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Putting Labels & People in Their Place

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On a daily basis, we are given the names which ultimately define us within a block of time. Mommy from 12 midnight to 5, social worker from 6am-7pm, wife for all of the time in between. These names or labels, as I call them, can cause us to be on a never-ending tail spin of understanding that we are and having a conflicted identity. When the roles overlap, we find ourselves feeling inadequate of not giving an attentive balance to one group over the other and feelings of insecurity abound. Times such as these compromise our pursuit of peace and the extension of it in our lives.

The bible specifically instructs us on how to handle situations with peace. Despite what we have heard on Sunday morning, many of us are not able to carry that strength of overcoming throughout the week and are weary and in need of a refill because we are laddered with care and shame. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that shame is the cousin of pain and pain is the result of something missing with the desire to fill the need in another area. If you have not been told that you are a good mommy, it can rock you to your core so that every time you prepare to do mommy duties, the tape plays and it sounds like this, “You’re so not good enough, you could not even cook your family a home cooked meal. Why do you rely on a housekeeper to keep your family clean? You are so not a good mother.

In our attempts to reach out to “fix” this situation at home, it often causes us to overcompensate in other areas of life such as work for example and we strive to be the very best that we can be within this environment until we excel and achieve and eventually abandon or accept the lie of not being “good enough” in our home domestication duties. In addition to the overcompensation, we also develop attitudes and behaviors of passive aggression because of our unwillingness to confront a situation that had become to overbearing for us. In small outbursts, you make your distain for a situation known because you are unwilling to address and confront truth because of the days that we were taught to suppress and take the issue to God in prayer. I am not saying that this is wrong and I am a believer that all things should go to God in prayer; however, as women (and sometimes men, if you are reading this post), can get into a situation where we are unwilling to approach and confront truth due to the false humility that the spirit of religion has taught us and that is to take the aggression of the issue that we are facing into our self and find a way to suppress and forgive it in silence. This may be the case sometimes, but as many of you know, sometimes you must rock the boat and confront, confront, confront. Jesus did bear our burdens so we don’t have to suppress and wear them, and in addition to all of this, He also ensured that we were forever redeemed from drama and the trauma associated with it. Because of this, we can be assured, with confidence, that we are enough, and God loves us no matter what we may be facing. 

Oh how the devil is a liar……..

You are more than just a mommy, a wife, an employee, you are God’s favorite and He wants for you to stop allowing society to place all of these burdensome labels on you. He wants you to walk in peace and joy each day knowing that you are making a difference in whatever sector you are in. Even on your worst day, the power of God is available to be your strength. One of my favorite scriptures in 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that “His strength is perfected in our weakness” so you see, we are more than enough.

How do you put labels in their proper place? Study these tips and add them to your daily routine!

  1. Know that you are good enough (1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?)
  2. Defy the lie (1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.)
  3. Everyone has days of growth so when you miss it, keep moving(Romans 3:10As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one)
  4. Ask God to reveal your worth (2 Timothy 2:7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.)
  5. Seek therapy to heal from past trauma if you are having difficulty letting go (Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.)
  6. Confess the word of God over your life daily. No matter what time of day it is and how often you have to switch hats, confess the following over your life until faith in what you say becomes more real than the role you are playing, “ God, I know that you made me and I broke the mold. No matter what hats or labels I wear on a daily basis, keep me aware as to what my ultimate label is. I am a blessed child of God that is destined for success in every area of my life. Even on my worst day, you still make the difference in my life and you have always been, you are, and forever will be my strength. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Deferred Hope is Not Hope-less

Deferred Hope is Not Hope-less

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Recovering from Job, House and Other Losses

 

Danita Ogandaga

March 15, 2012

 

Growing up in our small hometown of Kinston, North Carolina, I was the kid of not one, but two spirit-filled preachers, so it was no random thing to see me walking through the house with hymnal in hand. I remember the times when I would go in the backyard and play church with my stuffed animals, preaching from the scriptures in Proverbs 13:12 that says,  Hope deferred (put off or prolonged) is a weariness (a vexation to the mind, an affliction to the soul, a sickness of heart); but when what is desired (that which is prayed for) comes (the answer to prayer that comes – a longing fulfilled), it is a tree of life (a realized source of power, our Savior).

One of the songs that I used to sing was, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”  Thinking back to the days of singing these songs, I must admit that although I had seen the adults in my life endure many “issues of life,” I was sheltered and did not have the slightest clue at the time about what I was reading, but I knew that it was laced in a constant and consistent reminder that God loved me.

