My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for 6 inch challenges

Breathe, Just Breathe. Bearing Life’s Challenges

My heart was pounding – this unfamiliar beat was unsettling, especially at 4:30 a.m., but a waking thought, a reminder of a certain challenge was causing me to pa….

Dona, DONA, breathe, just breathe, something within me whispered.

I inhaled, drawing deeply, held and released my breath slowly. I repeated it again and again until my heart rate slowed and I felt my body relax.

What had happened? Life. It has a way of delivering pleasure mingled with pain, ease along with hardship, joy partnered with sorrow, health and sickness,… and just when we feel as if we have our ducks all lined up, in a second, a strong wind can blow and take off with some of those ducks.

But the challenges of life are “common to men,” so the Bible reminds me. As I started thinking about plans I have to change and sacrifices that will have to be made I remembered hearing about this young man who had seen someone along the road who needed help, he had stopped to assist and had been hit by a vehicle, he had lost a leg. I thought about my 38-year-old cousin who had just discovered she has cancer, stage 4. I thought about the challenges of others in our nation and around the world and I wanted to whisper to them, breathe, just breathe.

Though challenges are common here are 6 choice-actions that will help us to bear them:
1. Refuse to engage battles that are unimportant
2. Be focused – seek resolutions. There is a hidden strength within all of us
3. Laugh often, give it all you have
4. Refresh others and you will be refreshed
5. When life gets overwhelming reset priorities
6. Do what helps you to breathe easy…

So this evening I had pulled out the laptop, searched for the Gaithers on YouTube, gathered with my mom and Laura and we raised our voices in song after song… “Through It All“, “Because He Lives“, “The Love of God“, “It Is Well“…

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Killing me softly – Relationships & disrespect

Relationships - love and cherish, not disrespect

"A challenge to love and live out your own beauty"

“You need to write about relationships,” she said, “because I can’t believe she’s still hanging on to him, he even has a new profile picture on his Facebook page with another girl!” I could hear the frustration and anger in her voice as she told me about this college student she had recently talked with. The anger sounded way too personal and I knew that the incident was taking her back to another life and a relationship she had experienced.

Before long she started talking about her past relationship, and as I wondered how her pain could still sound so fresh after 20 plus years it finally hit me. “You were disrespected,” I said to her. And it seemed having a label for it helped her, as she agreed she asked, “Do you know what really bothers me?” then continued without waiting for a reply, “I never said anything, I just took it, I never confronted him.” She then went on to tell of an incident when she went over to his place, he was not there but his room-mate let her in, she went to his bedroom to get something, there on the wall where a picture of both of them had been was a picture of him, and, “the other girl”.

I know there are many reasons why we end relationships. Sometimes we just don’t have the same values, we’re not heading in the same direction, the person is nice but he/she is not someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, you discover it’s not love after all, and then there is the “D” word, you are disrespected continually.

The problem with disrespect if you allow it to continue is that you soon start believing the lies and it’s as if something in you starts to die. The lies that you are not valuable, you are not worth being cherished and respected,  that your opinions don’t count, you do not have a voice. And before long it seems that the best part of who you are has died and you find yourself not only allowing others to disrespect you but you start disrespecting yourself as well–behaving in ways that are beneath you.

So whether you are 20 something or 60 something if you are in a dating relationship where you are not loved, cherished, valued, I have 6 simple suggestions:

1. Let go and let go now

2. Invest time in the journey of self-discovery. Discover the amazing person you are and start loving that person, all of you. I promise you when you start accepting and loving yourself you will never give yourself to anyone who will treat you cheaply or who cannot see your value

3. Refuse to compromise. Know what’s important to you and hold steadfastly to your core beliefs and values, it’s never worth it to trade them for a relationship

4. Be patient. Be willing to watch and learn. Entering into a relationship with someone who is not comfortable or secure with who they are can be extremely difficult. If you do, they may keep trying to change you to compensate for their insecurities.

5. As you learn about yourself do not play the comparison game, someone elses beauty and uniqueness do not in any way threaten yours. I challenge you to love and live out your own beauty

6. Refuse to be tossed about by other people’s opinion of you. From my view-point God’s opinion is what really matters. Enlist his grace to live by His values as best as you can and when you fail go to him and go at it again.

