I’m a “Bad” Christian

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
Ephesians 2:8

I woke up late and didn’t do my prayer time today…I must be a bad Christian.

I’m a divorced, single parent with a rough past…I must not be suitable for church leadership.

I overreacted and yelled at my son after a stressful day …I must be an impatient and unloving Christian.

I have Madonna on my Spotify playlist and watch Outlanders on Starz TV… I must be a wicked Christian.

I worry about my future and afraid of what lies ahead of me…I must be an unfaithful Christian.

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Live Lightly and Peacefully

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”
— Maya Angelou

Now is the time of year when we create our goals and resolutions for the new year. We set SMART goals created in detail with deadlines marked in our calendars. We create our vision boards to help visualize our dreams and desires. We enlist our accountability partners to make sure we stay on track and don’t lose focus.

All these are great things, and I encourage you to use those techniques. I do as well. But what if for the new year, we make a conscious effort to live peacefully and lightly. Choose letting go of the baggage in your life weighing you down with the intent of creating peace and joy.

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Finding Joy

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it hard to find joy with how crazy the world is. Every time I turn on the news, I hear something traumatic creating anxiety and frustration. I feel hopeless with current events allowing it to steal my inner joy.

Many of us, including myself, turn towards materialism and worldly success as distraction hoping it will find the joy we have lost. But this is not the path to long-term joy and happiness.

When you use material things or accomplishments to make you happy, it’s only temporary. The truth is happiness comes from within. When you choose to find happiness within yourself, it’s long-lasting. Nothing external can bring lasting joy. If you wait until the tragedies of the world dissipate before you find happiness, you will be waiting forever.

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Ten Ways to be More Grateful

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Spending time with family and reflecting on God’s blessings brings me joy, laughter, and a feeling of gratitude. Plus, I eat yummy food all day without worrying about the calories going into my body. Free pass… calories don’t count!

But you don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to be grateful. You can make it a part of your daily life. Here are some ideas to express and feel gratitude.

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Turn Pain Into Power

Not one of us escapes pain living in this world. Experiencing trauma, pain, disappointment, and loss is a part of being human. It’s inevitable.

When you’re in swirling in chaos and being swallowed by darkness, it’s hard to understand you will get through to the other side. It seems too impossible to comprehend or believe one day your pain will go away and happiness will appear.

But no matter difficult things are, you always have a choice. This pain you are experiencing is bringing you to a crossroad.

You can take the road to the left and walk the path of resentment, self-destruction, and victimization.

Or you can take the road to the right and walk the path of healing, empowerment, and transformation.

The choice is yours.

Lost, But Never Gone

For the past few months, I’ve been feeling…lost. My sense of who I am vanished making me a stranger to myself. I thought I knew who I was moving forward in a specific direction towards my goals. But then out of nowhere, I was thrown way off path leaving me disorientated, unsettled and bewildered.

Have you ever felt lost and out of touch with yourself? Have you felt you were on the “right” path but then suddenly went astray moving into unknown territory? You knew for sure where you were going and where you were headed but unexpectedly, you veered way off course.

It’s unnerving and upsetting being lost in a chaotic and distressed world. Especially when you thought you knew where you were going. The notion to choose our destination and stay on track no matter what is drilled into us. Don’t get distracted. Don’t move your eyes from the prize. And heaven forbid, don’t look backwards. You are expected to keep driving down the road you started on at all costs. 

Discover the Joys in Difficult Times

This is a very difficult year for many. Maybe one of the hardest. No doubt. We are all suffering from constant trauma, crushing stress and debilitating fatigue without much respite from the daily challenges we face. For me, I have trouble sleeping at night thinking about the division, hate, sickness, the suffering of others, climate change and the civil unrest in this country and worldwide. 

But in the midst of troubling times, there are gleams of light shining through muckiness revealing the joys hidden underneath. It takes intentional effort to see the goodness when all things seem dark and dreary. I know I find it extremely difficult to be positive and to see the limitless sky beyond the raging storm.

Don’t Feel Bad for Saying No

I have a problem.

I have trouble saying no.

And when I do say no, I feel bad.

Then I obsess over and over about being a bad person for saying no.

But when I say yes to something I don’t want to do or don’t have time for; I berate myself for not saying no. 

With all this ridiculousness and mental nonsense going on in my brain, I had an aha moment.

I should never feel bad again for saying no to something if it’s not a priority, if I don’t have time, if I don’t have the energy or if it’s not aligned with our current goals. Saying no when the situation isn’t right, is healthy for my well-being and inner peace. 

But even with my mind-shattering aha moment, I still apologize for saying no like I did something wrong or need permission to choose what to do or not to do in my life. 

I know! Crazy, right?

Do you struggle with the same thing? Do you feel like a jerk for saying no when your heart says yes? If so, why the heck do we do this to ourselves?

  • Fear of making someone mad, upset or disappointed
  • Fear of losing out on an opportunity
  • Fear of hurting someone’s feelings
  • Fear of being perceived as unhelpful or rude
  • Because we are people pleasers
  • Because we’ve always done that thing in the past
  • Because it’s expected of us

But these reasons are phooey, rubbish and pieces of junk. Saying yes when our hearts say no leads to resentment, frustration, stress and burn out. Neglecting self-care, family time and the space to pause are vital for a joyful and peaceful life. 

Yes, there are times to sacrifice when someone really needs your help. But on a regular basis, saying no and setting boundaries creates the space you need to expand your creativity, deepen your faith, to serve in areas most meaningful to you and to be present with your loved ones. 

When you feel bad for saying no, investigate yourself and ask these questions:

  • Why do I feel guilty for wanting self-care?
  • Am I really feeling guilty or not confident about my decisions?
  • Am I imagining others being upset with me or is it really true?
  • Am I afraid to be who I really am in front of others?
  • Am I afraid of confrontation?

