|Posted on August 10, 2019 at 8:20 PM||comments (0)|
One of the things I’ve been advocating for most of the summer is for my real-life friends and social media followers to truly embrace self-care. Yes, the care of one’s self. Not the care of your children, partners, spouses, parents, church folks, La Di, Da Di, or everybody else.
Those in helping professions, especially those of us who are clergy, educators, social workers, and medical care providers do great at taking care of others but not so great of caring for ourselves.
Recently on a Facebook Live video, I declared myself the Ministry of Self Care in some spaces I operate in because I see so many people operating on empty. Pouring into others while walking around dehydrated and malnourished because they haven’t taken the time to relax, relate, or release.
For me, relaxation ranges from marinating on the couch watching mindless reality television to taking a hike on a walking path in the woods. For some, it’s a day at the spa or an evening out with friends. While the care we extend to ourselves can vary, my prayer is that more people will see the need to take the much needed time to do what wakes their spirit up! So often we think that our spirits are only awakened in prayer, but just imagine how you could hear from God if you were so in tune with your body that you could detect God’s voice over your fatigue, negative self-talk, and distractions?
What if you remembered what you enjoyed? What if you allowed God to be in control while you went and exhaled?
Trust me; the world will continue to revolve if you took a few extra minutes each week to breathe!
P.s. We may just continue to conversation at the Women in Ministry Fellowship & Preaching Intensive. Because you’ve diligently read this blog, feel free to use code LookNLive for $20 off the WIMF registration through Aug. 31.
|Posted on August 7, 2019 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
On Tuesday Aug. 6, communities across the country observed National Night Out. After attending a church-sponsored event, I recorded a video that may help you and your ministry rethink how to use the national calendar as you pray and plan events to allow you to minister beyond the walls.
|Posted on August 6, 2019 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
In my personal life, I am a couponer. While I don’t take the time necessary to maximize my results like others, the employees of CVS know me personally, and I think they await my jokes and weekly shenanigans. I’m so dramatic some days when I’m rolling around the store with my cart trying to make my coupons and my dollars holler!
I’ve always liked a good deal and usually, refrain from buying 80% of the consumer goods I need or want unless it’s on sale. I thought it made perfect sense until about two years ago when I realized that by only choosing the lesser-priced item, I was often not getting what I wanted or what I needed. While I was saving money here and there, I was developing a mindset of lack and not acknowledging that God had now blessed me with the resources that now I don’t have to nickel and dime EVERY experience in my life. Trust me; it’s hard when you’ve been wired a certain way for years! My parents and grandparents aren’t even as thrifty, and I didn’t grow up in significant lack. I’ve wondered if my struggles during early adulthood are where I took on this wrestling with a dollar and poverty mentality?
Even as I confront my thrifty ways, I now find myself confronting the same thoughts I, too, would have likely spoken years ago when I deemed most things “too expensive.”
As I share information about the upcoming Women in Ministry Fellowship & Preaching Intensive, I’ve had the questions, “Is it that the REAL price?” “What are you going to get for that?”
Breathe, Arlecia, Breathe.
As someone who has traveled as an evangelist, planned two revivals as a pastor, and who also happens to be the daughter of a church treasurer, I know the root of these questions and why they exist.
As we began to plan the fellowship, we knew we would have to increase the cost of for this third gathering. While the presenters for the first two gatherings were close colleagues and friends, this time we’ve decided to invite in a nationally known speaker! It’s not just about Dr. Knight’s prominence within the Black Church, but God kept bringing her name back to me as I wrestled with if I wanted to embrace the “sweet torture” of trying this again! Dr. Knight has taught thousands of preachers in one setting at Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, as well as in classrooms as seminary preaching professor. She’s not new to this; she’s true to this!
Knowing that women aren’t often fairly compensated for their gifts whether they are in the secular workforce or the church, we have already decided that if we host this event, we will properly honor our guest clinician. Also, we must pay for a flight, hotel room, as well as meals and other matters of hospitality during her stay.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to be invited to speak at megachurch’s women’s conference of about 270 women. Let me tell you; I’m still basking in the hospitality of that experience. As a native of Charleston, the friendliest city In the country, I realize that you don’t have to be “BIG” to be hospitable.
