What are you tethered to?

What we anchor ourselves to will ultimately determine how we respond to a crisis. So often we lose ourselves when we lose jobs, possessions or loved ones When our values is based on how others value us, then we feel like our worthiness is depreciated when others abandon or mistreat us. When we base our identity in our work, then our identity is stripped away when we lose a job or get passed up for a promotion. When we base our permanent beliefs about ourselves on temporary things, then we lose our identity when those things are gone.

If we tether who we are to outside influences, then we lose who we are when we lose those people. Who we are in Christ, who He created us to be, how He sees us is all that matters. Each and every one of us was created for a specific purpose, and it is crucial to our happiness and peace that we become who we were called to be so we can fulfill what we were created to fulfill. The only way to become that person is to see ourselves as God see us.

If we tether our faith to God based on Him giving us everything we ask for, then we lose our faith when we don’t get our way. When we base our appreciate of Him and belief in Him only on what we can understand, then we give up on our faith when tragedy strikes. But when we tether our faith to a God that is good, that loves us unconditionally, and the fundamental truths of His Word, then we are not shaken by trauma tragedy or loss.

God didn’t create us to be tossed about with the wind, to be changed by the storms, to be tied to our past forever. He called us to tether ourselves to Him. That he is the steady, unchanging God who sees us for who we are, accepts us, loves us, and wants only good for us.

They’re Supposed to be Christians

No Matter How Old You Are… Gossip and Bullying Hurt

“They’re supposed to be Christians” I have heard those words said about one person or another more times over the last year than I have heard in my whole life. Phrases that stem form one person judging another person’s actions, choices or behavior and determining that what they see does not align with their own view of Christianity, or being Christ-like.

There is a quote I read in the Ten- Day Word Fast, a devotional on YouVersion by Tim Cameron and Chrisma House, that says that judging others happens when we look at their actions or behavior from our own perspective, and make a decision about their entire worth based on what we see. We determine that we know the reason the other person did what they did and decide their value based on that one aspect of their life, or possible just one moment in time.

I can’t help but feel like we are on dangerous ground when we look at a snapshot of someone’s life and make a determination not only about their faith, but about their worthiness to be saved. God is clear in the Bible about not standing in judgment of others, and the more I study worthiness and judgment, the more I feel like God doesn’t want us to stand in judgment because we do not get to determine someone else’s worth – that’s HIS job.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is this quote from Brene Brown. We are worthy NOW. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.

Christ paid the price for our salvation with each of us in mind. We were bought with a price. As is. God did not design our worthiness on an accrual system. We can’t possibly earn someone dying on the cross so that we could have eternal life. We couldn’t possible do enough to be worthy of that kind of love. God chose each of us, just as we are.

While it is true that we will be known by our fruits (our actions, our words, our behaviors) it is also true that we don’t have a point reference for other people’s lives to measure where they started to where they are now. We may see areas that need maturing, but we have no idea what it took for them to make this far.

Gossip, judgment, and cruelty create church scars among people who are working to become who God created them to become. We so often derail them with thoughtless words or judgments based on our own perception and own perspective. We drive them away from Christ because of our words and because we cast them out of our inner faith circle and make them feel less than worthy of the love and grace of God.

God, may our hearts mirror yours. May our eyes see your people as you see them, beyond their appearance or behavior and into their hearts. May our ears hear beyond their words and into what they aren’t saying to hear the hurt. May our hands be an extension of your love. May our feet go where you have called us to go – to reach your people.

Amen.

Confession: I get terrible stage fright

This morning I spoke to a room of around 40 job seekers. I only talked for around ten minutes, and I knew what I wanted to say to them. I felt prepared, but as I stood in front of that room and talked, I could hear my voice shake and felt my hands and knees trembling.

Everyone gave me positive feedback, and I felt good about what was said, but I still get this terrible feedback that I have had for as long as I can remember. When I was in the youth group, I sang a solo one time standing on risers, They had to move me off of them because I was shaking so badly that the whole temporary stage was shaking, and the mic stands were shaking!

