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!”

Accepting How God Created You to Be

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 139:13

Every day, they are messages that bombard us that we are not enough.  Our bodies and faces, material possessions, or bank accounts need improvement.  We see advertisements for products that could improve every area of our lives. Instead, we have emptier wallets and growing dissatisfaction.

We are unhappy due to the comparison game.

In college, I took a walking exercise class.  I made two friends in the class. We would talk about college, boys, and our plans when we graduated.  Both young women were pretty. I was suffering from an eating disorder at the time and wished I could look like either one.  

They would always talk about their encounters with men.  I did not want my dating life to resemble either one of theirs, but I figured if I looked like either gal, I would have a date.  One of them was petite and blond named, Jenny. Everywhere we walked, strangers would stare at her or try to talk to her. She would giggle and flirt back.

One day at the end of class, another fitness class was finishing up.  Jenny said, “see that woman over there? I think she has the perfect body and I would do anything to look like her.”  I said, “are you kidding me; you’re just fine the way you are! You have guys coming to your beck and call.” She said, “well, I don’t like how I am. I prefer to look like her.”

When we deny God’s will for us, discontent grows in our lives.

Her statement caught me off guard.  How could she think that way about herself?  But here I was, doing the same thing. I didn’t like myself and wanted so desperately to change.  I would have given an organ to look like and weigh the same as Jenny. So many of us women believe, we are not enough and we need to lose a little here, enhance over here, dye our hair, erase some forehead wrinkles, or rejuvenate some other areas.  It is an endless, horrible path.

Last Sunday in church, my pastor said something that reminded me of our discontent with our lives.  He said, “You only have one race to run. A call upon your life that has been ordained by God.” When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we must allow God to fulfill His will for us.  We are disappointed when we don’t have what someone else has, and we complain about how we want better. God knows what we need.

Accept God’s Will for Your Life.

When we accept that God is in control and has a will for our lives, we can finish that race, strong.  We don’t need to be discontent with ourselves. The changes we may have to make are our actions or behaviors, so it aligns with the will God had ordained for us.  We are all valuable and have a purpose and a plan for our lives. May we listen and accept that plan as God reveals it in our lives.

 

Lesson Learned: God made you.   Accept how God created you to be so that you can carry out His will in your lives.  

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the plan and purpose you have for my life.  Show me what that plan is so that I may carry it out. Help me finish the race well. Let me be your hands and feet.  Forgive me for comparing myself to others. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

A Mini Manifesto on How to Handle Anxiety

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

Our thoughts can give us hope and renew our faith.  In dealing with anxiety, depression, or fear those negative thoughts can destroy our well being.  If you are stuck in that negative thought pattern, it becomes a habit to think the worst. We can defeat ourselves before we even try.

I understand that I must let go of things that are out of my control.  However, I never knew how to do that. People say, “just let it go.” But we all know, it is not so easy.

I have embarked on the process of becoming a more healthy person, especially mentally.  I have come to learn how to let things go. There are several things I have actively pursued in trying to let go.   Thankfully, I am beginning to see a good outcome.

 

A Mini-Manifesto on How to Handle Anxiety

 

#1 Prayer and Meditation

A therapist suggested to me that I use meditation to ground myself and learn how to be more aware.  As a Christian, I fought the practice of meditation because a lot of the experts in the field study other religions.  But as the anxiety affected my daily life, I decided to try it.

My medical insurance offered on their website, meditation practices.  There was a woman who narrated the practice. She didn’t sound weird, never used any religious tones.  It was about breathing and grounding myself. Then, I researched and learned about apps that have guided meditation.  I found Headspace, Calm, and Abide. Abide is a Christian app, while the other two are not. I cannot tell you, how much meditation has changed my life.  It has helped me become more aware, to stop those racing thoughts, and even helped me to pray with focus.

Another thought I carry with me in times of despair is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not suffer and die on the cross for us to live fearfully and in a constant state of panic! Jesus wants us free from that burden and bondage.