While a sister recently told me she was given a $25 check after preaching as a guest minister, just know that their level of honor will not be the level honor, we will operate in at Look ‘n Live Ministries, Inc. Years ago, when the ministry was established, a friend who is the daughter of pastors reminded me, “The Gospel is free, but there is a cost to do ministry.”
And while the costs may not be clear to many, just know that the cost or registration will ensure that not only are we able to fully accommodate the speaker, but that we are also able to properly accommodate you as an attendee. For lunch, we’ve contracted a Lowcountry caterer who appears on a show that just premiered on the Food Network. We didn’t contract her because of celebrity status, but she can “sho-nuff” cook and is committed to quality and sanitation! You can’t come to Charleston and have subpar food! Due to late registrations in 2017, we had to cut a few corners the last time, but that won’t be the experience this time around.
So, yes, registration is $147 per person until August 31. A lower registration won’t allow us to provide the quality of fellowship we desire to put forth nor properly host our guest speaker. Instead of a hot lunch and snacks, we’ll have to feast on the Lord.
Additionally, paid registrations will allow us to extend eight scholarships to young women aged 18-25. While many who attend will have the testimony of answering their call to ministry later in life, we want to affirm the generation behind us.
I get it; sometimes, you don’t want to invest in an experience hosted by a stranger. I do understand, and recognize that this fellowship may not be for everyone due to finances, doubt of value, or disinterest in the topic. I get it. However, I know that those who invest in the experience will be blessed in ways they never imagined.
So here’s what I need those interested in the fellowship to do: register before Aug. 31. Having a headcount by that time will help us discern whether we can legitimately host this event. If you're not in the intended audience or simply can't make the meeting, feel free to support one of the scholarsips as a sponsor.
While we recognize this is what God has called us to do, we want to execute this offering of worship decently and in order! We will not offer God a bootlegged offering!
If you have further questions about the Women in Ministry Fellowship & Preaching Intensive, please call me directly at 864-571-0470.
In God's Service,
Rev. Dr. Arlecia Simmons
|Posted on July 10, 2019 at 1:20 AM||comments (0)|
Although they are not in government custody, Mondays may make some people feel like they're in Witness Protection. This message isn't for everyone, but for those whose workdays feel like an alternative Universe, this message is for you.
All weekend long you've laughed, danced, enjoyed your family, used your gifts, and lived your best life. Now Monday is here, and you must wear a mask so you can do a job you don't quite love while being in an environment with people whom you don't necessarily like while laughing at jokes that aren't funny. There's one task after the other that does not bring you joy, but you must go through the motions because an income is needed. It's likely your dreams are in one place, and you are in another operating under an assumed identity!
Today I encourage you to not become comfortable with your dreams being a distant memory while you've gotten comfortable assuming an identity not reflective of who you are or what you've been called to do.
My prayer for you is that the matter between you and your dreams be quickly brought to "justice"! May you assume your God-ordained identity and operate in the earth as God intended you to do.
May you soon be reunited with your dreams!
As always, continue to look and live!
|Posted on June 18, 2019 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Every Father's Day evening during my childhood, my family would drop my uncle and other church members off to catch the bus to attend an annual meeting of my childhood denomination that is taking place this week in Baltimore. This morning, my mother sent me an email that lists all the particulars of this meeting that she was unable to attend this year. One of the first things I noticed is a flyer for a late night service that featured 11 male pastors and preachers.
While there weren't all of these fancy flyers in the 80s and 90s, images of all men as preachers are the only ones I saw growing up as a Baptist youth. And while I knew a few women who were evangelists and licentiates, at an early age, I knew who got to speak on God's behalf.
While memory and journals indicate a call to ministry as a teen, it would take until my mid-30s to finally answer this wondrous calling that I wrestle with daily.
