One year of Anointed Courage

Today is the one year anniversary of Anointed Courage.   I have to say, I am surprised it has lasted this long.  Mainly because I thought I would quit due to my unrealistic expectations.  I have a problem of seeing people’s successes and compare them to my small efforts or failures.  But by the grace of God, He has given me posts to write and refreshed my memories of lessons learned.

I hope that you continue on this journey with me.  Thank you to all that want to receive my writings in emails each week or follow me on Facebook.  If you find a post to be uplifting, I would appreciate feedback and for you to share it with others.

May God Bless You.

Colette

I am bigger than a cricket

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I could not kill bugs in the house when I was growing up. I would see a spider and cry. I would scream and ask my dad to get it for me. This carried on for many years. When I was 19 years old, we moved from Los Angeles to Orange County. My parents still commuted from the new house to their jobs in L.A. while I was going to college in Orange County. I was at the new house primarily by myself. Most college students would be so happy to be alone but all I could think about was what if something went wrong and I had to take care of it.

I lived for 19 years under the flight pattern of LAX. So, noise was always present. This new city was smaller than L.A. There was a lot of undeveloped land and it was very quiet. Instead of 747s landing, I would hear coyotes howling in the middle of the night. The silence was deafening, I could not sleep for the first week. I got used to the peace and quiet, but not the insects. Due to the fact there were open fields around our community, there were lots of insects especially spiders and crickets and frogs. Yes, frogs!

Any kind of bug that jumps and crunches when you step on them makes me cringe. I was hoping the frogs would eat all of the crickets, but those crickets managed to find their way into the house. I would pray for God to give me courage and the strength to take care of the house when pests would come into it. I would be paralyzed with fear. I guess, I believed the insect would jump up and attach itself to my face and eat me. (Don’t you love irrational fears?) But I did not want to go to sleep with the thought of anything jumping or crawling around the house. I could not bring myself to step on one, so I got resourceful. I would either sweep them out the front door or vacuumed them. I only had one frog manage to get itself into the garage. I swept it out the door after it peed all over my shoes and the ground in the garage. But after a while, my fear went away and I was able to get insects to crawl on a paper towel and drop it back outside, so it wouldn’t die.

In dealing with anxiety, my mind will take things that aren’t so bad and make them catastrophic. So many times, I would worry about something that ended up being nothing. If I would seek Him first and pray, then I got past the problem. I know it is only because of the strength God gave me, not of my own abilities. God gave me the right thoughts, words or actions that helped to arrive at the solution or just by His grace, I overcame the situation. I know when I try to figure everything out on my own, I feel defeated. It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with pests from entering your home or a life altering decision, God will give you that strength you need. If it was meant for me, God will get me through it victoriously. If it isn’t in His will, the door will close.

Lesson Learned: God will always give us strength when we let Him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for your strength in my times of weakness. I thank you for your wisdom in times of confusion. Calm my mind and remind me you overcame. Thank you for your peace and wisdom. In Jesus Name, AMEN!”

I am still not a “know it all”

Many plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

As much as I am thankful for modern medicine, I like to explore alternative options. I do not like prescription pain medications. One over the counter pill is about all I can handle. I end up with bad side effects. My husband believes it is because I read the side effect information on the drug. Whatever the case may be, I would rather slather myself in stinky essential oils, soak in a detox bath or take some herb before taking a prescribed drug.

I haven’t even hit the age of 40 yet, but I feel like my body is already starting to fall apart. The last three weeks I have had a bad back and rib pain. I soaked daily in Epsom Salt baths, got a massage, had chiropractic care, put on the essential oils and applied ice and heat. But nothing relieved the pain or spasms. I thought I had kidney stones due to the intensity of the pain. I went to the doctor on a weekend asking for something to relieve the pain. They prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer and gave me a pain shot that felt worst than a tetanus shot. The nurse laid me down on the table afterward because I was pale and shaking. I took the muscle relaxer that night. I opened my eyes and realized I slept through the night! But when I got out of bed, I fell back on the bed because I started having another spasm.

I went through this another week with pain whenever I slept or reached towards something. My husband asked if I took the anti-inflammatory. The guilt was all over my face. I think he was tired of the whining but he said just try it. I took the pill and went to sleep. I woke up pain-free. I had no pain through the rest of the day. I didn’t want to tell my husband he was right but when he saw me doing laundry and vacuuming, he knew I was better. I only took the pill one more night. While I still believe in alternative medicine, I know that doctors and medication still have a place in my life. Relief…

How many times does God bring you to a situation where the right way to go is not what you want or imagined it? Sometimes I believe I know the answers and don’t want to try something else. Other times, I see how another person’s situation worked out and I want the same results. I want for God to use me to advance His Kingdom, but I want to pick and chose where I put my time and effort. Let’s be real here. Sometimes you see people, who you know do bad things, yet God blesses them beyond measure. The answer is we do not need to know everything! The best part is we do not have to know everything. Trusting in the Lord is a continual process for me. I will continue to reflect and pray before jumping to conclusions!

Lesson Learned: I don’t need to know it all, just trust God has the best plan.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting you and complaining all of the time. Help me to have a thankful heart. Fix my eyes on you, Lord. Remind me during uncertain or in times of healing from physical or emotional pain that you are in control. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”

Approval Seeker

For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God?  Or am I striving to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Today, I was emailing some of my friends about whether I should keep or return a purse. I was in the mall with my daughter looking for a purse because all kinds hurt my back. I found a fanny pack. Yes, a fanny pack. I thought, “oh dear God, has it come to this?” I already stopped wearing any shoes with a heel. I also own a pair of shoes that look like a glove for your feet, with the socks to match. My daughter liked the bag. I actually liked it. It is a posh name brand too. I thought maybe that is how I could get away with having a fanny pack by it being a name brand. I looked on-line at the designer’s website and they called it a “belt bag”. Even they don’t want to associate it with the old term. Everyone I asked in the email said they liked it. One of the friends, who I have known since high school liked it a lot. She could wear a sack that potatoes came in and still look chic. I told her that her opinion mattered a lot because she is so fashion forward. She wrote back saying that I have always had good taste and that I really didn’t need her opinion at all. I realized in that moment how I always ask for people’s opinions because I don’t trust my judgment. Another symptom of fearing to fail.

I wish there was an instruction manual for everything in life because I don’t want to waste the time in making a mistake or failing altogether. I get so nervous in making choices, I would rather have someone else decide or forgo the decision because I don’t want to disappoint. I had a friend tell me to stop asking everyone for their opinion because it will make me change your mind so many times and add more stress. She said to pray about it and wait on the Lord and if I end up making the wrong decision, that I could adjust.

I actually have the best instruction manual at my disposal, The Bible. The books of Proverbs, Psalms, and James have enough written wisdom to last me a lifetime. I know with having anxiety, every decision seems so important. But making every decision be that important is unrealistic. My approval needs to be from the Lord, not from friends, family or strangers. Who am I trying to impress and why? There is an amazing quote from financial expert, Dave Ramsey, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” This is great advice for making purchases, but this can be spoken for a lot of decisions in life. Do I have to volunteer for every activity at my child’s school or at church? Do I need to work more than 40 hours a week, to then have no time for my family or my health? Do I need to look or be a certain weight to be noticed? These questions beg a “no” answer. The real question is, in the major decision that I make in my life does it reflect God?” I believe God doesn’t care what purse I buy, as long as if I am being a good steward of the money I use to spend on it and is it for me or to impress others.

