3 Myths About Dysfunction That Keep You STUCK

If you’re anything like me, at one point in your life dysfunction has served some sort of role in your life.  Maybe for a short while, or maybe it’s still a struggle.  Whatever role dysfunction has played in your life, our dysfunction doesn’t disqualify us, make us incompetent or inadequate, it makes us human.  We all have had dysfunction in our lives and most of us probably still do.  But that doesn’t mean we are less than or unable to still be used by God in a mighty way.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve had so much dysfunction in my life, I could write a book about it.  Growing up when we had problems we didn’t really talk about them.  God and good counselors have helped me so much in my journey in learning how to deal with my problems in a healthier way.  I actually didn’t know I had developed an unhealthy coping mechanism of codependency as a way to get my needs met.  I was very dependent on people to receive my approval, praise, and worthiness.

'For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.' Galatians 1:10 Click To Tweet

At one point I was a big time people pleaser.  I also felt very validated if I could rescue, fix, or solve someone else’s problems, because then I didn’t have to focus on my own problems.  Along the way I found some eye opening discoveries about my dysfunction that kept me stuck in my circumstances.  Here are 3 myths about my dysfunction I would like to share with you.

3 Myths About Dysfunction That Keep You STUCK:

 MYTH #1–Dysfunction is functional- This is very true for someone who lives in dysfunction.  Dysfunction serves us all well until it doesn’t.  In fact, sometimes we don’t even realize something is dysfunctional in our lives, until it is no longer functional!  The enemy would like nothing more than to keep us hidden in our patterns of dysfunction and tell us these patterns are totally NORMAL. These patterns keep us stuck and hidden from God’s plan for us.  Dysfunction keeps us in chaos, making it hard to hear God’s voice and plan over our lives.  It’s not until dysfunction starts crumbling all around us and we slowly get out of the chaos can we hear and see more clearly, that dysfunction does not serve us well over time.  Over time, dysfunction can become very comfortable for us, making it difficult to detach from it because it’s what we know.  Learning how to separate from your dysfunction can be one of the most loving things you do for yourself.  Detaching from the chaos will help one learn  healthier ways to deal with problems instead of reverting back to unhealthy dysfunctional patterns.  Letting go of codependency or dysfunctional patterns may feel overwhelming at first, but this is the first step in allowing God to refine and renew us for His eternal plans.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

MYTH #2–Dysfunction is Absent from my life.  Can we say denial?  The absence of dysfunction doesn’t mean dysfunction is absent.  I’ll never forget a forensics file episode I watched.  The detective said, ‘the absence of evidence, doesn’t mean that evidence is absent.’  That statement was so profound to me–just because we don’t see the evidence doesn’t mean someone didn’t try to wipe away or clean up the evidence.  Trying to get rid of evidence doesn’t negate a crime happened.  Just like our lives, we can become really good at hiding and ‘cleaning up the crime scene,’ to look really good on the outside but that doesn’t mean dysfunction isn’t still lying underneath the surface.  We can fake it till we make it all we want, but that doesn’t mean our dysfunctional problems will go away if we don’t address them!  Just because we can’t see or recognize our dysfunction, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  The enemy uses dysfunction in our lives to keep us blind and deaf, to not really see or hear God clearly.  This is why it’s so important to stay close to God.  Draw near to Him by reading the Bible and praying.  Knowing what His truth is will set us free every time.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

MYTH #3–I’m too dysfunctional to be helped- This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If this were true, Jesus would have never came and died on the cross for us.  No one is ever too dysfunctional to receive mercy and forgiveness from our Savior.  Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed in our dysfunction, that we don’t even know where to begin, and think why bother it will never get better.  This is a lie the enemy would like us to believe, that we are hopeless, not worth rescuing or saving, that we will never be good enough.  It may be true we have dysfunction and make mistakes, but what we do isn’t who we are.  Our dysfunction is an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.  Our dependence in Him in what He’s able to do, helps us rely on His strength, not our own and trusts He is able.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Stepping into a place of vulnerability where our dysfunction is revealed can be a scary place to be!  Because that means we have to deal with ourselves and may have to do a lot of work to unravel the mess.  There is no one else I’d rather unravel my mess and peel back the layers of dysfunction with than Jesus.  He knows how to refine, restore, and renew me.

When we allow Jesus into our messes and dysfunction we become crucified in Him. It is no longer us who lives, but Him who lives in us. You are loved, friend! Click To Tweet

Are there dysfunctional patterns that have served you well?

How has dysfunction kept you stuck?

What is one action step you can take today that steps out of dysfunction into God’s presence?

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10 Bible Verses About Marriage & A FREE Marriage Prayer Bookmark!

Do you desire to more Scripture and Prayer to guide your marriage?!?!?  So do I!  I’m so glad you’re here!  Staying close to God’s truth is the best way arm and protect our marriage from what the world says.  So many marriages are under spiritual attack and need the stability of God’s truth to stay grounded and healthy.  Learning what God says about marriage will set our marriages us for success to continue to grow stronger and stronger.  Keep these Scriptures nearby, so you can refer to them at anytime.

Marriage can be like a full-length mirror reflecting our inadequacies and flaws or like iron that sharpens iron, a process that refines us into the best version of ourselves.  God’s intent for our marriage is to be sacred and holy.  Staying connected with your spouse in daily prayer is another way to be rooted and grounded in God’s truths and protected from the enemy.  Print out the Marriage Prayer Bookmark to use and pray with your spouse the armor of God over your marriage.

Here Are 10 Bible Verses About Marriage:

  1. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about marriage, is when I am having a bad day or my spouse is having a bad day, two are better than one.  Our relationship with God makes us complete.  He has made and created marriage to help refine us, not leave us to do life alone.  Allowing our spouses to come alongside us when we’re having a bad day can be one of the most life-giving things we do.  We don’t have to have it all together all the time.  Marriages are made to help support one another and bring out the best in each other.  When we don’t allow our spouses to help us back up when we fall, we are missing out on the beautiful gift God has given us, our spouse–these are the moments that will bring us closer together.

