In 2007 my courage collapsed and my heart panted for fullness. My independence, which I held on to so tightly, attached to others. The attitude of do more than exist went to merely existing.But most of all my confidence and courage seeped further away from my core. Have you ever felt this way? Did you wonder how you were going to pull through? Our adversities are not only confusing, put paralyzing. However, there are a five antidotes to help resurrect us.
A little background
started in September of 2007 with a pregnancy disease that birthed at five
weeks and proceeded to torment me for 31 weeks thereafter. During that anguish my
skin was pale green, my mind a twisted mess of nausea, and relief was too far
to be seen; I literally was fighting to just exist. Being dependent on others to
help me function, let alone trust, made me feel like a failure. Things like, I can’t even take care of myself, swarmed
my thoughts. Any physical excursion or consumption, of even water, was a
cautious and fear-provoked decision. My ribs pierced from wrenching, and
dehydration was the foremost threat.
The instant my healthy 7.1 pound baby boy was born, the sickness disappeared. Yet, the mental anguish was far from healing. Have you experienced an event like this in your life? Was it an illness, an unexpected break-up, a massive hit to your bank account, or a loss of something that meant so dear to you? I think the worse of it all is when it’s done, when we think we made it through, after-shocks sucker-punch us with unforeseen triggers we didn’t see coming.
When things don’t go our way
still impress on my psyche today, how can it not? Yet immediately following the
birth of my son, the fear of pregnancy halted our family plan. Two years later
I knew I had to fight it. I knew I had to give it one more try; after all every
pregnancy is different. This is where I’d like to tell you the second time
around was easier, but friend, it was far from that and left our arms empty.
Answers to ‘how
was I going to recover my confidence and courage’ slowly inflated my hope. Those
answers didn’t come from a special diet, therapist, or medical doctor. The true
answers came from one source, Jesus. He had a plan that didn’t match up with
ours and I had to trust Him.
You see when I prayed before our second pregnancy, I didn’t hear a “Yes” like I did with our first. With our first baby, my husband and I waited eight years before I drummed up the courage to even pray about it. And when I did pray, I heard a clear “Yes!” But the second go around, I heard a solid “No”. Of course I didn’t want to believe it, a no to another child? That doesn’t make sense! So I took my destiny into my own hands. And it didn’t turn out as planned…
Bit by bit I had to rebuild my confidence and courage using my anguish as building blocks and my faith as mortar. Jesus didn’t come down from a cloud and profoundly say, “You are healed child”. I certainly would have accepted that if He did! It was through His followers who physically passed His love on. He used other people in subtle ways to comfort my broken heart and body. Jesus equips us to love, and honestly that’s all he wants us to do, is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Paul says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)
I needed to not only learn to love
who I was now, but I needed to learn how to use love to become the confident
and courageous person I sought out to be. Moving from just existing to living a life of fullness
isn’t about accomplishing amazing feats or earning a special degree, and so
forth; it’s about loving others the way Jesus does. It sounds easy, but it’s
the doing that’s hard.
Five easy additions to build courage & confidence
Since God is
love. Who do you think we need to connect with to learn how to love? Rick Warren says, “When you are disconnected from God, you’re not really
living; you just exist.”
So, how do we connect with our Heavenly Father? How do we hear clear answers? I go to church. I pray. Isn’t that connecting? Yes friend, it is. But there are some easy additions which can lead us to live a do-more-than-exist kind of life. Let me share with you what I have learned so far in this journey:
1 – Emotion. When clarity is the question, I don’t hold emotion back. I pray with strong emotion, whether it be anger, sadness, joy, or excitement. Expressing it to Him helps keep things real. Emotion develops a relationship with Him, a trust.
2 – Music. Listening, singing, humming, and dancing to music that is good for our souls, brings us closer to our Creator. In this day and age Christian music isn’t just hymns. It has developed to feed all our genres. The writers and bands have done a great job at helping us fend off the Enemy and open our hearts for answers and comfort. Give it a try.
3 – Nature. Our beloved Anne Frank says, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones. And the University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation’.” Maybe we should think about spending more time in God’s creation.
4 – Church. There is something to be said about being around other Christ followers. It’s kind of like a family reunion. Being surrounded by a common denominator encourages us, comforts us, and brings us closer to Him. We all have the same goal so-to-speak. The hard part is finding a church that fits you and your worship style. Keep hunting until you find it, you’ll know when you found it.
