If your mind and emotions are not healthy, nothing works as it should.
God designed us as three part beings- spirit, soul, body. In order for us to thrive,
it is critical to be intentional about caring for our minds and our emotions.
I talk a lot about seasons. I think a lot about seasons. I pray a lot about seasons.
Why? Because I think knowing your season is CRUCIAL for lots of reasons.
1. God’s timing is perfect.
2. We have the grace (God’s divine enablement) to do the things we are called to do in this season…
3. We don’t yet have the grace for the next season…
We hear self-motivating phrases like “You do you”, “Just be yourself”, and “Live authentically” all the time. I’ll be honest, I have probably said a few of them myself.
As this whole authenticity/just-be-yourself idea has gained momentum, I have found myself reflecting . . . what if the “self” we’re told to be is broken? What if the “you” we want to do isn’t holy? Aren’t we as Christians supposed to change and grow to look more like Jesus? Aren’t we supposed to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11)?
But at the same time, I don’t want to lose all the things that make me feel like . . . well, me! I don’t want to have to become someone or something that I’m not in order to qualify as a more “mature” Christian.
I don’t want to have to become someone or something that I’m not in order to qualify as a more “mature” Christian.
A question I’ve often wrestled with is: Does following Christ mean I need to give up my personality? It’s really a tricky line to toe, and one that I’ve been exploring for quite a while now.
Yay! It’s Thanksgiving time! Time for turkey, parades, too many desserts, and a giant dinner with friends and/or family. But it is also a time when much of the world slows down and takes time to be intentionally thankful. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen more than 1 gratitude/thankfulness challenge floating around the internet this time of year. Which is all well and good…. Except if it doesn’t change our habits, or it doesn’t change our hearts, then we will be right back to crabby patty status come Black Friday.
So, I put together a short, easy list to help you (and myself) keep a grateful heart even after the holidays.
5 Tips to Cultivate Gratitude in Your Life
I always figured that I would marry a rodeo cowboy. One of my big passions is to rodeo competitively, and many of my goals include winning at the highest levels, so it “just made sense.” I never had a word from God about it or anything, I just assumed…. And news flash… I did NOT marry a rodeo cowboy. God had a different (and very clearly) better plan in mind.
Instead, I married a Jesus loving, mountain-crushing, elk slaying, worship leading, chaos calming man- who in every way is God’s very best for me.
And as we just celebrated our anniversary, I have been reflecting on some of the many lessons we’ve learned. One of our biggest- and probably least talked about lessons- is how to support each other in our differing passions. Some of these tips seem really simplistic and almost, well duh, Faith. But when you are learning about each other and growing in your passions individually and as a team, some of the simple things can seem to slip away.
I wrote last week about why warring against fear is VITAL to your success. If you haven’t checked it out yet, hop over there and then come back. It’ll make more sense, I promise.
Here are 10 REALLY practical tips that are helping me on my journey from fearful to fearless.
How many people do you know that deal with fear or anxiety on a regular basis? I used to be one of those dealing with fear, and without trying very hard, I bet I can count at least 10 people I know dealing with fear and or anxiety. In fact, I believe that fear and anxiety are directly linked.
Now, before you go grab your torch and pitch forks and come at me with “clinical anxiety and fear are not the same thing, Faith.” Settle down and hear me out.
Does anxiety breed peace? Does anxiety tell you that God is enough? That He is your provider and protector? Isn’t a simplified definition of anxiety “the fear that something unfavorable will happen”? So, no, this is not a medical or even holistic approach to dealing with anxiety, but rather a look at dealing with what I believe to be a serious portion of the root: fear.
Watching someone you love walk through a loss is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things in the world to do. You wish with everything in you that you could help them, that you could bring the person back, that you could repair the loss.
But you just can’t.
Many people are scared away by someone’s grief. More than one of my friends have completely lost friendships because their friends were too scared of grief and just walked away. Truly, we don’t need to be scared away by someone’s grief, but we DO need to learn how to love them well through the grieving process.
I have lost enough in my young life to have learned how to grieve. But I have also walked through grief with loved ones enough to have learned some ways to love them well when they are grieving.
I get it. Failing at something REALLY sucks. I am SUPER competitive. It doesn’t matter if I have done something once or one hundred times, I still want to be the best. Not because I hate you and want to see you fail, it’s just this innate drive to win. And really, I think it’s a God given strength.
But you see, with this ultra-competitiveness,
has also come a lot of failures.
I’m not gonna lie, there is a LOT that I LOVE about the whole self-care movement. But there’s a LOT that I HATE too.
*also, disclaimer for parents. There are a couple of things discussed in this article that you may or may not want your kids to read right now. Please be the judge of that for YOUR children right now.
