Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color

Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color

by Iyanla Vanzant

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Overview

Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color by Iyanla Vanzant

Acts of Faith is a thoughtful and inspirational book that explores the unique pressures on people of color today with great insight and sensitivity. This book is the minimum daily requirement for people of color in search of inspiration and support.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743484398
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/28/2004
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 300,573
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.87(h) x (d)

About the Author

With more than 8 million books in print, Iyanla Vanzant has truly established a dedicated fan base.
Iyanla's path to success took her through a multitude of life-changing experiences that shaped the profound insights she eagerly shares with others. A neglected, overweight, sexually abused child who was shuttled from one family to another, she became a teenage mother on welfare living in the projects of a major urban city. Vanzant took control of her life when she walked out of her second abusive marriage and entered Medgar Evers College in New York and then the City University of New York Law School. She moved to Philadelphia with her children and became a public defender for three years. Then she eventually became an ordained minister, who was committed to a message based on the principles of divine power and self-determination.

Iyanla combined her professional skills with her life's lessons and embarked on a writing and speaking career. Her mass appeal is evident in her overwhelming success as an author. In the Meantime was a #1 New York Times bestseller, where it spent 20 weeks on the list, and she has had numerous other major bestsellers. As a nationally recognized speaker she has sold out such prestigious venues as New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, Atlanta's Civic Center, and the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Vanzant is also familiar to the daytime TV audience from her role as a regular contributor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Acclaimed journalist and producer Barbara Walters recognized Vanzant's extraordinary appeal, seeing in her a "breakaway talent" with the potential for huge success in daytime television. With Walters and partner Bill Geddie on board to executive produce, Buena Vista Productions to develop the show, and Buena Vista Television as distributor, the road to Iyanla was forged.

Vanzant has received numerous accolades for her work. In 1992 Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley named October 21st "Tapping the Power Within Day" in honor of a workshop she presented in that city for African-American women. In 1994, the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Education, an organization comprised of the presidents and administrators of the 117 predominantly Black colleges in the United States named her Alumni of the Year. She also was awarded an "Oni" by the International Congress of Black Women as one of the nation's unsung heroes, and she served as the national spokesperson for Literacy Volunteers of America in 1998.

In 1999 she was listed among the 100 Most Influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine. Later that year, she was awarded the 31st NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction" for Yesterday I Cried. She also earned her first Honorary Doctorate degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the City University of New York, Medgar Evars College. In 2000, she earned her second honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, from the Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Ebony has named her one of their "55 Most Intriguing People," Vibe magazine tabbed her one of "100 Leaders of the New Millennium" and Newsweek recently included her as one of the "Women of the New Century."

The mother of three and grandmother of four, Vanzant lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Adeyemi and Mr. Coco, their cat.

To learn how Iyanla can help you get started on your journey toward spiritual enlightenment, visit Inner Visions Worldwide, Inc., at
www.innervisionsworldwide.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

January 1

There is a power greater than myself who loves me exactly as I Am.

The stress began the day you learned you were expected to please other people. Parents wanted you to stay clean and be quiet. Neighbors wanted you to be respectful and helpful. Teachers wanted you to be attentive and alert. Friends wanted you to share and hang out. Whenever you failed to do exactly what someone expected of you, you weren't good, or good enough. You were bad, weak or dumb. Unfortunately, you began to believe it. Giving in to the demands, day by day, you lost a little more of yourself and your understanding of the truth. The truth is you are fine, just the way you are! Perfect in your imperfection! You are divine! Growing brighter and more brilliant each day, you can accept the truth of who you are. The next time you want to know who you are, what you are or if something is the right thing to do, don't ask your neighbor -- ask the power within...and pay attention to the response!

The divine power within knows exactly who I Am!

January 2

Our hearts are the wrapping which preserve God's word, we need no more.
The Koran, Sura 4:155

When was the last time you sat down to have a heart to heart with yourself? Have you really examined your heart lately? Are you harboring childhood wounds? Are you still nursing a broken heart? Are you frightened? Angry? Guilty or ashamed? Is there someone you need to apologize to? Who have you forgiven lately? If God were to speak through your heart today, what would you hear? In the everyday quest to get through life, we sometimes forget we really do have all weneed. It's tucked away safely inside of us. It contributes to our thoughts and motivates our actions. If we clear it out it will actually speak to us and tell us exactly what to do. When was the last time you had a heart to heart with yourself?

With a pure heart, I am balanced in life.

January 3

Don't be afraid to look at your faults.
Yoruba proverb

Even though we know there is always room for improvement, we tend to shy away from criticism. Our egos tell us we are being attacked and quite naturally we want to strike back. In order to be whole, healthy beings, we need to know all there is to know about ourselves. Sometimes that information must come from others. This may mean admitting that we are not always right, and knowing it is okay to make a mistake. A mistake, an error, a poor choice, or bad decision does not equal "there is something wrong with me." It means you are on your way to being better. We do not make mistakes on the basis of race or color. We make them because we are human. When we acknowledge our errors and face up to our shortcomings, no one can use them against us.

