A Raw State of Mind

This past weekend as I was scrolling through my instagram page I came across the page of a friend and neighbor who has had a beautiful journey with living raw. She took a break for over a year and decided a month ago to return to her raw roots. In her post was a before and after picture of her face from just one month of returning to raw and all I could say was “Wow!” Her skin glowed, looked a little slimmer and overall the after picture looked more livelier than the before. Immediately my heart began to skip a beat and I was drawn in.

In that moment I was reminded of how much I love eating fruits and vegetables and I remembered a time when I was inspired to go raw vegan back in 2017. It was a time in my journey where I needed to be healthier to help heal my body from my autoimmune diagnosis. I switched to a plant based diet and then went raw vegan for a couple of months. It ended abruptly when I fell sick and went into the hospital for a few days. Although my desired time was cut short, I really enjoyed that time and saw a difference in my body, skin and mind. Through the years, returning to that lifestyle stayed with me. I would have momentary thoughts that would quickly disappear as I did not have the mental discipline needed. This time however, something shifted. It was just the inspiration I needed. I was ready. And so the next day, I began my 30 day #highrawveganjourney.

When I first started this blog and was given the God-inspired name of JoyfullyRawLife, I hesitated on the word raw. Up until that point, my main connection with the word raw was eating raw. As such, I did not want raw eating to be my association but now God is showing me otherwise.

As I have decided to go on this journey, I see now that He has been wanting me to get to this place all along. I may have been hesitant about the word raw but raw is where He wants me. It’s not about just eating its really about living in a raw state of mind.

I believe my choice to eat raw has to do more with my mind than my body. The mind is where it starts. Most of my life I have lived trying to process, cover up or alter in any way that I could. I believed that in my natural state I wasn’t good enough, there were too many flaws. However, in my natural state is how God created me. In this natural state, I am imperfectly perfect.

Eating raw, foods in their natural state, is a way for me to connect to the person that God created me to be. Much of our lives are lived with an emotional connection to food. We eat for milestones, we eat certain foods when we are happy, sad, angry, etc. I am at a place in my journey where the need for food to answer to an emotional crisis is no longer existent. Instead, it is important that I view food as fuel for my body and an enjoyment in every bite.

My original motivation was definitely fueled by wanting to eat healthier and loose weight but getting to a place where I am not dependent on food and learning to love what I put in my body as a source of life is so much greater and is what is driving me. I am learning to love myself and value myself and its start with the belief that I deserve healthy food in my body. This desire and the application to live in an unaltered place- spirit, soul and body- brings me joy.

What God loves the most is when we come to Him in all our flaws and in all our disappointments and shortcomings. In this state of raw is where God does His best work. So as I align my body in this place, I believe and know that God is going to do His best work in my body.

The most beautiful thing about my decision to begin eating raw is realizing that I was already in the place I was meant to be…Living Joyfully Raw in every way!

Follow me as I take this journey!

A Dreamless Dreamer

This past week during my quiet time with the Lord, I heard something in my spirit that really shook me at my core. In an ever so firm but gentle way, God told me,

“Jonetta, you are a dreamless dreamer.”

OUCH!!!!!

Now, when I first heard it I thought, “wow, that’s deep.” As I began to sit with it more and more, sadness creeped into my heart. How could that be? How could I be a dreamless dreamer? What does that mean?

Up until this moment if someone would have asked me if I was a dreamer, I would have said a resounding “YES!.” My Miracle Morning routine consists of a daily blocking of visualization and its become a habit to visualize my thoughts everyday and I find myself always looking towards the future. So when I heard this hard truth about myself, I didn’t want to believe it. I did not want to see myself as someone who wanted less for themself. BUT the truth remains, I am a dreamless dreamer. 😦

This week has been hard as I find myself trying to sort out and unravel years of thoughts that have been blocked by the hands of fear. I questioned whether I wanted to write about this today. I usually find myself writing about things after I have gotten over the hump. But I also know there is strength in writing through things and sometimes we need an extra nudge to get us over the hump. As such, as I write and you read, it is my hope that this will be the nudge that I need.

