It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

Exhausted Temporarily

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I have a terrible habit of comparing my beginning to other’s years-long journeys.  The social media posts out there drip with humble brags and accomplishments.  In my early twenties, many of my peers had finished college and entered the workforce, I was right in the middle of enduring trauma.  My confidence and motivation were squashed by my circumstances.

As life progressed, I got married, and we had a child.  Also, I have been a stay at home mom for the last 12 years.  Even though I was productive in raising a child and running a household, I felt low because I did not make any money or feel I was in the right place in my life.  My past tormented me, and my self-worth was still low.

Yesterday, my friend sent me the above-referenced meme.  Even though she sent it to me to show how it encapsulated her life, I felt it represented my life as well.

Honestly, I am exhausted.  Years of anxiety and fear have drained my mind and body. But I have worked on restoring my nervous system and quelling the anxiety and fear through therapy and self-reflection.   I have learned I cannot expect to change overnight when I have endured years of turmoil.  Every so often, I see a reminder that success can happen later on in one’s life.

Do not let a bad day, week, or even year persuade you that your breakthrough will never come!

Lesson Learned: Your timeline does not need to reflect the successful person next to you.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me from the trauma I have endured in life.  Remind me of your plan and purpose for my life.  Expose the lies from the enemy and show me the resources that will help me become committed and prosperous.  Forgive me for not trusting in you, Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

 

 

 

Uncover Your Faith

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Today, I saw a feature on a television program about Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond.  She became the first woman president of the New York Theological Seminary.  The feature story contained her recollection of when she heard her calling in the church, her plans for her presidency and how she endured sexual molestation at the age of nine.

The interviewer asked her how do you talk to people who have lost their faith.  Rev. Dr. Walrond answered, “Faith isn’t lost, it’s just covered.”  I felt this surge in my spirit.  Faith is covered by many things, such as our circumstances, fear, anxiety, health issues, and doubt.

Our God is bigger than our greatest obstacles.  Be encouraged today to uncover your faith!  Remove that negativity and put your thoughts towards God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I put my trust in you each and every day.  May I remember all the blessings in my life and for my faith to increase.  Give me strength and endurance during difficult times.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Allow God to Surprise You

 

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

Christmas time is here. Tomorrow, many will open gifts and admire all they received. Children have been eagerly waiting for this day to open their gifts. Their wait will soon be over.

When I was a 6th grader, a popular brand of clothing was “Maui and Sons.” They were a surf brand. If you wore an item of clothing from this brand, everyone noticed you at school. I asked, actually begged and pleaded with my parents for a sweatshirt. This brand was not cheap, so I knew my only chance was to receive it as a present for Christmas.

My mom would place empty boxes under the tree as decoration. Then she would put items for us in those boxes the night before, so the presents were ready on Christmas Day. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I sat by the tree, admiring the decorations. I saw the empty boxes under the tree, and curiosity struck me, so I picked one up and shook it. I did not feel anything. I picked up another and shook that one and heard something inside. The temptation was too strong, so I carefully slid my finger under the lid and lifted the corner of the box. I peaked inside and saw a pink “Maui and Sons” sweatshirt. My heart was beating out of my chest from the excitement. Then I thought I ruined the surprise and now I have to keep this from my parents.

As the day continued, I felt more guilty. I didn’t realize it, but the guilt showed in my actions. My dad asked me what the matter was. I couldn’t take the guilt, and I began crying. I told him I peeked and saw my Christmas present. My father was not happy. He said, “well, that was your big gift, and now you won’t have anything to look forward too.” That mistake was a defining moment in my life to learn to be patient.

That moment in my life reminds me of how impatient I am with God working in my life. I keep wanting to know what He wants me to do with my life. I try to force things and make things happen when it isn’t time. I feel like an impatient child in those days leading up to Christmas. I am peeking in the box before it is time.

God knows what needs to happen. It may feel like we are going around in circles or moving farther away from the goal, but God aligns everything for us in the perfect time.  Allow God to surprise you!

Lesson Learned: Allow God to surprise you. No peeking!