5 – Gratefulness. Being grateful changed my game. For me to love myself and to pass love on to others, I had to learn how to be grateful even when it didn’t make sense. Gratefulness brought me out of adversity. Before we move forward, understand I’m not grateful for the hardships we face in life. I’m talking about the little things that surround us, those things we don’t even notice; like clean water out of our faucets, cozy beds to rest our bodies, medical help at our fingertips, and grocery stores to feed us. I’m talking about the love He gives us in delicate ways like music, flowers, and comforting smells.
Yet, what about those moments when you step-out and help someone? When you smile at someone even though you don’t feel like it…and they smile back? Sometimes to get what we want we have to give it first. I’m grateful for those promptings where we use our gifts to brighten someone’s day even when our life is a mess. It takes courage and confidence to make those things happen. And I’m grateful for our time He gives us and the freedom to choose how to use it, especially if it involves our calling.
If you’re hurting in a specific area of your life I encourage you to begin with being thankful for each comfort you receive every day. When we recognize the little things, the small achievements, the flickers of love passed hand to hand, then our courage and confidence surfaces and we begin to see what life is all about…love.
Regrets. Melancholy or motivation? Normally we see this word as a heart breaker. But what if we used this word as a catapult to make things happen? What if, we stood taller and said, “No more regrets, let’s do this!”
Lack of time, fear, and rejection seem to play a major role in regrets. In my world those obstacles distracted me and still occasionally distract me in living a do-more-than-exist kind of life. For instance; at a young age I was offered a major role in the high school musical, The Music Man; I wanted it, but I turned it down. Another time I qualified to be in a downhill ski race; I wanted to, but again said ‘no’. Yet another was when I should have tried-out for Drum Major of the high school marching band; again I wanted to, but didn’t.
These are small examples of regrets; not too damaging to others, but tormenting to self. The kind of regret I’m talking about is the kind where you WANT to do something, but don’t. The sad part about regrets is living by the ‘what if’s’. Maybe a door would have opened or an opportunity presented itself? In an article from the National Institutes of Health, “…regrets of inaction last longer than regrets of action in part because they reflect greater perceived opportunity.”
Case in point, many times we don’t know we’ll regret something until some time has passed. We can go there in our minds, “I wish I would have”, but if we stay there nothing will happen but continued despair. Listen friends, being palatalized by our regret is not an option. You’re better than that; you’re too valuable to live under that cloud. The world’s values might want you to stay there, but God certainly doesn’t. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV
The Top Regrets
‘Google’ “regrets in life” you’ll find a slew of articles. One of those articles
was about a nurse; she cared for people who were on their deathbed. You can
imagine the dialogue she had with her patients. The conversations that hit home
were the ones about regrets. Sadly she heard a lot of same thing. Do any of
these resonate with you?
I wish I had the courage to live a
life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I didn’t work so hard.
I wish I’d had the courage to express
I wish I had stayed in touch with my
I wish I had let myself be happier.
Other top regrets I found in my research were education (this was number one), career choices, romance, and parenting. Interesting isn’t it? Sure, I have some insignificant regrets in all those areas, but let’s face it, when we’re in the moment our emotions dance around the right choice. I know I’m not alone.
I ran across
this term: Sexagesimal. Wikipedia
assured me it has nothing to with sex, but it has a lot to do with time. In the
3rd millennium BC sexagesimal was defined as a numerical system for
time having a base of 60. Sexagesimal helped us put numbers on the clock. The choices in-between those numbers defines
how we live…physically and emotionally; living with satisfaction or regret.
What are you doing in-between the numbers?
Fear and rejection go hand in hand. This is a big one, and the primary culprit to regrets. The root of this gap is self-confidence. Hello? If I were more confident I would have said ‘yes’ to the musical, ‘yes’ to the ski race, and ‘yes’ I’ll tryout for drum major. What about “I’ll checkout some college courses”, “I’m going to submit my resume”, or “I’m going to ask her/him out”? If my confidence and self-assurance were stronger, then the word ‘regret’ wouldn’t exist in my vocabulary.
What can do to move forward?