I don’t really know what makes me so scared, and I am not sure how it plays into those dreams I have of speaking in front of a room filled with women. I can see some of their faces as I share a specific message that God has laid on my heart. I can feel their hands in mind as we pray together. I can see their tears sliding down their cheeks as God heals their hearts. I know it is part of what I was designed to do, but I’m still scared.

I think what I am learning in this chapter is not that we have to be completely without fear, but that we cannot be stopped by it.

I think that it’s normal to feel scared, you just have to find a way to push through and do it anyway. Part of the victory is in overcoming everything that was thrown at you that could have made you stop… but you didn’t. Chase your dreams relentlessly, even when you’re scared.

Confession: I still struggle with anxiety

Anxiety has been paralyzing a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I still struggle with it sometimes. I am getting used to the newness of being out of my comfort zone, but it still makes my heart flutter to think about doing something that I feel unprepared for. Like writing, speaking, or opening my life completely up to strangers.

Today God used me to speak to someone…and it felt amazing. I have been so scared of that still voice inside forever. For years I have been lead to speak to people, but I was always afraid I would say or do the wrong thing. What if I missed it? What if I got it wrong?

Completely, blindly obeying God is one of the most beautiful experiences this control freak has ever felt. I think the biggest lesson in this chapter of my life is that if I will just stick with God and follow Him, and LISTEN, I can rest assured that He will not lead me anywhere that He will not bring me through.

Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t struggle or have hard times, because those are a guaranteed part of every journey we face. However, there is peace in knowing that God’s got my back. I am learning to trust. I am learning to trust Him, and I am learning to trust Him working through me. Maybe this is what it feels like to get out of the way… maybe.

Confession from someone who has struggled with faith.

Confession: I have never doubted God, but I have questioned a lot of His people. At one time, I left the church, and it was because of church scars.

I was told by a branding specialist this week that now is the time to start sharing my thoughts on social media, and to connect with an audience. I was given a list of social media platforms, to which I responded to the expert:

Facebook – check! This is my comfort zone – these are my people.
Linked In – check! I actually understand LI better than any of the others.
You tube – getting there, I overthink videos and delete them before posting, but I have a channel, so that’s something.
Instagram – check! This is an entire site dedicated to cute pics of kids and puppies, I’m in!
Twitter – yes, started it this week and Ugh! #ChristiansAreMean
TikTok and SnapChat – I refuse, this will not be a thing.

I feel like I am making some progress right? Turns out that I liked staying safely in my bubble, because people outside that comfort zone are mean to each other!

I happened to believe that we were called to be kind and love one another. We were called to be Christ like and if we take the name of Christ as our own, calling ourselves Christians (literally meaning Christ-followers) then we should definitely act like Christians. THIS is kind of what the Ten Commandments were talking about – Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain… ring a bell? Yeah, that has a lot less to do with saying, “Oh My God!” and a lot more to do with taking on the name of Christian but acting in a way that dishonors Christ. That includes tarnishing others in the church, especially on the Twitter.

The Bible is clear about not touching God’s anointed, and seeing the rage on Twitter these past few days from Christians against other Christians… I see a lot of touching going on!

How sad is it that this is what the rest of the world sees in us? We’re fighting for the whole world to see on the all to public, never eraseable world wide web, and we wonder why people are leaving and shunning the church. It breaks my heart, literally.

I know God is calling me to do something, but it is overwhelming.

It took me a long time to heal from the church scars and battle words of judgment and cruel words. The truth… we were called to love, and nowhere in 1 Corinthians 13 where The Bible tells us to love does it include judging or attacking others.

Confessions from someone who compares themselves to everyone else

It’s 11:53 pm and I tried to go to bed two hours ago, but I have stared at the ceiling recapping a day that I want to remember for the rest of my life. The day I first partnered with an editor for a book I wrote.

I partnered with Andria Flores, and she’s wonderful. We have two decades of friendship and deep deep rooted history. Our paths our intertwined, and our hearts speak in the unison that only friendship can decode. There isn’t anyone I would rather partner with on this book. I feel safe to be open and vulnerable and essentially say, “here is my life, edit it.”