2.  Prayer is a beautiful power gift God has given us, especially in marriages.  I have been guilty at times of not making prayer a priority in my marriage.  As a result we can slowly see our marriages suffer.  I never regret making prayer a priority, a daily habit especially with my spouse.  In times of desperation we can always pray.  God hears us especially in numbers.  For more ways to pray with your spouse, either print out the bookmark below or click on link 5 P’s to Pray over your marriage.

3.  Whenever there is a struggle in marriage, I can guarantee you, there is the enemy behind the scenes at work.  The enemy would like nothing more than to come between our marriages, cause division, and destroy what God deems holy and sacred.  When we allow God’s desires to be our desires, He aligns our hearts with HIS WILL, not ours.  If there is a struggle, tension, or an argument, take a step back and analyze a heart’s motives, is this MY WILL or God’s?  Sometimes we have to let go of our own expectations and desires of what we want, to allow God’s desires to Fill our hearts.

4.  One of the best ways to allow God to be the center of your marriage, is to empty your heart of all things worldly.  When we SEEK God with ALL of our hearts, we will find an overabundance of God’s wisdom, peace, joy, freedom, and love.  In marriage we may not always see eye to eye, understand each other or agree, but one common ground we can trust and stand on is God’s TRUTH of who He says we are, His WISDOM, His LOVE, His GOODNESS.

5.  This is my prayer not only for my marriage, but my family as well.  When we love what God loves, with all of our heart, soul, and strength the bond that we build in our relationship with God and our marriage is strengthened with a strength that nothing in this world can break or destroy.  The Love of God is meant to endure, persevere, and be eternal.  The world can never offer anything beyond temporary, mediocre, or idleness.

6.

We are God's dwelling place. Our marriages are meant to be God's dwelling place. God has made and created marriage as a space for His eternal blessings to overflow within us, a place where His love is to be kept holy and sacred.Click To Tweet

Marriage is a gift that is meant to make us more holy than happy.  Happiness is the byproduct of God’s holiness that turns into an eternal joy no one can take away when we allow our hearts and marriages to be God’s dwelling place for His wisdom, love, peace, and freedom.  No amount of evil, circumstances, or tragedy can take away God’s eternal gifts He has given us.  Imagine what the world would look like if we all allowed our hearts and marriage to be God’s dwelling place.

7.

In Marriage there will always be seasons of change. Seasons where we plant. Seasons where we grow. Seasons where we harvest.Click To Tweet

Life will throw so many curve balls at us.  To expect we will never have seasons of hardship is an unrealistic expectation.  To expect marriage to always be blissful and happy is also an unrealistic expectations.  When we take out the language always and never, we can learn to plant, grow, and harvest the way God intended for us.  In due season we will reap the harvest 30, 60, 100 fold (Mark 4:20).

8.  You are God’s handiwork.  He makes no mistakes.  He has created you to be his workmanship, to display His glory, and prepare you for eternity.  Marriages can be the most sanctifying process we go through and the biggest platform to display His glory.  Whenever we go through a struggle we can turn to God and say thank you for another opportunity to be a reflection of you!  We are meant to be a reflection of Jesus.  Whenever a situation occurs we can refer to the One who knows all and allow Him to guide us, and seek His wisdom in the process!

'An enemy might be able to defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together--it is very hard to break.' Ecclesiastes 4:12 ERVClick To Tweet

9.  A strand of three cords is not easily broken.  A marriage that puts God first and center of their lives and marriage is a marriage that is not easily destroyed.  We are meant to do this life together with God, not separate, apart where we are exposed to the enemies attacks.  We are stronger together.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

10.  God’s love never fails.  When we choose to love we are choosing to be hurt and disappointed, because our love isn’t perfect and we get it wrong every time.  God’s love will always prevail and keep us safe.  His love is eternal and everlasting.  God’s love always forgives.  In marriage we will have to forgive, when we do we learn how to love like Jesus.  God’s love will never ask you to hide, keep secrets, or allow for bad behavior.  His love requires boundaries that help keep his love in and the enemy out.  Just like in the garden of Eden, God’s love will be found at the beginning and end of every boundary (Dr. Henry Cloud), will flourish, grow, and refine us more than we could ever imagine.

I’m so honored I’ve been invited to speak at the 2021 Wives of Integrity Marriage Conference!  I want to invite you to 2021 WOI Marriage Conference!  FREE Registration and the discounted ALL-ACCESS PASS for $39 ends 11:59 am May 9th TONIGHT!  Pricing increases to $59 tomorrow, May 10th.  Here are some of the topics the conference covers.

Healthier, happier communication.
Better physical and emotional intimacy.
Seeing sex as an act of worship, not a chore.
The ability to trust God with your husband’s salvation.
Learning how to have financial intimacy.
Understanding how to have hope and healing after betrayal.
The gift of prayer and fasting for your marriage.

…AND SO MUCH MORE!

Here are other Resources to help grow and build your marriage!

Stay Connected in marriage by reading God’s word and staying in Prayer.  Here is a 30 Day Marriage Bible Reading Plan and FREE Printable Marriage Prayer Book mark.

Want more blogposts that apply Scripture?

10 Bible Verses About Grief

10 Bible Verses That Will Give You More Courage

10 Bible Verses For Healing And Strength

10 Thanksgiving Bible Verses

10 Bible Verses to Remind You- You Are Victorious

10 Bible Verses About Love

What Does the Bible Say About Self-Care?

 

 

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3 Reasons Why You Should Join A Book Club

Who are my avid readers out there?  What do you like to read?  What is your favorite genre of books?  This year one of my goals is to read 40 books in one year, which means I have to read 3 books a month.  I’ve been reading 1-2 books via audible, 1 book via kindle, and 1-2 hard copy books a month.  If you like to read, I would love to have you join me on the journey to read and discuss some of these books.

