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.

Confessions from a serious caffeine addict

I am currently on day three of a 7 day fast, in which I chose to give up one of my favorite substances on the planet: caffeine while only drinking water, and a little bit, I feel like I’m dying. The headache has been awful, and the brain fog is absolutely ridiculous. I am about fifteen minutes from a nap most of the day.

All that being said, I am actually glad I chose something that is so much a part of my every day life. I woke up and stumbled to the coffee pot each morning, then drank unsweet tea throughout the day. It was like a constant caffeine IV drip (although I’m not opposed to the idea).

The cool thing about fasting something I crave so much is that it is a constant reminder that I am doing this intentionally. I am believing for some really big things in my life. Fasting is supposed to be a time of prayer and focus. Every time I think about the headache or wish I could have coffee, I am reminded to refocus in prayer. It’s actually the most successful fast I have ever done – and the hardest by far.

I also chose to give up my time waster games that I used to play in my down time on my phone, focusing that time on writing, editing, reading, and podcasts. That is another part of my habits, but I felt like it was pulling on my time and attention. As I did my time budget for this month, that was the obvious choice, since it was an activity that didn’t get me closer to any of my goals.

It’s funny that the things that we think we can’t live without are the things that propel us forward when we separate ourselves from them. I believe in intentional focus. I believe in the power of prayer. I also believe that God honors our sacrifices. In his book Soar, Bishop TD Jakes posed a question, “What are you willing to give up for success?” That resonated with me. If it costs me everything to go where God has called me to go… will I still follow His voice?

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.

And so, it begins

Today, January 12, 2020, I sent my first draft of my first three chapters to the editor. The process begins now. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I can hardly believe this day is here, but here we are, the girl behind the keyboard, typing away as she feels led.

Writing has been such an inspirational, healing journey, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to share it with all who dare read.

No matter what dream you are chasing, if you will keep moving forward, you will get there. It doesn’t matter how small the steps may be, keep taking them. If you fall, get back up and keep moving. If you quit, start again. Chase your dreams, because only you can make them happen.

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 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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