Three Ways to Not Let Anxiety Have The Final Say

Some time ago, I wrote a post on my 20-year battle with depression. This is something I’ve learned to cope with and have accepted as my norm. Obviously, my desire and prayer is for it to be permanently lifted, but if that never happens, I still need/want to be able to enjoy an amazing quality of life.

Until recently, I had no personal experience with anxiety. Only secondhand exposure through working with clients who are navigating it as a mental health diagnosis. I’ve seen how debilitating it can be when it takes root. Even from the counselor’s (and now coach’s) chair, I can feel the incredible burden it is for my clients to sift through what’s real versus not. It’s impossible not to attend to and be frightened by the symptoms you experience with anxiety (i.e. chest pains, panic attacks, muscle tension, headaches, insomnia, digestive system upset, the list literally goes on and on).

As I mentioned in What A Month Off From Blogging Is Really Like, at one point last month, I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. I was terrified and also overcome by intense sadness and confusion. After going to the emergency room and having a heart attack ruled out as the cause of my symptoms, I was initially relieved. But then I realized my chest pains were still present. I also noticed they ebbed and flowed depending on what I was thinking about or working through. And then it hit me, I was having panic attacks.

The thing is, I did have a lot on my plate last month (ummm and every month)—self-induced, of course. Actually, it was all good stuff, but there was still a dynamic that wasn’t jibing with me from a neurobiological standpoint. I put my counselor’s hat on and thought through what could be triggering my panic attacks. Here’s what I discovered:

  • Legitimate Fear – In my last post, I also talked about the difficulty I experienced in taking a month off from blogging. Blogging is something familiar and predictable. The marketing plan I was to execute WAS NOT. I was fearful about this land of the unknown that was before me.
  • Learning New Things – Everything I needed to do in the month of May was new to me. So, not only did I need to learn how to do this intimidating list of things, but I needed to execute them fairly quickly in order to remain on track with the targeted timeframe to complete my deliverables.
  • Unrealistic Expectations – It seemed nothing was happening as I desired. It was taking way too long to learn how to do my tasks. As the month was drawing to an end, my anxiety only increased. While it was not realistic for me to accomplish all of this in 30 days, I was still killing myself to make it happen.

So essentially, my brain was freaking out. It was being overloaded and stressed, and because of the fear I was also experiencing, my fight or flight instincts were kicking in. Clearly my brain’s vote was flight (lol). Which is totally in line with our inborn defense mechanisms. Our brains are literally wired to avoid that of which is causing fear or stress. Which is certainly helpful in some cases but ummm not when we’re trying to pursuing our dreams.

Things got a little better once I processed all of this. While I knew I needed to take better care of myself, I also knew quitting wasn’t an option. So I needed to find a way to do both. Here are 3 things I found to be helpful in not letting anxiety have the final say:

  1. Reset Expectations
    Obviously, I was being unrealistic so I took a step back to determine what I absolutely needed to accomplish by the end of May. By this point in the month, to my credit, I’d done a lot. I allowed myself to celebrate this then I strategized how to to tackle those last two things I needed to accomplish (1. Finishing the first draft for the digital copy of the Esther Cleanse and 2. submitting it for beta- Done and Done!). Ask yourself what’s realistic versus what’s not. Like me, you may find that your anxiety is coming from the pursuit of the unrealistic. Once you’ve determined what’s realistic, set small and measurable goals that drive you nearer to your overall goal.
  2. Give Yourself Grace
    I’m so hard on myself so typically if I don’t see the finished product, there’s nothing to celebrate or be proud of. This is just ridiculous! I spent some time reflecting on all that I accomplished in such a short time frame and allowed myself to feel good about it. I also started taking more breaks. Are you being too hard on yourself? Take a step back and acknowledge what’s true about you and your present situation (i.e. “I am loved,” “I really did a good job with that project,” “I have so much to be thankful for”). Then listen to your body. If your body is telling you you need rest…put your phone on “do not disturb” and take a nap. If you feel like you need to cry, don’t hold your tears back. Let them flow. The point is to allow yourself to feel and honor the truth of the moment.
  3. Power Through
    Anxiety can and will paralyze you IF you let it. One of the best things you can do is push through the discomfort and keep yourself busy doing meaningful and productive things. This is what I did. I allowed myself the freedom to have my moments, but then I constantly chose to power through. Let me say, this is not a one and done self-talk. You will need to affirm yourself moment by moment.

