Relax, Reflect, Recharge

When Life Seems Broken

Thank  you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. (Nehemiah 1:3, NIV)

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of a land far from his home. (Which means he held a trusted position that allowed him personal access to the king.) When some old friends came to town he found out that his people, the Jews, were in a terrible situation. Deeply burdened by the news, he wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed. He took the devastation of his people to heart and responded on a soul level.

The Bible shows us that Nehemiah prayed. He was pressed but not crushed. He told the Lord that he was sorry for the way he and his people had rejected God and for the ways they had disobeyed His commands. He remembered the instructions of God to His people and reminded Him of His promises. And he asked God to hear his prayer, give him favor and lead his responses.

I read this and see a vibrant example of the way I should respond when difficult situations come my way. When my loved ones are hurting. When my homeland is unsafe and vulnerable to attack. Here are a few basic faith principles we can apply that Nehemiah modeled in his prayer and in the conversations that followed.

#1. BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. Nehemiah wept and mourned in response to the situation. You don’t need to pretend that you’re “fine” when life hurts. Instead, You can do what Nehemiah did: cry. Be sad. Mourn. Grieve.

Because life is hard … and just because we’re Christians does not mean we get easy passes.

Thankfully, God knows sorrow well and is the generous source of comfort we need.

#2. PRAY. Nehemiah’s powerful prayer included the following. I’ve bullet pointed them to be a useful guide:

– Begin with confession (on behalf of you and your people).

– Remember and remind God of His Word.

– Petition on behalf of others (Pray for your people. Stand in the gap. Intercede.)

– Ask for success (Yes. You read this right. It’s okay to ask God to give you favor. Nehemiah did!)

– Ask for mercy (That the punishment we and our people deserve would be withheld.)

While following this template of Nehemiah’s prayer doesn’t guarantee any of us that God will answer our prayers as we expect Him to, it does give us a step by step path to follow that will focus our hearts on God’s intervention.

Then, after Nehemiah prayed, the Lord allowed the king to see that something was wrong. And the Lord allowed Nehemiah to experience the favor he asked for. BUT he had to face his fears in order to step into the provision God had for him. And this shows us another great takeaway…

#3. DON’T LET FEAR HOLD YOU BACK. Nehemiah was heavy with sorrow and the king noticed. In chapter 2 the king asked Nehemiah what had made him sad. “So the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” (Nehemiah 2:2)

Insightful king, right?

The next words Nehemiah writes are, “I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Nehemiah 2:2-3)

Amazingly, the king cared! He asked what he could do to help, and then provided Nehemiah with everything he needed to go back to Jerusalem and help his people rebuild the ruins.

Nehemiah could’ve shrugged off the king’s question. He could’ve said,Nothing is wrong, my lord! I’m fine. All is well. But he didn’t. Even though he was afraid, he spoke truth. He didn’t let fear hold him back. And as a result, he was equipped with what he needed and was mobilized toward healing.

Are there complications that have your heart grieving and sifting through ashes?

Are you trying to keep a stiff upper lip and carry those broken burdens quietly?

God is all about rebuilding broken hearts and hopes, friend. He specializes in transforming smoky ash heaps into beautiful displays of His grace. He will move you toward that beauty and healing as you move toward Him in distress as Nehemiah did.

Have a blessed day!

Woohoo Wednesday

Don’t Go It Alone

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The countdown till Christmas is on…. okay, so it has been going on for awhile BUT as the kids countdown to their holiday break, it gets REAL!  The holidays for some bring a bag of mixed emotions – happy, sad, and fearful are just a few.  Some will spend the holidays alone while others although surrounded by friends and family will feel alone.  I am hear to let you know – you are not alone.

My emotions are on a roller coaster this holiday season.  Christmas will be spent with some family but mostly my extended family.  The New Year brings lots of changes in my business life.  Those old people-pleasing fears start to rear their nasty head causing me (and others) to seek solitude. The comparison game has gift giving becoming a “can you top this” instead of being “from the heart”.

I read an article recently which talked about being alone and how it is connected to our core fear of rejection.  We insist we are independent instead of letting others know we are just plain scared.  We claim we are focused rather than collaborating for fear of rejection. I have been sharing with all who will listen “I’m scared” about the shift from a regular paycheck to relying on my direct sales business for income.

As a CEO of my own business and even when I was working in the non-profit world, I never realized how solitary my work is. I write alone. I work in my office alone.  I make phone calls along.  I plan alone.  My home office is tucked downstairs and my team is scattered about in their home offices in this and other states.  Being an empty nester often brings more time alone.

The truth is we can make the most of being “alone” or we can wallow in sadness….

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“Alone” is where moments of inspiration unfold. “Alone” is also where moments of isolation steal your joy.   Each of us needs to find a balance between the two.  I know it isn’t easy this time of year.

As I embark on working my business FT, I am finding myself more passionate, purposeful and intentional about my work.  The thing which always seems to be missing and I am working hard to change this time around is Connection.  For it is when I connect with others, my life is transformed.  I am focusing on building relationships with my team, my hostesses and my customers.  My goal is to inspire while making a difference in the lives of others but to also connect with them. Stomping out the fear of rejection and refusing to play the comparison game.