We can come to grips with our past regrets. It’s done, you can’t reverse it. But you can learn from it. Being aware of opportunities, your values, and life goals can give you a huge leg-up on making good choices. Ask God for help. He’s our creator; ask Him for guidance, healing, for protection, and opportunity? “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28 NIV
“Let it go”. Not so. This popular verse is being overused. ‘Letting it go’ isn’t easy, and in some sight maybe you’re not suppose to ‘let it go’. This is where you search deep for meaning and pray about it. Let’s say you were an amazing baker at the age of 13, have always loved baking but never entered into a baking contest. You wanted to do it but didn’t and it still tugs at your strings today. Maybe God is saying, “Don’t let it go yet, ask me what do to about it.”
Write about it. Grab a notebook and write about what you regret. Get it down on paper so you can let go of it…if it is meant to be let go of. You may see something you’ve never seen before that will bring a better understanding of what happened. Tell someone you trust about it. Mourn on it. Just get it out of your system and into the hands of Jesus. He knows what to do with it.
Make a vision board. Be clear on looking ahead and knowing what you want to achieve. This helps keep your dreams in sight and serves as a trail marker on your path. You can go to Freebies for a free guide on how to make one.
“I did it.” This is where self-confidence comes into play. This is so huge; I don’t want you to miss this. The words have great power in building self-confidence. To get there we must start with small goals that are realistic and doable. Some people make a to-do list. If it’s to bake cookies today, assemble a bookshelf, or research how to start a website, make it a point to cross it off your list by the end of the day. Write the goal down and focus on it until you have done it. Then continue to challenge yourself with another small goal, then another, and then another. Repeated “I did it” experiences will turn you into a confident and courageous powerhouse.
I hope you found this helpful in your journey. Make the time between the numbers count. Let’s move forward; no more regrets.
Need a little extra help in moving forward, a listening ear, or some powerful questions to be asked. Connect with me, let’s chat.
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Why do so many resolutions fall short? When our goals and declarations stutter to a stop, our proactive-self immediately turns to a reactive-being. We get into a vicious cycle of reacting to our circumstances instead of making things happen. In turn, when we’re constantly being reactive it flips our goals upside-down and we lose sight of our vision… I’m here to help you prevent that from happening.
What ain’t gonna work
Forward is the right direction, no? As with anything in moving forward it’s a lot easier to use a flashlight than to stumble in the dark. Understanding our triggers and how to defeat them is one key to victory. Picture this; we start the year off strong. The first week we’re super motivated. The second week it gets a little harder. The third week something happens; were not sure what…but we veer off course; so much so we decide to set-up camp. I’ve personally been there many times. Frankly, my old patterns are comfortable, they’re easy. But friend, there is something else I’ve learned; “comfortable” and “easy” ain’t gonna get cha where ya want ta go. So let’s learn more about what trips us up in the first place.
Here are the top stumbling blocks:
L – LIES we believe. It’s too hard. Let’s face it, when things are hard ‘quitting’ comes to mind. This year quitting is not an option. Your goals need to be challenging, but they don’t need to be hard. There’s a difference. It’s called pace and workload. It’s too hard is a lie. When actions are taken step-by-step anything is possible. THE FIX: Breakdown your resolution and put a plan in place. Write down what you want to do every week, then every day, then every morning and evening. Just make sure you win. I don’t care how small the step is, you’re still moving forward. Make the day count.
A-ACTIONS WE DON’T TAKE. There’s a lack of motivation. When I’m unmotivated I procrastinate. I wait until I FEEL like it. Well if I waited until I FELT like it all the time, nothing would move forward. There are a couple things I’m talking about. The first is to understand the purpose. Why must this get done? What space does it fill? What piece of my goal does this satisfy? The second is the FEEL part. This is a time when you pull-up your boot-straps and put the emotions aside. THE FIX: Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I get this done?” If your answer is ‘relief, amazing, good, a load off’, then that means it needs to happen…make it so.
Z-ZOMBIE GOALS. Our goal is not specific. It’s like we’re walking around like zombies. Let’s say my resolution is to manage my finances better; I declare “I’m going to save money this year.” Then what? Ask yourself these questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Who is going to help me? What changes am I going to do? When am I going to review these things? Where am I going to go if I need help? How am I going to succeed? When you have the answers to these questions you have a better view of how it’s going to happen. THE FIX: be specific when writing your goals, something like this: “I’m going to review my cash flow and budget every Thursday after work.” To help you out in the goal department I created a printable here. It’s also available on the ‘Freebies‘ page.