So how do I associate myself as a dreamless dreamer?

Let’s think of the natural stages of sleep. There are five stages of sleep that we cycle through nightly. It begins with light sleep and gradually goes until we get into deep sleep. This is where dreams occur, during REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The last stage of the cycle.

A dreamless dreamer doesn’t allow oneself to stay long enough to get to the REM stage of dreaming. Very simply, they do not dream.

For me, I see the end or I see the beginning, but not all at once. As soon as I begin to dream, I interrupt my thoughts and lose sight of what I am dreaming. I stop myself from really seeing the middle. I stop and do not allow myself to see beyond the position I am currently in. I do not imagine what it feels like or looks like. Thoughts of lack, inadequacy, uncertainty and belief that “maybe it’s just not for me,” are my blocks. I’ve been playing it small instead of truly living big and going after what I know God put in my heart. This is who I have been.

For example, starting a blog has been a dream of mine. That’s it. I stopped as soon as I said I would like to start a blog. What I am learning, dreaming would be to imagine what my blog will be. To dream about the number of visitors, the number of entries, how it will be used, how often, how big, how detailed etc. What can I accomplish with this blog? Who do I want to read my blog? What great things can my blog accomplish? This, is what dreaming is about. Not playing it safe but really imagining what could be.

So what do I do now as I sit staring at this reflection of a trait which I could do without? A trait that I know is not destined for me?

It begins with the one thing I haven’t been doing…dreaming!

When we are faced with something about ourselves that we know does not serve us well, we are given a choice. We can continue to operate in that place of lack or we can choose to be different.

I choose to be different.

I’ve learned if one desires to become something, they must be and do the thing they desire. I declare today my desire is to be a dreamer so I will do what dreamers do…DREAM!

And although I am eager to grab hold of of this new title of being one who imagines and dreams as if there are no limits, I have to acknowledge I am not there yet. However, I do acknowledge with consistent time, practice and the greatest faith, I will be a dreamer. I will embrace everything God places in my heart to imagine.

I

will

keep

dreaming!

Take the First Step

For many years I’ve had desires in my heart to do things but was just too fearful and/or wasn’t sure if I could manage.

For example, starting this blog. When I really stop and think about it, its been over 10 years since I have wanted to write a blog. As I just wrote that last sentence, I find myself in shock. 10 years! How did I let so much time go by? Well, if I’m real with myself then very simply I can say it was fear.

Fear- A little four letter word that challenges us all daily. Fear can be defined as a “panic flight” or “withdrawal.” “It’s a strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.”

There are some ways we experience fear very overtly. We watch a horror movie and the sound of the “somebody is about to get hurt” music comes on and we know that danger is coming and we either watch or close our eyes in fear.

Then there is the fear that we don’t always see but will face daily. The fear that will cause us to run and withdraw.

Even though I knew God showed me that I was to write, the feeling of not being adequate had such a great hold on me. What I felt I lacked, seemed so much bigger than what I possessed. Instead of focusing on what I could do, I focused on what I couldn’t do. As a result, I ran away from it. I withdrew, shut down and convinced myself that it wasn’t for me.

So as the years went by, the fear stayed. I believe a part of me actually began to feel comfortable with the fear. Another part of fear is that it protects us. Our body feels fear when it senses danger. This feeling then gives us a choice to assess and we either go into fight or flight. When we choose flight, we are choosing the way out and we don’t feel. And that feeling of not feeling, felt great. As I would get a nudge to start the blog, my body felt as if it were in danger and fear made me feel safe. I would allow those thoughts of inadequacy to trump. And year after year I would just convince myself it wasn’t meant or would think, “maybe one day.”

Well as you know, that one day did come. What was the difference? Well I chose to fight instead. My mind was transformed by the renewal of my mind through the Word of God. Instead of focusing on my lack, I focused on the one who was full. I focused on God and his promises. I no longer felt inadequate because I learned who I am in Him. I learned that I am an ambassador for Christ, fully made by the Creator in the image of the Creator. Therefore, I’m already equipped. What I don’t have, He supplies. Perfect love casts out fear and knowing that I’m loved by Jesus, is all that I need.