That is why I started my first book club, The Healing Book Club! (Click on link to join the FB Group)

We will read faith based books and books written by experts such as doctors on topics such as mental and emotional health, healing from pasts hurts, inspirational stories, and social injustice.  I love to learn and have conversations about books I’ve read and learn where I can grow and do better.  I’m excited to share this upcoming month’s book pick She Writes For Him, “Black Voices of Wisdom,”  written by a couple of my friends Kennita Williams and Carol Chisolm.  This May they will join us for the book club discussion.  We will be able to listen to their stories and ask them questions.  If you’re anyone like me, you’re probably thinking, I don’t have time to read a book and talk about it.  When I set my goal, I knew I needed accountability.

Click image to buy

Here are 3 Reasons Why You Should Join a Book Club:

 1.  To Be Intentional–  Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Nothing Changes, when Nothing Changes?’  When I’m doing the same thing over and over and expect something different to happen, that is the definition of insanity.  We can’t expect to have something new or different in our lives when we’re only viewing life from our own singular perspective.  Reading books from different authors and backgrounds, allows us to view life through the lens and eyes of someone not like us.  It allows us to hear their heart and what concerns them.  James tells us, “my beloved brothers:  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  (1:19).  Committing to reading a book a month, helps us to be intentional, and engage in interesting conversations about new topics.  It helps us to step out of our comfort zones and engage in new things.  Something always changes when we try something new.

2.  To learn and grow.  I’m always amazed how inspired I am when I learn something new about a topic.  I always feel so inspired after reading a book, and to make changes from the things I’ve read and learned.  That’s why I like to read the Bible, God’s instructions help keep me straight and identify where I am lacking and need to grow most.  2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”  You will never regret being in a place of humbleness where you are willing to grow and learn.  I love to read books that make an impact and challenge me to do better.

3.  To engage, connect, and make new friendships.  Whenever I join a book club, I meet so many new people, and have engaging conversations I never would have had before.  Connection and togetherness is God’s design for our lives.  Reading books from the perspective of someone else who is different than us, broadens our sight and hearing beyond our own lens.  It allows us to walk across the street and move beyond the four walls of our homes.  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  We need each other to grow.  The connections and conversations we have in book clubs are life giving and something we can always take with us.  You never know what a conversation might spark or connection you will make in a book club that God will use for what he has for you next.

If you want to join the conversation and be a part of this next book club click on the link to join!  

Here is a description of the next book from Amazon.

Hear the Voices and Hearts of Your Sisters.

In these turbulent times when the ugly stain of racism is at the forefront of our society bringing rampant division and mistrust, we desperately need ways to come together.

To build bridges of understanding between all in the body of Christ, we bring you twenty-three voices of Black Christian women, authors, ministers, educators, leaders, and mothers. Their powerful life experiences and heartfelt wisdom will shake you, open your eyes, and help you understand your sisters in Christ.

From the ways women of color are treated in our society, to raising Black daughters and sons, how a Black woman can have a white supremacist attitude, to how to respond as Christ would have us, their life experiences will be a link in bridging the gap between us with love.

May this powerful volume be a part of the bridge of love and understanding we need to walk across with our sisters.

 

Other Books we will possibly read:

The Gift of Pain-  Phillip Yancey                                        Permission to Feel-  Dr. Marc Brackett

Be the Bridge-  Latasha Morrison                                     Together-  Dr. Vivek Murthy

Clean Up Your Mental Mess-  Dr. Caroline Leaf              The Power of Vulnerability-  Dr. Brené Brown

Get Out of Your Head-  Jennie Allen                                 Outliers-  Malcolm Gladwell

Oneness Embraced- Tony Evans                                      The Power of Moments-  Chip and Dan Heath

How to Fight Racism- Jemar Tisby                                   Boundaries-  Dr. Henry Cloud


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3 Ways to Meet People In Their Anxiety

Have you ever tried to view and hear the perspective of another person who was different than you?  Someone who had a different background, different beliefs, different upbringing, lived in a different country, different opinion or point of view?  What was your response?  How did the conversation go?  Was there defensiveness? Anxiety?  An argument?  Or were you able to listen to their perspective and validate their experience?

If there is one thing this pandemic brought out in all of us, it was--where is our hope, where are we putting our trust, and revealed anxieties we probably never thought about before. Click To Tweet

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

Going through this pandemic brought up a lot abnormal circumstances that were thrown at us all at once.  We all had to wear masks, quarantine, home school our kids, shelter in place, worry about our jobs, businesses, our economy, the health and well-being of loved ones, pause life celebrations such as weddings, graduations, and funerals.  There was stress of finances, how will we pay our bills, childcare, not being able to be with loved ones in the hospital, and loss of loved ones.  There was fear of the unknown, how will this all turn out, how many more people will die, and when will this all end?

There was a high level of anxiety and stress from everything we went through.  And we all dealt with the anxieties of the pandemic differently.  Hopefully, we all came out of the pandemic and still are, a little bit stronger and with a new perspective of what’s difficult.  But what about those who were barely surviving before the pandemic hit?  Those who didn’t know where their next meal came from, didn’t have access to computers for education, or access to healthcare if they got sick?  I hope in all this, the pandemic helped us see and hear others and learn how we can meet people in their anxieties.

3 Ways To Meet People In Their Anxiety

 1.  Listen-  If there is one thing the pandemic taught me how to do better is listen. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1:19).  We all have the core need to be seen and heard.  We are missing out when we don’t listen to our brothers and sisters in their hurt and pain.  When Jesus was here on earth he offered a listening ear to hear people in their suffering like the woman at the well, or the paralyzed man.  He didn’t just say I’m sorry and keep on walking.  He didn’t give lectures or provide ways to temporarily fix it.  He stopped, listened and said, ‘Come follow me.’  There is power in listening.  It allows others to know I hear you, and you matter.