Every day there is a news station reporting that employment and housing rates are decreasing in droves. With every glimmer of hope for the job and housing market improving, there seems to be an equal hint of scarcity. In the mix of all these statistics are everyday people living through the impact of joblessness and pushing past an ever-winding sense of hopelessness. Maybe your issue is not a house or a job but maybe it is longing for a baby that has yet to be conceived or the adoption of a second child? I am sure that even as you are reading this article, your mind may wonder back to the experiences in your life where you had high hopes. But what do you do when you hopes are delayed, deferred, and just plain fizzled out?

How do you change the culture of bureaucratic thinking where people believe their best days are behind them? Hope gives us an enormous sense of energy and creativity to keep achieving purpose toward a goal, while deferred hope causes us to literally become weary because we are without peace, vision, and power.  Life comes at you fast and it is essential that you are equipped with a response to combat those days when you are faced with roadblocks. There is something greater working in your favor and you are destined to succeed no matter what. When those days hit you hard, combat them with the constant belief that God loves you and will see you through to achieving victory in your life.

Here are ten practical steps you can take daily to build a sure foundation of hope to carry you through the storms you face in life:

 

  1. Express yourself through writing – Expression is a healer and a motivator to keep going in the toughest intersections of life. I utilize expressive therapy techniques with many clients as a method of releasing defenses and facing truth.
  2. Stay Thankful – Although you may think that this waiting period may not hold any reasons to rejoice, think of every accomplishment that you have achieved in life as a catalyst for greater things in life.
  3. Participate in something greater than yourself – Visions are defined through the process of serving someone else’s vision. It may seem that you may spend so much time volunteering for the local mission or your local church, but you are actually applying pressure on your faith to produce the impossible. Find someone who may be going through a difficult time and encourage them to not quit.
  4. Recite the words a friend has told you back to them – Powerful words should never fall to the ground. We should cherish and bank wisdom as a jewel.
  5. Think of two things you can control and focus your efforts on this – From experience, focusing on the things that we cannot control create deep feelings of disempowerment and chaos. Life is not static; it is instead a brisk walk with a lot of scenery, so release what you cannot control. Surrender it to God.
  6. Schedule time to work on your dream – Taking the time to invest in ourselves is a great motivator. Whether we download a book on how to be a better parent or buy a Julia Child’s cookbook, take the time to invest in your dream and make it a reality in time.
  7. Speak the end from the beginning – The power of confession permits us to fast-forward to the desired end we wish to see manifested in our lives. Sure, obstacles will come and roadblocks may delay our progress, but as we are diligent about the process of confession, we will see those things move like mountains.
  8. Create a dream board – This is a practice that I find myself going back to time and time again. The process of writing the vision and keeping it before you serves as an encouragement in the times when progress may seem slow. Take out a sheet of paper or invest in a piece of poster board and tear through magazines, looking for the items or words that express the goals that you’d like to bring into your life. So often life brings us to the consistent visual that we live in daily, but there is a spiritual world working overtime for us to bring us into our desired end. That is what faith is all about—believing what we cannot see. Lord, help us to believe what we cannot see! A dream does not have to remain a dream, it can be a reality.
  9. Dance! – David was a gentle soul in the Bible who went through a lot of turmoil. Yet he utilized the expression of dance and singing to sing praises to God for deliverance from situations in life. My favorite song is Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” She reminds us that “Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance—I hope you dance.” So I remind you too, my friend, to just dance!
  10. Surrender to God! – Hope comes from God. The act of surrender is the ultimate release of carrying tasks we were simply not designed to carry. Writing this article gave me the realization that, like myself at times, we may find ourselves attempting to be the glue that holds everything together, but even in that we must surrender all of the issues that life brings to the One who can hold it all—God can and he loves us enough to know that we must seek Him and come to Him when we know nothing else. Whether it is fasting, praying, communicating, or eliminating, find a way to surrender those toxic things or those things creating an imbalance in your life over to the One who can handle it….God can!

 

With Grace,

Danita Solomon Ogandaga

 

Danita is a social work professional and owner of Productive Public, a professional organizing firm assisting with small-mid level companies with public information management and grant writing. She is the producer of Orphan No More, an international podcast ministry teaching people how to break free from the Orphan Spirit and heal from the traumatic events in their lives utilizing narrative and expressive therapy. Her blog, $0.79 Therapy on danitaogandaga.com features her research and venue creation as a trauma/thanatology doctoral student. Connect with Danita on Facebook, Twitter and via http://www.danitaogandaga.com

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Get Up and Stay Out

ImageThis morning as I was preparing morning Tally and Mommy activity- gardening, I am looking at these flowers we purchased on yesterday and the colorful pots which we will extract and replant in the pot, as well as the bag of potting soil. While in the midst of this I hear, “Tell them to get up and stay out”. I obey so listen up….