Do You Love You?

Do you love you?

Do you understand,

That you are part of His divine plan?

You were not a mishap because a man forgot to drawback.

For Psalm 139:14 says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made?

That means you, my sister, were swayed

And knitted comfortably

in your mother’s womb.

These days so many women are running to doctors

As though they were proctors in God’s elaborate masterpiece.

For the women are looking at the body parts of others in order

To inject that they may project another image from which God created them to be?

All the while it’s because when they look in the mirror they do not like what they see?

I ask again, do you love you?

Woman, for you are still made in the image of God as told in Genesis.

That may not sit well with you.

But the one who knows the number of hairs on your head

Didn’t plan for you to med

The changes on the outside

To heal your inside.

That’s His job.

Woman, do you love you?

Do you know the one who created the heavens and the earth

Organized your birth?

He above has so much love.

I ask again,

Do you love you?

———————-
Joy T.J. Riley began writing at age eleven to channel feelings she could not express in spoken word due to the childhood sex abuse she endured.  Becoming an author was a childhood dream but she had no idea that by submitting to God her dream would come true.
Joy has dual Bachelors of Science degrees in Marketing and General Business Management from the University of Maryland College Park. She was commissioned as a teacher of the Word of God in August 2006. Joy has co-founded organizations, been a guest speaker, mentored youth, and volunteered her time with senior citizens and the homeless.  Joy is president & co-founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC. It is not just about finding faith, but to show it is through faith that one finds purpose. Joy had to nearly die before understanding her purpose so she knows this motto personally. Joy is an award-winning author of the books “Get Your JOY In The Morning!” and “Shh Don’t Tell.” She has mentored and assisted six writers to become authors, currently writes the monthly Words of Wisdom column for Whine & Cheese Inc., and writes on LinkedIn Pulse. Joy was a contributing writer for Divine Voice Magazine.  Joy is fulfilling another childhood dream as a filmmaker. She is the executive producer/writer of the upcoming documentary film A Legend Among Us. Joy has been on radio, TV, (including Fox 45 News Baltimore and WUSA*9 Washington), and one of three women featured in a short documentary film, The Power of Femininity by Ratliff Events. She is a supporter and ambassador for Safe Shores, The D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center.  Joy writes devotionals to several hundred people across the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Words of Wisdom: Complete the Vision

3For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. -Ecclesiastes 5:3

The NKJV Study Bible translation of what King Solomon says in this scripture is very powerful as it relates to what Jesus said hundreds of years later. “We also sin with our speech when we make a pledge we do not keep.” Jesus said it as, “Let your yes be your yes and no be your no.”

A dream is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as 1) a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep; 2) a dreamlike vision: daydream, reverie; 3) something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality; 4) ideal.  And one of Job’s friends stated a truth that God speaks in many ways. The Bible records multiple times how God has spoken to people during their sleep/visions/dreams. When I read this scripture I keep seeing, “a dream is birthed through much activity.”

When Joseph had his dream and shared it with his brothers, his focus was on his brothers bowing down to him. But what he didn’t see was that God was going to use his gifts to help a nation during a famine. What if Joseph refused to use his gift in prison because of his situation? What if Joseph refused to see beyond himself? How many people would’ve died? For Moses, the deliver, that God sent, was a descendant and raised by those in the land that God used Joseph in.

We live in a society that is so attention deficient that as quick as we see something we forget. There are so many images thrown at us day to day that it is hard not to become distracted. However, when God gives you something, and you begin to act on it, He expects you to complete it unless He gives you direction otherwise. Your trials are for the purpose of persevering as it says in the book of James. But whatever vision/dream that God gave you to complete through the gifts He placed in you, know that it is not simply about you.