Y-YELLERS get our attention. We get distracted. When our focus isn’t on our end goal we flounder around in circles. Some people get stuck in this pattern and find it harder and harder to break free. To breakthrough this twister, we must intentionally turn away from the distracting force and focus on what lies ahead. I read an article a few years ago about the power behind just seeing the word “FOCUS”; it said that it can mysteriously snap us back on track. Sounds crazy, but I tried it, and it worked for me. THE FIX: when you find yourself getting distracted, recognize what is happening and remove yourself from the distracting environment. Write the word “focus” and place it in areas where distractions linger. To help you focus, Do More Than Exist just released a new necklace, “FOCUS“. It’s available in the Powerful Products store, this thing works.
And…there it is
If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, the acronym I used was LAZY. Our resolutions fail because we get lazy. Been there, done that! You might say we get “lazy eye”, not physically, but mentally. We lose sight of our WHY, why am I doing this anyway, we might ask.
The word “lazy” means: unwilling to work or use energy. Talk about a knife in the wound. Lazy isn’t a bad word, especially on your day off. But it can be used against you in all other state of affairs.
My perspective about personal goals and resolutions is this: no one is going to do it for you. If you want it, YOU have to go get it. Staying reactive to things in life isn’t life, that’s existence…you just exist. But when you use your knowledge, resources, talents, strength, and creativity to go after your own goals…that’s not only productive, that’s doing more than existing.
This is YOUR year; take things step-by-step, check your motivation, use specifics when setting goals, and FOCUS. May you have a Happy New Year filled with dreams, plans, and amazing goals for your soul.
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Have you caught yourself saying, “Oh, someone else will do it.”? We all know volunteering is essential for our charities, religious organizations, pancake breakfasts, environmental cleanups, and schools to name a few. And we all know we SHOULD volunteer for something, right? But why at times (not all the time) do we see volunteering as a daunting task?
Let’s say you’re at…a magic show. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine creates mystery, the magician stands with a power pose and says, “I need a volunteer!” Eyebrows rise. Hands pop up. Voices chirp, ‘pick me, pick me’!
Let’s say you’re at…church. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine softens the ambiance, the Pastor stands with a power pose and says, “I need volunteers”. No one moves, some eyeballs roll, and then…there’s a cough.
A little different isn’t it? Many people use the excuse of time. “I don’t have time”. I’ve used it, I’m guilty. But is that really the case? I wish it was…but if there’s something you REALLY want to do, you’ll make time for it. So what gives? Let’s start with the logical answer: Interest. If you’re not attracted to the task at hand; you’re not going to raise your hand for it.
Fix #1: Just Say ‘No’?
My last blog post was about saying ‘No’. Well friends, this is when you can practice it. Say what? I’m not encouraging you to NOT volunteer for stuff; I’m cheering you on to volunteer for stuff you ENJOY. Let me explain: if you don’t like the outdoors, then don’t volunteer to plant trees. If you aren’t a toddler-time kind of person, then don’t volunteer in the kid’s wing. If you hate the smell of pancakes, then don’t volunteer at the pancake breakfast. It’s okay! They don’t want you there. No one likes a grumpy volunteer or worse yet to hear how much you hated it.
When you enjoy a task at hand you do a better job, you have fun, and you make in difference in more ways than one. Now that’s rocket science people. Having an interest in what you’re giving your time and attention to creates joy. BUT WAIT, there’s an exception to this ‘no’ thing: if you don’t know if you’ll like it, then totally do it! What a great way to test it out.
Fix #2: Getting There
Do you ever say, ‘when I’m there, I’m good”? I have had dozens of experiences where I didn’t want to go but was grateful after I got there. But even when I’m volunteering for something I know I’ll enjoy, I STILL have to make an effort to hurdle the couch, forgo the beach, and ignore the ‘to-do’ list. How to fix this obstacle? Think about the end first. Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I’m done?” Then focus on that.
Fix #3: But I’ll be all alone…
I have a hard time pampering this one because I’m an advocate for embarking on the unknown without knowing anyone. Why? Because you learn a tremendous amount about your character when alone. Questions like ‘who am I?’ and ‘who do I want to become?’ get an opportunity to plant a seed in you. It’s like searching for a piece to a puzzle. You know the piece is somewhere on the table; the hard part is finding it. But when you do find it, a small flutter happens and you get to see a little bit more of the big picture. So here it goes friends, “Suck it up and go.” Who cares if you go solo, there are people there in the same boat.
