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I am Not Your Enemy: An Open Letter to My Sister in Christ

By Rachel Barrett-Dolcine

 

11013205_10204872102615782_87614912772372477_nDear Sister,

Recently, I have experienced some successes that I wish I could share with you. I quietly celebrated because I was afraid that my happiness would drive a wedge between us. I hate feeling this way. I hate fearing that you will not see my success as your success. After all, we are sisters. We are sisters in business. We are sisters in ministry. But most importantly, we are sisters in Christ.

As I sit here, missing you, I sink deeper and deeper into my sadness. I have always celebrated you, cheered you on, encouraged you, and held your hand when you faced your darkest times. I have cried with you, prayed with you, laughed with you, and danced with you. Your happiness was always and will continue to be my happiness.

Where did it all go wrong? When did we get to this dark passage in our friendship? Where did all the light go?

Was it the day my successes outweighed yours? After years of struggle, tearful prayers, sacrifice, and hard work, God’s favor found its way to my doorstep. I expected you to be happy for me. Instead, your face darkened, your voice got harsh, and you abruptly ended a sisterhood that I believed was forged in fire.

Forged in fire. Or, so I thought.

Did you ever think that my blessing was your blessing, too? Did you ever think that my blessing was to be shared and enjoyed by the both of us? Did you ever think that my recognition, award, and accolades were a reflection of our joint efforts to do God’s will? Did you think I would forget you? Why did you let jealousy and envy cloud your emotions? Did you realize the pain and hurt your actions would cause me?

I am not your enemy.11042657_10204872102655783_1878106349200512215_n

I am your friend. I am your support. I am your prayer warrior. I am your cheerleader. I am a reflection of Christ in you. I am your sister.

The days pass by slowly, and I often wonder what life would be like if I was still living in your shadow. You would be happier and surely believe that all was right with the world. Did you ever truly believe that I had a purpose, too? I want you to know that God has a plan for my life that exceeds anything I could ever want and supersedes what you or anyone else think I could or should become. God is big enough to bless us both.

Sister, I miss you. There are times when I wish that things were different. Then, I smile and am thankful and grateful for this painful experience.

I want to thank you for turning away from me. Your jealousy has forced me to turn my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. Your envy has driven me into the arms of a gracious and loving God. Your harsh words have made me seek the God who mends broken hearts and heals every wound.

I forgive you. Don’t ever forget you are my sister. Forever my sister.

We will not be enemies.

 

Loving You Always,

Your Sister in Christ

 

RachelDRachel J. Barrett-Dolcine, CEO of Compass Consulting and Training Solutions is an innovative strategist with extensive experience in training & development, nonprofit management and consulting for small business start-ups. Through its Community Giving Back Program, Compass facilitates free training classe
s and workshops for nonprofit and community organizations that are on a limited budget.

Rachel is an Adjunct Faculty member at two local community colleges, a Certified CPR/First Aid Train the Trainer Instructor, an approved Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Office of Childcare (OCC) Core of Knowledge Trainer. She also sits on two nonprofit boards and is the Founder of the Joseph & Vera Douglas Family Foundation.

Rachel lives in Randallstown, Maryland with her husband and son.

Don’t Judge Cinderella

 

[This article was originally published by Elayna Fernandez on August 18, 2014.]

dont-judge-cinderella-1024x632I once read a quote stated by Al Pacino for his character in a movie called City Hall (which I have not seen, because I do not watch R-rated movies), and this quote explains very well what I mean by “don’t judge Cinderella”:

“Be careful how you judge people; you don’t sum up a man’s life in one moment.”

We often sum up the lives of other women, fairy princesses, and other species, especially other moms. At the sight of another mom’s success, joy, and fortune, we judge her Cinderella story:

  • “Who does she think she is? She doesn’t belong in a castle!”
  • “How did she get so lucky? The prince could have chosen ANY girl. . .and he chose her!”
  • “This is ridiculous. The slipper fits, and she gets to marry a prince!”

As the goodly townspeople we are, we nod, smile, and wave at her. We may even throw rice at the carriage. . .Yet, inside we secretly resent her “happy ending” and are very suspicious of her fairy tale. We suddenly become experts in her life, her feelings, her intentions, her thoughts, and even her capabilities!