The most beautiful part is that when I made the choice to fight, I didn’t have to do much. God has already won the victory and all I had to do was make the first step. And guess what, it wasn’t even as scary as I had made it up to be in my head. So I encourage you today to search for any fear that may be causing you to hold back and instead take a step forward. I promise it will be the best move you’ve ever made.

This is My Confidence

A little over a week ago I was sitting in my living room while Malcolm was putting MJ to bed. We’ve learned that MJ loves listening to music as he falls asleep and periodically we try different songs. On this particular day, Malcolm began playing a new song and as soon as I heard the lyrics my spirit immediately nudged me to stop and listen.

“Your promise still stands; Great is Your faithfulness; Faithfulness; I’m still in Your hands; This is my confidence; You’ve never failed me yet. I’ve seen you move; You move the mountain; And I believe I’ll see You do it again; You made a way; when there was no way; And I believe I’ll see You do it again .”

I stopped and I listened, and as I heard the words, tears began to fall. The past month has been one of the toughest times I dealt with spiritually and emotionally. I’ve been learning to lean into the pain and it has been stretching me. In that moment I was reminded that this pain is worth every groaning. I was reminded that God has moved every mountain that’s ever been in front of me. He kept me through the darkest time of my life. He continues to give me the gift of life each day and I am confident He will do it all again.

Confident?

There’s one line in the song that says, “This is my confidence.” When I say those four little words, an unwavering feeling of uneasiness comes over me. For majority of my life, I’ve lived in a way that was complete opposite of confidence. I lacked confidence. Being secure in myself and my abilities were a challenge. Believing in myself was often non-existent. Instead, I believed a lot of what others thought about me. So saying that I was confident seemed like a challenge at first.

But as I began to meditate on those words, I realized that the confidence I must possess, the confidence that I have access to, is not confidence in myself but rather confidence in the one who created me.

My confidence is that my creator knows me. He created me with my own unique design. Therefore how dare I compare to others. How dare I feel as if I’m not good enough. I’m just the way the creator designed me.

My confidence is that God will defeat the battles for me. Therefore, I confidently go into battle knowing I have the victory and not afraid of whatever comes my way- sickness, disease, hardship , loss, pain- it doesn’t matter. Why? Because I am more than a conqueror.

My confidence is that God is my rock and refuge, I can trust in that. I can rely on Him. I stand on His Word. For when I am weak, He is strong.

You see when I release myself as the focus of my confidence and focus on God and His Word, I’m allowing my life to become more stable, strong and poised.

When I release my desire to do things my way and instead be obedient to the Word of God, I can live in the assurance of my salvation.

When I stop listening to the doubting voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough and instead start listening to the faithful voices that remind me of who I am, I can fully walk in what God has called me to do.

This is my confidence.

Get to Know Joy!

Since beginning this blog 6 weeks ago, I’ve found a greater awareness in the importance of stopping to reflect and it’s been so liberating. Ironically, as someone who has made a pact to be joyfully raw, I’ve been challenged lately with the word joy.

My oldest daughter is preparing to graduate 6th grade and enter middle school and we are looking at different schools for her to attend. I visited one school a little over a week ago and as I sat in the library interacting with one presentation, I heard a question that surprisingly had me stunned.

Presenter: “ Can someone tell us why they think joy is an important value for a child to have at school?”

Me:

I completely went blank. I immediately passed it to the woman sitting next to me. I could not believe I didn’t have an immediate response. I could not believe I couldn’t articulate what joy is. Me, Joyful Jonetta, could not talk about joy!

As I reflected on the moment days later, I wondered what happened. I wondered if I really knew joy. I wondered if I knew what it looked like. Was I able to recognize it? Am I modeling it for my family? Does my family have it? How often am I accessing it? And after a for real search within, I came to a daunting conclusion…

I

don’t

really

know

joy.