That people are intentionally taking better care of themselves emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Promoting GREAT things like rest, Sabbath, relaxation, doing meaningful work
Eating healthy food, using healthy products (ALL subjects that are near and dear to my heart).
You really cannot pour from an empty cup. If you are run down and burnt out you aren’t much good to anybody else
Sick people have a hard time completing their God given assignments because they feel like poo. Taking good care of yourself is a REALLY good way to help yo-self fulfill your God given destiny
I had just left a room filled with people. Lots of whom I knew and enjoyed. We had danced, laughed, ate, and celebrated. But as I walked out this overwhelming feeling came of “I didn’t fit in there. Nobody really got me.” Nobody was rude. Nobody had been mean. They were all nice people, but I really just did not feel like I fit in.
A while back I did a very unofficial poll of some of my friends, and I asked them if they often felt like they didn’t fit in.
You wanna know what? MOST of them said that they did not feel like they fit in. A few said that sometimes they did but it was only with select groups.
And here is the funny thing, most of the friends I asked are people who I think are quite socially proficient and popular. They have lots of friends, are easy to talk to, and have a high level of competence in their field. They aren’t loners or painfully shy individuals.
Grieving is one of those things that nobody really wants to be good at. Because if you are good at grieving, it means that you’ve gone through some loss in your life. I am NOT a “grief expert.” I have, however grieved enough in my life to have learned how to do it fairly well. I have walked with friends through losses and seen grief that is effective and grief that is not.
This is NOT an article on the psychological stages of grief. This is instead, if you will, some loving advice from a heart that has grieved and healed (and is still healing) and learned. This is encouragement from my heart to yours to help you heal, grow, and draw closer to your Father’s heart in the midst of sorrow.
The other day I was having kind of a rough morning. The kid woke me up in the night for no apparent reason, so I was running low on sleep (which if you know me, you know makes a BIG difference).
Because of that my whole morning routine was messed up. I decided to sleep in and missed my morning workout, didn’t have solid quiet time before the kiddo got up for real, several of my daily goals we already shot and overall I just felt really “blah”.
If I could sit down and have a cup of coffee with all of you, chances are good that we might end up talking about your goals. It’s really one of my favorite things to learn about a person! (And not just because I’m nosey, lol!) I truly believe that we will be most fulfilled and effective in what WE are called to do in this life when we are actively pursuing our God given dreams and goals.In our love for goal setting and achieving, its something that we have read, watched, studied, and meditated on a LOT!
Here are the top 10 things we’ve found (some of which we’ve learned the hard way) that will keep you from reaching your goals:
“an unexamined life is not worth living” ~Plato
For years I have loved this quote, and honestly, I think that making a habit of reflecting and re-evaluating has been crucial to our personal development and spiritual growth. It’s hard to grow or meet goals without reflecting and evaluating.
As we close out the year and prepare for a new year, here are some great questions to ask yourself, journal about, and even discuss with your inner circle peeps. Oftentimes, they will see an area of strength or weaknesses that we might not otherwise catch.
Remember to do this with a posture of mercy, grace and humility. God’s first response to our mistakes is mercy. If you’ve done really poorly in an area, repent, ask for God’s grace to help you do better, get up and go on. If you have done great in an area, Praise God for his help there and make sure to keep a teachable and pliable attitude. God is even more invested in your growth than you are, and He is committed to see it through to the finish. Also know that God longs to speak to you through His Holy Spirit, our counselor. He longs to give you encouragement, correction, direction, and strength.
IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!! I’m SOOO excited! I LOVE Christmas. I love the expectation leading up to it! I love giving meaningful gifts to people I love. I love the lingering celebration after Christmas. I love the hope and big dreams that surround the beginning of a new year. I love spending extra time with family, yelling over card games, playing board games around the family table until my backside can’t handle the hard kitchen chairs anymore. I LOVE the holidays.
But I will be the first to admit, that there have been times when all of the doing and expectations just flat stole the joy of the season. What is meant to be a joyous celebration of the Savior coming to rescue a lost and dying world, can easy turn into a stressful even grief-filled time. Allow me to share the things that we have learned/are trying to intentionally do that have helped us to actually ENJOY the holidays.
This last year has been hard. Good, but hard. More than once I’ve looked at Nate and asked “are we done with war yet? Is it time for Disneyland yet?” (our analogy for easy peasy times).
As much as I wanted to ignore it, the Holy Spirit told me that a time of warfare was coming and to prepare. Thankfully I listened, mostly. Not quite as well as I wish I had though.
Among the hard things we’ve gone through this year either ourselves or with our friends, was nearly 2 weeks total in the hospital with our baby girl.
I’ll not bore you with medical details, but know this, she is totally healed!
