Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Real-Time Relationship

Thank you Elisa Pulliam for today’s message.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony – Colossians 3:12-14, NLT

I expected my usually happy teenage daughter to bounce into my office singing VBS songs from her morning spent serving at church. Instead, her sullen face conveyed another story. She was battling feelings of betrayal, insecurity, and jealousy after receiving a message from a friend about something that was happening in a completely different place.

Let’s just say this mama llama wanted to spew more than a few unpleasantries about social media and towards the adult involved behind the scenes. Yet I could feel God urging me to not be so easily offended. I’d been down this road enough times before to recognize what was happening.

Satan was busy writing the story in my head according to his own agenda.

Can you relate?

The Holy Spirit prompted me to take hold of my thought life before doing or saying something I might regret. While I’ve been practicing taking my thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and asking God to align them with His truth (Romans 12:2) for the last decade, I’ve come to see that I have a harder time doing this when a relationship is at stake. It’s hard to find your voice when you’re already wounded and fear more rejection. Yet, avoiding conflict never leads to relationship restoration.

So I skipped the easy-out texting approach and took the risk with an old-fashioned phone call. I put into action the best communication tactics anytime conflict is brewing. I prayed for God to speak through me and asked the open-ended questions I’ve been trained to use as a life coach. It worked! As I listened and affirmed my commitment to our friendship, her voice softened. Her defenses dropped. And the truth rose beautifully out of it all.

Turns out that there was no reason to be offended. There was no intention to hurt my girl or betray us. There was no ill will. There was a perfectly good explanation that social media failed to capture. I should have known!

Satan is the King of Drama ready to destroy every relationship God created for His glory and kingdom purposes.

Maybe that’s why Paul urges the Colossians and us to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, making allowance for each other’s faults. Yes, it’s always beneficial when we choose to seek forgiveness and extend it. It’s God honoring when we put on love in the pursuit of unity.

When we live according to God’s design, we get to experience a whole lot less drama, along with the blessings that come from real-time relationships restored by His love and extravagant grace.

Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel

Recovery After Relapse

 I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not I wanted to share this post.   I have been  a people pleaser most of my life and I didn’t want any one to be angry with me. Others will stop reading.  BUT there may be one or two who will be encouraged or know recovery is actually possible.

My first time in recovery, I shared with everyone.  I didn’t care who knew because NA and the people I met saved my life.  They helped me to learn about me which made me confident.  Some would say I got cocky, since after two plus years of daily meetings I walked away from the program thinking I was “better” and was healed.  I was given back all of the tangibles in my life – family, a career, a house, car and so much more.

If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I have referenced my relapse and my walk back into recovery.  Pride and ego gets the best of me as I worry about what people will think.  BUT there may be someone out there who needs to hear this story….

When I started blogging in 2013, I shared the story of my addiction. The story of getting clean in 1991 was a blessing.  I was blessed with many years in recovery – from drugs.  Of course, I now know I substituted work for my drug of choice.  I became a workaholic – and some wondered if I cared more about my clients then I did my family.  As a workaholic, I had an occasional glass of wine figuring I had things under control.  Little did I know, it was the beginning of making a total mess of my life again.  See, I forgot one simple thing from those early meetings – a drug is a drug is a drug.  The truth is, anything we become obsessive about is a form of addiction.  So, as I worked for many years at a job I loved; I was able to “manage” my work – addiction.

When for health reasons I had to give up my crazy commute (4 hours a day round trip) and a job I loved – I was lost.  I had no real identity or at least I didn’t think so.  The first year wasn’t bad.  I worked on my direct sales business, and collected unemployment while I looked for something close to home.  The truth was being 54 with LOTS of experience was not an appealing trait for most employers.  All they saw was someone who was “older” and who they thought would quit when a better opportunity came along.

Over the next 7 years, my life would be like a roller coaster ride.  Taking jobs to fill the void and pay the bills.  But each time, my MS (not yet diagnosed) reared its ugly head, and I had to give my notice.  During 4+ of those years, not only did I struggle to find a job but I endured endless testing to determine what was going on health-wise with me.

Financial unmanageability was starting to wreck havoc in my life without a steady income.  MS started affecting my memory, my moods, my balance and my life. The unmanageability throughout my life got worse.  No steady income.  An inconsistent commission check from my direct sales business.  Using credit cards to pay for things or to shop or to keep up appearances.  Drinking wine to relax.  The old behaviors and feelings from my early days of using came back really fast.  Stuffing my feelings again.  Feeling like I didn’t belong.  Feeling alone.  Feeling like a victim.  Feeling unworthy of anything.  Playing the comparison game and never winning.  Being self-centered (I want what I want when I want it).  Angry. Letting pride rule. Jealousy.  All of those things I thought I had dealt with long ago.