I think back to what I told the Lord when I was in the emergency room eight years ago. I told Him if He spared me, I’d do what He called me to do. I think back to that time. And I look at the years that followed. The gifts God desired me to use over the years were still tied to the futures of others, including my love, whom God just called home. If I simply looked at my hurt, my pain, the visions of others, the healing of others, the growth in faith of others may have been severely delayed.

It is a privilege to dream. It is an even greater privilege to birth one. Don’t let a God given dream nor gifts die because of attention deficiency. Someone’s future will be affected. Nothing in this life is simply about you.
———————-
Visionary, Author, President & Co-Founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC
Joy T.J. Riley began writing at age eleven to channel feelings she could not express in spoken word due to the child abuse she endured. Yes, becoming an author was always a dream but she had no idea that by submitting to God her dream would come true. Joy has dual Bachelors of Science degrees in Marketing and General Business Management from the University of Maryland College Park. She was commissioned as a teacher of the Word of God in August 2006. On December 15, 2007, Joy accepted God’s call upon her life to be an evangelist.  Joy has co-founded organizations, been a guest speaker, mentored youth, and volunteered her time with senior citizens and the homeless.  Joy is president & co-founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC. It is not just about finding faith, but to show it is through faith that one finds purpose. Joy had to nearly die before understanding her purpose so she knows this motto personally. Joy is also an award-winning author of the books Get Your JOY In The Morning! and Shh Don’t Tell. She has mentored and assisted six writers to become authors, currently writes the monthly Words of Wisdom column for Whine & Cheese Inc., and writes on LinkedIn Pulse. Joy is a contributing writer, author acquisitions executive for Divine Voice Magazine, a division of Divine Voice Entertainment and a film producer/director under Divine Voice Entertainment. Joy has been on radio, TV, and one of three women featured in a short documentary film, The Power of Femininity by Ratliff Events. She is a supporter and ambassador for Safe Shores, D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center.  Joy writes devotionals to several hundred people across the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Just Stop

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

I was sitting on an airplane crying my eyes out to a perfect stranger. He asked me one question and the floodgates of heaven opened up allowing the tears to began to overflow from my tear ducts. The truth is, I didn’t expect my life to end up this way. I didn’t expect to be at a place of such unfulfillment where I was consistently searching for the next best thing, running around doing things trying to feel fulfilled.

How many times have you too ran around doing things trying to feel fulfilled? Chasing things, people, and opportunities, hoping that the next best thing will be it. Only to end up unfulfilled.

The fulfillment that you’re looking for, yearning for, only comes from purposeful living. You will never experience true fulfillment until you are doing what God created you to do, so stop it.

Stop looking for the temporary fix. The temporary people, temporary opportunities, temporary things that allow you momentarily happiness but once the newness wears off, it’s back to searching again.

It wasn’t until I got God’s understanding and started actively walking in the direction that He instructed me in that I achieved ultimate fulfillment.

If you truly want to get to the place where you overcome the cycle of searching, make a vow to stop searching for the next best thing and do want God had called you to do.

Prayer: Lord, Thank You for Your truth. I want more for my life. I have searched all over looking for fulfillment, only to end up empty-handed in the end. God show me what your desire for me is so that I can stop searching and start doing exactly what You called me to do. In Jesus name, Amen!

———————–

tiffTiffani N. Denham is the creator of Breakfast With Tiffani, a Christian Lifestyle Blog committed to encouraging young Christians to live a totally surrendered life in Christ while enjoying the life that God has blessed us with. Her mission is to change the idea of “when I become a Christian I have to stop…” and show believers the importance of enjoying the abundant life Jesus was referring to in John 10:10.

Never Give Up

Never give up. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on yourself. We hear that all the time. But what does “never give up” really mean? What does it look like? What does it feel like?

To never give up is painful.

To never give up is being misunderstood by others.

To never give up is being lonely.

