A Reminder To Us All

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Money isn’t everything, but God isn’t in short supply. Do your best and trust Him to provide.

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Sadness: A Hopeful Thought

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Disclaimer: For some reason I was on a lyrics kick while writing this post.
“The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”  Such beautiful words penned by John Newton that remind us in our difficult times of confusion and chaos that God is with us and will give us our daily portion of grace to get through.   Its often hard not to question why He is allowing us to go through what we do, but in His promises to stay with us and that His grace will keep us through it all stand firm.
Last year while on a trip to Northern Ireland I received a word from God during a Sunday night service. It will change the way I pray forever. It came through a woman I had only met that day. It was as follows:  Pray without ceasing, because I am listening without ceasing, and I pray for you without ceasing because I love you without ceasing.
Of course we are all told that God hears our prayers, but having Him tell me He was listening, even waiting to listen changed everything for me and I hope it will encourage you as you battle through your own times of trial.
Sometimes He is simply waiting for us to rediscover that we can, and must, rely on Him fully as our shield and portion to get through. Once we do we find that, His grace abounds, and name brings us peace. Even when things are hard, He is seeing us through.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.    – John Newton

Current State

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This past month has been a month of much spiritual warfare.  Some battles God has caused me to win, others, I’ve fallen short and been defeated. It seems that the enemy really wants to drag me back down into a depressed state where I cannot move forward with my life. However, he isn’t going to win this time.  For in this battle, I will cling to the rock that is higher than I.
 
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
From the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.  Psalm 61: 1-3

Body and Brain

You’ve probably heard that you are what you eat.  Well the more I learn how dependent our bodies and brains are on their corresponding diet, I am blown away. For example, a dear friend stopped drinking coffee after being a bit of an addict, and suffered severe migraines as a part of her withdrawal symptoms.  I myself started taking a supplement earlier this year to get rid of excess yeast in my system and my skin cleared up and I felt pretty calm and collected.  Its amazing how what we are eating, and drinking effects us physically and mentally.  Lately my brain chemistry has felt off and so I am trying to cut back on sugar, starches, and coffee. So far, so good. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying and when I stick with it, it does help.  It may not cure depression completely but perhaps it will help me keep things in check.  Maybe you should pray about seeing a doctor about your diet also. See if they can help you come up with a better eating style that will lessen your symptoms whether they be anger, anxiety, ADHD, apathy, or any other “A”…or other letter you may be experiencing. In working on your body you may just help your mind too.  I’ll let you know how my journey goes.

RSS: Restless Spirit Syndrome

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Over the last few weeks there has been a restless longing in my heart.  As usual I didn’t take the time right away to deal with it as I knew where it was coming from.  A crazy idea I’ve had in mind for quite some time.  Not just an idea, a potential career move that is exciting and scary as all get out.
Breaking it down on a practicality scale it seems about 10% do-able, 30% a pipe dream, and 60% insane. (Like most of my ideas)
Prone to anxiety, just HAVING this idea caused fear and doubt. After many failed plans in the past, I was afraid to say anything lest I start, fail, and experience the shame of dreaded “I knew it wouldn’t last” looks.
With continued burying my thoughts under daily life, migraines became frequent, and tension grew to the point where I got angry at almost everything. (That was also my bad diet….I’m working on that)
While I was not consciously thinking about my plan, subconsciously it is eating me up and it showed. But I didn’t even know what to think! I had no idea how to approach this potential path.  It was like a vision was showing me wonders and horrors that could all come to be, with very few answers as to how to achieve anything.
But I made the decision to move forward in doing the research needed to get ready.  Suddenly, in-spite of the nerves and fear, I’m becoming a bit more grounded. The percentage of “do-able” is at 15% and rising. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
 It is time to step out, and know that God won’t let me drown as long as I continue to rely on Him every moment.
If you are in a season of change and you find it causing anxiety, take heart. Remind your anxiety that it doesn’t own you; God does. Take the help God gives and in the face of anxiety, I pray you are able to step out in trust, and press on.