I Am not afraid to admit when I am wrong.

January 4

Take a day to heal from the lies you've told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.
Maya Angelou

There comes a time when we have to pause to listen to what we are telling ourselves -- "I'm so stupid," "I'm broke," "I don't know how," "I can't take it anymore..." Yet in the midst of our dishonest chatter we are making great strides, accomplishing many tasks, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. We can't see it because we keep lying to ourselves. We lie because we've been lied to -- "You're no good," "You can't do it," "You'll never make it," "How do you think you're gonna do that..." We can't think because there are so many lies running loose in our minds. The only way to eradicate a lie is with the truth. We must not only speak the truth, we must think in truth. The truth is, we start from a place where success is born, in the mind's eye of the Most High. The truth is that no one has ever made a true deal with the Master and lost.

The truth springs forth from my mind.

January 5

STOP!

Most of us know exactly what it is that creates the pain, confusion, stagnation and disruption in our lives. Whether it is a habit, behavior, relationship or fear, we know. Unfortunately, we seem powerless to stop whatever it is. Sometimes we believe we don't have the discipline or willpower to stop. The behavior becomes so habitual we do it without thinking. Other times we know exactly what it is and what we do, but we simply keep doing it anyway. We are the only ones responsible for what goes on in our lives. We can make excuses and blame others, but we are responsible to and for ourselves. When we find something or someone creating in our lives that which we do not want, we must muster the courage and strength to stop it.

Today I use my power to stop what is no longer good to me.

January 6

You've got to get the mind cleared out before you put the truth in it.
Minister Louis Farrakhan

Everyone has something they are ashamed of, afraid of or that they feel guilty about. Each of us in our own way will devise a neat little method of handling it. Some of us deny. Some of us blame. Some of us do a combination of both. Undoubtedly the day will come when we will be forced to examine that which we have tucked away. We can willingly begin the process of examination by telling the truth to ourselves about ourselves. We all have the right to make mistakes. Our fault is being righteous about it. When we fail to admit our faults, the faults become what everyone can see. When we refuse to admit what we have done in the past, we block our path to the future. No matter how terrible we think we are, how bad we believe we have been, how low we think we have fallen, we can clean out our minds and begin again.

The only way out is truth.

January 7

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and to be that perfectly.
St. Francis De Sales

A minister friend of mine once told me, "On the seventh day God rested." He said, "It is good and very good." Then we come along and try to improve on perfection. For people of color, the most damaging habit we have is trying to be who and what we are not. We expend so much energy trying to fix who we are, we rarely get to really know ourselves. If we truly realized how precious the gift of life is, we would not waste a moment trying to improve it. If we really understood how precious we are to the gift of life, we would not waste time trying to fix ourselves. It's not about what we look like or what we have. It's not about fixing our face, body or lives. It's about taking what we have and doing as much as we can with it. It's about learning and growing. When we are willing to learn what we don't know and use our experiences, our perfection will begin to show.

I accept me as I Am.

January 8

Know thy ideal and live for that. For each soul must give an account for its own self.
Paramhansa Yogananda

Everything that happens to us, and every choice we make, is a reflection of what we believe about ourselves. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we believe we are worth. The things we believe and say about ourselves come back to us in many ways. Self-motivation comes from self-knowledge. We must inspire ourselves by believing we have the power to accomplish everything we set out to do. We must put faith in our ability to use mind and spirit and picture our lives the way we want them to be. We must use inner strength and the power of our being to tear down the walls, break through the barriers and move through the obstacles with ease. Our bodies have been freed. Now we must train our minds to believe it.

I Am free, hallelujah, I Am free!

Introduction

Introduction

And so it is...

Like the late fall day, I was feeling dreary. Yes, it happens sometimes. Even to me. We all have those days when we feel down, ugly and totally alone. In those times, we need something, some little thing to pick us up and make us smile. For me, on this day, it was a telephone call. A woman in Louisville, Kentucky, had lost her only son tragically, to senseless street violence. She had been in a suicidal state of depression for more than a year. A friend brought her a copy of Acts of Faith. They read several pages together. The woman then devoured the rest of the book on her own. Within days, she was feeling much better. Within a week or so, she was going out again. A month after she first read the book, she bought 100 copies and stood on a street corner in Louisville, handing them out to people on the street. At first, people were leery, but they accepted the gift. One of the people who received a copy was a disc jockey. After reading the book, he began to read it on his radio show. Within a few days, Louisville had Acts of Faith fever. And that's not all.