2.  Acknowledge-  Learning how to acknowledge others when they are struggling, to be able to come alongside them and say I see you in your hurt, is so powerful.  “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”  (1 Corinthians 1:4).  To acknowledge someone when they are hopeless offers empathy and is what Jesus does for us.  Acknowledgement allows their struggle to be known, lets them know you see them, and they matter.  An example would be, “I see you are hurting, there are no words, I’m so sorry.”

3.  Validate-   How lonely would it be it we suffered in silence or by ourselves?  Jesus never intended for us to be alone in our anxieties.  He tells us to cast all of our anxieties on him, because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  “God will perfect everything that concerns you.” (Psalm 138:8).  When we tell our concerns and worries to God, they matter to Him.  Why?  Because whatever concerns us and matters to us, concerns and matters to God.  When David wrote in Psalms 56:8, “You have kept count of my tossings;  put my tears in your bottle,”  we know that God cares, he sees, and hears our cries, they matter to Him.  To validate someone, means you support them and value their feelings, it lets them know “I am here for you,”  when you validate them.

'When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.' Matthew 14:14. Click To Tweet

There will always be worry and anxiety in this world.  God tells us in James 5:13-14, if “anyone among you is suffering, let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him….” We can model what Jesus does for us by opening our eyes and ears to the hurting and suffering and see what matters to Jesus, should matter to us as well.

Jesus didn’t walk away from the sick and the hurting, he met them in their anxieties by either coming alongside of them or healing them.  Because of Jesus’ compassion and God’s love many have been healed and saved.

Have you considered how you can meet someone in their anxiety?

What can you do to let them know God cares for them, he sees and loves them?

When anxiety gets the best of me, I have to refer back to what God is able to do, stay in prayer and trust He is able.

For the month of April, in honor of our son Bowen’s life we are encouraging others to consider sponsoring a child to not only help honor our son’s life, but to show others who are hurting and living in poverty, they matter.  Sponsoring a child is not only life-giving to them, but to you as well, when you give them an opportunity to an education and food.  It also helps open our eyes to see how someone else lives in another country and see life from their perspective.  It helps us move beyond the boundaries of our anxieties and steps into their world to meet them in theirs.  My anxiety is put into perspective when I see what I am concerned about is nothing compared to what others have to go through everyday.

If you were inspired by our son’s story or this post, Click on the link below and meet your future sponsor child!  You will be blessed!

Want to show more compassion? Consider sponsoring a child to help end poverty.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion


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Am I Living By Faith or By Fear?

Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.  #quote Martin Luther King

Recently I finished a Bible Study Habakkuk by Moody Publishers by Dannah Gresh.  At the same time I read a You Version Bible Plan Hope in the Dark by Craig Groeschel which also followed in the book of Habakkuk.  I didn’t realize the plan would be about Habakkuk as well, but how amazing when God orchestrates His plans.

The book of Habakkuk is in the Old Testament and only three chapters long, but it is packed full of godliness and wisdom.  Each chapter has an important pattern of ask questions to God, WAIT, and Praise.  The chapter starts out with Habakkuk crying out to God, asking why all the violence, all the iniquity, injustice (Habakkuk 1:2-5)?

God responds-

This study was so timely for me.  I’ve been working in the COVID ICU’s taking care of very sick patients.  I wouldn’t wish what I do or see on anyone.  All of it is so heavy and hard to watch over and over.  I feel like Habakkuk, looking around seeing all the suffering, the injustice, and loss of life at the hands of a violence but in my case a virus.  I can just picture him on his knees before God crying out, ‘how,’ ‘why,’ ‘when?’  It’s hard at times not to focus on the fear of it all, am I next?  Am I exposing others? How many more will suffer? When will this all end?

It can be difficult to see that God will use all of this pain and devastation for His greater work in us and the nations.  It’s hard to believe God will use all this to strengthen our faith when we wait and trust in His timing.  Physically, logically my brain can’t comprehend what is going on around me, but by faith I don’t have to have it all figured out and answers to all my questions.  The only thing I need to know is God’s outcome is loving and good.

I admit there are times I have to catch myself and question, Am I Living More in Fear or in Faith? Click To Tweet

Being honest, I’ve focused a lot on my fears of what surrounds me.  It FEELS as though God has left and I’m walking through this battlefield ALONE, just waiting for the explosion to go off.  BUT I KNOW, these thoughts come from a place of FEAR.  They are NOT God’s TRUTH or what He PROMISES US.

It’s easy to look around at what the world is doing and Fear there will be more spread of the virus.  People are at their wits end and just want to be TOGETHER.  I believe God doesn’t want us to LIVE in FEAR, but He wants us to also practice Discernment and Wisdom.  He wants us be in community to support one another by giving empathy and compassion.  God is the creator of universe and science. We will all have a different opinion and comfort levels on what we believe is safe for our health and well-being and that’s okay.

It's Not my JOB to FIX the outcome, control people, or take away others' FREE WILL. My Job is to Love them and Trust God's outcome is BEST. Click To Tweet

When the world of chaos feels out of control, I have to stay anchored, centered, and grounded in the ONE who IS in CONTROL.  The balance of trusting, surrendering, having faith, and standing firm can be a fine line to walk.  My HOPE will never be found in the ability to figure it all out.  When I CHOOSE to LIVE in FAITH and not by FEAR, there is always HOPE.  When I TRUST and ALLOW God to GROW my FAITH way beyond anything I could ever do on my own.

He is the God of HOPE.  He is the God of PEACE.  You are loved.  You matter.  You are KNOWN to God.  What you are going through Matters and He will use for all for His good.