“Okay Christy, geesh, I get it; so why is it so important to volunteer?”
There are a number of reasons with a bunch of explanations behind them, let’s check some out:
Assist those who need it…the less fortunate, the disabled, the elderly, the young.
Create connections. Network.
Experience wellness. Studies have shown that volunteering helps boost self-confidence, personal satisfaction, and even help combat anxiety.
Career enhancement. Want to try a new career path before jumping headfirst? Volunteering gives you a taste without any waste. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.
To sum all this up, without volunteers we DO get divided, we do fall. Think about those events at church, school, or the community center. It’s the volunteers who are the real Musketeers. Next time you hear the word ‘volunteer’, stay tuned to your instincts and pay attention to what you enjoy. Say ‘no’ when you need to and ‘yes’ when you want to. You’ll make an impact on not only the people you’re serving, but on the bigger picture.
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Clothes. Dressing my body isn’t’ easy for me; when I’m choosing the ‘right’ clothes to wear, I fight with practically, comfort, and expression. Finding that happy harmony is HARD! At times I am baffled at the amount of minutes I spend putting clothes on…and off. Why are clothes so important? Yes, to protect our squishy bodies. And yes, for social “acceptance”, religious, and professional purposes. But there is another reason, and today I’m going to tell you something you probably didn’t think of.
What does clothing have to do with prosperity? Before I answer that I have a few more questions for you: What kind of clothes are you putting on? What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you dressing for?
The story behind my threads
Years ago I wanted to weed our entire garden, about the size of a racquetball court. A few days before my ‘weed episode’ I had watched “Little House on the Prairie” which gave me an idea to play with my imagination while weeding. Pioneer-days here I come!
What I didn’t know that day was that my ATTIRE life would never be the same. I dug into my drawer and pulled out my fun, poofy, long skirt. It swayed around my ankles…just like Ma’s. Off to the garden I went. Can you picture me skipping to the garden swinging a basket and sporting a bonnet? Well I didn’t have a bonnet, but I had my garden hat. I didn’t have a basket, but had my 5-gallon bucket. Close enough.
So this is what I found in the garden while in my pioneer garb…weeds tickled my backside, bugs crawled up my bare legs, and my ‘fun’ skirt was getting dirty. AHH! Nothing got done. I spent my time managing the creepy crawlies on my legs rather than focusing on the job.
I stomped back inside, threw my ‘fun’ skirt on the floor, and I think I kicked it. My hands reached for my patched-up garden pants like they were a life preserver. I slipped them on. Took a deep breath in….and exhaled. Ah, this feels more like it. Back to the garden I went where I sat, knelt; heck, I rolled in the dirt!
My point of all this? I initially went to the garden to weed, yet found myself distracted by what I was wearing, which in return affect performance. Yet, when I dressed in the right clothes, the entire garden was weeded in less than an hour.
Clothes, do what?
My one-word answer to the big prosperity question isn’t performance, it’s PERMISSION. Dressing the way we do psychologically gives us the go-ahead to play the part we’re set out to accomplish. We’re given the authorization to experience the freedom in owning the part. In other words; it tells our minds to go for it! You’re dressed to make things happen, now get to work!
The more confident you feel in your clothes the more you’ll achieve.* Now, I’m no fashion expert, I’m far from it. My dog even cocks her head at some of my outfits. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about clothes, they give us permission to achieve our goals. Try it if you don’t believe me. “But I don’t have a lot of money to buy clothes, I don’t know the latest trends, I hate to shop!” you say. I hear ya. We don’t need a lot to dress the part. Here are some ideas:
Cooking or cleaning? Try an apron.
Gardening or yard work? Try work gloves and crummy jeans.
Working-out? Pitch the cut-off sweats, try performance wear.
Home from work? Immediately change into your play clothes.
Cold outside? Hat.
Headed to the office? Dress it up with a nice accessory.
Chillin before bedtime? Comfy clothes.
Most of all, smile.
These tips may sound simple and commonsense-like; yet, you may be surprised when you get aware of what you’re doing with what you’re wearing. With that said, I want you to try a little experiment this week: pay attention to how you feel in the various outfits you wear each day.
“Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.” – Kate Spade
Remember, if we dress the part, we perform the part; we have a sense of purpose, and we’ll be more efficient. Achieving wellness in various areas of life may start with what we see on us.
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“I can’t change the wind, but I can adjust the sails to reach my destination.” Jimmy Dean.
I may not be able to control my circumstances, but I can adjust how I react to them.
This is the actual sailboat, but not the actual day.
Years ago, I went sailing in a Butterfly sailboat. This wasn’t just for leisure, but for clarity. Engaging in the outdoors aids my vision and helps me put things in perspective. This particular solo sail was different than my previous marine quests. Gray skies, inconsistent wind, and cool temperatures circled me, but I went anyway.
“Honey, please keep an eye on me. If I tip over, I might need your help,” I said to my husband. “Yeah, no problem,” he said back.
Off I went. The wind pressed on my face and the sound of the wake soothed my spirit. This is just what I needed, then WHOOSH! A gust of wind caught the sail. I quickly loosened my grip on the rope. My skin prickled as I stood vertical for a few seconds; then the boat crashed back down where I almost tipped over backwards! “That was a close one,” I said out loud. I continued to get random gusts. My grip on the rope ached.
A circumstance is a condition that accompanies a fact or an event.** We all face circumstances in life. And we all are challenged by how we react to them. We can throw a fit, fight it, and blame everyone but ourselves; or we can tighten our belt, accept the challenge, and work through it.
In Psalm 16:8 David says this about circumstance, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV) If only I practiced this throughout my life. I’ve been through many circumstances where I did fight it, I threw fits, and I blamed others…not proud moments of mine. But when I gave the circumstance to God to figure out, I stopped fighting it, stopped whining, and stopped blaming. I became stronger, I became clearer, and I became more confident. Easier said than done, I know.
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” –Martha Washington
With the wind howling and my grip weakening, I started to head back to shore. WHOOSH! The boom shot out, the rope burned my palms. I couldn’t control it. In the water I went. “Oh crap,” I said.
I looked to the shore for my husband. I couldn’t see him.
“Okay, I can do this,” I coached.
I got the boat back up, but the wind gusts yelled at me.
My mind raced. I was about 150 yards from the dock. Whitecaps are forming. Darker clouds are approaching. And there is no way I can sail without tipping.
“Oh help me God,” I prayed.
“Take the sail down and swim back,” I heard.
When our circumstances blow us over, remember its okay to put our sail down for awhile…to catch our breath, to evaluate our actions, our heart, roles, and values.
Managing a circumstance is being able to know when to stop fighting it and when to give it to God.
Here are 3 powerful tacking tricks to help stay afloat:
How is this making me feel? Who is this affecting besides me? What values do I have that are above this circumstance? What can I learn of this?
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
We discipline our tongues. We feed on goodness…good music, positive movies, healthy conversations, eat clean food, and read the Word. In a world like today, this needs discipline before depression sets-in.
We pray and ask for help while we try everything in our power to manage the circumstance. If this doesn’t work, then we give it all to God and let God be who He is, our Savior. Some might argue on the order…why not give it to God first? Because God gave us the power, the heart, and the brains to move. He’s not a genie, He’s a father. Have you heard, “If we do our part, then He will do His”?
“You can’t be a prisoner of your circumstances.” Joyce Meyer
I swam the boat back to the dock that day. I faced my circumstance; in fact, I jumped right into it. It was humbling, it was cold, and it was hard; but I used what God gave me and saw Him help me through it.
This sailboat experience is just a small physical example of how we cannot control our circumstances. I know my sailing event doesn’t compare to unemployment, infertility, sickness and disease, loss of a loved one, unexpected expenses, and broken relationships…or does it?
What is one small step you can do to manage a circumstance you’re facing now?
“Vision is a clear picture of something we want to have exist in the future.” – Gary Collins
In the autumn of 1998 I took a mountaineering class near Vail, Colorado. This experience taught me something I didn’t expect. My group consisted of eight people. The dynamics were a bit challenging…many personalities, many opinions. Our task was to follow a topographical map and use a compass to get to the next camp…a six hour trip without our guide. The day started crisp yet sunny, but after 4.5 hours the sky began to darken.
Rain, hail, and wind pounded our bodies. Exhausted from arguments, confusion, and complaining we wanted to go our separate ways. Our backpacks felt like cinder blocks as we carried them over passes and through rock fields. Discouraged, we wanted to give-up and have the guide come get us.