I usually wake up in the middle of the night and begin to think about all the bad stuff around me.  I think of every possible scenario of how to attack anything wrong that could come my way. This thought pattern would keep me awake for hours.  One night, I woke up and thought about something. About a minute into the negative thought, I realized, there is nothing I can do about this at 2:00 in the morning, so the best thing I can do for myself is fall back asleep. Honestly, I surprised myself with that thought. I knew that meditation was helping me.

 

#2 Being Kind and Gentle with Oneself

My inner voice can be a real jerk.  I know this stems from fear of failure and perfectionism. Our perception becomes clouded from social media. We see friends/people’s good sides, fake and inflated, and we become dissatisfied with our life.  Dissatisfaction is the purpose of advertising and marketing. Hate where you are at because something new is better and leave no room for contentment.  I had a friend say to me, “if I spoke about myself the way you speak about yourself, you would be so mad at me.” We can be our own worst enemy. I realized that most of the things I am upset about, will not matter in weeks, months or years.

 

#3 Deepening Your Relationship with God

Relationships take work.  We can pray to God like He is a genie fulfilling our every wish and command or we can learn about God through reading/studying The Bible, worship, and prayer.  We fill our lives with other things that we think will help when God is waiting for us to turn back to Him. However, my faith increases when I remember all that God has done for me.

 

#4 Self-Care and Therapy

Self-care is different for everyone.  It has been suggested to me to take a bubble bath and get a pedicure; I’d rather not.  I would much rather be in nature alone or take a day to rest. Regularly, I see a therapist and a physical therapist to help my mind and body.  There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. If you take care of yourself, then you can take care of others. Remember in an emergency on an airplane, put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others.  The same goes for taking care of yourself.

 

#5 Find a Creative Outlet

Hey, all you artists, singers, writers, and dancers, etc.!  Find a hobby or dive deep into your talents. It feels cathartic to me to write.  It helps to get it out into an art form.  If you have trouble finding your inner artist, I highly recommend this book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.

 

#6 Forgiveness

Unforgiveness will eat you alive if you don’t address it.  Learning to forgive is difficult, but I found a way to do it.  Forgive and forget isn’t plausible in every situation; there are different levels of forgiveness.  1.) A person can forgive and remain in contact with the person and move on past the issue together. 2.) A person can forgive but never speak or see the person ever again because they died or they are dangerous.  And 3.) a person forgives, interacts with them but keeps a solid boundary. Jesus’ ministry is about reconciliation. When you drudge up the past, gossip about the person, or always think about the sin, it will not serve you well.  Your body will feel like it is re-living the moment again. Take the time to work through it, and God will heal your heart.

 

#7 Help in the Moment of the Attack

An anxiety attack can feel like you are about to die.  Your entire body goes into fight or flight mode. Your breath is shallow, your heart races, you sweat, and experience pain and loss of control.  There are a couple of ways that I learned to calm down the anxiety attack: cover your left eye and breathe and the other is to ground yourself by engaging in your senses.  

There is something about covering your left eye that stops your brain from engaging in the attack.  Your left eye controls the right side of the brain as the right eye controls the left side of the brain.  When the left eye is covered, the right side of your brain takes over, and your analytical side comes through and sees the situation for what it is.  You are probably not in immediate danger. After a few slow cleansing breaths, the feeling should reside.

If you feel an attack coming on but still feel like you are in control, start to engage all of your senses.  First, look at something around you that seems pleasant.

Take a moment to look at it and see the joy it brings.  Find something to smell that is pleasant. Just note the scent, but don’t dwell on it.  Listen to sounds you hear around you, people talking or laughing, a bird chirping, footsteps.  If you have access to a taste, like mints in your pocket or a piece of gum, savor it. I have used, Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pastilles to chew on when I began to feel anxious.  Lastly, touch something you have nearby. I have run my fingertips along the zipper of my purse. Others I have known have kept a smooth rock from the beach with them to touch when they feel anxious.  Whatever you need to do to feel calm, do it!

 

You can do this!

