2016: Life Lessons

Wow! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone, it flew by. This year was all about growth and unconditional love. There were some dark moments but I am thankful for the seasons where it was silent, it was in those moments when I had no other choice but to depend on God. Friendships ended and relationships were mended and I am grateful for that.  Below are a few life lessons I learned this year!

1. “Never compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.”-Steven Furtick
This was my favorite quote this year! I had to constantly remind myself that most people only share or post the things that they want others to see! And while there is nothing wrong with that I found that it gave me an opportunity to compare my life to theirs.  God never intended us to live on this earth and to compete with each other whether it’s in our professional lives, hair growth (yes! Women do compare their “hair growth goals” to other women) or financial status we are constantly comparing our stuff to others. But the thing I love about God is that some of us can’t handle that level of exposure, that financial responsibility or that amount of responsibility in our workplace. Not because we aren’t worthy but we may not be ready, this year I had to learn to wait on God and trust HIS timing. Although it didn’t feel good I knew that my time was coming and that when I compare my life to other people it’s like I am telling God that my life isn’t good enough.
2. Slow Down! 
I learned that it is okay to just say “NO!” and to actually mean it. I learned that self-care and rest was vital to my physical, mental and emotional well-being. Running on empty was self-destructive and in the end detrimental to the people who needed me the most. “You cannot pour from an empty vessel.”-Trice Camm
That quote is so true, if I don’t take the time to ensure that I am filled then I have nothing to give. I learned that it’s okay to just lie in bed and eat whatever I want (in moderation) and to not feel guilty about going to the grocery store on an empty stomach and not sticking to the grocery list! (You should see my shopping cart! Haha)  Slowing down gave me the opportunity to embrace what God had given me and to enjoy the moment. We spend so much of our time running here and there and when it’s time to care for ourselves we don’t have any energy left.
3. Unplug if needed!
 2016 was a constant reminder of how important it is to unplug from social media and the negativity in the world. As the year started flying by I started watching the news less and less. My heart and soul could not take the things that were broadcasted nightly. Instead I spent majority of my time immersed in books and at Barnes and Noble (thank God for their membership accounts!)  I noticed that I was so attached to my phone that I was losing grip on the things that mattered the most to me. (Take a moment to read my story here: “How social media almost ruined my relationship with Christ.”)
I had to remind myself that before there were cell phones, weekly marches and protests, hateful tweets and statutes there was FAMILY! I wasn’t afraid to hit the ignore button and it didn’t bother me when I missed a few calls during my writing time.
4. Follow your heart and pursue your dreams! 
I always wanted my writing to be displayed on a large platform; little did I know that God would take a simple idea of “My Journey” and allow it to bless so many people. I began to seek God for direction and for wisdom, I knew that I wanted to write but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be transparent.  I am so thankful that God not only gave me a vision but a desire to share my story and a willingness to be open and honest about MY STORY! That’s what this life is all about living our story and embracing our journey! Blogging was just a small part of the purpose God revealed to me this year; he reignited a dream inside of me that I left behind as a child. I learned that you cannot share your story, your vision, and your plan with everyone. I learned to protect my gift just like a mother protects her newborn. You nurture it, you protect it, and you grow, develop and learn.
5. NO Excuses!
2016 was definitely a year of “no excuses!”  I didn’t have an opportunity to be lazy in my prayer life and I didn’t have a chance to make excuses about why I didn’t have time to pray. Why? Because God humbled me in such a powerful way, I went through some of the most painful experiences in my life this year but through it all I couldn’t find a reason to detach from the experience. I had to go through it, I had to grow and most importantly I had to learn. I had to reprogram myself when it came to love and how I loved. I had to bite my tongue when I wanted to lash out and I had to walk away when I wanted to stay.  I learned how to pray, and how to talk to God. I understood that there was no reason to hide behind something that wasn’t true or real. God sees all and he knows all, so approaching his throne with an excuse was no longer working.

