Self-Discovery in Quarantine

My faith was shaken today. I cursed at God. I told Him, I don’t want to believe in Him anymore. More unpleasant words flew out of my mouth, and tears streamed down my cheeks.  

Yesterday, my husband and I got into an argument on our walk with the dog. I saw huge amounts of dog poop on the grass for anyone to step in. I said, “these irresponsible, f-ing people piss me off!” He got upset with me and said I have been complaining about everything. I call my husband, “the great compartmentalizer.” He can leave work at work and home life at home. All areas of my life bleed into one another.

I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, I want to come home without hearing you and our daughter argue (our daughter is 12, almost 13 years old-easier said than done) and for all of us to go on a family walk willingly. Maybe that isn’t too much to ask, but when I am angry, and in pain, I don’t feel capable.  

I came inside after our walk and Googled, “why do I complain too much?” And this article came up. One of the steps said to be less judgmental. I thought, “well, I don’t judge.” Well, I admit it now, I do(a lot!), and we all do it! When I stay in that mindset of negativity and only seeing the bad in everything, how can I ever see anything good?

The world has seen a lot of change in the past few months. We all have had to re-arrange our lives. In some way, we all have had to grieve something. A lost job, canceled events, no school, even losing a loved one. Traumas we have dealt with in our lives somehow found a way back. My trauma is an eating disorder.

Every morning during this quarantine, I have stepped on the scale. Ounces gained became pounds, which turned into binding shame. Those voices of negativity and hatred are in my head again. I want the ground to swallow me up. I don’t look down at anyone the way I look down at myself. The pain is deep and vast.

So today, after I cast my anger at God, I asked for forgiveness. I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me in my daily bible reading. I went to my Bible app, and the reading consisted of Job Chapters 1 and 2, Luke 6, and Revelations 4. Job 1 and 2 dealt with his life in utter turmoil and pain, yet he never cursed God. Luke 6 explained judging others, amongst other important things. And Revelations 4 ended with verse 11, “worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and your will they existed and were created.” God delivered me answers to my pleas. Also, today is our trash pick up day, and the scale found its way into the trash bin.

I have years of experience in thinking in a negative way, which developed neural pathways of negativity. It hasn’t been beneficial to me. The good news is, neural pathways can change. My therapist said two things to me that helped me today—the first piece of advice, the brain changes in increments, not all at once. So, do not expect negative behaviors to go away after you decide to change. And second, when you do catch yourself reacting negatively, you can say, here is the new way I can handle it.

Everyone is affected by this COVID-19. May the virus be eradicated, and we find real meaning in our lives. Until then, be gentle with yourselves!

Lesson Learned: I see God cares for me, and neural pathways aren’t permanent.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe for the complete eradication of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus. I pray for healing and restoration for everyone who has become a victim of it. I pray for the loved one who lost a family member to COVID-19. I pray for comfort and peace during their mourning. Protect the first responders and hospital staff who are treating patients every day. Father God, I lift every person with mental illness and who are in abusive situations during this quarantine. Make a way Lord, for clarity or a way out. Thank you, Jehovah Shalom. Give provision to those who have lost work and revive this economy. Forgive us, Lord, for not trusting in you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

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.

In These Times of Great Anxiety

Credit: Artist-David Bowman

At the beginning of March, I read an article about people hoarding toilet paper and paper towels due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The virus had not reached The States quite yet. I decided to prepare for it during my scheduled monthly trip to Costco.


I arrived at Costco at their opening time and the line wrapped around the building. The entrance of the store wasn’t chaotic, just crowded. However, inside the store, the atmosphere was different. You could feel a level of desperation in the store. People were grabbing things, but not in the Black Friday sense, just 3-4 times what they would usually get. I asked a person why they needed so much toilet paper and paper towels. The person replied, “if we get quarantined for months, I would need this much, and these were the items China ran out of first when they needed to stay inside their homes.”


I began to catch the “fever” of shopping hoarding. I grabbed as many cases of toilet paper and paper towels that I could fit in my cart. As much as I justified the need to buy, this convicting feeling came over me that this didn’t seem right to do.