“His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.  His brightness was like the light;  rays flashed from his hand;  and there he veiled his power”. Habakkuk 3:3-4

I will ask.  I will wait.  I will praise.  Just like Habakkuk.  My faith will carry me and  take me further than any amount of fear can.  When I am troubled by what surrounds me.  When I waiver at the battle before me. I remember the one who has it all in His control.

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What Can We Do In Times Of Crisis?

I really wanted to title this post The Power of Compassion or the Power of our Words.  But in reality not many will google, ‘how can I show more compassion,’ or ‘how do my words effect others?’  When I write these posts I’m at the mercy of google to help people find content they are in desperate need of.  I hope this post finds you in your place of need where you are right now.

The answer to this question is compassion.  In any type of crisis, compassion is always the best remedy.  But what does compassion look like when the world is falling apart?

What We Can Do In Times Of Crisis

You never know how one act of compassion or the impact of your words can effect others.  Recently I’ve had to transition from the OR into the ICU to be able to take care COVID patients.  I’ve had to see some really heart wrenching things over the past couple of weeks.  But I’ve also seen the heart of compassion rise when people are hurting.  Nurses have to be some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.  What they do in times of crisis is just incredible.

Nine years ago when before our son passed away, a nurse thought to record my son’s heartbeat on a recorder and put it into a teddy bear to give to me.  Her thoughtfulness and act of compassion has given me a precious gift that I am forever grateful  for and has touched me deeply.  This past week I witnessed another nurse do the same to give to a little girl as she recorded her loved one’s last heartbeat.  Although nothing can replace our loved ones, these acts of compassion in the last moments of life are what we will remember and cherish.  These acts of compassion give their loved ones’ lives dignity and show them your life matters, I see you.

Our words can show compassion during these times when others are hurting.  Never underestimate the power of empathy in times of crisis.  Just telling someone, “I’m so sorry,” or “I am here for you,” are words that will stay with them and let them know you care and see their suffering.

'But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion' (Luke 10:33) Click To Tweet

Many have read the parable of the Good Samaritan.  After reading the parable many think, ‘I would never walk by a man half naked and dead lying in a ditch.’  But yet two godly men do, a priest and a Levite.  The unlikely person, the Samaritan, who was viewed as someone who was lowly, not to be associated with because of wayward ways, was the person who stopped to help.  Out of the three men the Samaritan was the only one who came to where he was, in the ditch.  The others passed by, for reasons unknown.  Maybe they couldn’t be bothered?  Or maybe they were in a hurry?  Or worst yet, maybe they didn’t care?

But the Samaritan didn’t just come to the hurt man, he bound up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, brought him to an inn, paid for his room, and came back to check on him.  Why would someone do this?  Because he had compassion on him.  These actions remind me what Jesus has done for us.  When we are moved by compassion, we do things for others we normally wouldn’t do.  We see things we normally wouldn’t see.  When we can see others in their pain and hurt through the lens of compassion, we become God’s love.  We become a friend and a neighbor.

When Jesus asked in Luke 10:36, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  “He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”  And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Because of the act of compassion my nurse did for me by taking the time to record my son’s heartbeat and put it into a bear and the compassion I witnessed this week, now others will have a bear with their loved one’s heartbeat in their time of need.  This is made possible through the foundation associated with the hospital I work for that will help fund for more bears when you donate to this specific cause.

During these times of unknowing and crisis, it’s so important to let others know, I see you, hear you, you matter, through our acts or words of compassion.

How can we be a good neighbor to those around us who are hurting?

Would you like to know how you can be more compassionate in times of crisis?

Join me this month in the 12 Days of Kindness, where you will be challenged to do one act of kindness a day.  Kindness can move us into areas of compassion for others.  Here are the Kindness challenge prompts below.  Post Act of Kindness with Hashtag #12DaysofKindness

 

 

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How To Heal From Hidden Hurts: Half the Battle Book Review {& Giveaway!}

Have you ever faced a battle in your life and wondered ‘why me?’ or ‘when will this ever end?’  Well today you are in the right place.  I’m excited to share with you a book written by Dr. Jon Chasteen, Half the Battle:  Healing From Hidden Hurts.  A lot of us go through life discrediting the hidden hurts and trauma of our past, stuffing it down to hidden areas where it can’t hurt us anymore.  We tell ourselves lies, ‘they don’t matter,’ or ‘I’m fine, that was the past,’ when in reality we keep those hurts hidden away, not healed from them, just put in a different area of our hearts.

Funny thing how the body works.  It wants to heal.  Although this method of suppression will serve you well for probably many years, it never lasts.  God has a way of surfacing those hidden areas we’ve managed to keep ‘safe,’ by nudging us into areas of His eternal healing.  It’s our choice whether we want to be healed or keep sitting on our mats like the paralyzed man.

“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.  It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time thee will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”  Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  John 11:38-40 ESV.

In biblical times, the dead weren’t necessarily buried but put in caves with large stones to seal them (cave burials were for the wealthy).  They did this so there wouldn’t be the horrific odor from the dead that was buried there.  The odor was kept hidden by the stone.  Dr. Chasteen calls this the ‘stench behind the stone.’  He uses this example as a parallel of our undealt with pain.

'Jesus is not okay with permanently sealed tombs.' #quote Dr. Jon Chasteen #HalftheBattle #healingClick To Tweet

How To Heal From Hidden Hurts

What’s so amazing about the story of Lazarus is, everyone had started the mourning process, there was no possibility of a miracle, their loved one was dead, end of story–Jesus entered the scene and changed everything.  So why allow Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, and all his loved ones go through all that pain in the first place?  To show us what it looks like to invite Jesus into our pain.  Dr. Chasteen, uses the story of Lazarus to paint the picture of what we do with our pain.  How we try to bury our pain and seal it off in a grave without truly healing from it.  He wants us to see what happens when we invite Jesus into our pain, how miracles and healing happen when we do.

