Originally Posted: February 15, 2016 on On Reserve: A Blog for the Modern Day Esther I frequently talk about the importance of knowing Whose you are because I believe that it is vital for this generation to grab hold of the truth that the God of the Universe, thought enough about you, and loved you so much that He sent His son, Jesus to die so that you may live more abundantly in freedom, in peace, in the covering of His grace and His mercy, in the encasing of His love and in relationship with Him both here on earth and in Heaven. Within the past few years, The Lord has shown me that it is just as important to know yourself. One of the greatest risks that we take in life, is not taking the time to learn who we are under the guise of wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit because we place more value on the opinion and approval of others. If we are not careful, we become a chameleon in life: we blend in with our circumstances, our surroundings and those with whom we have built relationship, because we think we have to. We become merely a shell of a person, because the substantial things that make up our character are grossly underdeveloped. How sad is it to think that some never reach the fullness of the purpose that God has for them because they let the gifts and talents that He placed inside of them remain dormant, and chose to focus on what they thought they were supposed to do as opposed to seeking the Lord about what He was calling them to do? There was a book that I felt impressed in my spirit to buy, read and eventually gift to other young women, called The Wait by actress Meagan Good and her husband DeVon Franklin. In obedience to what I believe the Lord was requiring of me at this juncture within my Esther season, last week leading into Valentine’s Day weekend, I read the book from start to finish! There were so many great points nestled between the pages, but my prayer was that the Lord would allow me to get out of it what He would have me to see and that He would make it clear to me; and boy did He come through! I took this weekend as a divine opportunity to refocus my attentions and take a good, hard, necessary and introspective look at my life: answering the 32 guided questions from the book and seeking the Lord for revelation on and understanding about the root of my decision making as it pertains to the relationship that I have with God, my family, my friends, and romantically. It was emotional at times, but such an exciting experience and I am convinced that I will grow from what I’ve learned. One thing that Meagan and DeVon make mention of a lot in the book is that the Wait is not so much about the other person as much as it is about you being prepared by God for the very best that He has for your life in every area. That’s such a powerful thing! My mom instilled in me when I was younger to “take the time to enjoy the season that you’re in.” This is something that I have carried with me into adulthood and new revelations come to me through her sage wisdom. I am excited about what the Lord is doing and it is with patience and hopeful expectation that I look forward to the future and I pray the same for you!
One of my favorite college courses in undergraduate school was "Interpersonal Communication." This class was so instrumental in my way of thinking as it related to my own relationships with the people around me. New social media platforms were emerging, sapping up countless hours and sucking its users into a world that led to an isolation from their surroundings which caused them to miss out on things that are happening in the here and now.
I can recall thinking about the home in which my sisters and I had been raised. We had one television in our family room where we watch wholesome tv programs and movies, one house phone that our loved ones called on and ate homecooked meals at our kitchen table every night. My parents instilled in us the importance of open communication, quality time with loved ones and perhaps the most important lesson, to value and nurture our relationships with God our family and our friends.
This book, God Speaks Your Love Language by Gary Chapman, helped put into perspective how the Lord speaks to me. Chapman provides sage wisdom and deep insights in each chapter. His background as a psychologist, his experience as a seasoned Christian, and his success as a Marriage and Family Life consultant, offers the reader a unique perspective on how we feel and receive love first from God and subsequently from others.
My process for reading this book was to first take the Love Language Quiz to discover what my Love Language(s) were and then I read the book from cover to cover. This was such an easy and enjoyable read!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in our comment section below.
Some of the most important conversations that I had growing up were around my family’s kitchen or dining room table. I can remember my mom asking my sisters and me, “If you could do anything for free, what would it be?” When it got to me, my answer for as long as I can remember was, “writing and ministry.” I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. When it came time for me to go to college, I had planned to study creative writing as my major, but the Holy Spirit prompted my Mom to encourage me to look into going into Communication Studies instead. I am so glad that I went that route. I absolutely loved being a Comm major because it offered me the chance to explore my creativity in ways that I wasn’t even aware of and explore possibilities that I would not have considered otherwise. Through different classes, I was able to find my strength in different areas of the field and discover what I gravitated toward. The process of interviewing and the composition of articles intrigued me, the study of interpersonal communication and gaining more understanding on how to connect with people in person and over the air ways (broadcast journalism) was invaluable. So much of my outside study in undergrad was tracking trends, namely Social Media trends and Pop Culture trends. I had been tracking social media trends long before it was a hot topic. I recall being in a class for which I wrote an eight to ten-page paper on Twitter. It was about what the platform did and why I thought it was going to be the next big thing since Facebook. In the years that followed, Twitter became increasingly popular on my campus. In the same way, I love to follow pop culture trends, namely as it pertains to new music and lifestyle. I was often told that my radio show introduced students and faculty alike to new artists. My research mostly consisted of finding underground artists to whom I enjoyed listening like Algebra Blessett, Tori Kelly, Anthony David, Bad Rabbits, and others, and added them into my rotation. I’ve been following some of these artists for years and to see their steady progression to varying levels of success is exciting to watch. When I got to my Master’s program, I wanted to keep that momentum going. I majored and graduated with an Interactive Media degree with a focus in Social Media. What was cool about this major was that I got to create different types of content, learn about the analytics available on each platform and different programs that you could use to track them. What I fell in love with was the process of creating different content for different platforms and watching how followers interacted with the content posted. That was always my favorite part and was a concept that my late grandmother had shared with me before. She said, “Ariel you have to learn to love the process of creating.”
I had interned, contributed to and worked for different publications, but I felt like something was missing. The day after I graduated from graduate school, I received an email to be a social media writer for a major publication in Atlanta. I took the job and for about six months had the chance to create my own questions for the people I was assigned to interview, write my articles and submit them for publication to be seen by the fanbase of the publication I was interning with.That is when I discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the time, I just didn’t know there was a name for it.
This year, while watching the news in a New York hotel room, I happened upon a segment called “InfulenceHER” and it was about the growing job market of social media influencers. It provided insight on what it is that influencers do, how they make money, and how they are growing their businesses.One of the women interviewed was, Brittany Hennessy. She is an influence marketer, strategist and author of the book Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in The Age of Social Media. After watching the segment, I opened my Amazon app and went to add the book into my cart. What I realized is that I had the book in my recently viewed section, confirmation much? I purchased the book before leaving New York and received it in the mail two days later. I could not wait to read it. In true Ari fashion, I had my pencil and my colorful highlighters ready so that I could take notes from each chapter and digest the knowledge that Hennessy carefully penned on each page. As I continued reading, I began to see more clearly the job that I had tried to define, a content creator. I want to be a content creator for lifestyle brands. It combines my passion for writing, my love for pop culture and my desire to be a reliable and relatable source of information for the everyday person. I finished reading Influencer in about a week and ½ ‘s time, and I learned so much from it. I was even able to reach out to Hennessy over Instagram and discuss some of its content in more depth. That was certainly an added bonus. I was so encouraged by her words that I am now working on pursuing my passion with greater fervor, trusting the Lord to order my steps and put me on the radar of those lifestyle companies and brands with whom I am called to work.