This is Dona Halliday encouraging you “to go through your challenge to your transformation.”

Challenging others to live out their best

I stood in front of the closed-door at the “Y” and smiled at him expectantly. He was a stranger, big, heavy, very dark in complexion. He stood there and just stared at me. Continuing to smile, I said, “I’m giving you the opportunity to be a gentleman,” and in spite of his dark complexion, he blushed, grinned and pushed the door open.

Once upon a time, I operated with the belief that I could do whatever I needed on my own, without help from anyone. But about 15 years ago a lawyer friend of my mom told me this. “For years,” he said, “he visited this elderly man every week, and every time he prepared to leave, the man tried to give him something — you know, it might be a pencil or a dollar bill. At first, he refused, because the man was poor and he felt the man needed to save whatever he had. But later he learned an important lesson — everyone needs to know that he has something of value to offer, no matter how small. So from that day he not only accepted the gifts but treasured them.”

Years later, I’ve come to understand that true generosity is not only the ability to give but being humble enough to receive from others (and vice versa). In my rush, I sometimes forget to give others the opportunity to show kindness and be noble with simple gestures. Like the guys who offer to pump my gas, carry my groceries, help me put things in the car, or Brain, he’s homeless, who gave me used stuffed animals. I love giving men the opportunity to be gentlemen and to be noble, because I believe one of the ways we can challenge others to be their best is to let them know that we see value in them and recognize that they have something of worth to offer.

Return to sender – Victims do not reside here

Recently, I came across a song that had my name all over it. Led by curiosity I wanted to know the message of the song. Originally a yiddish song, “Dona Dona Dona” tells a sad story of a calf that is restrained (tied up) and on its way to the market. Understanding its destiny is the slaughter-house, it looks on with mournful eyes, pitying its predicament and spots a swallow flying back and forth in the sky.

The farmer who is driving the calf to the market takes note of the calf’s expression and tells it to stop complaining. Then asks, “Why don’t you have wings to fly with, like the swallow so proud and free?” He further reminds the calf that its very nature predicts its plight for, “Calves are easily bound and slaughtered, never knowing the reason why, But whoever treasures freedom, Like the swallow MUST learn to fly”.

Amazing! Though my research showed that there are differing interpretations to the song, and that “Dona, Dona, Dona” does not refer to a person, I found the song fascinating. For I realize that we are not all born to the same privileges and life does not deal us all the same cards. So, when our opportunities seem limited and we experience loss, challenges and setbacks, we can find ourselves riding along in self-pity, thinking we are just victims.

But stop for a moment. Have you been taught that your nature, the essence of who you are, where you’re from, the way you look, dictate that you are bound to fail, to mess up, that you have little or no potential, you can only go so far and you cannot bring about change? Return that message to its sender with a declaration that victims do not reside here. For, who determines whether you are a calf or a swallow?

Apparently, swallows take responsibility and develop what has been placed inside them, the ability to fly. It may be easier to look around with resentment at those who are in flight and blame everyone and everything for your grounded mentality, but casting blame and self-pity have never produced wings.

Why don’t you have wings to fly with? Answer the question with — because, “I”. Take responsibility, and even if you have physical, geographical or financial restraints, as a friend once told me, start where you are, use what you have and trust God to do the rest.

Did someone say Zumba? Exercising through dance

Zumba! What a great way to exercise

Zumba at the "Y"

I’m remembering my years as a teenager, and once again I hear my grandmother say “I don’t want that kind of dancing in this house, I know you did not learn that in church.” Of course I did not learn it in church, honestly, I don’t remembering learning it anywhere, (this was before BET, MTV and all the others). Back then I used dance as a form of exercise and many of my dreams were about dancing. I would sleep and dream of new ways to dance, and mostly, this was no graceful waltz or anything so dignified it was that untaught African-Caribbean response to the pounding of drums, that was in many ways innate, raw and downright sensual.

No wonder I scared Mama, I had added this shake to my exercise routine and with my love of high heels even as a teen she probably thought she saw a flash of something definitely unchristian and totally unacceptable in my future.