But then someone yelled, “Come on Nina, hot drinks. Christy, dry socks. Seth, spaghetti!” As silly as this sounds, that person was genius. We all pictured ourselves eating a warm meal, sipping hot tea, and wearing dry socks. We had vision, which naturally encouraged us. Our attitudes shifted. We got along. We laughed. We grew stronger. Only 45 minutes later we made it to camp. Our goal of being cozy became a reality.
Vision leads us. It pulls us forward. The backpack trip is a small example of what vision can do. Let’s think big picture for a minute. If we had vision for our life, what would that do?
Having vision for our future is one of the keys to doing more than existing, most importantly through the storms. Why? Because it’s the storms that have the greatest power to derail us, to distract us, and to make us want to quit.
Vision gives us something to focus on, to aim for, and to base our decisions on. Whether it’s family, health, career advancement, mission work, a cause, happiness, or to survive; vision is what gets us there.
Daniel Harkavy says, “Vision defines what you stand for, why you exist, and who you will become.” Having vision in a storm will not only get you through it, but it will make you stronger, wiser, and clearer about how to do more than exist.
So what exactly is vision for our life? From the authors of Vision, Values and Courage they say, “A vision is not a dream but a reality that has yet to come into existence.” I like to think of it as a fire; a place in the dark that draws us closer, gives us hope, drive, and warmth.
Here are 5 easy yet powerful tools to clarify vision for our life:
We get focused.
Take a few minutes each day and think “big picture”. How are your decisions today going to affect tomorrow; and who will it impact? What is the one thing you absolutely want in life?
We pray about it.
Ask God to help you see vision for your life. Most importantly in the storm, “Help me see beyond this storm. Help me to be strong, focused, and…yes…thankful no matter what.”
We line our vision up with our values, passions, and strengths.
What is important to me? What do I love to do? What do I excel in?
We talk with someone who understands vision.
This is huge. Just talking with someone who genuinely listens and asks the right questions can be a game changer. Contact me.
We create a vision board or “Big Picture Board”
There is power in ‘seeing is believing’. This is a fun tool. Here’s a free guide.
John Maxwell says, “Vision paints the target. It sparks and fuels the fire within.” This isn’t new news friends. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not put out the Spirit’s fire. Vision is bringing the picture out of our minds and hearts and experiencing it with our senses and neighbors.
Let’s talk fire. Contact me to set-up a FREE 30 minute chat about vision.
“Gotta start somewhere” is a popular three word combination used primarily in the context of moving forward. Mark Twain says it this way, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” These past few years I’ve started more than one “gotta start somewhere” project…tree farm, blog, nature steward, children’s book author, and another one soon to reveal itself.
It’s a great word weapon when you’re trying to describe your dream and all you get is a look like a bug crawled up your nose. However, if you use “Gotta start somewhere, right?” at the end of your conversation, they won’t argue. They’ll simply nod their head and repeat, “gotta start somewhere.” Try it, it’s funny.
This three-worded shield protects us from unforeseen challenges or a possible do over. How? Our courage. The moment we put ourselves out there, people are watching. The magical element of courage is that we don’t care what other people think, we have a vision and we’re going to try our hardest to see that vision become part of the big picture. When people watch, give them show. Show them how to move forward, how to stand back up, and how to fight.
Those bug-up-your-nose looks are beaming with curiosity, maybe jealously, or possibly…stupidity. But remember, everyone has their own opinion; it’s you who you need to believe in. And those bug-snouters don’t know what they’re talking about, because they don’t have the courage you do.
What is courage? It’s the moment in time where we take a step of faith not knowing what will come of it but do it anyway. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence is what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) Gotta start somewhere.
Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker, says courage is action in the presence of fear. She uses the example of David when he fought Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17:48….”David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.” (NIV) He didn’t have all the armor and special training as the other soldiers. He was just a shepherd in sandals with a slingshot. And he won! Pursuing our dream might not necessarily be a battle of blood, but it is definitely a battle within yourself. Courage is the only way to set us free to pursue our dreams. Gotta start somewhere.
How do we find the courage to “start somewhere”?
Pray. Daily. In Jesus name. “Lord, light my fire within. What is my next step?”
Practice. Step by step. Try your dream on, take it off, try it on again.
Perform. Run quickly toward the battle line.