I took a pause and began to rationalize the situation. We will still have water and electricity. One case of toilet paper and paper towels lasts my small family for many months. Safety and food are much more important than hoarding shopping. I took a few deep breaths and decided to buy one case of toilet paper and paper towels, bleach and other cleaning products for my family and some non-perishable foods.


In the next two weeks, our national government leaders claimed everything was under control but quickly changed their claim to this will be horrendous. The panic in our country began to grow, and more cases of the virus became evident. In the middle of this, my daughter got lice and then lovingly (through all the hugs and cuddles) gave them to me. I focused more on destroying the lice and doing 35 loads of laundry in one week than focusing all my worries on the pandemic.


Thank God, the lice are gone, and the washer and dryer took a day off. My family has been home this last week. Then the underlying anxiety in me rose to the surface at midnight. I truly began to panic. Every tickle in my throat or sniffle I felt began to worry me. My husband coughed, and I would think, “Oh, sh*t!” I thought about the “Downton Abbey” episode, where many characters caught the Spanish Flu and suffered or died. My mind did somersaults imagining the worst-case scenarios.


Stress, lack of sleep and exercise, dehydration, and poor eating habits contribute to low immunity and sickness. An event like this has not affected the world in a long time. There have been pandemics, but not in this day and age. We are all navigating this for the first time together. As much as I want to get mad and criticize our country for not being prepared for this, it won’t do any good. I could not imagine the responsibility that the medical field, the government (state, local, federal), the public school system, and first responders (and countless other entities) have in this situation. The best thing I can do is cooperate, stay home, wash my hands, and pray.


This image included in this post of Jesus holding a child always brings me great comfort. When I get anxious, I have to surrender to God, trust, and allow Him to be in control. While I know the health and financial crisis this pandemic has brought will affect us all, it will be temporary. I am not in any way diminishing the long term effects of it, but we will get through this in some way.

Stay safe, friends. Take this opportunity to do things that bring joy to your life every day. Reconnect safely with family and friends. And if you are having difficulty managing all of these feelings of despair, please reach out because someone would be glad to help.

Lesson Learned: Anxiety does not help me in situations like these. Gaining perspective is better. And, I don’t like creamed corn from a can unless it is very sweet.


Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I command this virus to cease spreading and be eradicated in the name of Jesus. Heal and restore everyone who has been affected by this virus, especially the victims’ families and the hardest-hit industries. I pray countries that have been devastated by this virus to be re-built. Protect those with low immunity. May family units become strong again. Give our government leadership and direction, which will be in the best interest of the citizens. I rebuke the idea for people to take advantage of the helpless in this time and bring to light anyone who does this. Let love, grace, and mercy rule as we re-build and restore our lives. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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!”

 

 

 

 

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!”

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!”

Sabotaging the Outcome Before I Even Start

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” Matthew 14:30-32

The activity of swimming is one of my least favorite things. I had ear infections, after many visits to the pool. My swimming abilities were sub-par. I don’t like swimming. In college, I had to face my fears whether I wanted to or not.

My major in college was Kinesiology, the study of human movement. There was a requirement of taking six different sports classes, one of them being aquatics. I talked to the administrator for my major and asked if I could get around that particular requirement. They said, “if you want to graduate, you must take the class.” Thankfully my best friend, who is like a fish in the water, offered to take it with me and be my support.

The first day of the class came, and I was nervous. The students were waiting out by the pool. An older man drives up in a yellow Corvette, gets out of the car shirtless in swim trunks with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. The man walks up to our group and asks, “beginning swim? I’m Flip, your coach.” First, we took care of the paperwork of people adding the class and straightening out schedule questions. Then he said, “we will start tomorrow, class dismissed.”

Now, I was upset because I was all worked up for and had to put on a bathing suit for nothing. I walked over to Flip and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can teach me how to swim, I am horrible at it, and I hate being in the water.” Flip, took his cigar out of his mouth leaned in and said in a calming voice, “can you give me a chance, my dear? I will not let anything happen to you. But if it doesn’t work out, we will go from there, okay?” And the next day, I did.

Flip had us in the shallow pool, and we got used to the water. We did simple exercises. Then he asked us to all get out and walk over to the Olympic size pool, that was about 16 feet deep. He told us to get into the pool and hold on to the side, slowly let go, and then we will dip below the water, and come back up with our heads above the water, without needing to tread water. And it worked. I couldn’t believe it.