Wow!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m familiar with joy. I’ve had great moments of joy. I’ve lived with joy. I know the dictionary definition which means the emotion evoked by well being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires or feeling of great pleasure/happiness.

But…

I desire something deeper and so does Joy.

I desire a close relationship so does Joy.

For all that joy does…for all that joy is…for all that joy brings…we deserve to be connected. It shouldn’t be something that I just say I am. It should be something that I know that I am.

After talking with someone a few days after this revelation, I was reminded of a daily challenge that I participated in with my wonderful neighbor/friend, Cynthia of RawJackson where she challenged herself and others to live 90 days of Happy. During this 90 days, we posted daily in regards to something that we were happy for. It was such a beautiful time and I learned the importance of stopping daily to acknowledge what is around us. It allowed me to develop daily habits that have carried me today.

Life is truly about the daily choices that we make and as I remembered this challenge, I immediately was inspired to challenge myself again. This time in the exploration of joy. I’ve decided I’d like to explore Joy more. I’ve decided I want to Get to Know Joy!

So I’m doing a countdown from today until my birthday : October 16- January 2 of getting to know joy. My goals are to know Joy deeply; to connect with Joy; to understand when and how Joy is accessed; to learn how Joy should be embraced; and to look for Joy everyday.

So over the next two and a half months, I will be connecting with Joy and choosing Joy with a daily intention. On my Instagram page, I’ll be posting my daily interactions with Joy. Here, I’ll be diving deeper in my findings and I look forward to what’s to come. The best part about it, I won’t be doing it alone! I’m inviting you to take this journey with me. Hold me accountable, challenge me, learn with me and let’s all get to know joy. And just like the message inside this lemonade top, accepting this challenge may cause JOY! Are you ready for it? Will you come with me?

I Am Not Afraid

I am not afraid… four words that rang loud to my ears one day as I was driving. As my apple playlist went through it’s random rotation, this song from Jesus Culture began to play. A song that I had heard before. A song that on this particular day, had a new meaning and met my ears with a deeper understanding.

My life is in deep transition and I have been faced with looking within. About 8 months ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Malcolm Jr.(MJ). My third child after two girls and it’s been a joy. As I was beginning to come off maternity leave, in the midst of searching for childcare, something began to happen inside of me. I had this deep yearning desire to stay home with MJ. With a background in education and a recent career in early childhood education, I was the most qualified. At the same time I loved my job as a preschool director. I felt so conflicted.

I began fervently praying and asking God for His guidance and He answered. It was time to step down as director and focus on taking care of family. I had peace. The next part was to decide when to step down. The decision came to me in May and my desire was to stay until the end of the school year at the end of July. That felt safe, comfortable. Well, God doesn’t always work when we are comfortable. One week into June, my autoimmune disease flared up and I was forced to stay home for two weeks and then three months.

So here I am, in the midst of my three months trying to navigate this new life and at the same time learning to rest. Some days I feel like super woman; other days I feel so defeated. Some days I know the way; other days I’m so lost. This is where the song brought deeper meaning for me. There were unconscious fears that were trying to take control over my mind.

Deciding to leave a position I loved and cherished…scary.

Learning to live and rest with an autoimmune disease…scary.

Starting this blog…scary.

Worried about the possibility of our finances not surviving this new life. Wondering will I be okay? Do I need to be doing more? What will happen if I don’t? All scary thoughts.

However, there was an even scarier thought, not operating in the fullness of God. Not living as the Word directs me. Not utilizing the full power that God has given me. When I compared all those scary thoughts to the faithfulness of God, they didn’t compare. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible clearly shows us all of God’s faithfulness. He is exactly who He says He is. From 1982 until now, God has shown himself to me. I have no reason to doubt. His love for me is great and I feel it everyday. I Am Not Afraid.

“When I walk through the waters I won’t be overcome.

When I go through the rivers I will not be drowned.

My God will make way. So I am not afraid.”

Jesus Culture, Not Afraid

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