For your family and for yourself, the best thing to do is to create healthy boundaries and sticking to them. Saying no and setting boundaries is hard at first. If you’re not used to it, you’ll feel mean and rude. I know I am still working on it. It feels weird, and I feel like a jerk!

But once you get over this initial hump, you’ll feel empowered and free. It will feel healthy instead of feeling oppressed with another weight added to your to-do list. 

When you say no, you are saying:

  • Yes, to honor what’s most important.
  • Yes, to allow the time to be creative.
  • Yes, to make family time a priority.
  • Yes, to have the space to heal and relax. 
  • Yes, to focus on my passions and goals.

One of the best decisions to make, is learning the power of saying no… and not feeling bad about it. You’ll be in charge in your life with the confidence to make the right choices regardless of what anyone thinks. If you want to live your best, harness the power of saying no. 

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Unsubscribe

For 2020, I want you to unsubscribe. What??? (not from me of course lol). I am asking you, including myself, to unsubscribe from all thoughts, actions, commitments, or activities holding you back from living in peace, vitality and joy. 

Unsubscribe yourself from:

  1. Feelings of unworthiness
  2. Toxic relationships draining your energy
  3. Thinking you’re not good enough
  4. Trying to control everything 
  5. Overcommitting and filling your plate too high
  6. Not saying no
  7. Eating unhealthy foods and not taking care of your body
  8. Not getting enough sleep
  9. Allowing others to take advantage of you because you’re nice and generous
  10. Being a people pleaser instead of a God pleaser
  11. Spending too much time on social media
  12. Making excuses for not doing what you love
  13. Comparing yourself to others. We are all unique and special created by God.
  14. Not spending enough time with family and friends
  15. Negative self-talk
  16. Watching too much TV
  17. Not having the courage to be yourself
  18. Being too serious
  19. Worry, fear and doubt
  20. Trying to be perfect
  21. Clutter and obsessing over material things
  22. Whining and complaining
  23. Living in the past
  24. Giving up when things get too hard
  25. Not believing in yourself to accomplish your dreams
  26. Being a victim
  27. Drama
  28. Settling for less
  29. Playing it safe
  30. Not forgiving

Subscribe to things bringing you joy, peace, energy and love. Fill your mind with books, music, entertainment and articles to grow your consciousness. Nourish your soul with prayer, meditation, creativity and spending time in nature to embrace your true essence. Feed your body with healthy foods and activities to thrive with vibrant energy. 

Let go and release yourself from all the junk and crap holding you back from the life you deserve. You only have one given to you by God. Not it’s time to really start living your life with meaning, love, passion and purpose to be all you are meant to be.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Creativity is Good for the Soul

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” 
— Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Creativity has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. As a child I drew pictures, wrote short stories, recreated my favorite logos and sketched fashion design. I loved being creative. It was an escape into another world allowing me to explore new adventures and visit unchartered territories. 

I still love being creative. It’s safe to say I was destined to be the writer and graphic designer I am today using my creative abilities on a daily basis. 

My lifelong journey of being immersed in creative endeavors has showed me the value of creativity and how essential it is for the soul. When I am not creating, I get depressed. When I create, I feel alive. Creativity allows the space and time to connect to my true self with a sense of intimacy and meaning.

But what is creativity? Creativity is an activity that solves a problem. It’s the process of coming up with new ideas by making connections between concepts and unrelated things. You learn to see patterns across different mediums to read between the lines. Creativity takes your ideas and imagination bringing your dreams and vision to life with form, function and beauty.

The great truth about being creative is that anyone can do it. You don’t need to be an art genius like Picasso, Mozart or Leonardo Da Vinci. I don’t even come close their talents, but I still choose to create every day. You only need to give yourself permission and the time to develop your abilities.

God wants you to be creative because He is the source of all creation. Creativity opens your heart and mind allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you for inspiration and intuition. When God nudges you to create something, trust this. It’s His way of speaking to you making creativity a form of prayer and communion. It’s your opportunity to create something special for His glory and to heal your soul.

God wants you to express yourself in beauty, originality and authenticity. Creating is a method of communication for your soul to speak to yourself and to the world with your own unique voice. It helps you to learn who you are, the depths of your heart and the talents you possess. 

When you take the time to create, it allows you to be with yourself in solitude, peace and joy. It challenges you to try new things and overcome obstacles when things get difficult. When you create, it feels like time ceases to exist because you get lost in the moment being connected to God and your creation. 

Sometimes we stunt our creativity by doubting ourselves, setting unrealistic expectations, believing it’s a waste of time or thinking we don’t deserve to spend time being creative. No matter what the excuses are, let them go. Give your soul a chance the thrive and become alive with the spirit and energy of creativity. 

Some might say, I don’t have time to be creative. But you can always find time if you really want to. Instead spending an hour on Facebook, surfing online or gossiping on the phone, trade it with an hour of writing, drawing, painting, sculpting or taking photographs. Maybe let that load of laundry sit for a bit longer or do the dishes tomorrow morning. You can practice your creative skills by being creative with your time management.

Start with 20 minutes day. Over time, 20 minutes will turn into 30 minutes then 60 minutes. You’ll get into a groove making it easy to add more time. Once you feel the benefits of being creative and start to gain more confidence, adding more time will happen organically. 

God is calling you to create using your unique talents and abilities to bring more beauty and light into the world. Something you create might seem nothing to you but to someone else be a source of healing and joy. Your soul is begging for your creative heart and mind to awaken and become all who you are meant to be, to experience and to give. 

So get up and start creating today!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash