LifeLesson: Live in the Moment

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As a mother, I’m always faced with the challenge to get things done off my to-do list and I always bypass the chance to just live in the moment. I’m so accustomed to wanting each and every day to be productive and successful that I don’t stop and appreciate the little things. I hate to say it but I’ve developed a bad adult behavior that emphasizes more on tasks, chores, and checklists as a priority rather than the person I do it all for; my kid.

Before I wake up in the morning, usually our daughter has made her way back into our bedroom. She climbs over me strategically making space in the middle of us. It’s gotten to the point where on cue, whether I’m half sleep or not I scooch over and tap my husband to move so she doesn’t get squished. All three of us would lay in bed snuggled uncomfortably for another hour before the rush of commands hit us for the day.  Sadly that’s one of the briefest moments my family connection before the day begins and technically it doesn’t count since some of us are still counting sheep.

It’s crazy how quickly we fall into a sort of a routine without even realizing it. My husband and I will fuss over who does what. I nag him to make all the beds and depending on who has to go to work first cook and clean. Come to think of it, with all the hustle and bustle we are pretty tired by 11 and I do mean am! I could accredit to how things were much simpler when she was a baby but no matter how old our children get it shouldn’t diminish our willingness to just take the time and have quality moments together.

Looking back on just the last couple months, it’s been filled with us walking around like mindless drones instead of real human beings. But sadly once you start the rhythm it’s hard to get out of the flow. The same pattern follows and the more I allow it, the harder it is to break away.

Case in point:

Every night I get my daughter ready for bed and like any tired parent you want them all cleaned up, in their jammies, teeth brushed and story read before 11 and I do mean pm! I must admit that by the time I kiss her goodnight for the twentieth time and take the big sigh of relief that everything’s done I never know what to do with myself. Should I stay up late watching tv? Eat more dinner or dessert? Write? Read? When I start to finally enjoy the moment of stillness I instantly start to ache for more family time with my daughter and husband. Part of me wants her to go to bed as early as I can and the other part wants to stay up to watch old 90’s TV sitcom shows.

The fact of the matter, I’ve been struggling with balance and setting my priorities in place so they no longer clash for a while. There is so much to do, so much to get done, so much to accomplish, but allowing it to overrule you diminishes the quality of life we are all blessed to have. It’s difficult to put down the clipboard and run away from routine freely. How can you have quality life moments without the quantity of life’s responsibility over-piling?

It starts with taking a death breath. Release the pent up energy, take a sip of water and realize just exactly where you are. Ask yourself do you really need to be fussing in the supermarket like this over Cheerios and chips? Should you be wasting a joyous car ride fussing over what hasn’t been done yet? What about at dinner, why act surprised at the food all over the floor? Parenting is a never-ending roller-coaster ride. But why should your emotions be?

Take a moment before you start and really list the absolutes that you are going to focus on. Don’t give any time or attention to details that take you away from that list. Close your eyes and imagine what you want to get done today and then start making a plan for getting those done. Permit yourself moments that recharge your love, kindness, and strength. For me, it’s reading my Bible, listening to music, and actually going to the bathroom alone. Whatever you need to keep your energy high for the day, do it.

And if you have a busy toddler like myself, then don’t stress do those things together. Incorporate your kids to clean when you clean. Get your child to find all the mismatch shoes while you fold the towels. Have them sing for you while you clean the bathroom. Every task, every chore, involve them in it. Invite them into your routine and it will definitely bring the family connection you’ve been missing.

I learned that saying, “sit” over and over again will exhaust me and leave me unsatisfied. Plus, it will never get her to sit. So, throw the rule book out the window every now and then. If you are paying bills, then have them sitting right next to you and maybe they will pay a bill or two. If you are praying, don’t lock them out but bring them in and take your time. Every moment of the day should not only be spent succeeding but also loving the ones you do it all for.

Moment of Truth: Forever In Debt, Paying It With Praise

My most recent moment of truth left me with massive bags under my eyes. I’ve been frozen for a while now and I am finally beginning to thaw out. The past couple of months has been filled with glorious ups and dramatic downs. It’s been difficult keeping up with the exciting new changes in my life. Personally, I feel like I’m not doing this blog post justice because of all that has happened for us can only be expressed through tears of joy.

My husband is finally home from basic training. I’m so proud that he endured, sacrificed, and worked tirelessly to provide a future for us. While he was away, my daughter and I moved into our first apartment. It was a scary, yet exhilarating change. We endured being confined in my parent’s house for nearly two years and after what felt like forever, God finally gave us the green light to move forward. We spent the end of our summer moving in and getting settled. I made constant trips back and forth from stores trying to decorate my blessing with a passion I thought I would never have again. We love our new home and appreciate it because of how long we had to wait to get it.  Sometimes it feels to good to be true but every day I fight off the past of having nothing and embrace having something of our own.overnight

We managed to accomplish three years worth of dreams, desires, and goals in one summer. For a long time, I was worried if I would ever get to the day where my life was filled with accomplishment, prosperity, and peace. With all the sweat, tears, and pain we went through to get it I’m still learning that success comes through Christ, through faith, and hard work.

My life has felt pretty intense with all that has happened. All my prayers and cries to God were answered and I’m living with my husband and child happily. Hearing Elizabeth laugh uncontrollably because daddy is acting silly brings me to tears. I’m reminded of the past three years where nothing was going right for us, everything was turned against us and our endeavors for a better life. Door after door was closed in our faces followed by betrayals, lies, disappointments, and sorrow. Yet, I’m here, sitting on my living room floor experiencing a day I’ve been begging for since forever.

I don’t mean to get emotional, but I’m so thankful that God loved me so much to refuse me the option of failing. I was tempted way too many times to count to just quit and throw in the towel. It’s been a gritty, sweaty, disgusting, vulnerable three years for me and you have no idea how refreshingly good my days are. I wish I could paint a picture of how much bitterness, sadness, disappointment, and sorrow I was carrying inside. I was at a point where the gloves were off and it was either do or die.

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I realize now that God broke me down so low that I only had enough energy to wait on Him. During those three years, I wasted energy that should’ve been used to get closer to God rather than trying to solve my problems. Without no fight in me, that’s exactly what I finally did. I honestly, didn’t have a choice. It was either wait on God to swoop in right on his time and fix everything or risk ruining my situation, my family, and myself from bad to worse. I realized if my situation got any worse it wouldn’t be by my hand. I made a resolve to keep fighting but fighting with God in front of me, beside me, behind me, and in me. I didn’t know how or when but that I would get what I was asking for and God didn’t let me down.

Now that that season of testing is over (for now), I can see the purpose behind it all. What comes to my mind is when Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of dying on the cross (Matthew 27:32-56). He too had to get gritty, sweaty, disgusting and vulnerable before the World could get better. Before any of us could have a shot at redemption, freedom, victory, salvation, and a better life he had to set us free from the eternal consequences of sin. The task required him to get his hands dirty, his feet dirty, his face smudged with countless tears and sorrow. He had to walk amongst dead things, things that showed no hope for life or growth. Every day through his walk closer to the cross he had to die daily to finally be awakened with freedom. Through his painful, bloody season he overcame the darkness with light so we can have a better life. So I can have a normal Tuesday where I can sit calmly and watch my husband and child laugh with contagious joy.moment-of-truth

No pain, no gain is more than a cute saying for motivation. It’s a guarantee that dreams and goals can be received only with the equal amount of hard and painful work. I believe the bigger the dream, the heavier the workload load. The bigger the prayer, the longer I need to stay on my knees, stay in His Word, and dwell in His Spirit. The price of my dreams coming true cost me three years of struggle, of setbacks, and tears so that I can one day afford it. The only way I could afford it is because of Jesus Christ. The cost of Jesus Christ dying on the cross to save mankind involved a heavy debt that no one could afford to pay but Him. He covered the worst possible, highly unimaginable bill that could never be accomplished by me or you.

So in this moment, after reflecting back on every gray morning, every dark night, all I need to be doing, should’ve have been doing from the beginning, in the midst of it all is belch out, “Thank you, Lord!” All this struggle, all the waiting, the fight for my blessing birthed in me a grateful heart. Life isn’t going to always be fair, but despite it all, good or bad I constantly owe God a praise. The storm and rain fostered a real appreciation for all that God has done.

Most importantly, it shows me that Christ understands it all. Three years of struggle have changed me to have a heart filled with thanksgiving and understanding. If I only had good days, I would never appreciate them. I would never understand what Christ did for me, nor would I have a tenderness for someone else who is going through tough times. Bad days challenge me to focus off myself so I can be in a place to help someone else. I can be in a place where I’m leaning on Christ instead of my resources. It might sound crazy but going through bad days are the sure way to get to your good ones.

 

 

I’m A Mom with Priorities

It seems as a mother and wife I have more than one top priority.

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My number one priority is serving God completely.

My number one priority is loving and respecting my husband.

My number one priority is fulfilling my mother duties.

My number one priority is accomplishing my dreams and goals.

My number one priority is eating healthy.

My number one priority is finishing school.

My number one priority is making sure I have money in the bank.

My number one priority is having healthy spending habits.

My number one priority is staying connected with friends.

My number one priority is having fun.

My number one priority is relaxing.

More and more my so-called “No. 1 priorities” are accumulating.

There are so many important things that need to be done.

So many things that need or have my attention.

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I’ve had days where I just went to bed without the laundry done.

Stayed up late trying to study for an upcoming quiz.

Tried my best to keep the cookies away from her.

And when the day is over, I have to remind myself that I’m just one woman.

I learned as a child to never let your eyes get bigger than your stomach.

Having too much on my plate can burn me out.

Staying balanced is the only way to be of any good to my loved ones.

I hate to admit this, but I get stressed easily.

Stress isn’t good for anyone.

Less stress equals less mess.

So, sometimes I have to say no to others.

I might have to sit out from parties & events to catch up on sleep.

I might have to make some people mad when I tell them, “I just can’t make it.”

But it lets me know who my real friends are.

Who truly support me when they respect my decisions and help me have a good lifestyle.

I would never make someone else compromise on their standards or way of life….

And I wouldn’t want others to do it to me.

It’s important to have boundaries and your priorities in your life.

Do you agree?

Share some of your priorities in the comments below.

Even though I have so much in life to accomplish…

So many responsibilities and obligations….

I intend to live life to fullest and that involves living my life the way God wants me to.

The Rhythm of A Mother

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Every mother can nod in agreement because it’s true. As wonderful motherhood can be, sometimes our bodies can’t keep up. These past few months, my body has made it clear just how exhausted it’s gotten. Every mother has a list of what they have to do, need to and want to do. Though there are some days when the list is completely checked off, there are others where I just wasted a piece of paper writing down things I didn’t accomplish.

Halfway through my school term, I started falling behind dramatically. Between Elizabeth fighting off a cold, making sure she eats dinner, gets bathed, and chores, rarely would I have any energy left to stay up all night to study and do homework. And since I’m a mother, I knew when the lights went out, I have to catch sleep in order to do it all over again. As hard as I fought, I was a sinking ship, preparing to meet my doom. I kept trying and trying, believing I would catch up before midterms or finals. I made strict schedules (that I couldn’t stick to) and different approaches to getting her to take longer naps (which kinda of worked). All my attempts ended in me flunking two classes this term. I was stressed, overwhelmed and disappointed.

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I wanted so badly to complete the term in perfection, that I couldn’t see what I was doing to myself. I was cranky, grumpy, tense, and my laundry was sky high! It wasn’t until a couple nights before the last day of the term that I decided to give up, kick my feet up and sip on some cough medicine (yeah, I ended up catching a cold). Though it kills me to admit this, but I’m grateful I didn’t pass this term with flying colors. It opened my eyes to see that I was setting unrealistic goals, way too high standards, and my priorities weren’t aligned anymore. When my daughter was an infant, it was easier to sit her down and type really fast before the next feeding. Now, she is a walking, running machine that never slows down and if I get anywhere near a computer, she is there trying to type along side me.

I was setting the bar for myself way too high and made it impossible for ME to reach it. Maybe a mother with a nanny; or a mother whose kids attended daycare could’ve reached my goals, but I have to start acting like a stay-at-home mom in order to get any work done. I kept fooling myself that I could carry the same vigorous workload and schedule and still get the same results like I used to.

If not, I don’t blame you because it’s not a proud thing to admit your weaknesses when you really need to be strong. I blame it on wanting to be in control all the time. I can admit, when things aren’t in order, I fall apart easily. I can’t stomach my life not in control, moving forward at a constant and safe pace. It makes me feel less of myself, less productive, and powerless because as badly as I want it, some things are just beyond my control.

I don’t know why it was so difficult for me to admit this. One day everything was under control, I yawned and everything was in disorder. But I don’t think the problem is having too much going on in life (though it would be wise to trim your schedule) or even feeling overwhelmed, but not paying attention to when the beat of life’s drum changes.

Perfect example:

When you are dancing to music, you really have to pay close attention to the beat. If you are listening to a fast song, you can make those quick, sharp moves. But, if the song changes to something slow and soothing, you’d be a fool NOT to change your steps to fit the rhythm. I’d hate to be the fool spinning madly to something that requires a graceful step.

The past couple of weeks helped me realize how important it is to be more attentive to the rhythm of my life. Though I started the term off with a steady beat, I was too stubborn and blinded by my own desire to change. And as badly as I want to keep a schedule or routine with my child, as a mother our beats are always going to change. I can’t be mad, my dance partner has two little feet.

 

 

 

 

 

Moment of Truth: A Letter To Myself 2016

 

Dear Victoria,

It’s the New Year so quit playing around. There are some things we need to address before you become successful. I love you too much to make the same mistakes from last year. I especially will not tolerate another second of you second-guessing us. Don’t worry, I’ve brought a hefty insurance policy on you in case you bail on me.

One thing you need to keep in this year is your love and passion for God. Don’t EVER let your responsibilities and privileges push Jesus Christ aside. No more, “In a minute God” or “I’ll do it later, Lord.” God loves us too much for you to keep pushing him away. Without him, you have nothing! Remember that!

Swallow your pride and love your husband. Yes, I know he can be a bit “team too much” but you decided to marry him anyway, so deal with it. Laugh at his corny jokes, never stop forgiving him when he messes up and ALWAYS pray for him. I mean when he is good and bad! Pray when you have nothing else better to do. The man needs it! You both do! Keep your love for your husband high and your respect for him higher. I better not hear you being mean!

I don’t have to tell you, but love your daughter! She is spectacular. She is everything a mother could ask for. Trust me. Play with her and be an example that you want her to follow. Model Christ in front of her always. Teach her how to be the woman and wife you are still striving to be. Make sure she is a lady. Try not to spank her too much!

Lastly, smile. Don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring. Actually, enjoy the moment for a change. I’m serious, enjoy your 20s because you rarely do. Be strong, confident, and sweet. Make sure you always have enough pens in your purse. And never give up! I’ll be checking in on you so you better stay sober (1 Peter 5:8). Make sure you never, ever stop writing. There isn’t enough room in your head for another story, plot twist, or play.

Love Always,

The Tougher Side of Me

Life Lesson: Follow God’s Word

 

Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty”.

This year I don’t want to doubt, worry, or stress. I want to have complete confidence in God’s plan for my life. I want to wake up, pray and hustle. I want to busy myself with getting deeper in my relationship with God, my husband, and friends. I have spent far too long of my time living unsatisfied. I’ve pushed back passions and dreams long enough. I have ideas and plans that I want to glorify God with. I don’t even want to hear the word “limit” unless it refers to unlimited. My goals for this year is to live, eat, sleep the Word of God in all aspect of my life. I have so much I want to go and a God who can do it for me. Before I share my goals, here is a list of scriptures that will determine my success. I am laying the Word of God before me — before I make any concrete decisions, moves, or actions.

Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

James 4:13-15 says, “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

As many goals and dreams, I have locked  up inside me, submitting them to God is the most important. Humbly set goals and recognize that God controls our destiny.

Psalm 37:4-5 says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.

And realize that as amazing as you think your or my dreams are, they are nothing compared to how grand God’s plan for our lives are (Isaiah 55:8-11).

I don’t know about you, but I am excited. With these scriptures and words of wisdom, my dreams have no choice to submit and soar. I would love for you to share your goals, quotes, motivational phrases you have for this year. Even better, leave a link to your 2016 goals and I will feature them! Make them count!

Life Lesson: Don’t Waste Your Time…

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Don’t waste time! Not one minute. Easy and simple right? Psalms 90:10 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I hate to raise my hand, but I have spent time frivolously. Days where I could have spent more time with God, studying, staying out of trouble, laughing with friends. Instead of arguing, fighting, pouting, kicking and screaming against everything. This year learn to appreciate the time we are given. Be open to hearing wisdom more and ignore foolishness more. Every day you wait to accomplish a goal or dream is a day you won’t get back. I could even sit here and waste time thinking about the past. Pondering on hypotheticals only lead you to a mountain of regrettable. Don’t do it!

Get up, stretch and wash your hands of the past. Acknowledge that it’s done, over with and focus on moving on. If you went through a horrible breakup, cleanse yourself, learn your mistakes and move forward. If you didn’t make the best financial decisions, focus on starting new ones. Don’t ponder on what you could’ve or should’ve done because unless you know how to time travel; you or I can’t do anything about it.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because days are evil.” Keep excuses from your lips this year! Welcome opportunities to challenge yourself, especially if they lead you closer to your goals. Ask yourself,  “What am I doing today that gets me closer to my life goals?” Don’t get sidetracked or distracted. Don’t get caught up in family or friends trying to party late when you know you have to work or study tomorrow. Don’t get wrapped up in people who’s the main agenda is to keep you distracted. If you find yourself sidetracked, reflect over your resolution list and get your head in the game.

Don’t panic! There were A LOT of things I couldn’t accomplish in 2015, it doesn’t mean in 2016 that I will go through the same results. Learn from this year and only carry with you the  tools that will bring you success. Absolutely don’t carry baggage. If you’re reading this post and you know you got baggage, let go. It slows you down and weighs you down. Baggage isn’t something you should accessorize with your outfits.

LETS GO.jpgMake your resolution list clear, specific and detailed. Appropriate the amount of time needed to accomplish day to day tasks. Schedule time for the Lord, family, others, and yourself. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells me that there is a time to laugh, cry, peace, fight, learn, grow, keep, lose. Learn those times. Use your time wisely this 2016. Pray and ask God to help you manage the time given to you and ask for strength to not get stressed or overwhelmed. Take this New Year a day at a time.

 

 

 

Life Lesson: Keep Jesus First

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him… Colossians 3:23

The New Year is almost here. A new month brings a new beginning. Prepare yourself for change. Make sure you carry a new mindset, focus, and attitude if you hope for great things. To start, don’t begin the New Year to please men, but God. Write down goals that give thanks to God first.

DON'T FORGET.jpgAs you organize your dreams, passions, and goals don’t forget to acknowledge God. He comforts us in Matthew 6 not to worry, that God considers the lilies and the well-being of birds. We have His guarantee that He will take care of us because He values us more. So, why not in return focus firstly on Him since He knows our end from our beginning. So, tackle writing and setting resolutions that honor Christ.

I am guilty of putting God below my number one on my to-do list. I have not always “seek first the kingdom of God” in my day-to-day decision making. More so, I have whined and complained about why I haven’t received “His righteousness and all things.” In the past, I too complained about not having the money, the status or fortune but I never really did what was needed to be done to receive it. You can only blame yourself if you didn’t get that promotion. There are things in life you are destined to receive but if you don’t do your part in life, don’t expect them. It’s not God’s fault if you didn’t put God first to be blessed. Growing up, I’ve learned that when I put Jesus Christ first that nothing good will be kept from me. You don’t believe me, then believe the spoken word:

Matthew 3:16-17 says that Jesus was baptized and as he came up from the water, the heavens opened to Him and the Spirit of God descended like a dove; and alighting upon him.”

If you hope for good things to happen then you need Jesus. If you desire a spouse, a family, employment, friends or accomplishments you must keep God and his son, Jesus Christ first. Anything you or I want or need must go through Jesus. In Romans 8:32 — “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

If God gave you his beloved Son, what makes you think he is going to refuse your request for financial security? God doesn’t value anything more than His Son. God gave us his most valuable gift, Jesus. Nothing is more valuable than Christ. The Bible says as long as the Father sees the son in your life he will not withhold all things (Psalms 84:11; Matthew 7:11; Psalm 34:10).

“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it”(John 14:13)

As you plan your goals and resolutions for this New Year, keep Jesus Christ front and center. Do plan for riches, happiness, and success; don’t forget Jesus. Planning your goals is importantly, but having God is more important. So as you list your priorities, put your relationship with God first. Don’t plan next year to make others happy. “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). Place the absolute important things at the top of your list.  Don’t worry, I’m doing this as well. If you want to know my goals and resolutions, comment below. Share some of your techniques to goal success.

Life Lesson: God’s Will Be Done

394531_10151147151827152_529677312_nI love to plan or rather I love being in control.  I rarely make a decision without thinking it through – optioning whether a good outcome or bad outcome will end. So, I hate it when things don’t go as planned. It is infuriating to make a list or schedule to only deviate from it entirely. If I don’t plan for it I usually don’t do it. When plans fail I lose control.

When I was younger, I always dreamed of being a fabulous lawyer. Like Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show –just with no kids! I was ambitious, driven, determined, and headstrong to work hard to accomplish my goals. That was the plan. Somehow I fell in love (couldn’t fight it), got married, and realized I drifted so far away from the “plan” that…well you get the idea. I presumed I could still charge the mountain and earned that law degree! I got pregnant and my priorities changed – the plan was absolutely gone! My plan vanished and so did my sense of control. What’s worse, I felt like my identity disappeared as well. For so long, I had my heart and mind fixated on a goal that everything I did was centered on it. Every move I made was centered to achieving that which God didn’t approve, didn’t confirm and didn’t plan for my life at all.

I was at a crossroad. One path leading to my selfish desires and dreams that lead me farther from God. The other path leading me to my destiny, purpose and God’s absolute certain fate – total victory! I was sad to sacrifice my dream of becoming a lawyer. I felt empty and barren. I didn’t realize that being empty meant that I have room to be filled to the point of overflow. Now, reflecting on my decisions I realized that obviously my plan was a little flawed. Nowhere in my “plan” did I fit Jesus Christ. Obviously, I wanted fortune, great opportunities, success, security but I didn’t plan for God to shine. So, I started to honestly consider God’s feelings and what he wanted me to do regarding my career (and pretty much anything else).

After much debate, (a little worry and doubt) I stopped planning (well I still plan just not as much). I felt I was being led to switch majors and start working toward a business degree. I was extremely apprehensive because this time, I wasn’t relying on my own understanding but on God’s. It challenged me to get closer to him and spend more time with him. I saw new opportunities and doors opening that I never thought of. More importantly, I was working at achieving something that pleased God and made him center stage in my life. If I didn’t surrender my will over, I wouldn’t even have started this blog.

I’m happy that my plan went down the drain because I have a new passion that keeps me closer to God. I got back to writing which was long overdue, I feel inspired, energized, and purposeful. Most importantly, I’m confident I’m on the path to growing towards my destiny. I don’t need to know the “what-ifs” and “whys” God didn’t allow my plan to continue. I’m absolutely certain that God’s plan and purpose are the ultimate good. If I allow God to work in my life, I’m always better off. God is truly working in me. He is helping me to do what pleases him and he gives me the power (and words) to do it (Philippians 2:13).