See, the reality was I gave up the drugs but I never really worked on me.  I substituted work for drugs.  I identified as a Social Worker.  I identified as mom.  But I never identified as Hope – the person.  Looking back, I was happy with my life BUT I don’t think I was ever really happy with me!

One year ago, I walked back into the rooms of NA, I felt as broken and lost as the first day I walked into the rooms on October 26, 1991.  I have learned so much in the last year.  This year has been a turning point in my life…. you would think at 62 I would have finally gotten it together. LOL.

Are things perfect?  No but they are getting better.  I am learning to like me for me.  I still tend to play the comparison in my business but it is getting better. I am working on re-building broken relationships. I am building a network of strong women who I can lean on.   I am learning to accept my MS diagnosis and truly believe #mswillnotdefineme.

Why am I sharing this?  I want to help someone else who may be struggling.  I am coming face to face with my inner demons so I can move on from the past and embrace the future.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Gossip is Deadly

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

A monster was sneaking into my yard in the dark of night and devouring my prize plants. I never saw his beady eyes or heard his pounding footsteps—just the aftermath of his destruction. He left a trail of slime as he moved from plant to plant, leaving large gaping holes in broadleaf Gerbera daisies, gnawing entire velvety trumpet-shaped blossoms on purple petunias and reducing bushy begonias to naked stalks.

I asked a neighbor about my flowerbed’s demise and she determined, “You’ve got slugs.”

Slugs!” I exclaimed. “The yard monster is a tiny little slug?”

“You can put out slug bait to catch them and see for yourself,” my confident neighbor continued.

I sprinkled slug bait all around the yard and then waited. The next morning I viewed the “monsters” remains. The beasts were about ¼ inch long—about the size of my little toe nail.

How could something so small cause so much damage in such a short amount of time? I mused. Then my mind thought of something else that is very small that can cause enormous damage in a short amount of time…gossip. King Solomon wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Just as one tiny slug can destroy an entire flowerbed, so can one tiny morsel of gossip destroy a person’s reputation, mar one’s character, and devour a friendship.

In the South we have this knack for making gossips sound…almost nice. All you have to do is add “bless her heart” to the end of the sentence. It goes like this: “Susie gained fifty pounds with that last pregnancy, bless her heart.” “Marcy’s husband ran off with his secretary, bless her heart.” “I heard Clair yelling at the postman yesterday, bless her heart.” But all the “bless her hearts” don’t mask what it really is…gossip.

Solomon wrote, “Whoever repeats the matter separates close friends,” (Proverbs 17:9 NIV). Charles Allen, the author of God’ Psychiatry observed: “Those of great minds discuss ideas, people of mediocre minds discuss events, and those of small minds discuss other people.” Maybe if we are spending our time talking about people, we need to fill our minds with better material such as good books and other reading material (and I don’t mean People Magazine or the National Enquirer).

What exactly is gossip? Webster defines gossip as ”easy, fluent, trivial talk, talk about people behind their backs.” It is repeating information about another person’s private affairs. If you have to look around to make sure that no one can hear what you are saying, you are probably gossiping. If you would not say something in front of the person you are talking about, then you’re probably gossiping.

We have often heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Perhaps that is why gossip is so appealing. It suggests a certain amount of power because, “I have the inside scoop.” But gossip is not power. On the contrary it shows a lack of power…lack of self-control.

Today, let’s make our lives a NO GOSSIP ZONE.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

What Do Your Emotions Teach You?

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Happy Monday!  I don’t know about you but the holiday season always brings on a ton of emotions… some happy, some sad and some even angry. I know this is a weird topic for a Monday morning, just hope it touches someone’s heart.

Over the years, the holidays have changed so much for me.  They seem to have gone the whole range from happy to sad to depressing and then back to happy.  Okay, so maybe I have bumped back and forth between happy many times in between but each time during the road back, I have learned something.

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Simply put my emotions are teachers.   The late Thomas Leonard, a pioneer in the field of life coaching, used to say.

Emotions are not there to simply annoy you or make you miserable or ecstatic. The annoyance, misery and excitement are there to get your attention and offer you clues about the state of your life, your thoughts, and what you should do next. When you learn to read the messages your emotions send you, you can literally coach yourself to higher levels of happiness and success.

After reading this, I figured it was time to be honest about my emotions.  It was time to ask myself, “What message is being offered to me right now?”.  Have you ever really sat down and thought about it?  If you are like me, emotions were just an expression of what I was feeling inside.  Something I usually had to get over.  I am finding as I struggle with my memory, many times I seem to be emotion-less than SMACK, I am like a broken damn overflowing.