  • “Maybe she’s a gold-diggerit can’t be true love after meeting the prince just once!”
  • “She is nice now, but just wait until the crown gets to her head [literally!]”
  • “Sure, she’s pretty, but is she smart enough to rule a kingdom?”

We make up a shaming story about Cinderella without knowing of the hurtful loss, the hard work, the tough challenges, the unfair trials, the endless tears, and the insurmountable patience that preceded the happy ending.

We start with judgment, and then comes the jealousy, and we end up with justification (and for reasons we wouldn’t admit: her man, her promotion, her car, her well-mannered kids, her confidence, and even her shoes!). “How can she walk in those?” is not a tutorial request, if you know what I mean.

What is so insulting about Cinderella’s fairy tale? Henry David Thoreau once put it this way:

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”

Let’s be honest. Cinderella is just following her fairy tale script. She was born to be a queen, and, believe me, she paid her dues. Cinderella is making the choices that are right for her, knowing the townspeople will criticize her either way. Our problem is not with Cinderella; our issue is with ourselves.

  • We feel insecure, unhappy, or unfulfilled.
  • We feel threatened, scared, or intimidated.
  • We feel envy because we want what she has.

And yes, Cinderella may find offense in our thoughts, actions, and words —if she ever finds out— but, quite frankly, she will move on with her fairy tale life. We, on the other hand, get to keep the shame, guilt, and harsh self-judgment.

Next time you witness or find out about someone’s “happy ending,” don’t sum up her life in a moment. Avoid stereotyping (fairy princesses are not all alike!), monitor your thoughts, and ask yourself what the true story could be; or, better yet, ask your Cinderella about her journey. . .you will be surprised.

I encourage you to catch yourself, appreciate the self-awareness, and remember how it feels to be judged. . .chances are that, like me, you have been in her glass slippers. . .maybe even more than once.

Are you judging Cinderella?

 

ela-laptop-the-positive-mom-227x300A former desolate, homeless, penniless single mom, Elayna Fernandez is a bestselling author, international keynote speaker, and award-winning success guide, often featured on mainstream media sharing her expertise on how to develop a Millionaire Mom Mindset, BE Positive, and Discover, Live, Balance, Monetize, and Radiate your Passions, in order to create JOY, BALANCE and SUCCESS on your own terms without mommy guilt, struggle, or overwhelm. Her 7p Guerrilla Positioning System™ (GPS) teaches how to turn your passion into your paycheck and elevate your Impact, Income, and Influence.

 

Stingy Love: The Dirty Secret of Jealousy

 

IMG_0150-2Stingy Love.

Authentic feelings.

Integrity.

This past week, I felt a feeling that makes me uncomfortable. It was the ping of jealously. Then, I felt guilty for feeling it. Then, I felt mad. Then, I felt resentful. I was jealous of another woman’s success. There. . .I said it out loud. True confessions. I was looking from the “outside” at what I thought was somehow “better,” and I was getting caught up in the “Comparison Chaos.”

None of this feels good. It actually made me feel nauseous. I felt “yucky.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.

The truth is, I want you to be successful. I want to celebrate your success as a person, as a fellow traveler on the path of life. I want to cheer you on and have you cheer me on, too. But I have to remember that you cannot read my mind, and that it is not under my control what you do or don’t do. I have to remind myself that all that glitters is not gold, and that what I see on social media is not the entire picture. It is one snapshot moment. I have to watch out for the snare of envy. When I am caught in that snare, I am not doing the work that God has called me to do.

It is my job to do my work, clean up my side of the street, and love you with no strings attached. It is not my job to watch you do your work and talk about your work and wonder why my work is not looking like your work. Get it?

It is not my job to get you to like me or love me, to patrol you, to coerce you or to force you. It is my job to love you and do what I have committed to doing for you—regardless of the outcome. It is my job to cheer for you, pick you up, cry with you if needed, and love you along the messy path.

Be willing to give love.

Be willing to share the victory.

Be willing to let go of expectations.

Be willing to be vulnerable.

Be willing to be generous with your praise.

Be willing to cheer for your sister in Christ.

It is time to release yourself from your own bondage. Be you. There is no need to compete with your authentic, true, gorgeous self!

diane-nacwesignDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.