Remember when you were a kid, that time you asked your parents, “Can I drive?”

Their answer was the obvious, “No.” (Or a loud, obnoxious laughter in place of an answer, if you had a dad like mine.)

Although hurtful, receiving a “no” was actually a good thing. Our parents, as harsh as as their answer felt, knew what was best for us. Putting car keys in the hands of a child would’ve been more than a threat to our lives. Eventually, they allowed you to drive, once you were of age and trusted behind the wheel. So, technically, their answer wasn’t a “no.” It was a “not now.”

I believe life happens that exact same way.

A new job, a promotion, college acceptance, a loan, new opportunities. Sometimes, we’re so eager to hear a “yes,” that receiving a “no” feels worse than a stab wound. It can crush the spirit, making people doubt themselves and lose hope.

Was I good enough?

Will I ever succeed? 

When will my time come?

We can come up with 50 reasons why we should mope around and be upset, yet never consider that it probably wasn’t the right time. Think back to your childhood. How many things did you want before you were tall enough, strong enough, mature enough, and wise enough to have or handle?

Throughout my adulthood, I’ve realized on more than one occasion, hindsight, that I wasn’t ready for things I wanted. There were jobs that I applied for, that never called me back. There were people I tried to maintain in my life, who fell off the radar. There were creative ideas I shared with various people, who never took them into consideration. But looking back, the time wasn’t right.

If things had went my way back then:

  • I never would have applied for other jobs that hired me and offered more 
  • I never would have met and befriended the new, amazing people in my life today who encouraged and supported me
  • I never would have mustered up the courage to launch my dream career as a writer

When things don’t go our way, consider that maybe it was for our benefit. If the time was right, your mindset was not. If your was mindset was right, the time was not. However you look at it, dwelling on the shoulda, coulda, woulda doesn’t change anything. Don’t allow a “no” to be your setback.

Trust that what is meant for you will come in due time. And when it does, you’ll be ready.

woman biting into apple, forbidden fruit blog

Photo Credit: Gabriel S. Delgado C. – http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/9998

 

Out of all the trees in Eden, hundreds, possibly thousands of them, Adam and Eve chose to eat apples from the one they were instructed not to touch. . .sounds pretty foolish, right? I mean, what was so alluring about that particular tree?

Or was it even the tree at all?

Reminiscing on my childhood, I realize many things suddenly appeared “better” or “interesting” once my parents said I wasn’t allowed to touch something or participate.  There is something about hearing “no” and “don’t” that flips a switch in our mind and immediately grabs our attention.

  • ” Stay out of my room.” (I wonder what they’re hiding in their room.)
  • “Don’t watch HBO after 10pm.” (Let’s see what shows come on after 10pm.)
  • “No friends over if we’re not home.” (You can come over, but you can’t stay too long.)

Now, fast forward to adulthood:

  1. Out of all the jobs and opportunities around you, you chose the one that gives you the most stress, because it paid more. . .
  2. Out of the hundreds of people you met in college, you chose the one person who eventually caused the most hell and emotional pain in your life, because they were sexy. . .
  3. Out of all the healthier options on the dinner menu, you chose the deep-fried “whatchamacallit” with a side of greasy fries because they usually satisfied your cravings. . .

 

We will complain about a stressful job, a horrible relationship, and undesired weight gain, yet understand that they could’ve been prevented, had we chosen the “road less traveled.”  Let’s face it: we subconsciously hear that “no” and “don’t” in our gut, yet, ignoring it somehow produces natural endorphins. Addicting, I know.

The truth is, many people still choose forbidden fruits today, they just don’t appear in the form of an apple.

Honestly, I loathed feeling like a modern-day Eve. Immature mistakes and choices are forgivable, but definitely have their consequences in life. This is why it’s so important to hold ourselves accountable and practice self-denial. I’ve learned that I don’t always want what I think I want (if that makes any sense at all, haha).

In my early 20s, I decided to take a different approach on life, what I identified as beneficial, and how I evaluated wise choices and sound decisions.  Let’s just say, as modern-day Eves (or Adams), we’ve all been given a second chance to choose, instead, the Tree of Life. Little did they know, that Tree was embraced by a vine with much better options. I’ll take grapes, kiwi, and berries over a basic apple any day.

“I am the vine,  you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.” [John 15:5]

Who am I?

I could tell you I’m a successful, perfect woman who always had her life together. . .but if I did, it would be a lie.

To start, I was the type of person that camouflaged my feelings, living day to day wearing an artificial smile. Anxiety disorder, depression, and insecurities were running rampant in my life. I was prideful, thinking I could handle whatever life threw my way all on my own. Unfortunately, I had pushed myself into a deeper ball of confusion, frustration, and emptiness.

Then, I found Christ.

God revealed Himself to me while I was at rock bottom, that mental state where I literally have no other option but to surrender my pride and accept help. I believe that’s the beauty in humility.

Fast forward seven years, I accumulated an indescribable boldness in faith, moved to a Caribbean island (Puerto Rico to be exact), and became a freelance writer (my dream career). During my personal journey, I had the privilege of helping others overcome anxiety, insecurities, and encouraged purposeful living. I love how God uses me to motivate, inspire, and influence people in a positive light.

And thus, the birth of this blog.  I believe God places words of wisdom on my heart everyday to share with the world. Unlimited advice, poetry, stories, and knowledge that can enhance life skills and motivate anyone to become a better version of oneself.

Peace & love,

Ashley

During my last few days in Florida, I was told I couldn’t leave without visiting the Wynwood Art District, one of the most luxurious and sought out areas to visit of Miami. After walking and admiring its 50 blocks of liveliness, I couldn’t believe that it was the same, impoverished neighborhood that my friends spoke of living during their childhood.

Over the past decade, abandoned buildings in desperate need of renovation slowly became the canvas of local street artists, which later attracted and inspired artists from around the world. I believe those who originally lived in its rundown neighborhoods decided to make a change in what they saw.

Now, the entire district is full of engaging, colorful, admirable works of art such as this. Wynwood became the hot spot of over 200 murals and street art, 400 businesses, and dozens of local eateries and bars.

art mural in miami art district

Originally an impoverished area and reputed as unsafe. . .who would’ve thought to give this neighborhood a second chance?

At times, we may feel like the old Wynwood neighborhood: abandoned, negligible, and unworthy.  Sometimes no one sees your worth, and will completely bypass you. . .but God doesn’t. He knows of the gifts and talents He placed within you, just waiting to be manifested.

So, I encourage you, don’t wait on someone else to see it. Instead, YOU make that first move. Look into starting that business, training for that 10k, pursuing that career, or whatever else placed on your heart to do, that others convinced you otherwise due to your circumstances. Throughout the Bible, you’ll read about being “set apart,” meaning to standing out from the rest or to serve a specific purpose. Sometimes that means doing what no one else would do, and being an inspiration to many. Like the street artists of Wynwood, they saw the value and beauty of their neighborhood and, after colorful methods of self-expression, everyone else did too.

star wars mural in wynwood miami art district

Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com