I thought it was time to share a personal story.
This week, I decided to take a 7-day hiatus from social media, the first big break since launching my virtual ministry on Facebook in 2016.
I felt it was time to take a moment to reflect on things and to ensure that I was mentally and emotionally ready for the increase that is about to come.
You see, I have this "thing" about success. I love working towards it. I love being successful. I love setting goals and seeing them realized.
But a traumatic experience from my past often reminds me that success can come and go in the blink of an eye, especially when one is not prepared to handle the conflict that arises with such increase.
And that's where I find myself right now: in a state of excitement for this growth, yet at the same time anxious about what's to come.
Being a leader is terrifying, yet everyone finds it so attractive.
Being in the forefront of ministry, any ministry, can sometimes place undue pressure on a person.
I know this because I've been in a spotlight nearly my entire life.
My parents are pastors of a church in California. My sister and I were always scrutinized by members of the church. Our names were constantly in people's mouths. Folks waited around for our demise so they could run their mouths, speaking more evil about us, all because we were the Pastor's daughters.
Growing up in this kind of limelight--although not on a national platform like some daughters--was tough. It affected me emotionally and physically at times; and quite often, no matter how much success I acquired, no matter how much I had empowered other people, some church members would find a reason to make us feel like "we weren't doing enough."
On top of being a pastor's daughter, I was also a well-known teacher in the Fairfield-Suisun school district; and I was fire! (J/K...I don't like to brag.)
I loved working with my students, seeing them take the written and spoken word and using it to bring change on the campus.
Once again, I found myself giving and giving and giving until I became so vulnerable that my life was literally in danger. My teaching career within the public school ended after a student threatened me, assaulted me, and lied on me to the police, forcing me to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend myself.
Talking or writing about the incident still hurts me...but I've managed to turn that story into a ministry that now helps other women overcome their hurts.
But again, with that level of success, I experienced a downfall.
Each time I've given myself over to an area of ministry--whether in the schools or in the churches--I could sense God nudging me into another level.
But the problem was I would become too comfortable in my position that I would technically rebel against his prodding. It took some time, but before long, God led me to start a virtual ministry of which you now experience; and again, I'm back in the spotlight.
My experiences have taught me that when this happens and there comes a time for increase, my rebellion against such prodding places me in precarious situations.
And right now, I can see the increase right before me. I see the Lord wanting to lead me through a new door of opportunity. I can see Him taking me beyond my current place and putting me in position to where thousands more will be impacted by my message.
But the problem I'm dealing with is that, once again, I am finding myself comfortable in my current place. I'm content with my current influence; and ultimately, I'm content with not having so many people look to me for guidance.
And now I have a choice: Either I can stay where I'm at and experience turmoil for resisting the Holy Spirit or I can trust Him and walk through this new door of opportunity.
Sometimes, the spotlight is exhilarating. I love when I can see other people grow as a result of my teachings and training.
But sometimes the spotlight is too bright, and that's when I'm ready to retreat.
As bold and ambitious as I am at times, I'm also extremely private. I love my alone time. If I'm not in the forefront of something, then I don't have to deal with disappointments, haters, naysayers, and more.
For me, I know all too well what it's like to work extremely hard at manifesting one's dream. I did that before, and I never imagined that there would be people in the world who would try and tear that down.
I learned many lessons while traveling "in the valley." But now that my life is taking a new turn for the better, I find myself wanting to retreat back into my cave, faraway from people so I can be protected.
A couple years ago, I started noticing something different in me. I had recently moved to Sacramento, California to build a new, private life for me and my daughter.
The quietness, the privacy, the serenity of it all made me comfortable. I felt safe. I was away from family and friends, who, unfortunately, caused a lot of stress for me during that time.
I created a new life in my quaint, little cave. My daughter met new friends in the neighborhood; and for the first time in years, I was happy...genuinely happy.
I started working on my own writing business. I met great clients, who were Christian Authors.
And then just as I was relishing in the comforts of my private life, the Lord came to me, asking, "Where is your message?"
Where are you, Felecia?
You may recall that time when God asked Adam, "Where are you?"
Of course, that was a rhetorical question. The Lord knew exactly where Adam was. But He also knew something was wrong because before then, they had perfect fellowship with each other.
Back in 2016, the Lord presented a similar question to me, except He didn't speak this to me alone.
He sent one of His prophets--someone I had never known--and gave Him a word concerning my life. I want to share this word with you right now.
This word was so accurate and came at a time when I was comfortable in my "cave."
2018 was filled with so many new things:
Newness everywhere! And as these new opportunities emerged, so did those old fears.
Fears of someone stealing my life again...
Fears of someone harming me or my daughter as I became more public...
Fears of not knowing if my finances would be enough to keep us moving forward, especially if I devoted myself full-time to this work of ministry.
But I knew I couldn't hide any longer. I knew it was time for me to return to the call that was "vowed" on me years ago.
And so, I began the work again, this time, using the virtual space.
I started hosting LIVE Bible study teachings on Facebook, hoping that I could help women with their walk and calling.
Each lesson I taught stemmed from my own experience.
And while I knew some people would be critical and condescending because they read negative articles about me, I still showed up, not knowing how far my reach would go.
Needless to say, within months, my teachings have reached tens of thousands of people online...and now it's growing beyond what I could dream.
Will I go or will I stay?
Fast forward to 2018, and I find myself wanting to retreat again into my private cave, not because anything wrong is happening but because I can feel that next level approaching.
I have accomplished the tasks I needed to do since 2016; and just when I became comfortable in my current spotlight of just working with a few people, I am now met with new opportunities that will put me before new people.
And this is scary to me.
What will I face?
Who will I meet?
Will the people receive the message I have to give?
Can I handle this new level and these new opportunities without experiencing another heart-break?
Success for some people is scary, even though we strive diligently to achieve it.
But my anxiety is not enough to keep me incapacitated.
Instead, I take that fear, convert that energy into faith, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me even as I lead others.
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