 

Actively working through the anxiety will make your triggers feel less heightened.  The good news is, with practice, it does get easier. I have found myself calm in situations now, that used to set off anxiety.  

For some reason, I get triggered by standing in line at a busy grocery store. I have left a cart full of food in the store and ran out of a store because the anxiety was so hard.  Movie theaters used to make me claustrophobic and panic-stricken and dental visits. Lord knows I would have a panic attack before, during, and after the appointment. Yesterday, I sat through a dental appointment that required two fillings. Every so often, I could feel the panic come up. But I told myself, I have not worked so hard to let this overtake me anymore. And thankfully, I made it through and enjoyed the rest of the day.

I hope that something listed speaks to you and can put you on the path of healing.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I put my faith and trust in you.  Lord, it says in your word numerous times, to not worry and to meditate on what is true and noble.  I entrust my life in your capable hands. Remind me all you have carried me through in my life. Give me grace with myself and remove this negative bias that things will not get better.  I know that Jesus did not die and suffer on the cross for me to be in an anxious state. Thank you for this new life, in Jesus’ Name AMEN!”

 

*Disclaimer-I was not paid by any company for the products or apps I suggested in this post.  

No Record of Wrongs

“It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.”  1 Corinthians 13:5

 

Jesus came to the Earth to die for our sins.  His ministry was of reconciliation. Once the sin was confessed, it was forgiven, and healing would take place.  However, we get in the way of that. We say we forgive but we hardly forget.

 

A couple of weeks ago, professional golfer, Tiger Woods played in The Masters golf tournament. He won the tournament and it was hailed as his comeback.  He was back on top. The crowds at the tournament and the media were in adoration. A few years ago, the adoration was not there for Tiger, just hate and ridicule.  And I was a part of that.

 

When I was in college, Tiger Woods turned pro.  I was so excited because he was multiracial, like me and he just seemed like one in a million. Tiger Woods did exceptionally well. He grew more famous, wealthy, and popular.  Everything seemed like it was going for him. Then things began to crumble.

 

Tiger had a few rough years, where he sustained a lot of injuries and required many surgeries.  His personal life became front news because of his extra marital affairs and prescription drug abuse.  Tiger seemed to have everything and not appreciate it. I didn’t want him to succeed anymore.  

 

As The Master tournament progressed, there was word that Tiger could win the whole thing.  Part of me, was rooting for him, but memories of his infidelity came up and the excitement wore off.  Tiger came up to the last hole of his round and he was a few strokes away from winning. God said, “Aren’t you glad I don’t throw all your forgiven sins in your face?” Oh the conviction.

 

After winning, he ran to his family and hugged his son so tight.  You could see the love he had for his son. I was genuinely happy for Tiger.  He looked so relieved and had much appreciation for this victory. We don’t know the authentic side of famous people.  They are people with feelings and regrets. Tiger probably made his peace and asked for forgiveness from those who he hurt.  

 

When we hurt someone, we would not want them to keep record of our wrongs. And when it happens to us, it is important for us to not do that either.  Our health depends on learning and practicing true forgiveness.

 

Everyone loves a good comeback.  But sadly, these same people love to harass and bully relentlessly of someone who did something bad.  Unforgiveness, is detrimental to one’s health. It may be safer sometimes to not have certain people in our lives.  But forgiveness is still necessary. In the wise words of Jay Shetty, “Sometimes you just have to be done. Not mad, not upset.  Just done.”

 

If you need to make a comeback, forgiveness is a good place to start.  If someone has righted their wrongs, allow yourself to forgive them and not remember their wrongs.

 

Lesson Learned: Jesus died for our sins, so we don’t have to remain in bondage to sin or to stay in unforgiveness.  Forgiveness is necessary.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, reveal to me people who I need to forgive.  Help me let go of the pain. Renew my mind, so that my thoughts are honorable.  Heal my anxieties and fear towards people. For every tear that was shed, thank you for redeeming me from the pain.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Spring Forward

“But the path of righteousness is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”  Proverbs 4:18

 

Springtime brings forth growth and possibilities.  We see it in nature with beautiful blooming flowers and the birth of baby animals.  The winter snow begins to thaw and we feel like we can take a breath. I feel renewed during this time of year (along with my allergy medication).