As I journaled my feelings this morning, I came across a list from Valerie Burton from her book What’s Really Holding You Back?  Here is her cheat sheet of common emotions and the messages they send us:

Anger: A boundary has been crossed. Perhaps it is time to set stronger boundaries or protect yourself from trespassers.

Guilt: You believe you’ve done something wrong. Maybe it is time to apologize … or maybe you’ve done nothing wrong and you need to reset expectations.

Jealousy: There’s something you wish you had in your own life. Perhaps it is time to be grateful for what you have … or start creating a situation that reflects your heart’s desires.

Disappointment: Your expectations weren’t met. Maybe you need to adjust your expectations.

Burnout: You’ve exhausted your mental and emotional resources. It is time to restore your energy and fill your tank back up.

Sadness: You’ve experienced a loss, whether the loss of something/someone you had or the loss of the vision you thought you were going to have. Give yourself time to acknowledge and mourn your loss so you can move forward again.

Anxiety: You fear danger is looming in the future.

Excitement: You are experiencing something that energizes you. How could you savor it and perhaps even create more of that in your life?

Okay, so how are you feeling this morning?  I can tell you I am a mix bag of emotions including guilt, jealousy, disappointment and sadness. Kind of a hot mess, right?  The truth is despite the mess, I am working hard to not allow emotions to rule me.  I am trying to heed the lessons and move on.

Think about your day, does the outcome of your day depend on the emotion you are feeling?  Feeling excited about something (new business, new relationship, new outfit, whatever) and the day is full of positive energy and wonderful things.  Feeling guilt for eating too much, not working out, overspending, lashing out at a friend or family member – the day becomes full of negative energy with nothing going right.  This is when we let our emotions rule our day/ life.

Now, acknowledge the emotion you are feeling.  Listen for the message it is trying to send you and then use it as an opportunity to grow.  Bless and Release.  Remember the Universe is waiting to respond to the thoughts you have.  Negative thoughts bring negative things.  Positive thoughts bring positive things.

Today, I am challenging to you to acknowledge your emotions. Then listen to what they are trying to tell you.  Then decide what action will you take as a result of the message?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Woohoo Wednesday

Does Someone Else’s Success Threaten Yours

 

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” ~Unknown

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Today is HUMP day!  I wanted you to know that no matter where you are or what you are doing or what you think of yourself, you are an inspiration to ME!  For some, that may not mean much but I am sure that there is someone out there that needs to hear those words.

I am sure that I am not alone in playing the comparison game…..

You go to the gym with a goal – say walking 2 miles on the treadmill.  You get there and all of them are full EXCEPT the one next to where someone is running 10 miles uphill.  In that moment, do you feel like you are wasting your time at the gym.

Have you almost walked out of the gym or worse yet tried to copy what that person was doing.  YIKES!  The truth is, you need to CELEBRATE how awesome you are for the progress you are making.  No matter how small a step it may be for you, it is one step more than someone else is taking.

Growing up there was always that “keeping up with the Jones” mentality in our neighborhood.  As if having the same “stuff” or doing the same things were going to make anyone like you any more.  The PTA mom who is always dressed to the hilt and has mega time to “organize” successfully anything she says that she will do.  The mom whose house is spotless despite being a working mom.  They all seem to have it together, right?

I will admit that I struggle with the comparison game but here are some reminders:

Detach from Everyone Else

I know, this is easier said than done, right?  The truth is that unless you’re having a competition with a friendly wager, your personal progress is 100% independent from the rest of the world and the people in it.  I am not saying that you can’t use them as inspiration of where you want to be or what your goal is BUT what I am saying is that they should not threaten your sense of satisfaction in the progress you’ve made or are making.

No Pain, Still Gain?

Yes, we have all heard this saying right?  Whether it is on a weight loss journey, building a business or running a household, right?  It is pretty common to be envious of others and want to use that as a motivator.  The truth is that this “negative motivation” is mentally draining and relatively ineffective.  Remember the Law of Attraction, right?Amazing progress is more about consistent effort and NOT emotional pain.

The Permanent Cure for Envy Is Progress

Acknowledge your progress, CELEBRATE it no matter how small.  Steps towards your goal no matter how small is one step closer to it.  Maybe you can’t run the 10 miles on the treadmill but you can jog 2 miles, that is a step forward.  Maybe your house is not spotless but it is neat and feels like home to those who visit.  CELEBRATE those things and revel in the positive energy that it creates in your life.

There will always be someone who is further along the path than you are in every area of your life.  You are making changes in your life  that is your personal progress.  You don’t know what their journey has been to get to where they are.  They may have reached their goal after years of hard work while you are just starting your journey.  Each person’s story is different.

We are the choices we make so do you choose to compare yourself to someone else OR are you ready to write your own story?

The only person you have to measure up to is the person you were yesterday. If you can beat that person, trust me, you’re doing very well.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!