Okay, be honest.

You’ve chuckled at a Representative Maxine Waters meme. Right? You’ve seen them…the ones where she is peering over the rim of her glasses, rolling her eyes, or pursing her lips with her hands tucked nicely under her chin.

For 14 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, she has given us “face” and social media has served it up in ways that have made us laugh and relate.

However, on July 27, 2017, it was not Rep. Waters’ facial expressions or body language that captured our attention. This time it was not what she looked like, but rather what she said.

On that day, her words that rocked the Internet. But more importantly, they ushered women into the room and sat us at the table beside her as she emphatically proclaimed, “Reclaiming my time!

Rep. Waters masterfully demonstrated her refusal to sit back and allow her time to be ignoredwasted, and undervalued.

While on center-stage, she would not tolerate a blatant dismissal of her voice or acquiesce to patronizing gestures cloaked in a strategic agenda to distract her. With laser-focused intentionality, She reclaimed it.

And in the process, her actions set many things in motion.

More memes, dance remixes, hashtags, and even in a gospel song, the phrase “Reclaiming my time” has been a trending phenomenon since the moment those words were uttered. As I write this article, no doubt the phrase is being printed on a t-shirt with a picture of What? Yep! in the background.

But amid all of the media hoopla, there has been something far greater at play here for women of color.

For generations, we have lost time or had time taken away….

Time when we were not recognized as valuable to a society that benefited from our work, yet preferred we act invisible while doing it.

Time when we were expected to “un-educate” ourselves in environments that did not know what to make of our intellect.

Time when we were compelled to mute ourselves to avoid the label of being “angry”.

Time when our physical, emotional, and mental health were compromised, while we lived in our own secret asylums because we believed our struggle would be misinterpreted and/or misunderstood.

Over time, our “time” has been mishandled and mismanaged. But the good news is, we can reclaim it and a whole lot of other things with it! With the same fervor and tenacity Rep. Waters modeled for us, it is our time to step on the center stage of our life. Let’s be clear…

To reclaim means to recoup, recover, or regain something that has been lost. This requires action of some sort.

It is not just enough to post a meme on social media, wear the t-shirt, or use the hashtag when you post.

Reclaiming requires 3 things:

1. A Fearless Heart

This is where you embrace your value to the degree that you become relentlessly unwavering in standing your ground while facing any person, place, or thing that would attempt to rob you of your authenticity. You push back every deeply entrenched notion that you are not enough and that you are inadequate.

This is the place where you fully show up – and RECLAIM your time!

2. A Future Story

This is where you recognize that your future story can be far greater than the narrative others have attempted to lock you into. It is here that you take the pen out of anyone’s hand who is not co-authoring your happily ever after – and RECLAIM your time!

3. A Freedom Mindset

This is where you free yourself to be yourself.

You take off the shackles that have held your mind captive to a history that has consistently served to sabotage your success. Here is where you commit to walk in the truth of who God created you to be and to do it unapologetically and RECLAIM your time!

Here is thing…in a couple of weeks, “Reclaiming my time” will no longer be trending or the hot topic. Something else will arise that will take its place. But, we cannot afford to allow it to escape us.

We must be vigilant in our pursuit to amplify the reclamation of our time and everything else that pertains to our sense of wholeness and well being.

I am not willing to give up what rightfully belongs to me. Are you?

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