggets for life. Here they are:
1. Never forget the vision. Last night KD shared during a Postgame interview that he told his mom at eight years old that he would win a NBA Championship. Since the age of eight, he saw himself as an NBA Championship winner. Although, a team would be required to win a championship, it was a PERSONAL goal for Durant. No matter how much success you are having in a place, if it keeps your from the vision for you life, leaving is necessary.

2. Be courageous enough to make the move. Kevin Durant took the same heat that any great player takes when opting to leave a team. The same people who praised him quickly turned into persecutors as he chose to play for a better team. With all that would be said about him, he packed his things and left in hopes of fulfilling the vision he had for his career. Your next move may leave you in the hands of persecutors for a moment, but the reward will outweigh their words.

3. Take Humility with You. There is no way that Golden State Warriors would be 2017 NBA Champions if Kevin Durant chose to be a thorn in the flesh of GSW instead of a team player. He could have made things about himself, but he got with the GSW program and added to their greatness. With every great move you make in life, take humility with you. Be willing to adjust, learn, and add to the greatness of the people you are serving.

4. Loyalty at the cost of your life’s vision is death. Kevin Durant gave nine seasons to OKC before deciding to go to Golden State. Nine years of his life was devoted to a team that he tried to ensure a NBA Championship, and it did not happen. There are some places and people that you cannot afford to remain loyal to solely based off the principle of loyalty. Kevin Durant gave all he could to OKC, and it was in his best interest to try to win with another team. When choosing to be loyal, one must ask themselves, “Would this decision cause me to forfeit my dreams?” If the answer is “yes,” you may need to reconsider the decision. Life without fulfilling your dreams is a slow and painful death that you have chosen for yourself.

5. Everyone won’t appreciate your accomplishment. As previously stated, the man gave nine years of his life to OKC, and he was absolutely deserving of winning MVP last night. However, some of the “crabs in the bucket” could not get pass the route he had to take to accomplish his dreams; or they could not get pass his hair being uncombed during a basketball game. Side note: He’s a millionaire, do you really think a haircut is beyond his reach? Back to the topic, there will be people during your moments of victory that will focus on everything except the effort you put into accomplishing your dreams. To that I say, let them enjoy their misery as you partake in enjoying the fruit of your labor.

There are many more things that could be said, but I  am tired of typing. I will say this, please do not be afraid to do what it takes to accomplish your dreams. As long as your decisions are producing peace in your life, continue on that path. People may not understand every decision you make, and that’s okay. People will go back and forth with their praise and criticism of you. KEEP GOING!!! No matter what keep the vision in front of you. It is your roadmap to keep you on course when comfort tries to convince you to become stagnant. Your life is a summation of all the choices you have made, and at any moment you can choose to change its course. Why settle for being a king, when you can be a god? God meaning one of the greatest to ever live in your field of expertise. Last night, Kevin Durant became one, and I hope you will too. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

P.S. GO COWBOYS!!!! LOL

 

 

Photo Credit: http://uproxx.com/dimemag/kevin-durant-mvp-speech-2017-nba-finals/

Ask for Help: Tips on Surrendering to the Will of God

” Teach me to do Your will. For you are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”-Psalm 143:10

I truly believe this verse should be the prayer of every Christian. Our hearts should long to know and to do God’s will. We should desire to know His plans for our lives. We should long to fulfill those plans. This longing is admirable, but we should at  some point in our spiritual journey  go from simply desiring His will to submitting ourselves to His will. Here a four ways to ensure that you are doing just that:

1.Recognize Your inability to do God’s will outside of His help. The first sentence in this scripture indicates one man’s recognition of needing God’s help in order to do His will. As I was studying, I came across a beautifully written description by  MacLaren’s Expositions that helps illustrates this point :

We may learn from this prayer, then, that practical conformity to God’s will can never be attained by our own efforts. Remember all the hindrances that rise between us and it; these wild passions of ours, this obstinate gravitating of tastes and desires towards earth, these animal necessities, these spiritual perversities, which make up so much of us all-how can we coerce these into submission? Our better selves sit within like some imprisoned king, surrounded and ‘fooled by the rebel powers’ of his revolted subjects; and our best recourse is to send an embassy to the Over-lord, the Sovereign King, praying Him to come to our help. We cannot will to will as God wills, but we can turn ourselves to Him, and ask Him to put the power within us which shall subdue the evil, conquer the rebels, and make us masters of our own else anarchic and troubled spirits. For all honest attempts to make the will of God our wills, the one secret of success is confident and continual appeal to Him. A man must have gone a very little way, very superficially and perfunctorily, on the path of seeking to make himself what he ought to be, unless he has found out that he cannot do it, and unless he has found out that there is only one way to do it, and that is to go to God and say, ‘O Lord! I am baffled and beaten. I put the reins into Thy hand; do Thou inspire and direct and sanctify.’

If we are ever going to do the will of God, we must recognize that it can only happen with His help.

2.Surrender your free will to God’s will.  The interesting thing about God is that He does not typically force His way on people. In his kindness, He has given us “free will,” and our free will often conflicts with His. This is why the Psalmist plea of asking God to “teach me to your will” is so important. It is by asking to be taught that he simultaneously surrenders his own free will and submits himself to God. The moment we ask for God’s help is the moment we surrender all that we know and yield to what He is willing to teach us.