Jesus can resurrect any pain and bring it back to life Click To Tweet

Our pain is Jesus’ pain.  You’re pain matters to him.  “Jesus knows where you’ve hidden your pain” (quote, Chasteen).  He wants us to take Him to that exact place where we stopped believing and gave up hope.  Healing isn’t healing if it’s done half-way.  Jesus knows the way to heal because He is our Healer.

Maybe your pain stems from the pain of rejection.  Or from the pain of being abandoned or forgotten.  Maybe you’ve been the victim of abuse or racism.

Whatever the root of our pain, 'God can take whatever pain, whatever rejection, and whatever shame you carry and use it for His glory and for your good' #quote Chasteen #halfthebattleClick To Tweet

The enemy will always use our pain for his evil plan.  He’ll whisper lies it’s better to keep our pain hidden, attach shame to it, not allow Jesus in to help us, and to carry this burden on our own.  We can’t change the pain of our pasts.  We can’t pretend our past didn’t happen.  We can only take steps towards allowing Jesus to have access to all areas of our hearts so He can heal the forgotten hidden areas of our heart.  What the enemy uses for evil God will use for good (Genesis 50:20).

I will never forget when God did this for me in my life.  I knew there were areas of pain and hurt I was holding onto.   I knew God was nudging me to deal with them and allow Him to lead Him to the root.  I kept saying, ‘no,’ until one day I couldn’t say, ‘no,’ anymore.  He had brought me to the very place our son died in the hospital, when our daughter had broken the tip of her finger.  God asked me in this moment, ‘Do you want to heal?’  I finally said, ‘yes.’  He then nudged me to walk into the place that caused so much of my pain, the room where our son died.  The moment I stepped into the room, God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace, letting me know, you don’t have to hold onto your pain anymore, I have your son, I’m taking care of Him, you will see him again one day.

The key to healing is our willingness to heal.

Healing is hard but so worth it.  Half the battle is being willing.  Our willingness allows for places of honesty and vulnerability places where Jesus will do His amazing work in us, when we allow Him.  We don’t always have to know how only trust that God knows a better way.  We will never find healing and restoration in shame and pride.  Everlasting peace and freedom will only happen when we partner with Jesus and let Him in, not when we try to carry our burdens on our own.  We were created and made to have a holy dependence in God not a holy independence (kind of never works out when we do).

God doesn’t always provide the front door approach to our pain, because He knows many of us won’t walk through it!  Sometimes He uses the back door approach, allows us to go through the battles, pain, and struggles so we can draw closer to Him and invite Him in.  If you struggle with allowing God to have your pain, Half the Battle will help lead you to those place where hidden hurts reside.  Dr. Chasteen will help you roll the stone away so you can deal with those hidden hurts that don’t allow one to heal.

Do you invite Jesus into your hidden hurts?

Where do you keep hidden hurts?

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What Does the Bible Say About Self-Care?

Do you struggle with taking care of yourself or putting your needs as a priority?

Taking the the time to preserve our mental, emotional, and spiritual health is HUGE right now.  Any normalcy or routines of life we’ve had before 2020 have drastically changed for a time frame unknown.  That in itself, the unknowing what to expect, the outcome of all of this causes heightened anxiety!  It seems harder and harder to catch a break from all that’s going on in the world to escape the realities of what’s going on around us.  

I recently had the privilege of being apart of the 2020 Christian Women’s Virtual Self-Care Conference.  I was one of the 55 plus women speakers teaching workshop from body image, to eating right, to taking care of the forgotten areas of our hearts.  I was beyond blessed learning from these women and the messages God had given them to pour into others.  The main takeaway of the whole conference was God places high priority on self-care.  Jesus modeled this for us while he was here on earth.  

Self-Carr Bible Verse

Jesus Himself teaches about self-care #selfcareClick To Tweet

What Does the Bible Say About Self-Care?

In the gospels, there is a pattern, there’s a message, then a miracle, a message, then a miracle.  In Luke 5:16, Jesus withdrew to a lonely (desolate) place to pray.  Why?  Because he had just healed a man with leprosy.  The news spread of Jesus’ ability to heal and the people wanted more.  Jesus retreated because He didn’t come to earth for people to ONLY SEE the miracle of HIS HEALING.  He also wanted them to HEAR the message of HIS TRUTH, that He came for people to have life and have it to the FULL.  Seeking ONLY the miracle doesn’t allow for growth within us.  Jesus didn’t come to earth to DWELL among us to show off, or perform a bunch of miracles.  He came so we could also hear His message of joy, love, peace, hope, freedom, and salvation.  When the crowds came looking for Jesus, He retreated.  

We as well, can retreat to places of solitude and prayer to replenish, be restored, hear God’s voice and just be still with HIM.  We don’t have to keep performing, doing more to earn His love or to love us more than He already does.  Investing in ourselves so we can invest in others will reap rewards more than we could ever imagine.  

What Are You Struggling With?

Are you struggling with procrastination, self-doubt, and apathy right now?  Then you may need a boost in your dopamine levels.  Dopamine is the reward hormone in your brain that motivates you to achieve your goals, reinforces good behavior.  When all things life related are converted to on-line or cancelled, when decrease our dopamine ‘hits,’ that keep us motivated!  When procrastination seeps in (like it does for me), and you’re feeling unmotivated, set your goal and reward yourself at the end (like put a book you want in your amazon cart and buy it when you’ve reached your goal).  It will keep those dopamine levels up!  

Are you struggling with loneliness and depression?  Chances are your serotonin levels may be decreased.  Serotonin is our happiness hormone and makes us feel significant.  When activities and celebrations get cancelled, our happiness levels levels go down when we don’t have much to look forward to.  Increasing your Vitamin D intake by either supplements and/or UV light has been proven to improve serotonin levels.  