Overall this year was exactly what God had planned and although it was tough I learned that he always fulfills his promises! I pray that you go into next year with an open mind and heart, ready to receive whatever God has for you.  I pray that when life gets tough and things take a turn for the worst remember who is on the throne. I encourage you to go back to the drawing board, go back to where you first fell in love with Christ and continue to nurture that relationship. Continue to be honest with yourself and with the ones around you. Never feel guilty about removing yourself from toxic people or situations. Know WHO’S you are and WHO you are! Make no excuses for taking care of yourself and for ensuring that your dreams come to pass.  Dance when you feel like crumbling, laugh when you feel like crying and most importantly run when you feel like crawling. God has you and I know you will make it!
Happy New Year! Love, Trice Camm

Heart Check: Week One

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. –Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

I spent many years building this wall it wasn’t something I decided to do one day, it just happened.  My wall was gorgeous, I was able to see through the other side but no one was able to have access to me. I was protective and oftentimes very defensive when I felt there was an intruder coming into my space.  I didn’t realize the damage I was causing until it was too late.
I was just guarding my heart, I was protecting what I thought was the most valuable thing I could offer. I knew that I loved deep and I loved hard and many times the other person couldn’t handle the amount of love they were receiving. Because my heart was so big and I gave so much I always felt like I wasn’t given the right amount of love in return when it came to relationships and friendships. I would always end up hurt in the end so I did what any person would do, I started guarding my heart.  Little did I know, I spent years building walls and I wasn’t actually guarding my heart I was stopping it from functioning the way God intended it to.
I was creating a blockage in my heart and in my life, in order for you to get in you had to fight. You had to fight like your life depended on it, you had to pass multiple tests and I was the one who determined if you succeeded. I passed up a lot of friendships and relationships whether it be work related or personal not because I didn’t feel they weren’t deserving of my friendship or time I felt they weren’t deserving of my heart.  I was simply guarding my heart.
I was doing what the scripture said, I was just doing what my mentors encouraged me to do.. Eventually I began to present the person I felt “they” wanted to see or be around. The one who passive, funny and who didn’t speak up. I didn’t want to cause any confrontation which gave others the ability to walk over me and to take advantage me. So what did I do? I built a wall not only around my heart but around me, this time my wall was reinforced with barricades and for every time someone hurt me I built a wall.
But God has a way of not only tearing down the walls but exposing your hurt, not to embarrass you but to show you that there are people who can help you. God created everyone in HIS image but sadly not everyone carries his love and light inside of them. So that puts us at risk for hurt, damage and abuse, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional. Many times the doubt and the low self-esteem began within us. Who told us that we weren’t good enough? Who told us we had to look like the women in the magazines? Who told us our hair wasn’t long enough, curly enough or straight enough? Who created the atmosphere for competition? Was it us or was it them? Honestly, for me I began the cycle of comparison at an early age, when in reality I have so much to offer the world but because of my walls no one was able to experience it.
The mistake I made is that once I built the walls I realized that I didn’t have the strength or the tools to tear them down. I did what I was taught, I asked God for help but of course I made the decision to try to help him. God not only removed my desire to help him but he began to heal me.
I didn’t want new friends, I didn’t want to meet “THE ONE” I just wanted the walls to be demolished. As time went on God began to surround me with an amazing group of friends who were patient enough to love me through my insecurities and my hurt. I am so grateful that God allowed the walls to crumble but I had some lessons to learn.
I learned that everything flows in and out of my heart; I cannot survive and fulfill my purpose on earth if I block access to the one thing that keeps me alive. I had to reprogram myself; I had to learn how to guard my heart and how to trust the process.  I had to trust that every failed friendship and relationship wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t always ME! Sometimes the season just ended and their purpose was fulfilled in my life. To guard my heart means to love freely but to be mindful that with every heartbeat and with every breath there is a purpose to be fulfilled.  I understand the importance of protecting my heart but also trusting God with my heart and with my decisions.
No more walls. No more excuses. No more hesitation.

Guard your heart. Don’t block the flow!