I think I’ve only told one person of the dream I had of being a dancer, I love the beauty of choreographed dance routines, the graceful movements, the joy that dance brings, but that dream died that day in Mama’s house. As a matter of fact, it took me years to regain my love of dancing and not view it as something sinful.

And, every now and again, as I “shake, shake, step;  step, bend, swing;  twist, step, turn and shake again” in my Zumba class I remember that day. Once again, I use dance as a means of exercise and I don’t know anything that invigorates so after a long day of work and re-energizes not only the body but also the mind and spirit. I love ZUMBA!

Mama, I know you can still see me, and even though I still love to dance, I turned out amazing–I believe you would be proud. And so, in the midst of the everydayness of life, when I’m tired, frustrated, angry, sad, have experienced difficult challenges, or, simply loving life, like Pastor Donnie McClurkin, I sing, “I choose to be dancing,” because I believe it’s one of heaven’s gifts.

Training my heart to desire “good things”

Desiring the "good things." the God things

"Desiring the good things

It was taking much longer than I expected. How long does it take to form a habit anyway,  I wondered? I had given myself 2 weeks to make this adjustment but that 2 weeks had passed and the problem still existed.

Problem: My cravings were more frequent and insistent.

Plan: Get back to the discipline of a sustainable healthy lifestyle, revisit my eating habits and make note of what had changed and why.

Expected result: Retrain my body so that any unhealthy cravings were tolerated as the exception rather than the norm.

Quite doable, I have lived it before, and though I still maintain a healthy diet I want to get back to the place where my body craves blueberries, bell pepper, mangoes, papayas, even porridge, NOT muffins and definitely not those Chick fil a’s chicken biscuits.

Please realize this “6 inch challenge” is not about losing weight, it’s about reprogramming my body to consistently desire “good” things, not just the things that taste good but the things that are good for me.

I am very aware that as with the physical so it is with the rest of our being, we conform to what we consume most, and the more we consume a thing, the greater our appetite becomes for it. This can be a wonderful thing if we are feasting on what we want to be today and grow into tomorrow, but if we’re not, we can find ourselves trapped in habits and lifestyles that are destroying us.

This is my life’s journey, training not only my physical, but, my spiritual, emotional and mental self to desire and crave “good things,” God things.

Remember, the sooner we acknowledge that we are making unacceptable life choices, the easier it is to make a turnaround. The process of changing prolonged bad habits is usually slow, difficult and painful, but it’s worthwhile to begin that journey now. Tomorrow will not be easier, now is always the best time to begin.

If you are there, so is God

I’ve been labeled as being directionally challenged. I get lost just about everywhere I go in Metro Atlanta. I once went to pick up my brother from the airport — a 10 minute trip — over an hour later I pulled up to where he stood waiting, I had gotten lost, he was not pleased. However, when I start longing for sand between my toes and the sound of the ocean I’ve gotten in my car and headed off by myself hundreds of miles away and never worry about getting lost.

Some years ago that longing for the ocean took me to Destin, Florida. I rented a condo on the beach so that I could take early morning walks, commune with God and enjoy nature. That Sunday, on one of my walks I heard singing, I hurried in its direction, there on the beach I found a treasure — Church, out in the open, away from its normal enclosed structure, people had gathered, the act of worship was taking place — and God was there.

I’m excited about worshiping with hundreds of others tomorrow at the WOFLC, but I’m reminded that God is wherever we are. I’m amazed at how many acts of teaching, healing and restoration took place in ordinary spaces, (on the mountain side, by a pool, in the graveyard, in homes, along the road, on the shores) as long as Jesus encountered faith in Him, change took place. Many sick and hurting people sort him, crying out for mercy, asking for help, but he was also actively seeking those who needed him as well.

His “need to go through Samaria” brought about a life transforming experience for a woman whose life-choices had shamed her and made her an outcast in her community. His passing through Jericho connected him with a wealthy tax collector named Zaccheus whose life was renewed and priorities and goals altered after he met Jesus.

Are you hurting, sick, alone, outcast, bitter, angry, afraid, anxious, lost — Jesus is there, yes, there, where you are. Turn to Him in faith and tell Him about it, he will listen and act, because He cares.

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