To never give up is not being supported by those close to you.

To never give up is loosing friends.

To never give up is unpaid debt and unpaid bills.

To never give up is doubts, fears and anxiety.

BUT

To never give up smashes doubts, fears and anxiety.

To never give up supplies character.

To never give up supplies integrity.

To never give up builds your bank account so “unpaid” is exterminated.

To never give up supplies new friends and colleagues who encourage, support and

celebrate you.

To never give up is realized goals and dreams.

To never give up supplies peace of mind.

To never give up supplies courage.

To never give up delivers a “can do” mind set.

Never give up. It’s worth it.

Note from Sharman:  It is with deep regret that this is my last post for Whine and Cheese. I have new obligations that I need to focus on.  It was a joy sharing thoughts with you and I hope that I added value to you and your life. Please feel free to follow my blog, My Journey to Me, to continue to get encouraging and motivational messages on personal development.

The Launch of Lake Norman1 Branch!

Tommi

Branch Name: Lake Norman1

Gathering Date: July 2016

The Lake Norman 1 Branch kicked off our first gathering on July 9, 2016. We had 12 attendees joining our first session (including the Vine). The concepts were explained over a light dinner of spaghetti, shrimp alfredo and Salad and each woman gave a brief introduction of themselves and things they liked to do. This is a talented group of entrepreneurs and artists.

When each woman was asked to share her “Whine” the group listened attentively and supportively provided her with some “Cheese” to help her move forward. By the end of the evening, we affirmed that it’s okay to put ourselves first as women, say “No” to the things that cause us stress, take our healthcare more seriously, and support other women friends who have businesses. We also affirmed that it’s okay to be yourself.

Our session concluded with thank you/swag bags in which each of the attendees had a chance to add their business cards to the bags for each guest.

Our next meeting is scheduled for September 10th and we anticipate having a few more ladies join us that were not able to attend the first session. It is our hope to bring the women of Lake Norman1 together for a little food, a few games, a little wine and a whole ‘lotta cheesing. Thanks for the opportunity and vision of our founder Natalie Dean!

LN1

Words of Wisdom: Seek to Respect

Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering. -Genesis 4:4

Aretha Franklin asked for respect. The love was already there, but what she wanted was the respect. Cain killed because he coveted the same level of respect Abel received from God. So many people are looking for love and respect. The Lord loved both Cain and Abel but it was Abel who was respected because he gave God his best. Cain didn’t give God his best but he wanted God to respect him as though he did.  I counted in the concordance at the back of my Bible the number of times love and it’s derivatives of lovely, loved and loving kindness were mentioned. The total was 61. 6 +1=7 which is representative of God’s perfect number. And the Word says that perfect love cast out fear. I also counted respect and it’s derivative respected and there were only three references. Three represents the number of completion in God. His word also says that we are to respect those in authority. So love and respect is what makes any relationship, whether romantic, family, friend or professional, complete.

Many love but not everyone respects. Love and respect must be mutual. Some equate respect with a title or station in life. But as we see in the news, the life of others isn’t respected. Love and respect are not mutually exclusive. If they were, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to say love thy neighbor as thyself. If you love and respect, you are less likely to give and do less than what is considered trustworthy. Parents and children whether young or old fight for respect. A son or daughter may know you love them but do you respect their right to make their own choice? A father or mother wants the respect of being full of wisdom of knowledge for their life experience and bringing you into this world. A friend who has been by your side and loved you wants to know you respect them enough not to betray or hurt them. A business relationship or contract is carried through because the respect of both parties is seen as important. For it is the lack of respect that actually breaches trust.