There are no ongoing issues or permanent damage. Praise God!
The first hospital stay was NOT planned. The second was. And while I will be the first to say that hospitals are NOT my favorite place in the world, I will tell you that I am thankful for them.
And just like any other place, it IS possible to be a carrier of the presence and peace and joy of God while you are there.
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
What do you say in your head about your face with no makeup, your body with no clothes, your hair after a long sweaty day?
Do you pull at the wrinkles in despair, poke at the “extras” in disgust, or thickly cover all the imperfections?
You are not alone.
We just finished off a VERY busy graduation season over here. In fact, this year several of “my girls” from youth group are graduated from high school.
I remember being so stressed before and after I graduated high school.
What was I going to do next????
I swear, everyone AND their Mama and their Mama’s Mama asked me “well what are you going to do now?”
I remember thinking, “I DON’T KNOWWWWWWW. But would you please stop asking me”
Of course, I couldn’t admit that very much publically.
What WAS I going to do now? Now I had a choice? No one was telling me exactly what to do. What if I made the WRONG choice? What if I went to the WRONG college? What if I hated it? What if I sucked at it? What if I couldn’t make any friends??? What if…..?
I am not talking about qualities that qualify someone to receive your kindness. As Christ followers, we should be kind to all. But we should be wise and use discretion in who we allow to be our good FRIENDS: people that we allow to know intimate or even semi-intimate details of our lives. People that we actually spend serious time with and for. We need discretion in this area for two main reasons: One, because we are called to “guard our hearts above all else, for from it flows the wellspring of life.” Prov 4:23. And two because friendships are something that should be cultivated, not just something that happens.
Good friendships are a thing to treasure. They are NOT a “dime a dozen” thing, and that’s really ok! We don’t really have time to spend an hour on the phone with 97 different people every week.
One of the most common questions that I hear regarding friendship is “how to find good friends” and we will cover that. But here is the biggest factor in finding good friends:
To find a good friend, you first have to BE a good friend.
“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
I know this verse by heart, (although I always have to look up where it is found exactly) partly because my Jesus lovin’ Mama made us read a proverb a day out loud on the way to school growing up. And partly because good friendships and close family relationships have ALWAYS been important to me.
I remember praying for godly friends even from a young age. I specifically prayed that God would “bless, create, and heal the relationships that He wanted me to have.”
Ok. Maybe not EVERY time because we are imperfect and sometimes life just happens. BUT you can be way more successful than you’ve been in the past.
Y’all. I get it. A brand spankin, shiny new year rolls around and you feel so fresh stepping into it. A fresh start is ALWAYS a nice start. All your pals are making these grandiose resolutions and you’ve often done it yourself. But when you REALLY reflect, you think “dang, I sucked at keeping my resolutions last year.” But this year does NOT have to be a repeat of last year, and the year before that, and the one before that….
But here’s the truth. MOST people, as in 90% will FAIL at their New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because habits are hard to change. It takes WORK to change bad or unproductive habits and in most cases, people are setting resolutions the wrong way. But it IS possible. You CAN change. You CAN do the things that you are called and created to do.
I love the mountains. There is something wild and glorious and wonderful in them. It sings to me, calls to me, speaks to a part of me that nothing else quite matches.
Nearly every photo I see of the mountains does something for my soul, simultaneously quenching and igniting a hunger. I miss the mountains when I am away from them. I crave their rugged and majestic beauty.
Yet even when I am surrounded by rocky mountain wilderness, absolutely immersed in their beauty, I still sense that something is missing. Something is still not quite as it should be.
A normally happy, go lucky girl, yet I was on the brink of sobbing. Out of frustration, I proceeded to tell her how much I hated having emotions and how dumb I thought emotions were. She explained to me that God created emotions and that the Jewish people in the Bible (God’s chosen people, through whom would come His rescue plan for all of humanity) were HIGHLY emotive. Today we would call them extremely emotional and maybe even slightly crazy. They would literally RIP their clothes when they were grieved, put ashes on their head when in mourning, and go around the city WAILING. Emotional much? But you wanna know the crazy part? God was not scared away by their “drama”.
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019
Ahhh Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!
But it can also turn into one of the most stressful (and expensive) times of the year.
Buying gifts for people hoping it’s just what they want.
Traveling to visit family and friends.
Deciding which festivities to participate in.
Prepping for company.
Cooking up a massive holiday meal to remember.
De-constructing current décor.
Putting up all the pretty Christmas décor.
Getting Christmas card pictures.
Mailing out Christmas cards-without accidently forgetting anyone’s long lost aunt or cousin.
Curbing the tiny human holiday hyperness.
All of it. All of it has the potential to be stressful or joyful…
depending on how you navigate it.
Read More →
Dec 19, 2019