Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

What is Your Recipe for Life?

The last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  Our sweet Baby (fur baby) is nearing the end of her life because of a tumor. Father’s Day causes me to stress because I’ve lost so many memories. Hubby’s pain levels have been higher than normal. Restless nights so my sleep is off.
All of these things tend to leave me feeling drained.  I am by no means complaining, but I guess it sounds like it, right?  LOL.  I will admit, I have found myself on the “pity pot” several times this week which leads to resentments which is never good for this recovering addict.
It always amazes me how listening to a business training call can change my entire mindset.  The topic was “power hour” and I was ready to just mindlessly listen when the importance of changing our mindset was mentioned…. Not only does this apply to business but also in our everyday lives, especially during those woe is me days.  Then while reading my Just for Today… it was all about surrendering. Do you think God is trying to send me a message?
When I was in rehab, I remember a saying something like: If one person calls you a duck – you can toss it aside, if two people call you a duck – it deserves some consideration but if three people call you a duck – you MUST be a duck!”  I am not waiting for the third person because I know I need to change my mindset and get off the pity pot!
So starting this morning, this duck is changing her mindset.  Do you need to change your mindset?
Here are a few questions you can answer which might help:
  1. Identify what happened to cause the change
  2. Why did it happen
  3. How can I use this for my personal growth
  4. What changes can I make to improve in the future
  5. Where can I find help or who can help
This “recipe for life” was part of a devotion I was reading.  Maybe this will help you in changing your mindset or counting your blessings:
Begin with a case of Joy
Add a heaping spoonful of Gratitude
Fold in a large dollop of Kindness
Stir in a handful of Forgiveness
Sprinkle liberally with Love and cover with Peace
Always serve with a large side of Faith
(Author unknown)
 
What do you do to change your mindset or get off the “pity pot”? Maybe you take a walk and count your blessings.  Maybe you do a gratitude list.  Maybe you put on some music and dance around.  Share your best tip with us!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Unclutter Your Life

Are Emotions Ruling Your Decisions?

We have all done it, right?  Let emotions rule our decisions.  I am sure there are more time than I can remember where I made impulse decisions based on how I was feeling instead of thinking them through.

When we make an important decision at the height of an emotional state – whether we are angry or ecstatic, frustrated or giddy – can lead to decisions you regret.  How about the shopping spree when you were feeling down?  Or the eating binge? Or maybe you left a job after a bad review or incident?

Emotions are powerful. Sometimes they are positive and sometimes they are negative, but they always have the power to move us into action.

I have to admit, I take action more often when the emotions are uncomfortable – like fear or anger or frustration.  The end result was to always get rid of the feeling.  Yup, stuffing feelings lead me to my addiction and then to my relapse so many years later.  Those inner gremlins reared their ugly head and made me feel less than in so many ways.  They compared me to what others were doing in similar situations (or so I thought).  The end result was some really bad decisions leading to credit card debt and more negative feelings.

Emotions can  be brought on by the circumstances and events in your life, or by the manipulative behavior of a particular person in your life.  The key is to take notice when you feel pressure to make an important decision in the midst of strong emotion. Is it easy – NO!  The pressure of our emotions is strong.  It allows those inner gremlins we thought we had dealt with so many years ago to gain some strength.  Emotions or stuffing them, allows old behaviors to come back creating more of a mess.

The next time you feel pressured by your emotions, I want you to do something different…

That’s right. Do absolutely nothing. I know it is scary – trust me, I have been there more times than I can count lately.  Let yourself feel uncomfortable, afraid, angry, sad – and don’t make a decision or take an action. Just sit with the emotion.  No, I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little).  Talk it out with someone BEFORE you make the decision.  Over the last eight months, I’m grateful to have found a group of like minded people who help me through the emotions BEFORE I make a decision.  I hate asking for help.  I mean at 61 you would think I could make them on my own.  The truth is I can’t….