I had a conversation with a dear friend whom I love and respect and we discussed this issue. Some do not respect because they see you as lesser than. It is in this thinking that people do not give their best to God nor to man. They esteem themselves about all when Jesus said to love others as we love ourselves. It is in this love that we will also seek to respect regardless station or title, have or have not. They are basic human needs that God created in each of us. Seek to love and respect.
———————-
Visionary, Author, President & Co-Founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC
Joy T.J. Riley began writing at age eleven to channel feelings she could not express in spoken word due to the child abuse she endured. Yes, becoming an author was always a dream but she had no idea that by submitting to God her dream would come true. Joy has dual Bachelors of Science degrees in Marketing and General Business Management from the University of Maryland College Park. She was commissioned as a teacher of the Word of God in August 2006. On December 15, 2007, Joy accepted God’s call upon her life to be an evangelist.  Joy has co-founded organizations, been a guest speaker, mentored youth, and volunteered her time with senior citizens and the homeless.  Joy is president & co-founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC. It is not just about finding faith, but to show it is through faith that one finds purpose. Joy had to nearly die before understanding her purpose so she knows this motto personally. Joy is also an award-winning author of the books Get Your JOY In The Morning! and Shh Don’t Tell. She has mentored and assisted six writers to become authors, currently writes the monthly Words of Wisdom column for Whine & Cheese Inc., and writes on LinkedIn Pulse. Joy is a contributing writer, author acquisitions executive for Divine Voice Magazine, a division of Divine Voice Entertainment and a film producer/director under Divine Voice Entertainment. Joy has been on radio, TV, and one of three women featured in a short documentary film, The Power of Femininity by Ratliff Events. She is a supporter and ambassador for Safe Shores, D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center.  Joy writes devotionals to several hundred people across the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Get Out and Stay Out!

I recently expanded my coaching business to help people produce clear and persuasive writings with my professional editing and proofreading services. I was recently editing client’s work wherein she talked about a very familiar story.  She explained the significance of the story in such a way that I jumped out of my chair and experienced a huge, A-HA, WOW moment! I was so excited! She raised a point in the story that I knew but for some reason didn’t fully realize. The magnitude of that point just overwhelmed me. You are probably asking, “What was the story?” Here it is:

One day, Jesus was hanging out with his disciples preaching and healing people, which was the normal for him.   At the end of the day, Jesus told his disciples to get in a boat and meet him on the other side of the sea. About three in the morning, the disciples were in the middle of the sea. Suddenly, they saw something coming toward them on the water and they were afraid. They thought it was a ghost. So Jesus called out to them telling them to relax because the something wasn’t a ghost; it was he.  Peter looks over to Jesus and says, “Jesus, can I come over there where you are?”  Jesus says, “Sure!” Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking on water to get to where Jesus is outside of the boat. However, when Peter stops looking at Jesus and notices the loud wind and the waves, he begins to sink. He yells out, “Help me Jesus!” Jesus reaches down and pulls him out of the water saying, “I got you. Everything’s ok.” (See Matthew 14:22-33).

Okay, I took some liberties in telling this story.  Nevertheless, the point of this story that made me jump out of my chair was the fact that Jesus with already outside of the boat when he told Peter it was okay to get outside of the boat.

In life, we are all in a boat. The boat represents our comfort zone. Where are you are now in life, the job you hold, the clothes you where, the neighborhood you live in, the books you read, the people you associate with, they are all part of your comfort zone. Everything is nice and cozy in your comfort zone.

Then, one day you meet a person who is willing to teach you how to live different and better life or you come across a chance to do something different and better in your life.  You ask yourself, “Can I go to this different and better place?”  Your inner voice says, “Sure!” You decide to go for it.  You step out of your comfort zone. You step out of the boat.  You start “walking on water” and it feels right and good for you. Everything is going fine as you follow the person’s coaching or do the things necessary for your new chance. Then you start hearing things like “Why are you doing that?” or “Who you think you are?” or “Everyone in our family has always work in construction” or  “No one in our family has ever gone to college and we’ve been just fine” or “Why do you want to move into that neighborhood?” or “You think you’re better than the rest of us” or “Why are you starting a business? Isn’t a job good enough for you?” You start noticing the waves. But the person coaching you encourages you to keep going or you see the right results from doing the things necessary for your new chance. And you see changes, good changes, happening in your life; changes you wanted.  The sneers of people you know, some you love, get louder. The waves get choppier and the wind gets louder. You wonder whether you can get to that different and better place. You wonder about your “walk on water.” The questions you must answer are these: are the sneers coming from people inside the boat or are they coming from people already outside of the boat?  Are the sneers coming from people in the comfort zone who have no intention of leaving the comfort zone or from people who are already outside the boat? Who can get you to the different and better place you’re reaching for – the people in the boat or the people already outside the boat? Who is the best source of support and guidance for you – the people in the boat or the people already outside the boat?