After class, he asked, if I will be okay and I said yes, I would. He told the students to buy some goggles and flippers for the hands to skim across the water. By the end of that same week, I was swimming laps in the Olympic pool. I come to find out; Flip was the coach for Olympic Gold Medalist swimmers Gary Hall Jr. and Amanda Beard. My friend says, “oh my, only you would tell an Olympic Swim Coach, he can’t teach you how to swim.” Yes, I would!

There were two lessons I learned from this experience. Attitude is everything. It was so helpful to have a coach, who listened and acknowledged my fears, but encourage me that I could do it. Flip knew I couldn’t handle hearing, “oh suck it up, you big crybaby!” And how many times, are we faced with something difficult in our lives and we cry out to God, “I can’t do this! Why do I have to be in this situation?” We will have to endure some growing pain and hard times. But God is able; we are capable through Him. God wants us to be victorious! If we aren’t victorious in a particular situation, God had something better meant for us.

Lesson Learned: Let your faith lead you through the difficult times and God will help you figure it out in some way.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting you. Help me to see where you are in difficult times. May the Holy Spirit give me wisdom and knowledge. May my attitude change and learn to build on those positive experiences. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

There is a Unique Purpose for Each of Us

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

 

Patience is a difficult concept.  We know good things come to those who wait.  Yet we live in a world that demands things instantly.

 

Despite my own efforts, I don’t feel like I haven’t found my ultimate calling.  My efforts aren’t growing as fast as I would like and I get discouraged.  My doubts seem to be what grow instead and I wonder, where is my breakthrough?  Where are you God?  One Friday evening, I was driving to pick up my daughter at a birthday party.  This drive would change my life forever.  

 

I was approaching a very busy intersection and I had the green light.  My phone was mounted its holder near the dashboard.  I glanced down because I heard a notification. This glance was no more than 2 seconds.  All of a sudden I felt my car slam on its brakes.  I looked up to see bright lights and a car moving across the front of my car.  They went so fast through the intersection that my car shook.  That driver went through on a solid red light.

 

There was no collision. I drove out of the intersection and slowed down to about 20 miles below the speed limit. If my car was any father into the intersection or if I was in a different lane, I would have died.  As I realized what had happened, I shook and cried.  My life was saved.

 

I said, “Father God, I will never ever doubt that you have a plan for my life, because you saved me.”  My car does not have automatic braking, I didn’t brake when I saw the car.  God slowed my car down.

 

Many of us believers have a bad habit of wanting to know the exact plan God has for our lives.  We want to plan out every aspect of our lives.  There are reasons God hasn’t revealed every detail.  We have to grow, mature finish things and be content exactly where we are at.

 

There is a saying, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Wherever I am, I will do our best and for God’s glory, even though it may not be my true calling.  I will be thankful for everyday I wake up.

 

Lesson Learned: Be thankful for everyday we wake up and lovingly await God to reveal His purpose for us.

 

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everyday you have promised me.  Give me peace and endurance during those times of waiting.  I wait in great expectation for all you have promised me.  Let there be a hedge of protection around myself and my loved ones.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Let’s Stop Beating Ourselves Up

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by hand.” Proverbs 37:24

In life there are past situations that we mull over and wonder, “what were we thinking?” We ruminate and examine other outcomes. These thoughts negatively change the way we view ourselves. For some reason, we will rehash these thoughts even though it can’t help what has already passed.

A friend of mine told a group of us about a mistake he made. I could feel the pain and shame he felt from it. However, it was easily fixable and something that would not cause a lifetime of pain. He just felt it was one of those mistakes that could have been avoided. We have all been there.

His story reminded me of a car accident I had about 10 years ago. I was in a parking lot where there was a Costco and PetsMart. Costco was not open yet, so the parking lot was virtually empty. I parked on an end spot which was next to a cart return.

After I got my items at the pet supply store, I got in the car and drove forward since no one was parked in front of me. Then there was this sound that occurred that I will never forget. I did not realize how close I was to the cart return and I scraped the entire length of my truck. There was a man standing watching me do this to my truck. His has a pained look on his face. As I got out of the truck, he said, “I don’t think you want to see the damage.”