I was giving a lecture in Washington, D.C. A woman came to the podium to give her personal testimony. She told us how she had been awakened in the middle of the night by a fire raging in her home. She and her family escaped but they lost everything...almost everything. The day after the fire, she sifted through the rubble trying to find salvageable items. As she stood where her bedroom once stood, she saw a bit of purple peeking out through the burned wood and ashes. It was her copy of Acts of Faith. The night stand that she kept the book on was gone; the bedtunerals and weddings. It has become a standard gift for birthdays, Christmas, Kwanzaa and graduations. Mothers give it to their children who are leaving home to go to college. Fathers send it to their sons in prison. It has been quoted nationally and internationally. It is used as the source of inspiration to open and close meetings. Tulani Jordan-Kinard, an alumnus of the singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock, has written a song in its honor, which she plans to record. Acts of Faith is more than just a book. It is a process. It is a tool. It is a gift from on high. Since its publication, many people have called and written to testify about how the "purple book" has changed their minds and lives to such an infinite degree that I am humbled to be associated with it. I truly believe that Acts of Faith is a gift from God and message to the world that, no matter where you have been, what you have done or how difficult your experience have been, faith is the "breakfast of champions." Since the original publication of Acts of Faith, many doors have opened to me. For this, I thank God. I also thank all of you who were at the door to greet me.

Many people have commented on how the book always seems to give them the exact message they need on any particular day. They want to know how I accomplished that. How did I know what they needed? The truth of the matter is, everything you need, I need. Everything that you have gone through and are going through, I have gone through and am going through. I wrote Acts of Faith in one of the darkest times of my life. There was not one single area of my life that was not being challenged. I wrote for you what I used and what I needed to get t hrough the darkness. I wrote about the things I needed to learn and practice. I wrote about the experiences that, although difficult and painful, had taught me the most valuable lessons. You see, I truly believe that there is only one Mind and one Life. That is the Mind and Life of God. In that Mind and in this Life we all have the same experiences at different times. We respond to our experiences according to what we believe. Through our experiences we learn, grow and embrace new beliefs. When we do, it is our responsibility to the Mind and the Life to share whatever we know that could in any way help someone else.

Acts of Faith is my homework assignment that I am sharing with the world. It represents all that I have learned about and grown through. I believe it has affected so many people so deeply because they are in the same life classroom in which I once sat. People want to give me the credit, but I know the success of Acts of Faith has nothing to do with me. It is the result of so many people being willing to attend life's school. It is the outgrowth of so many of us being willing to learn and to find a better way of living. It is an answer to the silent prayer so many of us have uttered: "Oh God, please help me!" Acts of Faith has been an anchor, a rock and a guide to so many people because God always answers our prayers.

I offer you this gift edition of Acts of Faith because I have seen so many worn and tattered copies. I knew that you wanted to have one good copy just for those special times, and one you would not be tempted to give away. I offer it as a reminder that faith is the key to the door behind which is your higher and greater good. I present it to y ou in celebration of the truth that God is good all the time! Everyday! I give it to the world in honor of all the champions in life who stand on faith, making it through the darkness into the light, so that you will always remember, "Wherever I am, God is!" And so it is!

Toward enlightenment,
Iyanla

Copyright © 1993, 1996 by Iyanla Vanzant

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Acts of Faith 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received this book from my daughter because she believed I was a 'colorful' personality and not because of any association with race or religion. At an young and innocent age, my daughter, saw something I needed that I couldn't see with my own eyes...a connection with myself. The book is truly mystical in how the very thing you needed was before you every morning. How timeless the thoughts on the pages and wonderful the feeling to find such a treasure. A beautiful and insightful daily inspirational guide.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to Vanznant soon after Acts of Faith was published. Since that time I have given away the book 18 times and rushed to immediately replace it. I have all of Vanzant's books, some on audio, and with each revisiting of her material I find something meaningful that I have previously missed. Vanzant writes to women of all color's and with her words she gives new meaning to sisterhood. Regardless of gender, regardless of color, regardless of socioeconomic standing, Vanzant makes us face of vunerabilities and forces us to be responsible for our future. In 'Faith in the Valley' she tells us (p 122) 'Freedom is a state of mind....Freedom is the key, You must not let anything or anyone confine or define you.'
Lissy29 More than 1 year ago
The book has help me cope with life daily struggle ANd show me how to free myself from them!
Nard26 More than 1 year ago
Love it.... It right on point to keep me focus on everyday life and things I should be aware of with in me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has been such a blessing. I bought ten copies for family and friends. They too enjoy reading it. I start my day by reading a passage.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I just received this book from a co-worker. I found that the first page I read was for the date of January 26th. The words were so inspiring that when my 12 yr. old got into trouble at school, I made her read January 27th. She is now begging for a copy of her own. I have also given this book to my best friend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent companion. It is so easy to read yet deep in words for all persons who respect themselves and accepts reality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here are daily meditations and rights of spiritual passage If I may say, Is what every person needs and not just the black AFRICAN AMERICAN ! I truly think Iyanla Is writing to people of every nationality and every walk of life ! She deserves many awards for her writings and her meditations. ! If you dont no where IAm comming from, maybe Its time to read the book again and let It really sink In and serve Its purpose. Here books will attract your souls no matter the condition you are In and It will bring you a sense Of healing as well as respecting the one and only soul you have. Peace Iyanla
Guest More than 1 year ago
A perfect gift to give yourself or the ones you care about. I purchased the book for myself about a month ago. The daily messages are inspirational. I purchased five additional copies to give as gifts and plan to order more. I even ordered four copies for a friend so she could give them as gifts too.