These words are from Valerie Burton:

Everything in life is more meaningful when you make connection the goal. Connection isn’t “networking.” It is isn’t simply collaboration. It isn’t just communication. Connection is love. It is the moment, however brief, when your soul aligns with another and you serve one another’s needs in some way. It could be a smile, a touch, an idea, a word of encouragement, or act of support. But connection makes life and work juicy.

No one should be alone EVER but especially during the holidays.  Holidays are time for family and friends.  Family does not have to be defined by blood relation but can be those individuals who embrace you for the good, the bad and the ugly.

Today feels like mindless rambling but God put this on my heart.  Maybe for me to acknowledge my fears or maybe it was something someone else needed to hear.

How are you trying to go it alone this holiday season? What would making a connection give you in your personal or business life?

 Reach out. Connect. Don’t go it alone.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Personal Causes, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Self Acceptance

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Happy Friday!  I came across this quote in a blog I read recently that struck home for me:

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I have talked about my transformation and how I feel more confident lately BUT (I hate that word) there is one thing that still nags at me (sometimes).  I don’t always accept myself.  I know sounds like a contradiction, right?

Last weekend, I found the playful silly side of me again.  The crazy clown noses, playing with hats and costumes at the circus and just being silly.  It was a side of me that Belinda hasn’t seen in  many years and sometimes, I wonder if at all.  While making dinner on Friday, she said “My mom was a workaholic but I figured that was better than being an addict so I went with it and adjusted”.  WOW!  That simple statement made me realize the sacrifices that my daughter (and my family) made over the years as I substituted work for my drug addiction.  I know, what does that have to do with today’s topic, right?

Well, it triggered a thought pattern that had me on a brief hunt for acceptance – not just of who I was or am but also from other people.  Not a good thing because this always leads me down the slippery slope of lack of confidence.  Then this quote reminded me that we need to truly feel good about ourselves despite outside opinions.  Do I like me?  Okay, most days the answer is a resounding YES!  I may not like the sagging skin from the extreme weight loss.  I may not like my toes (a new thing for me with the onset of flip flop season). Bad hair day.  Feeling fat in an outfit.  You know the usual.  Overall, I am happy with me!

There are going to be people who don’t like me.  There are going to be people who push my buttons.  There are going to be people who talk negatively about me.  So what, right?  As long as I don’t let them take up space in my head – all is good.

In my effort to “create space” that will help me fulfill my dreams – I need to be selfish, focusing inward and provide myself with  ego-boosting energy.  I am ridding myself of the negative talkers (when I can).  I am ridding myself of the comparison head game.  My new “space” will continue to guide me towards self-love and acceptance from within.

These four “mantras” were shared in the blog and they are definitely going to help me “create space” to reach my dreams:

1. No one else can prove your self-worth.  True friends can help boost it, but only temporarily. Authentic, lasting personal validation exists when you value and approve of you.

2. You are who you are, and that’s good enough.  You will have moments, even phases when you’ll doubt this, and that’s okay. Just remember: bad things are going to happen. Some people aren’t going to like you. But these are not a negative reflection of the awesome person you are.

3. Your friendship, time, and thoughtfulness are precious.  Invest these wisely and with integrity. You deserve it, as do your loved ones.

4. Be proud of yourself and all you do.  You have more than enough to be proud of and that pride should come from within and be unshakeable at its core.

What are your favorite mantras?  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Celebrate and Connect, Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms, Hope Wissel, Personal Causes

Shabby Chic

This morning’s devotional on ibelieve was entitled Shabby Chic Refinishing which got me to thinking of my own transformation over the last 6 months or so.

For many of us, we define ourselves by what we do or who we are related to not by just our name.  Growing up – I was Bob & Joan’s daughter.  At college – I didn’t know who I was.  When I entered the adult work force – I was Hope – Security Supervisor or Social Worker.  For several years, I carried the title of I am Hope – a recovering addict.  Then as a mom – I was always “Belinda’s mom”.  Don’t get me wrong – I wore each of my titles or hats with pride because that is what defined me.  I was like an antique (yes I am reaching the age to be called one) that had been covered many times with paint to change its color to match the environment that it was in. When Belinda left for college, for the first year I held on to that title for security purposes.  Then I had work so there I was a COO (Chief Operating Officer) for a non-profit.  I clung to that title for about 5 years because it kept me from peeling off the layers of who Hope really was.  

When I decided that I wanted to move into leadership with my direct sales company, I began to wear a new title “bag lady”.  I was excited to be part of a group again – able to be behind the scenes but again not peeling off all of the layers that covered who I truly was.  With a lot of help, the layers have been peeled off and the rough edges are being smoothed.  See, now that I peeled off those layers, I had to let ME shine.  I am working on ME and my personal growth.  I listen to 31 minute calls that will help me to grow my business.  I listen to direct sales trainers on how to be a good leader.  I attend meetings and networking events to meet more people as well as step out of my comfort zone.  I am no longer defined by the job title I have but I am now Hope Wissel – wife, mom, daughter, business women, life/ business coach, teacher, consultant, party planner and blogger.  I wear many hats but now not just one of them defines who I am.

If you met someone on the street and they said “Hi, my name is Hope.  It is nice to meet you?”  Would your immediate response be “XX, (your child’s name) mom? Or “XX, (your hubby’s name) wife?  They are hats we where but they do not define who we are on the inside.  Peel off the layers and find out who is on the inside.  It can be a little scary but the journey is AMAZING!

Transform from the shabby chic antique covered with layers to the polished antique that shows its natural beauty.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!