I took my car to the auto body shop to get an estimate. The adjuster asked me what happened. I started to tell him and began crying. He walked over and saw it and went , “oooooh!” The expression on his face described exactly how I felt. I kept telling him, how stupid I felt. He said, “this is the first time I have heard or seen this and it won’t be the last. Please forgive yourself. It is okay, we will fix it.”

It took me awhile to forgive myself but I ultimately did. I realized we all have had a “facepalm” moment. Mulling over them shakes our confidence and causes us to be doubtful about our abilities. As embarrassing and annoying as these mistakes are, it should not define us.

Lessons Learned: Facepalm moments are inevitable. Learn from those mistakes and try not to mull over them. And avoid parking next to the cart return.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, let us learn from our mistakes and not rehash them. Forgive us and heal us from our shame. Let us be able to laugh it off. May our identity be in Christ instead of by our mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Mid-Life Transition

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Proverbs 20:29

It has been 6 months since I turned 40 years old. Some days, I can feel the pain of it, both physically and mentally. There is a growing level of disappointment about my life that feels suffocating and tiresome.  Honestly, it is a terrible way to live.

It was time for my yearly wedding ring inspection at the jeweler. They inspect and clean the ring back to its original luster. I love my ring, it isn’t too big or too small. It has a vintage look and I still receive compliments on it after 14+ years. Some of my husband’s family couldn’t believe he bought me that ring because it wasn’t on clearance somewhere. His sister saw the ring and said, “Hey, come look at what my cheap-skate brother bought his girlfriend! Welcome to the family!”

I gave the ring to the sales person and she went back to inspect and clean the ring.  She came back and said, “have you considered upgrading your ring?” I stood there with my mouth open in disbelief. She said, I deserved a bigger ring because we are nearing our 15 year anniversary. I told her, that I love my ring and it has true sentimental value, plus I wouldn’t want to have someone Kim Kardashian my finger to steal it. Now, she was in disbelief, as I thanked her and walked out of the store.

As ridiculous as that situation seemed, it planted a bad seed of discontent in my mind. While I didn’t want a new ring, I thought maybe my husband may want to upgrade and get a new wife. I felt this way because I know of two women that are separating from their husbands. One wanted to, because she felt she could do better while the other one was blind-sided by her husband’s decision to separate. Other people I know are discontent in careers they have been working hard in for 20+ years. They say, there just has to be something better but simpler.

One Sunday morning, I was driving my family to church. I felt this overwhelming sadness hit me. As the tears streamed down my face, I silently prayed, “Lord, what is going on with me?” The response I felt was, “I feel like I am having a mid-life crisis.” I giggled on the inside and thought, “am I going to buy a Ferrari next?” But I realized that I am feeling the same thing that many are feeling in their lives. The commonality of a lot of these struggling people are we are all in our 40’s, assessing our lives, wondering-what next?

Ironically, that same Sunday, our pastor began a series on the book of Daniel. He told a story about his own insecurities when he started off as a pastor. The pastor prayed about the insecurities and God told him, “just be you, be who I created you to be, no one else.” That sermon took a hold of my heart.

After the pity party at church, I gave my friend a call. She is able to listen and give a Godly assessment. I told her what I was experiencing, mentioning the mid-life crisis. She told me, “I don’t believe that this is a mid-life crisis, more like a mid-life transition.” My friend was right. God can create a change in our hearts to be who He intended us to be.

Living life in this world pulls us in many different directions. We believe we have to: make a certain amount of money, marry someone aesthetically pleasing, live in a nice zip code, own lots of things, give our children a life with endless activities. To attain these things, we believe we have to work overtime, supply our kids with material things, instead of attention. I admit, I was lured into thinking that I needed the $200 French face cream to combat the wrinkles that are forming. Yet, life can be much simpler. We can take a step back and communicate this to our loved ones. More than likely, they are feeling it too.

Lesson Learned: I won’t lament over the idea that life is over.  I will access them and ask God, what is it that you are trying to show me?

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for living my life in the world. Show me what you created me to be. Give me the confidence to pursue your will instead of mine. Thank you for supplying all of my needs. Create a grateful heart, not one of discontent. Convict me of those times, when I am envious of others. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”