Let’s face it. The people inside the boat know nothing about the outside of the boat. Therefore, listening to them about matters outside of the boat doesn’t make sense.   Only people or chances already outside the boat know about matters outside of the boat.  You should listen to them. You got out of the boat. Now stay out!

———————-

Sharman J. Monroe, a retired judge, now owns a successful business focused on wealth and empowerment coaching through residual income. She is a monthly contributor to Whine and Cheese.  Ms. Monroe writes the world-renowned blog, My Journey to Me. She also manages and contributes to the Anointed Women in Christ Blog. You can follow her on Twitter @sharmansjourney.  She is also an award-winning author. Her book on personal development, “The Plan A Way to Success”, is now at The My Journey to Me Store, as well as on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Meet Ms. Monroe at her next book signing! Visit her blog for dates and times.

Words of Wisdom: Go Big or Die!

16″Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” -Esther 4:16

I know we’ve been in Esther recently but there are so many lessons here. After all, Queen Esther or Hadassah is my favorite woman of the Bible. Esther displayed so much courage and determination by God’s grace that it is difficult to not focus on her story from multiple angles.  Esther fulfilled the true purpose for which God placed her in the royal court. She was used as a secret weapon to defeat an enemy. Esther displayed the ideology that is often needed in fulfilling purpose. She had the “go big or die” mentality. Most people know it as “go big or go home.” But home was not the option. It’s an easier choice to not fulfill purpose when the option is to just go home. But if there is nothing left but death, that’s the game changer.  Esther had only two options. Her options were to convince the king that there was a plot to take out the Jews so he could stop the plan or die.  Either die at the hands of guards in the royal court or die at the hands of royal military carrying out the written edict which pronounced death for the Jews.

Now what if you had to die instead of not fulfilling your purpose? Would that make you want to pursue purpose with all you had? For me, this was the message I received eight years ago. Fulfill purpose or die. Some people don’t understand why I’m so driven about the purposeful passions the Lord has placed in me. Well, had you walked a mile in my shoes from March 8-May 28, 2008 you would understand. A death sentence was pronounced over my life by man. God brought me through in hopes I would get the message that I needed to be like Esther and fulfill my purpose. It would mean going in the opposite direction of many I knew. For me, it was hard lesson but one I will NEVER forget. So I pursue by God’s grace and strength.

Even Joy Mangano, the billionaire inventor who’s life story was featured in the movie, “JOY ” over the Christmas holiday made sense. To her, there was no going back. She had the vision of  creating inventions to make life easier for herself and others as a kid. When her adult life was at a dead end, she went big. there was no going home. It was “go big or die!” If you have the, “go big or die,” attitude, not fulfilling purpose is a death sentence. And this is not about chasing money. The Lord didn’t put you on earth to chase money.  He said money takes wings and floats away but He said your gifts will make room for you and put you before great men. He put you on earth with gifts He expects you to use. For Joy Mangano, it was the gift of inventions that people could use. That passion burned a hole in her from the time she was a child.  It’s like it burns a hole in you if you can’t do it or use it. When  you get that feeling, then you’ve found your purpose. “Go big or die!”