Images such as the flyer I reviewed today also reinforce why I try to do my small part to build up women who preach, struggle with answering that call, or have silenced the thought because they believe there is no room for their voices. After hosting my first Women in Ministry Fellowship in 2014, I'll never forget a male pastor asking, "Who told you, you could do that?"
I answered, "the Holy Ghost." I am now an ordained woman within American Baptist Churches USA, and I have moved geographically and theologically away from my early formation that affirmed I was to be quiet in the church.
My prayer this week is for safe travels for all who will gather in that space. I pray that the preached words and training will bless all who attend these sessions. I also pray that those sisters who participate as teachers, missionaries, youth workers, and first ladies will feel affirmed and stirred even more to answer callings some have likely muted. I also pray for that teen girl who is still figuring out the voice of God. May what she sees not mute or override that still small voice that she hears! And may what she is hearing be confirmed by a prophetic voice along the way!
If you are a woman you know have been called to the preaching ministry and would like to be streinghted as a proclaimer of the Gospel, consider joining us on Oct. 12, 2019, for our third instalment of our Women in Ministry Fellowship. Register today
|Posted on May 3, 2019 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
Even a real cook has experienced the frustration of quickly grabbing the wrong seasoning and ruining a good dish/pot.
Whether you grabbed nutmeg when you meant to shake paprika or you didn't shift the top from pour to sprinkle, many of us have improperly seasoned a dish in progress.
This morning in meditation, I considered that the same has happened in some of our lives!
Maybe you thought the love you had found was some "raw sugar" that would sweeten only to learn you had added grits.
The texture is off, it lacks salt, and the longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove.
Maybe you thought you were sprinkling "cinnamon" in hopes of adding the right spice to your life, only to find it was bitter herbs.
Today the Spirit says "Throw the whole pot away and start from scratch‼"
As I reconsider what shifts need to happen on the menu of my life, may you also consider that the proverbial dish/pot you've been trying to save may need to be taken straight to the dumpster! You'll get the resources for new ingredients, a revised recipe, and God is God enough even to change and heighten your tastebuds. Trust me, the cinnamon flavored chicken I once cooked was salvaged but as we Geechee say "ee ane ha eat gud!"
Rev. Dr. Arlecia Simmons
|Posted on September 16, 2018 at 10:00 PM||comments (1)|
Don't let the title fool you, but this book is for any single adult who has the pleasure of dating in these innanet streets!
If you're a single woman who has ever received that "Hello, Beautiful" text message, you already know the challenges of dating in the digital age when you receive more characters than phone calls or visits.
This ebook is funny, informative, and above all it is a quick read!
And even if you're married, it makes for good comedy!
So the next time someone text you WYD, you'll consider what you really need to do.
Thank you for your support!
Go to http://bit.ly/GMBDating to order your copy!
|Posted on September 4, 2018 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
A #LaborDay reflection honoring #women:
Today I'd like to honor the sisters/sistahs who labor tirelessly to keep the wheels turning.
From working 2 to 3 jobs as a mama trying to make ends meet to staying up all night to bake cakes so the PTA or the church house can meet their budgets, what would we do without hardworking women?
It's work just walking out into the world as a woman, as our work is expanded by all of the additional expectations of bosses, coworkers, clients, customers, patients, and students. We get one paycheck although we have multiple assignments.
Even if we have one title or job description, the assumption is that we'll always serve as ex-officio members on everyone's committee or team! If we are students, we become the instructors on life for those sitting near us.
So today, whether you are working on your entrepreneural endeavors, finishing out your shift, or sashaying around your house in a caftan, I salute your labor.
I salute your rising early in the morning and being the last to go to bed.
I salute our labor.
I thank #God for our gifted hands and righteous minds that make ways out of know ways.
I salute you, �� woman.
In Power and Perseverance,
|Posted on August 3, 2018 at 2:20 PM||comments (1)|
Some exciting things have been going on in my world, and I will soon share them via my new website. If possible, please like my new https://www.facebook.com/DrLecia/" target="_blank">Facebook page for updates. You can also search for @DrLecia on FB.
I recently took a trip to the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. When time permits, you can read about it here.
As always, continue to look and live!