Lesson Learned: Seek approval from God and minimize decision fatigue.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for seeking approval from others. Holy Spirit guide me in making the best decisions for my life. Help me to see what is worthy of my thoughts and what is not important. I pray that the desire to be perfect is to be gone now! I ask for a clear mind and thought process in all I do. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Fraud Protection

Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

I am so thankful that banks began fraud protection features on credit cards and bank accounts. I love how they notify me right away of suspicious behavior. During one December, I received a phone call asking if I was at a department store charging hundreds of dollars on my credit card. I was at home which was about 40 miles away from that particular store . Thankfully, they flagged the card as stolen and I was not responsible for any charges. But I still felt violated that my personal information was stolen and used for their frivolous activity. I wish I could receive a fraud alert every time the enemy tries its fraudulent ways against me.

I grew up in a home where everything was neat and tidy. If my room was messy, I could not do anything else until it was back in order. I began to not just tidy my room, but my friends’ rooms too. While I was shopping, I would be at a store and would put the messy display back in order. (Yes, that is ridiculous.) It would be pointed out to me that if someone had a messy home, something was wrong with them. I wasn’t allowed to be a messy kid. What kid is not messy?

Fast forward almost 25 years when our child was 3 years old. My husband doesn’t care about a tidy home nor did our then 3-year-old child. I would kill myself tidying up and putting things away because ironically, it gave me peace to see a clean home. One evening, we were invited to go meet some friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The house was a disaster because of toys scattered and laundry everywhere. My husband pleaded for me to leave it for later. I did not want to leave it for later but we were meeting our friends in 10 minutes. As the dinner ended, one of my friends said, I want to see your new home. Usually, I don’t mind having people over, because the house is usually clean. I forgot about the mess and agreed. When we walked to the parking lot, I realized the disaster our home was in and screamed, “start the car and go home NOW!!!” When my husband was about to pull into the garage, I jumped out of the car and ran into the house to start cleaning. You would have thought the Queen of England or The President was coming with the way I was running around. It reminded me of “I Love Lucy” in the chocolate factory when she was trying to wrap the chocolate. I was throwing stuff into closets and throwing trash away. When those friends arrived, I began apologizing for the messy home. They didn’t seem to care, they said, it was better than their house on a good day.

I couldn’t believe that I was so afraid of what they would have thought. I want to be at my best at all times and when I am not, I feel like a big failure. The enemy uses patterns in our lives and creates a lie we believe. These are some of the things I have believed about myself:

I don’t feel I am good at anything.”

I won’t try new things because I don’t want to fail at it.”

No one will love you when you are overweight.”

You are invisible.”

My beautiful, dear friend’s daughter, who is my daughter’s best friend, told me how her mommy was going to talk about Perfectionism at her MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I asked if I could come to it. I thought how could my friend, who looks like Princess Kate, has a beautiful home, dresses cute and has a great family be suffering from this. I went to the tea and there she stood talking about her life. She talked about how her mom made she and her sister vacuum so it made straight lines and how she didn’t want to try hard things because she didn’t want to fail. I cried and cried. I realized how I was passing this ridiculousness on to my daughter. I want my daughter to remember me as loving, kind and encouraging mom, then a mom that wanted a spotless home. Somehow, we see photo shopped Instagram posts, cooking shows where there is no mess, and Martha Stewart uses glitter and it all remains glued on the Christmas ornament. This is not real life.

Recently, pop star Meghan Trainor had her music video photo shopped by the production company that made her video. She thought it was a joke and realized it was from her staff. She couldn’t believe that someone decided she would be okay with that. She wants the message clear, she is okay that she is not a size 2 and that she can still be beautiful being herself. Our confidence should be in Christ, but He wants us to have a confidence that we are valuable and beautiful.

God wants me to see how valuable I am to Him. He wants me to use my gifts to advance His Kingdom. I cannot have this fear of failing or waiting for everything to be perfect to be used by Him.

Lesson Learned: Perfectionism has no place when I am serving the Lord well.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for believing the lies of the enemy that I am not good enough. I thank you that you will use me when you believe that I am ready than when I am in a perfect place. Help me to give grace to myself and to others and to recognize the lies of the enemy. In Jesus’ Name., AMEN!”