Are you struggling with stress, strained relationships, and decreased immunity?  Oxytocin may be the culprit.  Oxytocin is the ‘bonding hormone,’ which creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships.  We need each other.  We were meant to be together.  We miss out on those human connections and interactions when we have to be isolated.  This is why there has been a puppy surge and all the SPCA’s are empty.  Petting an animal increases oxytocin levels!  Experts recommended to maintain oxytocin levels by giving 8 hugs a day!  

The burnout we are all experiencing is real and need to find ways to reduce our stress so we don’t cause further damage to our bodies.  How we treat ourselves matters and to those around us.  Your family needs you.  Your loved ones need you.  Be gentle with yourself and others at this time.  These are some stressful times.  Being real with how the pandemic is affecting us is crucial to our well-being.  Emotional honesty is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  If you’re feeling lonely reach out to someone, pick up the phone, be intentional, let someone know how you’re feeling.  Are you feeling depressed, increased anxiety, overwhelmed?  Ask for help.  Don’t wait for a break down to happen to take care of yourself.  

God is in control.  He is the greatest Restorer and Healer.  Trusting in what He is able to do is vital to our overall well-being.  You are loved. You matter.  You are worth it.  Want to know more what the bible says about self-care here are 100 Bible verses about Taking Care of Yourself by OpenBible.info.  

Give yourself permission to take care of you. You won't regret it. Click To Tweet

Do you make self-care a priority?  How or in what way?

Are you able to give yourself the gift of emotionally honesty?

Did you miss the Self-Care Conference?  Watch the Re-cap Below of the conference’s highlights.

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Why Is It So Hard To Heal?

Hello!  It’s been a while.  I’ve been taking a much needed break this year from blogging to concentrate on a deficient area of my life, self-care.  A moment of honesty–there were areas of my life I didn’t realize needed healing and attention.  I kept hitting walls that wouldn’t allow me to move forward or I would build walls to protect me from any hurts in my life.  There would be times I was losing a grip on keeping my sanity and serenity in a healthy place.  I had to ask the question, Why did this keep happening?

Well, nothing changes when nothing changes.  I had to be real with the adversity in my life.  I couldn’t ignore emotional scars from my past or traumas that trickled into the hidden corners of my relationships in my life.  Whenever a trigger or hardship evolved these past hurts hiding in the corners came out like a raging river.  Over these past months and years, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research on how adversity changes the emotional landscapes of how we cope and heal.  I’ve had to look within myself and do some self-discovery of why am I the way I am?

Growing up a horrible lie was born into my life, I wasn’t wanted. Nothing my parents did make me feel this way, but it’s the message I received because of my circumstances.  My parents were very young when my sister and I were born, divorced by the time we were two, we lived with my grandparents for a couple of years until my father remarried and we moved back in with him in our new family and visited our mother on the weekends.  We didn’t talk about our problems or address them much because no one knew how.  My parents are a byproduct of my grandparents who grew up in the great depression where you don’t complain and you just kept going.  Problems or mistakes were to be hidden so no one knew our flaws.  No one talked about the fact there was mental illness and struggles with alcohol that affected our family.

“Am I a God at hand, delcares the Lord, and not a God far away?  Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?  declares the Lord.  Do I not fill heaven and earth?  declares the Lord”. Jeremiah 23:23-24.

No wonder why it’s so hard to heal!?!?!  No one likes to talk about their flaws and problems.  But it’s such a necessary step in accepting how God made us and how He will use our circumstances for good.  I became really good at hiding from what was hidden beneath the surface for so many years.  I was a people pleaser.  Helping others and pleasing people became my hiding place.  If I could please others and make sure their needs were met, I didn’t have any problems.  If I could fix, solve, save, or rescue others from their problems then I was good.  The problem with this method of dealing with problems was I wasn’t dealing with my own problems.  I wasn’t depending on God to mend my hurts, I was co-dependent on others to mend me.  This method will never serve anyone well in the end, because it bypasses Jesus and doesn’t allow Him to be the Mender and Healer.

There is only One Healer and He is Jesus.Click To Tweet

It wasn’t until I started counseling, I discovered I was a co-dependent.  I had developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to get my needs filled, to heal the wound I wasn’t wanted, which gave birth to other lies I was inadequate, not good enough.  I was a mess.  I had to unravel years of dysfunctional unhealthy behavior.  It has been very hard to peel back those layers, but so worth it and necessary in my healing process.  If I wasn’t willing to go beneath the surface and ask the question of why I do what I do, did things start to change for me?  I had to identify I wasn’t really putting my trust in God when I was going ahead of Him trying to heal myself through others.  I had to acknowledge there was a difference between just treating symptoms to get by or really do the work to heal.

We will never discover the fullness of our worth when we hide from God's healing.Click To Tweet

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;  save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise” Jeremiah 17:14

What you do isn’t who you are.  The effects adversity has on our lives is real.  Even if you don’t have a life born into adversity there still are stressors and hardships that make life difficult.  Being real with who you are in how God made you and learning how to maneuver through the adversity in your life is crucial.  I want to introduce to you the ACE score. It stands for Adversity Childhood Experience.  This score is on a 10 point scale, 10 being the most and 0 being the least. The higher your ACE score before the age of 18 determines based on statistics whether you are more prone to criminal activity, alcoholism, mental illness, and other chronic diseases.  Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician, and California Surgeon General has dedicated her life work to adversity and making it apart of integrative health, looking at the person as a whole, getting to the root of underlying issues, not just treating symptoms.

My ACE score by the time I was seven years old was a six.  My score put me into a very high-risk category or being susceptible to a whole slew of addictions and chronic illnesses.  Dr. Burke explains the neuroscience behind our stress, adversity, and why we do what we do.  She also explains why it’s so important to lower our ACE scores so we can leave behind a healthy legacy for the next generation.  I encourage you to take the ACE quiz to see what you score.  To take the quiz click here.

You are loved, my friend.  You are worth it!  You are an overcomer in Christ.  Your circumstances and adversity don’t define you, God does.  You are known in his love.  We don’t have to hide from who we are in Christ, praise God for that!