We need to embrace the idea that your emotions don’t have to rule. The are not facts they are feelings.  Emotions can actually teach you something. What message is your emotions sending you? What can you learn? And when would be a better time for you to make a decision or take action?

I’m a person who seeks instant gratification.  I hate feeling uncomfortable.  I don’t like people to see me being emotional so I stuff feelings which doesn’t make for good decision making either.  Do you stuff your emotions or do you share them?

The reality is – it is oaky to be emotional. It’s natural. Just don’t let your emotions think for you. Slow down. Take a breath. Be wise.  Remember emotions are not facts!

Today, I challenge you to not let your emotions rule your actions. STOP! Be still. Hold off on making a decision until you are less emotional. When we are emotional, we fell the NEED to make a decision immediately to get rid of the feelings.  But, what would happen if you refused to make a decision or take action in the midst of high emotions?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

I am Offended and Hurt

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message…..

She put me down, right there in front of “all them.” Sure, it was subtle, but it was real and … worst of all, it wasn’t the first time. In fact, every time I encourage others around that one particular subject, she circles right back and shoots it down. You can’t get one thing past her.

Hmph! Well, if she’s going to put me down like that? Well…I’ll show her. I don’t have to put up with this.

I thought about leaving the gathering. But I didn’t. I just sat there, internally fuming, while externally smiling.

Later, when I got home, I wondered why I even bother speaking up, encouraging others or taking the risk to be open and honest. Women always hurt me. Like that one time I shared the vulnerable details of my heart, only to get word it was being passed through the meat grinder of women’s chattering mouths. Or the other time when I shared my hurt and it was misinterpreted and stomped upon by those around me. Or worst yet, when I shared about God and felt all the crawling judgement of others walking up and down my body.

The more I think about all this, the more the problem bothers me. And worst yet, I fear: what if the real problem is – me? Perhaps it’s not their issue, but my fatal-flaw issue. One I was born with. What then?

I must not be good. I must be unlikable. I’ll always have this problem.

When I look deep within myself, I see faults:

I sometimes seek to impress others.
I hate feeling like people aren’t approving of me.
I never want to be seen as one doing wrong.
I have a hard time when people disagree.
I feel like less of a person when I’m not adding value.
I feel worthier when God is using me for important things.

Yet, when I look a level deeper I see something else. Yes, I am flawed, but not fatally – thanks to Jesus. I say things wrong, but I am always wanted. I make mistakes, but I am always loved. I do need to say, “I’m sorry,” but I am always forgiven.

I am not the sum of what I do, but the product of how I’m loved by Jesus.

The same goes for you. Love pours out of you, because Love came for you and conquered all. He taught. He led. He bled. He died. He was buried. He rose to heaven. For you.

With this, we no longer have to create perfect love that demands perfect responses from others. Instead, we can rest in Him who is perfect love. We can trust His love to compel us. We can breathe deep and gain perseverance and endurance from the endlessly beautiful gift he extends to us. The gift called, “sweet relief.”

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day! 

 

Woohoo Wednesday

Let It Go!

This post is NOT all about the movie “Frozen“.  Although, I did see the movie and loved it.  This phrase has been coming up a lot lately for me.  It was the topic at a recent Weight Watcher meeting which of course sent me into emotional tailspin.  WHY? Because “letting go” is not something I do easily.  Then it came up in conversations with friends about business and personal lives.  Do you think God is trying to send me a message?

Do your emotions lead to food?  Whether we are happy, sad, stressed or angry – food seems to be solace for many of us.  We probably aren’t physically hungry but we find ourselves eating mindlessly and then wondering why the scale is not moving.  GUILTY!

Did you know between 35-60 percent of people who struggle with their weight claim to be emotional eaters.  It becomes a habit.  The two become so closely linked, we have a hard time separating them.  Yes, eating can provide temporary relief but then we never learn how to handle the emotion without eating.  Lately, it has become just the opposite for me – I don’t eat at all when I am upset.  Not good either since my body then goes into starvation mode and the end result is the scale doesn’t move.  Learning how to “let it go” is key to having balance in life (or at least in mine).  