Stewarding Friendship: A Rude Awakening

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These past few weeks, saying no and taking rain-checks has been a bit of a trend. Granted it has been partially due to illness, but guys, it’s become clear that sadly it is also an error on my part.  As an introvert I LOVE spending time with people one-on-one rather than in groups.  However, I’ve been trying to be a friend to more people, while adding to my work schedule, and also planning according to their busy schedules. Simply put, I’ve been trying to spend time with a lot of people, without having a lot of time. This leads to letting people down.
Letting people down is one of the worst feelings, isn’t it? Even if the plans you have aren’t actually set plans, but you made plans with one friend when you could have executed plans with someone you forgot you’d been talking about hanging out with…it feels lousy. This being said, throwing in the towel and accepting yourself as just a bad friend shouldn’t be an option. I’m starting to understand, and hopefully this will help you too, sometimes you just don’t have the time to hang out with 10 people individually during 1 season of your life, and this doesn’t mean aren’t being a good friend. Right now I’m evaluating my own situation trying to think of ways to remedy this error in time management.  Here are some current thoughts I’ve got to help overcome the issue of forgetting/flaking out on plans.
This is a list I’ve made for myself, but feel free to use it if this is your struggle too.
  1. DON’T Make or Break it – Don’t make uncertain plans with people.  When you make a plan, set an actual date and time to it. (Pick a date that isn’t already full!)
  2. DO Look Beyond the Moment -Do make plans in advance whenever possible. Note them in your calendar or phone to avoid double booking.
  3. DO Double Up –  Do make plans that include multiple (mutual) friends sometimes. This way nobody is neglected, and you all get to enjoy time together.
That’s all I’ve got so far. Feel free to comment any more suggestions

Career Vs. Calling: Are they the same?

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It might just be me, but it seems like millenial christians tend to equate the terms “career” and “calling”. Which when you think about it is not always true.  How we make money can be entirely different than the calling that God has placed on our lives. Our main calling is simply to glorify and commune with Him.
While being able to make money off of what you feel called to is an ideal scenario, it isn’t always how things work.  God has a call on your whole life.
If God is temporarily keeping you in some dead end job. It does not mean you have no calling.   Many people are blessed with having a calling by which they provide for themselves, but calling really it isn’t about where you get your bill funding.
Your purpose isn’t just be a 9 to 5 on weekdays thing.  Who you are, what you do, and how you serve are all part of your calling. It isn’t a segmented thing; it’s a spirit thing that makes you special.  So if the job market isn’t being kind right now, do not feel that you are worthless in this world. The smile you wear, the love you give, the volunteer work you do… Everything about you, if you were led there by God, is part of your calling.  If you get paid for it, awesome! If not, take heart! The Apostle Paul was a tent maker, Luke a doctor, and many pastors have other jobs as well. You are far more than your salary, and so is your calling.

Snack Thoughts: Being Who You Are

 My philosophy about personal identity is this; we are our truest selves when we are children and have not yet been changed by the influences that surround us.
There are influences around us molding how we speak, act, dress, and work. How do we find our true nature again after the nurture?  Baby stories! Yeah it sounds weird like that, but people who knew you as a small child help a lot. They’re eye witnesses to your personality and skill set as a child.  Such people have helped mark a path for my journey towards liberation from a molded personality. It began over a year ago and it’s been a difficult journey. Embracing who you are, weeding out negative traits… it’s hard. But it is so worth it.
However, learning to “be” me and “do” me aren’t the same thing. At first I was blind to it. Hustling along everyday everything seemed fine, then bronchitis came along and kicked me down, which gave me some time to think. All of a sudden everything was far from okay and I felt destined for failure. Thinking it over I realized while finding my personality (being me) has been a focus, my natural skill set  (doing me) has gone mostly ignored.  I’ve even brain stormed out the start up of business that I don’t really want to run! It turns out this blog is the only thing that currently feels right.  Even though it’s still far from perfect.
 I’ve been like a bird trying to dig tunnels when I was made to fly. It has caused me so much grief trying to be skilled in something I wasn’t made for!  How will you ever feel confident in who you are living as something you aren’t? Hint: You won’t.
 Please learn from my mistakes.  Take time to think and pray about who you are. Remove your makes so it’s your face that shows.  God made you to be you. I can’t yet drop everything and take up those things I love yet, but I CAN slowly add them into my life and hope that one day God allows me to be/do me for Him.