Many of you I am sure may unknowingly find yourself in a state of anger, whether it is subtle and turned inward via depression or tossing glasses around the house due to your present circumstance. I am not going to ask you to raise your hand, cause I may not be able to recognize your faces, but many are trying to find your way through or out of your present day circumstance to the things that really hold value in your life.Your purpose.

With the state of the economy and the redlining um….redesigning of communities- whether by your volition or not, many people are on the other side of life in a pasture that is not looking so green right now. I am reminded of the post that my classmate Alicia Bryant wrote several weeks ago, referencing that God told you to go but he did not inform you that you’d have obstacles along the way. Man, if someone would have told me that I’d have to pray my way of out a eternal state of insanity after the death of both parents at the age of 21, I certainly would not have signed up for this journey. Especially then, at the critical juncture of the sealing of my identity- thank God for my brothers and sisters who told me, “Yes You Can”! What about you? I am sure many of you did not expect the doctor to tell you that you’d not be able to carry your child to term or you’d never lose the weight. Or your job will be ending in 30 days- the proverbial manager who informs you that even “his position is up for discussion”- Even with this— all while preparing the gardening activity for this morning, God was speaking to me about confidence. Looking at the pots, bag of soil, bucket of water, apron, tools, etc. God was speaking to me about those of us who are finding their way through and out–with what we now hold in our hands.

If life would come equipped with a GPS– there would be some happy people.. right Lisa? I mean if God could just inform us that okay 2 months from now you are gonna bid for your dream house but someone may try to block the process- I can at least prepare for the blow.. Right? Tommie said that the convenience of a GPS is that is requires no work, set-backs (well maybe a few depending on the brand), it’s 24/7, clear reception, for you to reach a fixed point. Well that may be the case, but we know that life is not a culmination of all those great catch phrases and that in this life, we will have trials and tribulations— we have been told not to sweat because we already won.. We have to know and resolve that our steps are ordered by God and although His process does require seeking him daily for direction in order to clearly hear him tell you where to go to your fixed point.

Remember Genesis- where Abraham was told to pack up and take a Greyhound out of his city— to a place that he’d be informed about ….later… I am sure there may have been some… well what will it look like or as my Grandma Sudie would say, well what do you want me to do then? Many of us have been uprooted from our comfort and are experiencing rootshock–maybe you lost your house due to foreclosure, or went from making $50K to $15k— whatever the lot we have been extracted —like the plant that Talmer-Marie and I are about to touch– and are being re-potted –repositioned.

For years I was a community organizer and social work instructor studying human behavior in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA. I studied the intricate details that led to the population shift in the Hill District community that ultimately bruised the fabric of the community’s economic stimulus and sense of community. With every new plan for change and every promise of hope, people were speculative and some were even apathetic to the process. This statement is not a negative connotation on the community that I love so much; however it is intended to give light to the possibility that many were being guided through a series of processes over and over that often times were a step in a process of other steps.The convenience of a predictable GPS “plan” worked but the plans were not enough to really meet the detailed niche of the community–thus setbacks were created. I wondered during my early days– well why can’t we just go in and fix it—— people are people with situations that need to be fixed– rootshock is systemic and geographical— but our mindset is the pilot. It was not until I practiced the Chinese proverb— Go to the people, learn from them, show them your strengths, they’ll show you theirs, swap weaknesses, devise a plan, and in the end, the people will say, We did it ourselves! We must be active participants to our change.

No matter if the circumstance was caused by your lack of attention or inflicted upon you, you must get up and stay out. Questioning yourself every morning with the How Did I Get Here story will only result in the creation of a famine in your mind and soul. When things around you may be drying up, the last thing you need is a dried up mind and soul. Stress is definitely that culprit because it deforms our physical and mental state and delays our peace and ability to hear from God. We got to get up and stay out.

So Danita, I am not working…..get up in the morning and wash your face, put on some deodorant and take a walk to the public library and search for opportunities. My husband left me for him…well get up and look at that picture of him and begin the process of releasing anger. I have been mad all my life because I don’t seem to be able to lose weight…girl — go and take them skinny jeans off- look in the mirror at yourself and assess your plan for change.

Yes, it may have come–is come to your house right now, but it will not stay for long. God will honor those who get up and stay out —of doubt, fear, scarcity, victimization, and inferiority. Utilize what you have in your hand—in your” potted” state. You may not believe that the “potted” plant has any stability– but God can anchor you tighter than you can imagine!

I love the part in the bible that says, Now it came to PASS…that there WAS a famine in the land.

The vagabond—may have been homeless and in a state of confusion but he eventually went to a new home. So will you