 

The time change happens this time of year, as well.  Though, this is no fun. I feel like I have jet lag for 3 weeks until my body adjusts.  After the adjustment, though, I feel like I have energy and motivation to do better.

 

One morning, I woke up to the words, “Spring Forward!”.  It felt like bolt of electricity and it jolted me to sit up quickly in bed.  I knew it was the Lord. I don’t know who the word was for, but I knew it was important and I had to share it.  There was a sense of joy and confidence from that term. Usually, when I hear “Spring Forward”, I think of the dreaded time change.  However, this time, I knew it was a comforting word from the Lord.

 

I feel there is a shift in the atmosphere for a lot of us.  This is the time, where many things we have been waiting for or working towards, will happen in this season.  We must remain alert and open to hearing direction from God.

 

There is no time to quit.  The work of God will be complete.  Remain hopeful and expecting for this season.  

 

Lesson Learned:  When you hear a word from the Lord, test it out and share it with others!

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart open for towards you.  I am blessed to hear you, Heavenly Father. Help me remember what you say and direct my ways. Thank you for renewal, restoration, and answered prayers.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

We Need to Stop Believing the Lies of the Enemy

I wrote the post below for #lionslightinternational

This is Colette, here. I run the social media for #lionslightinternational

Honestly, I feel like absolute crap. The issue is I allowed myself to believe the lies of the enemy. I believed I am worthless, un-lovable, and non-existent to others.

The enemy loves to distract us from remembering all the ways God has saved us and helped us in our life so far.

I cried out to God and asked…

Where are my friends?
Where is the love? Have I been forgotten by everyone?
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?

Immediately, I heard God say, “I’m right here, right now, as always.”

I saw an image of Jesus embracing me. I Googled an image and this one, I posted feels just right.

Most of my life, I have felt like an outsider. I feel quirky and different from other people. Whether with my own friends, other couples, other moms, women at church…I still felt alone.

But, that is a lie from the pit of hell. We are never alone when we know God.

So this post is for anyone who needed to see this precious picture of Jesus holding a child. Jesus loves you and He will comfort you.

Stop believing those lies like you don’t matter. You do matter! This world needs you!

 

Don’t Get Sucked into Overreacting

“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”  Galatians 5:15

Confrontation is a part of life.  Some people avoid it; others engage happily.  There are times, where we will have conversations with people, who want to suck the energy out of us.  Try to avoid having your power from getting sucked out of you!

Many years ago, I was the office manager for a Family Practice Physician.  When people are sick, it can bring the worse out of them. Add in, owing money for services rendered, makes people even more upset.  

I had to deal with a trying patient, who owed a large balance.  She began to argue with me. I said, “the doctor deserves payment for the services you used, so how would you like to take care of this payment, today?”  She tried to rile me up.   I paused and repeated the same thing. After the third time, I replied, “since you cannot speak to me politely, you have a choice, you either pay now over the phone or by 5:00 p.m. Otherwise, you will be sent to collections since you are 180 days past due. The choice is yours.”  Thankfully, she paid.  She tried one more jab and said, “I don’t want to be a patient here.” I told her, ‘“sounds great! Let me know when you decide for sure so that I can assist you,” and I hung up the phone.

It is never easy to deal with people who have messy lives.  They want to blame everyone for their unfortunate situation and bring everyone down with them.  Your energy and health will suffer when you try to converse with people like this. It is just not worth it.  God wants us to have healthy boundaries with unhealthy people. It is not our burden to try and save everyone; only God can do that if they want it.  Free yourself from any unnecessary drama.

Lesson Learned: Do not engage with people who are energy suckers.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, give me discernment when I deal with difficult people.  Remind me not to get involved with the drama of the situation. Help me be a light to those who need you.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”