Here are some steps to use when emotions trigger an urge to eat or when you need to let go of things in your life:

  1. Sit comfortably with feet on the floor and back straight but not rigid.  Let your gaze fall onto a spot which won’t distract you or gently close your eyes
  2. Settle yourself and focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
  3. Imagine a blue sky with fluffy clouds lightly drifting across it (or actually watch them enjoying God’s beauty). Imagine each cloud passing by is a thought, image or feeling.
  4. Mentally step back to observe and label each cloud.  Maybe it’s a thought about work, a feeling of frustration, an urge to eat, or feeling alone.  You are not trying to change or stop the clouds, just watching, describing and letting feelings and thoughts pass by.
  5. Continue for two minutes.  Gently bring your attention back to your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling three times and back to the present.

You can apply this same technique to other parts of your life as well.  Anger at a friend or family member.  Frustration with your business.  Feeling alone.  Hurt by someone’s unkind words.  Letting go of emotions is not easy but when we hold on to them, we feed those nasty inner gremlins.  As a result, the negative feelings build up and the inner gremlins grow causing a downward spiral which effects all aspects of your life, including the scale.

What unhelpful (or negative) thought have you had when emotions trigger the urge to eat?  Do a reality check?  You do not have to own those feelings, you can let them go and STOMP out those inner gremlins.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Moving into a Better Measurement

Thank you AMY CARROLL for today’s message…john159

For a checklist-loving girl, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as feeling you’re getting nothing accomplished.

In fact, for much of my life, here’s how I processed my days: No check-marks. → No progress. → No worth.

I determined my value by what I produced. Consequently, I often bore the soul-crushing weight of my own disapproval. Times like:

When I used three-fourths of a day to feed and care for an infant without even accomplishing a shower.
When my toddlers dismantled the house faster than I could put it back together.
When I moved to a new place and the phone stopped ringing and my calendar remained empty.
Those periods were a struggle because when I didn’t do enough, I thought I wasn’t enough. I let my work define my value. Maybe you’ve been there too.

Young mom, you love your children madly, but life’s joy drains out of the holes you poke in yourself.

Single friend, you know there are upsides to singleness, but it feels like a trap that keeps you from building the future you’d prefer.

Newbie neighbor, instead of seeing new possibilities in your new home, you feel stuck in grieving the old one.

Sick sister, your body needs rest, but you feel like a failure as you lay on your bed.

But the saddest part happens when we start believing God views us with the same disappointment we view ourselves. After all, we even express our spiritual life in terms like “faith walk” and “journey,” which implies forward movement. We start to view Him as the One pushing us along and measuring us by our work — a divine Project Manager in the sky. That belief left me wrongly feeling like His laborer instead of His daughter … His friend.

In today’s key verse, John, the beloved disciple, records this instruction from Jesus: “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love” (John 15:9). In this verse, the word “remain” can also be translated dwell orabide. Reflecting on these definitions made me realize how wrong my beliefs had been.

We want to move on, but Jesus invites us to move in.

Remain, abide and dwell — these words revealed how I evaluated progress and growth, and they helped me understand God’s approval in a new way. We don’t have to produce or create forward movement to earn God’s love. Instead, He asks us to move into … to settle … to be still in His love.

This idea changes everything. As a wise friend once told me, “You don’t work for God’s love. You rest in His love.”

God doesn’t measure our worth by our works. He establishes our worth by His love. Although I tend to calculate value by external things, God gauges value by internal things, and love is an internal work.

I invite you with the same invitation God extends to each of us: Remain in God’s love.

Move in all the pieces of your life. Every thought, emotion, gift and flaw.

Stay awhile.

As we say in the South, “Sit a spell!” In other words, dwell and bask in the love of God. You are worthy because of God’s gift of love, not the checks on your to-do list.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!