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I try to figure out everything on my own. I put my trust in you. You know the way. Thank you for every surprise you give me. Help me anticipate with wonder and excitement for all you plan for me. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Everyone’s Journey is Different

#165 Blog Post-Everyone's Journey is Different

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I entered adulthood, I began to have debilitating anxiety. I would receive (unwanted) advice from people regarding anxiety. Their advice of “stop worrying so much” hurt me more than it helped.

A former co-worker of mine wanted to become an esthetician. She asked me if she could practice giving a facial. Of course, I jumped at the chance. For some reason, those intimate environments cause people to open up. I brought up the subject of anxiety and the troubles I had. She scoffed at me and said, “aren’t you a Christian? I thought your God helped you?” Her words hurt me. I wanted to melt into the table and evaporate.

My issue was this, the trauma that I experienced in my life clouded my ability to trust in the Lord. She was sort of correct, though, in a mean and condescending way.

Everyone’s journey to healing is different. Here has been my path (so far). I prayed. I cried. I had others pray for me. I read the Bible. I did Bible studies. I attended church and weekend conferences. I had years of therapy, coaching, and bodywork. I took medication. I ended toxic relationships. I kept boundaries. All of these things helped me to get on the path of healing. I did wish for God to heal me after one prayer. However, I know every hurt I experienced brought me the knowledge I have today. Neurolinguistic trainer, Al Sargent said, “There are no experts in a new experience.” In my young adult days, I wasn’t experienced yet to walk in victory. As I look back, it was okay that I didn’t have all the answers.

My name, Colette, means victorious. The enemy knows my weaknesses and wants me to forget God has already made me victorious. God doesn’t want me to suffer but to thrive. I can rest in His arms and allow Him to fight my battles for me.

Lesson Learned: My journey is different than others, but I am already victorious in Him.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you, Lord! Help me walk victoriously in you. Remind me of all the times; you have carried me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I believe I am healed. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Making Waves

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

Certain situations rile me up with anxiety. A visit to the dentist guarantees an anxiety attack. It would upset me that I couldn’t go to the dentist without an issue. The shame was real. I would ask myself, “why couldn’t I get past this?”

A typical visit would entail sweating through my clothes, crying, or blacking out. I remember the dentist shaking me as she yelled my name and telling me to breathe. I gasped for air and came back. It was embarrassing and scary.

I experienced trauma as a child and adult from trips to the dentist. One hygienist yelled at me when I was seven years old. She said, “I will sit on you if you don’t stop moving around.” She was a large woman, too. As an adult, one dentist told me to never come back to his practice because he couldn’t handle me. Those situations, combined with the money I spent and the pain I endured, made dental visits unbearable.

As I sought therapy for anxiety, I worked on settling my nervous system and giving myself a lot of grace when I knew I had to face a difficult situation. I have to go to the dentist every four months to get my teeth cleaned and checked. My dentist is near the beach and a beautiful Outlet Mall. I decided after a dental visit, to go to the beach and do some grounding work by stepping into the sand and water and watch the waves go back and forth for about 15 minutes. Then I would get lunch at the Outlet Mall and walk around and window shop. After a few times of doing this practice, I soon looked forward to a trip to the dentist.

Here are some pictures of going to the beach after my last dental visit.

I never took a gentle, loving approach in dealing with difficult situations. I took the advice of “suck it up, stop complaining and deal with it.” That approach hurt me instead of helping me.

My healing from anxiety has not been quick. It has been a long journey. As much as I wish God took the anxiety away, I needed to go through a process. There are three therapists who I have come to know that have helped me get through anxiety. I have also learned to eliminate a perfectionist attitude.

My road to recovery has looked like this. Seeking God first, establish boundaries, treat myself gently, learned ways to ground to keep my nervous system out of fight or flight, and know I am worthy and deserve peace.

If I can stop being anxious, you can too! Healing and restoration take determination and consistency, and it is worth it.

Lesson Learned: I am deserving of a life that has joy and peace. Victory over anxiety is worth the work.

Prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I allow you to heal me in the areas of my life that need healing. Forgive me for holding onto things I cannot control. Reset and restore my nervous system. Remind me who I am in Christ. Whenever I face scary situations, show me that you are right there beside me. Thank you for the victory over anxiety! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

I’m Just Not Feeling It and That’s Okay

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. -Psalm 40:1-3

 

My mentor told me that from ages 38-52 years old, many go through a life change. I imagine this change to be amazing, a chance to become what God created me to be in this life. However, it doesn’t feel that way. It hurts — a lot.  

 

There are many things I used to enjoy that I don’t anymore. There are relationships I have had with friends that have ended. Many of my interests aren’t interesting to me anymore. Right now, I do not know what I want or like, and that frightens me. I usually love writing; except recently, I haven’t had a desire for it. It scares me because this is what I want to do. In the past few months, I wanted to give up. It feels like a midlife crisis of some sort. But one thing I know is that God is faithful, and there is a reason for all this change.

 

Sometimes I wonder, “where are you, Lord?” Even King David, in the book of Psalms, wondered where the Lord was in his times of grief and despair. David was faithful, though. Me, not so much. When I am in the midst of change, it is hard to see the outcome. The enemy comes and distracts me from what I should be doing to get there. 

 

I feel pressure to perform and to pan every second of my life.  But, I cannot know until I try and even possibly fail. Failure isn’t always a waste of time. It can also be the opposite of regret.

 

If you feel like giving up, please do not! Doubt and worry are the enemy’s tools for stopping us from attaining God’s purpose for us.  I want things done quickly and easily. But God does not ever do anything in a hurry. He moves in His timing. May you take shelter in the mighty arms of our God.

 

Lesson Learned: Change is inevitable and necessary. Allow God to work it out.

 

Prayer:

‘Dear Heavenly Father, help me in my times of need. Give me endurance and energy to make it through tough times. Thank you for your protection. May your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Not Sure How That Worked, But It Did

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

There is a fantastic skill which I possess (insert sarcasm).  When I plan, it is for every possible scenario. I can think of every disaster that could happen from a “1” to a “10”.  It is exhausting.

My lovely parents asked if we wanted their slightly new couch.   We have to come pick it up. We do not own a truck, and they live 150 miles roundtrip from us.  Since it was free, my husband said he would figure it out. Of course, he didn’t explain how he just said he would take care of it.  My parents and I, of course, annoyed him with all sorts of questions. I asked if we need to rent a moving truck and who would help him move the couch.  He just said, “Chillax lady, I will take care of it.”

That answer did not suffice.  I began to think of the couch falling out of our SUV and landing on a busy Southern California freeway.  My husband would hurt himself. Then, I remembered, I am married to this man for almost 16 years, never once was there a disaster.  He quietly calculates and plans and figures things out. He tries never to let anything beat him. So, I decided to be positive, even though I was quietly thinking about what could go wrong.  My parents vocally worried.

Up until my husband was driving away from my parents home, they were still calling me and freaking out.  I calmly said, “I trust him, he will be fine, and I will call you when he arrives home.” He arrived home with the couch still safely strapped in the car.  He carried the three sections in all by himself. We put the couch together, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  He said, “I told you it would be fine.” I called my parents and told them he made it here safely.

After a much-deserved rest, he was enjoying the new sofa.  He turned to me and said, “you and your parents had no faith in me.  I calculated the measurements and knew it would work.” At that moment, I realized this is how God does His will.  God hears us whining and complaining about things taking too long to come to pass.  The same thing happened when the Israelites when they were traveling to the promised land.  God knows every detail. He knows what we need. Things may look impossible, and we wonder how God will come through, and He always does. We need a bit of faith.  It may not be how we want it, but it is the right way.

Lesson Learned: Have faith and trust our Heavenly Father in all situations.

Prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for doubting your abilities.  Let my faith grow every time; I see your marvelous works. Remind me of all the times that you answered or protected me.  Let your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Patience is not for the Faint at Heart

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  Romans 8:25

 

One of the most difficult virtues to obtain is patience.  This world thrives on speed. We try to rush through tasks and work, just to get to the next thing on our to-do list.  It is difficult to sit and wait on things. But God doesn’t operate that way.