The joy of this milestone is clouded by my dad being in the hospital. This is his second night. He has congestive heart failure and there is fluid on his lungs that is not responding to lasix. Praying hard.

Then there is the message board. I LOVE it. My mom asked me if I could use it to make social media posts, and I jumped at the chance. My first quote was something that I have been struggling with as I write, “Don’t be an extension of someone else, be uniquely and powerfully you.” Beaunique…. the beauty in being uniquely you.

Confession: that message is so powerful for me because I constantly compare myself to others.

I worry about what people say. I worry about what they think. Even in learning how to build a social media brand, I find myself over analyzing everything. Why did they like that post instead of love it? I didn’t have great engagement? What do I need to change up? It can become obsessive fast.

We weren’t designed to be replicas of other people. The world doesn’t need another Lisa Nichols or Brene Brown. I’m not supposed to be an extension of someone else’s message, effectively standing in front of my crowd to say, “Everything Mel Robbins said, and Jesus. The end.” That doesn’t help anyone in their journey.

The truth is that nobody else can tell my story. My voice and message are just as important as theirs. They have a bigger audience, and the business side of this business, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of anything I have to say.

When we compare ourselves to others, we tend to talk ourselves out of a lot of things. Once we realized that the only thing holding us back from being where our heroes are… is ourselves, then we will be uniquely and powerfully ourselves.

Confessions from a Quitter

Welcome warriors! It is January 5th, 2020 – a new year and a new decade. I ended 2019 by making a list of all of the things that I started in the 2010s but didn’t finish. Confession: that list is way longer than I care to put in writing for the whole world wide web. Sometimes, I quit and even had great reasons. A messy divorce (well the marriage was messy, not so much on the divorce), health battles, change jobs, taking my son to the Mayo Clinic, needing to pick up another job to pay bills, starting businesses and failing at it. It wasn’t that I just didn’t want to do those things any more, but my strategy was way of. I either took on way too much and stretched myself too thin, or I dove head first into things that I didn’t have the skills or resources yet to pull off effectively. (key word there is yet)

There were a few other things on the list that I think seemed interesting at the time, but in reality, they weren’t a part of my dream and they didn’t get me any closer to my goals. Those are the things that we’ll leave in the past and file them safely in the “lessons learned the hard way” and “well that was cool once” folders of my life.

Then there are the other things… the things that I either started and didn’t finish, or that I planned on doing but didn’t get started. (again, sometimes with good reason) Those are the dream. Writing a book, speaking, a radio show, a pod cast, helping people who have overcome trauma and tragedy, getting and staying healthy, finishing my degree. Those are the things, along with A LOT of reading, that I will be tackling in 2020. (only much more slowly and spread out over 12 months instead of trying to do it all in January).

2019 was a tough year to round out an insanely tough decade. (Good riddance to my 30s!) However, it is a brand new decade and I am excited about what is happening already in 2020. Let’s recap.

25 hours into 2020, I finished the first draft of my book, Getting Out of My Own Mind, that I had started writing THREE times before. I meet with the editor on the 8th!

I met with the new owners of our local radio show, JoCo Community Radio, and will be starting the Beauty From Ashes Radio Show on January 21st.

I am two weeks into a healthy low-carb lifestyle that seems to be working for me. I am steadily losing weight, and feel great. I have less than 30 carbs a day. (Another confession: I totally save a ton of my carb points until the end of the day so I can justify having a Lindor truffle, mostly because Jesus made them.)

I have read six books in five days, and will be starting my book review videos tomorrow. I have a plan to read 220 books in 2020. I realize that goal was probably way more cute in my head than pulling of a book every 1.65 days, but this is where I have to get super creative. That includes the 66 books of the Bible, audio books, e-books and print. Blogs don’t count (sad face).

Maybe the best celebration is the introduction to boundaries in my life. I have been working on that for a few months. I have not fully arrived. I am able to compartmentalize my day. Focusing on my job during the day and turning my focus to writing and building the Beauty From Ashes Media brand in the evenings.

So this blog, warriors, is all about that journey. What are your 2020 goals?

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