3.Know Who God is. After praying that God teaches him, the psalmist points out, “Your spirit is good.” By this phrase we come to understand why the psalmist was able to surrender his will. His understanding of God’s goodness made surrendering to His will the only proper response. The goodness of God compelled him to trust God with his life, and it should compel us to do the same.

4.Know where God leads. After acknowledging God’s goodness, the psalmists then cries out, “Lead me in the land of uprightness.” This gives the psalmist a measuring stick of whether the places his feet trod are God’s will or his. As he pursues what is right He can rest assure he is being led by God. God will rarely lead us to a place that His goodness and righteousness cannot be found. For the most part, he leads us beside quiet streams. When we are committed to doing life His way righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost is our portion.

If we truly desire to surrender our lives to God, we must be like the psalmist and recognize we cannot do it without Him. We must drop all of our pride and ask God for help. We have to be convinced of who God is so that in the moments He requires more than we would like to give, we trust what we know about Him over our desire. I will not pretend that a life of surrender is not difficult at times. It can be excruciatingly painful in those moments you would prefer to do things your way. However, his grace is sufficient and he helps those who ask for it. My prayer for us all is that we would drop our pride and lift our hands in total surrender to the purposes and plans of God for our lives. He is ready to lead us when we are ready to surrender.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/03/12/new-research-confirms-black-students-better-taught-black-teachers/

Linger or Live?

This morning I woke up and had an epiphany. I realized I have been a resident of my past. I have set up shop in past experiences. I have lived vicariously through the victories of ole. I am guilty of making plans for the future when conversing with others, but I have not put forth any effort in getting those things accomplished. Some where between then and now I lost my motivation and I have become comfortable being mediocre. This may not sound like a big deal for some, but for me this is tragic. How did the Encourager lose motivation? How did the dreamer get comfortable with simply having the dreams and not making them reality?

As I type I am reminded of one incident when I confided in someone that I trusted about my dreams. I told them what I wanted to do for my community, my state, and ultimately the world. I shared how I felt God had placed me on the earth to do something that had never been done. I poured out my heart in hopes this person would provide affirmation and encouragement and instead they told me ” I was not special, and I should focus on other things than what I shared.” Because I held this person in high regards their words held much weight in my decision-making process. I was devastated by the words, but I agreed to their counsel because they were older and had more experience at this thing called “life.” I remember leaving that setting perplexed, disappointed, and discouraged.

By accepting this person’s advice, I had also made the decision to simply exist instead of live. It was the day I subconsciously decided that my dreams were not worth pursuing. It was the day I lost my faith in what could be and started to accept things as they were. All my life I had been on this adventure of doing the impossible, and on that day I entered the never ending saga of simply existing.

At the time I was a bright 23 years old that had returned from college and was ready to change the world. Now I am a soon to be 28 years old mourning the loss of five years wasted. I could be a therapist, lawyer, or doctor by now. I could have started a couple of organizations and could be conducting seminars. But instead I am just lounging in this mediocre life because I chose to esteem the words of man higher than God. I never thought to consult with anyone else. Neither did I consider the fact that the person may be wise in one subject, but it does not qualify them to counsel on another. Looking back, I should have kept my mouth closed and sought counsel from someone who was either doing something similar to what I desired to do or someone who was pursuing their dreams against all odds.

Now with two days before my 28th birthday, I am left with two options: linger or live. I can linger in the past or live pursuing what I believe God has placed me on this earth to do. I can spend another year regretting the time lost; or I can spend this year charting a new path and moving forward. Today I choose to LIVE! I am throwing off my vintage sackcloth and ashes and putting on something that works for the future. I am discarding the words of those who counseled me out of their personal fears and failures; and I’m CHOOSING to CLING to what God has said about me.

I am sure I am not the first or the last person to experience an assassination attempt on their dreams. But to those who have not experienced this let me offer you some advice:
1. Guard Your heart(dreams) with all diligence. It is NOT necessary to share your dreams with everyone around you.
2. If you are certain God told you, do NOT allow man’s word to trump what God said.
3. When pursuing your dreams ONLY take counsel from those who are doing what you desire to do or those who have blazed a trail for others to follow.

If you can relate to the story I just shared, you my friend are familiar with Attempted Dream Assassination. I use the word “attempted” because although it appears that it was dead, I believe God ordained this day to nurse it back to life. To those who have been guilty of living in the past and rehearsing the words that wounded you inside I offer this advice to you:
1. CHOOSE to forgive those who offered wrong counsel or those who maliciously spoke against you.
2. Ask God to restore your faith in Him and what He has called you to do.
3. Build yourself up on your most holy faith and work towards those things God has called you to do (Jude 1:20).

There will always be people who will not understand us or what we do, but we must not allow their opinions to snuff out what God says about us. Today I encourage us all to Live. Live with a determined faith to see what God has promised come to pass. Live with a heart of compassion for those worse off than us. Live with a tolerance for those who do not like us. Live with a love for God that inspires others to do the same. Last but not least, live with the blessed assurance that we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us (Phil. 4:13). God bless you all and I am praying that we will pursue our purpose in the freedom that Love provides!#Philippians 3:13,14