Sunshine Smiles & Cloudy Day Tears

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Fall is such a beautiful season. The sunshine, breezes, and bright colors make why it’s the most common favorite season of people quite obvious.  Its so easy to be happy when you walk outside in fall. The sky is so blue, the changing leaves so bright… people are walking around fully clothed again, in warm snuggly clothes. It seems perfect.  I like it greatly, but lately it’s been making me a little bit nervous. Allow me to explain.
As days grow shorter and colder, and winter clouds pop in for visits, some people  start to feel a little sad or lonely due to a little phenomenon known Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). It can take place during change of any season, but winter seems to be the most common time.  Explained simply, S.A.D. is a condition that happens at a consistent time each year, and can be diagnosed by symptoms ranging from emotional (i.e. depressed, lonely, moody, or anti-social) to physical (i.e. nausea, weight change, or lack of energy.)
Let me reassure anyone dealing with this. Feeling how you do doesn’t mean you’re a drama queen, weak, or pathetic.  However, who wants waste such a gorgeous time of year being anxious about getting depressed?!
There ARE things you can do to help lessen symptoms so you can feel normal.
  1. Keep things Sunny.  Keep daylight in your home by installing daylight light bulbs.  When you buy lightbulbs at a hardware store they are generally marked with a “kelvin” measurement. Soft white bulbs are a classic choice for households, but daylight bulbs (between 5000 and 6000 kelvin) keep the happy sunlight look in your home even after dark. This was my first step, and it has really helped.
  2. Let There be Light…and Air.  We all have things we need to do and can’t always go for walks when it’s nice out, so open the nearest window. You know that crisp, fall-smelling air will do wonders for your mood. If its cold out just open the blinds  real daylight is even better than lightbulb daylight.
  3. Call for Back Up.  Spend time with friends and family doing fun things.  Bake some cookies, have a movie night, or build a camp fire. Whatever you can handle. You don’t need to be alone. If you feel things are more serious than simple company can fix, please seek help from a counselor. Nobody will judge you for it. If somebody does, ignore them. You’ll be glad you did when you start to feel alive again.
Please don’t look at this lovely season and become anxious about what is to come. Everything will be alright. You are smart enough to take care of yourself, and people around you want to help too.
Keep your chin up towards heaven, and have a wonderful fall!
Beth

Dealing with Frogs in the Brain

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You know those mornings when you wake up with a big thought in your brain? Its like a frog hopping around with a message there in your mind. Then in the back of your mind a smaller frog messenger sneaks in, and all of a sudden it propels itself over the first thought and becomes the more present yet somehow the messenger frog one is still very present. Then the next comes, and the next, and soon there are one hundred little frogs with reminders for you chilling in your brain having a party.  For me this is often within the first hour of consciousness.  By then your brain is overwhelmed with 100 little frogs doing the cha cha slide. How they all flow together I am not sure, but somehow they do.  Even if they aren’t all particularly anxiety inducing thoughts on their own, having 100 different thoughts rushing through our brains at once is more than we are made to handle. How do we calm our minds to give ourselves a chance at accomplishing anything?
First off you need to go for a walk, a run, or even just sit down. Whichever is most calming to you. Next, I like to make some herbal tea (you don’t need caffeine right now) and play some calming instrumental music. Trevor Gordon Hall is a great choice.  Great musician, and a great guy in general. With tea in hand, sit, breathe, and let the music calm you. This won’t happen all at once, but give it a little while.
Next, write out whats still on your mind in a diary or a prayer journal.  By the time you are done you will feel much better.
 Remember that God wants you to be at peace and live abundantly, not exist at the speed of light in a state of constant panic.  Once you are calm, cool and collected, write out a simple, nonthreatening, to-do list, and do the things you can handle one at a time.
Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow, because there is enough to deal with today. Therefore, deal with todays frogs today, and leave tomorrow’s frogs for tomorrow.
God bless!
Beth