 

Many years ago, our family was fortunate enough to have Disneyland Season Passes.  Our daughter was about four years old. In a four year old’s mind, things need to be done right away or tears begin to happen.  Disneyland truly was ground zero for impatience. Long lines for rides and food, waiting to meet Disney characters and even to park my car became teachable moments for both my daughter and I.

 

My daughter and I were in line to meet the Disney Princesses.  This particular line usually was 2 hours long wait and for a four year old (and 35 year old) that was a bit too much.  But this day, it was “only” 30 minutes. We were standing in line and my daughter was very excited. She pointed at the little girl in front of me.  This little girl was glued to her mother’s smartphone.  I told my daughter, “I don’t have games on this phone, so we need to wait patiently and we will see the princesses very soon.”  

 

I specifically made a conscious choice to not have games or play videos/movies on my phone.  My reasons were I wanted my daughter to learn to be bored once in awhile, plus the screen was not good to look at for long periods of time.  It seemed like a smartphone was becoming another pacifier for toddlers, children and even many adults.

 

The mom noticed my daughter looking at her daughter.  She smiled and said, “I don’t know what I would do without my phone.  It keeps my daughter occupied, so she isn’t out of control.” (**) I smiled and said, “I want my child to learn to have patience while standing in line, so I’m that mean mommy that doesn’t let her look at my phone.”  Her smile quickly faded and she turned herself back around.

 

I wasn’t trying to sound more righteous than her.  But I realized, there are times we must learn to wait for things that we can have no control over.  This ranges from such things as waiting for a ride at Disneyland to waiting for the right spouse or job to come along and  going to school for a degree. I want my daughter to understand, not everything can be done quickly and good things do come to those who wait.  We survived that line (without the phone) and she met Princesses Ariel, Belle and Tiana. Ariel told her she had pretty mermaid hair. My daughter seemed so happy.

 

God knows that we hate to wait.  God makes us learn patience. In my opinion, patience is the most quickly answered of prayers.  We all need patience and we pray for it. Then we go about our day and seem to be behind the slowest driver or we are behind that person in the line at the grocery store that pulls out a checkbook.  The Israelites lacked patience when Moses them led them out of the Egypt. 40 years? Oye Vey… God forced them to deal with their impatience but their promise was fulfilled. Let God do that work in us.

 

Lesson Learned: May we remember to allow God to do His work and remain patient with hope.  And we don’t need YouTube videos or Instagram to make the waiting go by any faster.

 

(**I completely understand that some special needs children may need these devices to help them, but that child in line with us was not in anyway a special needs child.)

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for being impatient and blaming you Father for not answering us right away.  Sustain us during those times of waiting. Have us be calm and relax. Thank you that you are doing a mighty work in us when we are learning to be still.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

One Day (or hour or minute) at a Time

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.” Matthew 6:34

Jesus instructs us not to worry. Yet, this world is full of anxiety. All that we see in the world, in our country or even on a city level, seem tense. However, all of this worrying does not add one moment to our life.

There have been many nights where I lay awake. My thoughts over power my sleepiness. I think how I could have handled something better or how my family and I could be healthier. The downward spiral gets deeper and longer. Now, I am awake 2 hours instead of 2 minutes.

I have never personally been in a 12 step program, but I have heard the term “one day at a time”. There was a fictional show I was watching on tv and the main character had a traumatic experience. She was telling someone who was dealing with anxiety, her way of coping. She explained how getting through one day was so much, that she had to get through just 10 seconds, then another and another.

It sounds funny but sometimes you can only muster the strength to get through a short period of time to strengthen yourself for the next amount of time. And that is okay. God knows our story. He wants to swoop us up in His loving arms and carry our burdens.

We can rest in the fact God will help us in our situation,  if we let Him. God doesn’t always give us an instant miracle, it can take days, months, years. So, living one day at a time is better than living our lives in the future.

Lesson Learned: Let us be present and live for today.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender all to you!  Give me strength for this journey.  You know my every need and desire.  Holy Spirit, guide me through difficult times and instruct us.  Give me your peace.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”