———————-

Visionary, Author, President & Co-Founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC
Joy T.J. Riley began writing at age eleven to channel feelings she could not express in spoken word due to the child abuse she endured. Yes, becoming an author was always a dream but she had no idea that by submitting to God her dream would come true. Joy has dual Bachelors of Science degrees in Marketing and General Business Management from the University of Maryland College Park. She was commissioned as a teacher of the Word of God in August 2006. On December 15, 2007, Joy accepted God’s call upon her life to be an evangelist.  Joy has co-founded organizations, been a guest speaker, mentored youth, and volunteered her time with senior citizens and the homeless.  Joy is president & co-founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC. It is not just about finding faith, but to show it is through faith that one finds purpose. Joy had to nearly die before understanding her purpose so she knows this motto personally. Joy is also an award-winning author of the books Get Your JOY In The Morning! and Shh Don’t Tell. She has mentored and assisted six writers to become authors, currently writes the monthly Words of Wisdom column for Whine & Cheese Inc., and writes on LinkedIn Pulse. Joy is a contributing writer, author acquisitions executive for Divine Voice Magazine, a division of Divine Voice Entertainment and a film producer/director under Divine Voice Entertainment. Joy has been on radio, TV, and one of three women featured in a short documentary film, The Power of Femininity by Ratliff Events. She is a supporter and ambassador for Safe Shores, D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center.  Joy writes devotionals to several hundred people across the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Words of Wisdom: Proof of Life

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. -Proverbs 18:16
 For most people, it’s not every day they get to watch a friend’s dreams come true. For me, it is a pleasure to see because God has allowed my dreams to come true. One such friend in college, Karen, always wanted to be in media, specifically broadcasting. Year after year, she kept pushing toward it. Even when it meant relocating to get to that dream. A couple of years ago I had the TV on though in another room. I heard her voice on the TV. I turned and sure enough it was her. She had relocated from another area.  She made her way into TV broadcasting in Baltimore. Back in January of this year, I was sharing with a mutual friend what station she was on now. And we spoke of wanting to get together. Well, I heard from Karen the very next day as she was working on a story line. It was a blessing I didn’t know was coming. God allowed me to have favor with her because of a gifting. A gifting that fit into the story line. Why is this important? Well that story line led to a woman named Patricia West from an organization called S.I.S.T.E.R.S Involving Sisters seeing me. God told her to honor me. So two weeks ago in front of nearly 200 men and women I spoke about my friend Karen in my speech and how her reporting led to me being on that stage receiving an award.  And I spoke of my gratefulness to Patricia for heeding the voice of the Lord.
So imagine my heart when I got word of a bomb threat. I was on a call for White House Prayer for Our Nation’s upcoming event. A leader asked me what was happening in Baltimore. I’m thinking he’s speaking of the night before. When he said no, there’s a bomb threat at a TV station. My entire countenance changed. He couldn’t understand why I was frantically asking what station. I hung up immediately when I found out  so I could inquire of the whereabouts of my friend. When I didn’t hear anything I called back and said, please pray. I checked social media. But more importantly, Karen was still operating as the reporter she is. Even in the face of what everyone thought was danger, she was still operating in her gift. Keeping her followers updated on the news.  I was never more grateful. For me, it was proof of life and that she was okay. So it is with this gratefulness that I say to you today, operate in your gift and purpose before you chase anything else. Your gift and purpose will always bless others because it was never just meant for you. It will place you before great men and women. And as long as you’re operating in it, it may be the proof of life those who care for you need to see.

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Joy T.J. Riley began writing at age eleven to channel feelings she could not express in spoken word. Yes, becoming an author was always a dream but she had no idea that by submitting to God her dream would come true. She was commissioned as a teacher of the Word of God in August 2006. Joy has co-founded organizations, been a guest speaker, mentored youth, and volunteered her time with senior citizens and the homeless.  Joy is president & co-founder of Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC. It is not just about finding faith, but to show that it is through faith that one finds purpose. Joy is also the author of two books, Get Your JOY In The Morning! and Shh Don’t Tell. She has mentored and assisted five writers to become authors, currently writes the monthly Words of Wisdom column for Whine & Cheese Inc., writes on LinkedIn Pulse, is a contributing writer for The Divine Voice Magazine, been on radio, TV, and one of three women featured in a short documentary film, The Power of Femininity by Ratliff Events. Joy writes devotionals to several hundred people across the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.