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Do you struggle with co-dependency(aka self-love deficit?  I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

Self-Care conference

Need a Break? Do you feel like this world is getting more chaotic and you just want some peace and rest?

I am so honored to be one of the 50+ Women Speakers at the 2020 Christian Women’s Self-Care Conference.  There will be live workshops filled with lots of much needed goodness!  And get this, it’s FREE!!!!!! (But for a limited time only). Take advantage of watching this conference in the comfort of your own home.  Take time for yourself.  Learn what areas of your life could use a little healing and attention.  I am excited about my workshop:  You are Known:  Loving Yourself Well which will be on day three and I address the struggles of co-dependency.

To register either Click Here or on the image.  To view, a complete list of speakers and workshops click on the link at the bottom of the page near the registration button.  Make sure to join me over the next 12 days on Facebook and Instagram.  I will be doing LIVE chats and giveaways!  Let’s get the conversation started!

What area of your life do you need the most self-care?

 

I am so excited to see what God will do in your life through this conference.  Please share in the comments and start a conversation.  You are loved, my friend!

 


3 Ways to Have More Joy in 2020


 

“The best news in the world is that there is no conflict between your greatest possible happiness and God’s perfect holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus magnifies him as the greatest treasure and brings you more joy—eternal, infinite joy—than any other delight ever could.”  John Piper

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday.  I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing and it’s been nice.  We all could use breaks and rest to be able to recharge and be refreshed.  How has your new year been shaping up?  Have you set goals, made resolutions?  Whatever your aspirations are I pray they are blessed beyond measure and filled with joy.

I’ve been reading a YouVersion Bible Reading Plan by John Piper called 15 Days in the Word with John Piper.

He talks about the secret of invincible joy and how our greatest rewards are in Jesus.  This message is something I’ve heard before, but never had I heard joy described as rescued.  Nothing can destroy or take away our joy, even in our suffering when it’s anchored in Jesus.  It is possible to keep our joy protected and safe even in the most painful of times when heaven is the reward.

'Great is your reward in heaven. And the sum of that reward is enjoying the fullness of the glory of Jesus Christ' quote John Piper (paraphrased John 17:24).Click To Tweet

Our greatest fulfillment will always come from what God can provide.  Nothing in this world could ever compete or compare to the eternal joy in which only God provides.

3 Ways to Have More Joy in 2020

1.  Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and not beat yourself up over them.  To all the perfectionists out there write this down on a notecard and put it somewhere you can see it.  Say this to yourself everyday until this sinks in.  If there is one thing I struggle with, it’s being gentle with myself when I don’t make good choices.  I have a constant message in my head on repeat on how I could have done things better.

Thank goodness for God’s grace.  His grace was never meant to be abused to continue with bad behavior over and over but to help refine us and mold us through Him, not ourselves.  Joy will always be found in what God does in us.  Our mistakes don’t make us bad, they make us human.  God can do so much more with our mistakes when we surrender them to Him, then we could ever do ourselves.

2. Learn how to be emotionally honest with yourself.  Let’s face it, if we struggle with the ability to give ourselves grace when we mess up, we probably struggle with being realistic with our emotions.  Our emotions and mistakes don’t define us but what we do with them matters.  If we’re being honest with ourselves we’re able to own our own stuff and not constantly use blame or criticism to take the focus off ourselves.

Are you critical and judgmental of others?  Do you like to point out others mistakes in front of others?  Do you create chaos?  Looking within ourselves we might  discover when we’re critical of others we’re probably critical of ourselves.  Pointing out others’ flaws, doesn’t make your flaws as bad and then you don’t have to focus on yourself.  When you point out others mistakes, you probably aren’t secure with yourself and when other’s mistakes are magnified, no one is looking at your messes.  When patterns of chaos are created, then you don’t have to deal with your own problems when chaos is around.  If you want to have more joy in 2020, learn how to be emotionally honest, it’s the best gift you can give yourself.   Emotional honesty allows us to be emotionally available for others which is very enriching for relationships.

3.  Learn how to ‘BE’ instead of always doing.  Girl, if there’s one thing I could write to my younger self this would be it.  I’m ashamed to say how much of my energy has been wrapped up in doing, performing, and achieving.   Again if my focus was on the accomplishment I didn’t have to focus on myself.  Somehow my identity got tethered to these things and life became about doing.  God didn’t make human doings, he created human beings.  We were created ‘to be.’    We can be free in how God made us when we learn how to be.

We don’t always have to be the solution to every problem, the rescuer or savior (roles that were never meant for us in the first place).  Learning to be, means learning how to have balance when there are problems in your life.  Being means learning how to have more empathy for others when they are going through hard times.  Learning empathy allows for more compassion to be in our lives.  God wants us to learn how to BE love not DO love.  When we do, we put our own efforts into it and bypass God.  When we be, we allow God to work through and within us so His love overflows not the other way around.

Do you struggle with giving yourself grace when you make mistakes?

Are you able to be emotionally honest with yourself?

Do you struggle with being instead of doing?

Me too.  You’re not alone.  I struggle with every single one.  This is the beauty in our journey when we EMBRACE THE PROCESS.  It’s not about being perfect, getting it right all the time, it’s about learning to be well and allowing God to use EVERYTHING in His time.

How about you?  Do you desire to have more joy in 2020?  I do.  Learning to trust in the process God has put forth will always allow for His abundant joy to fill us, satisfy and complete us more than we could ever imagine.

Are you able to receive God's joy in your life?Click To Tweet

How can you have more joy in 2020?

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

I will be taking a little break from blogging to be able to work on a project that God has been pressing on my heart.  In order to be obedient to what God has for me, I need to be realistic with my time.  I may post a new post from time to time, but it won’t be weekly.  I will keep you posted on what I’m doing and thank you all who read and subscribe to the posts, it means so much to me.  I am grateful.


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