When pursuing dreams or even trying it on a bit, it seems more socially acceptable if someone else is doing the same, doesn’t it? “If they can do it, I can too” mentality. It gives us the freedom to start somewhere… “Gotta start somewhere” isn’t just permission to try; it’s also to inspire others to do the same. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, show them how to “Gotta start somewhere”.
When I was a kid I had a sticker book filled with Scratch n Sniff, puffy Cabbage Patch, rainbow, glitter, and star stickers. It was a piece of art that reflected me. And that’s just what stickers are, tools to express ourselves.
So what’s up with stickers? Simple; they are a quick and silent way to tell a story, to move people, to express ourselves, to have fun, or be used for practical reasons. I especially liked a bumper sticker I saw on an old beat-up truck…“Buckle Up! I’m going to try something.” When I got a look at the driver I didn’t expect to see a sweet old lady. Man did I laugh and want that sticker.
Let me tell you my story about the Do More Than Exist sticker. In my beginnings, I put the classic black n white sticker on my laptop, car window, refrigerator, and desk.
I gave some stickers to my family and friends. Next thing I knew my church bought 2500 stickers and did a 4-week sermon series on it. Whoa! I not only saw people proudly display the stickers on their car windows, but I saw them in the local high schools, on ipad covers, and even offices. For instance, my husband and I were out car shopping and the car salesman, who we didn’t know, had a sticker displayed in his office.
And this wasn’t just local. I have a guy in Texas who buys by the 10’s. A woman in Alaska bought 20. A pastor in Ohio also did a sermon on it. Not to freak you out, but one person told me they followed someone all the way to the post office just to ask them where they got the Do More Than Exist sticker. Another person had a sticker on their luggage at LAX and was asked about it.
What’s my point? This sticker isn’t just for a sticker book collection. It’s for the bold, the courageous, for people who want to move others. If you want to make a profound effect on someone, put a Do More Than Exist sticker on your car window, in your office, on your luggage, or on your iPad cover. It makes people think very quickly about their lives and what Do More Than Exist means to them. It’s a positive message, with moving results. Get people thinking, it may just change their world.
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“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I read these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson on a whiteboard in college. “Say what?” I thought, “Make my own path?”
When I graduated college (20+ years ago) I couldn’t find a job in my major. Making my own path was unheard of. The road to my field was blinded by red tape and jammed with people. CNBC states, “51 percent of graduates from the classes of 2014 and 2015 said they are working in jobs that do not require their college degree…” Yet we still pursue our loves, don’t we.
My frontier-of-a-career-path looked far-flung. I worked hard in other jobs, I tried new things, I even had my own business for 10 years; yet I never…felt…fulfilled.
When we are born, God plants a seed in us. People call it purpose, will, calling, or gift. I call it a journey. Some lucky few know their ‘purpose’ right away. For others it takes more time. Yet for some they never cultivate the seed and it dies.
Here’s the hope: when we are on the wrong path, God will correct us IF we ask Him. Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” He will instruct by a whisper, words through a person, His Word, or an event. He will point. My redirect was an event. I suffered through a harsh pregnancy and miraculously gave birth to a healthy baby. My eyes were certainly opened!
My perspective transformed from wanting an ‘important’ career, to wanting to be ME again. Can you relate? I want my child to see ME, the person who is passionate about her dreams, not a rat race pretender. If there is one thing I can give this world, it’s the yield from the seed God planted in me, the light He breathed into my dreams; which leads me back to my beginnings.
Let me ask you a question: What were your dreams when you were 20?
Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” It’s in this context that helped me get back to being a pioneer of my own path.
Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker, says this, “Your priority is NOT to keep everyone else in your life happy by doing all the things they expect; it is to live a life that is pleasing to God and one that you can enjoy.”
My path got pushed, pulled, twisted, and stretched in some directions that made me stronger yet in other tracks made me wonder; exhausting, yet priceless. Today my path is straighter, full of experiences, stepping stones, and challenges all which help nurture my ‘journey’.
Here are 4 ways to get started in developing your own path:
Proactively seek a relationship with God every day.
Make peace with past decisions; and see how they helped rather than deterred.
Never lose sight of what you want.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wasn’t talking about how to climb the corporate ladder, he was talking about well-being. Your unique path is a journey based on bravery, faith, and being true to yourself. Explore your existence; listen for direction, and create new ways to leave a trail.