Doing the work

We talked before about doing the work and being intentional. What is doing the work?

I would say doing the work is being intentional about being the best version of yourself everyday. Its hard to do.

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Its hard to decide I’m going to make the best choice for me, not the choice that is easiest or the most comfortable. It is deciding that I am going to make decisions today that my future self will thank me for.

It’s planting seeds now that your future self with harvest later.

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I didn’t know I needed to do any work for a long time. We spend a lot of time in life just moving. Completing tasks, going to work, coming home, having a little fun, repeat. Covid is what made me stop and try to evaluate how I was feeling. I knew something was off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I decided to go see a therapist that helped me tremendously. Therapy is not for everyone, but it can be extremely helpful in assisting you in processing your stuff.

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Even though therapy is more common for people to talk about I still felt embarrassed to tell people I went to see one. I don’t see her anymore. I went every week starting last August until January. That was intense.

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I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that for everyone but I needed to get my moneys worth. I was going through Betterhelp and they charge you monthly, and it wasn’t cheap. The gains I got from it were priceless though. I learned how to set boundaries, how to put myself first, how to feel my feelings, how to say no, how not to take responsibility for other people’s choices or try to save folks.

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Stuffing your feelings or numbing yourself is easy. That doesn’t require anything of you. Doing the work, is not easy or for the faint of heart. When I started to do the work, I started noticing more work I needed to do. That wasn’t fun. I also had to remind myself to give myself, grace. I don’t have to have it all figured out.

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Its a process. I know I wanted to work on my baggage so I wouldn’t pass those issues down to my kid. I knew healing from old hurts would make me a better wife, better mom, better leader.

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I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be be the best version of myself if I didn’t open my eyes to what was going on inside of me. Its easier to not notice what is going on in you and just keep pushing. However you owe it to yourself to recognize what is going on and do the work to make it better.

We’ll talk next time about things that keep you from seeing what’s going on.

Until next time,

Dominique

Are your actions matching your prayers?

We talked this time last year about feeling like God left you on read. I was able to give you 10 reasons.

Just a few reasons:

1. Are you spending time with God? 2. Are your motives good? 3. Did He already answer and you didn’t like what he said?

As I have been praying for things this summer another one came to my attention.

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Have my actions aligned with what I’ve been praying for? When I was praying for a baby I was doing everything to show God I was ready.

My pastor says we have to show God we are serious. I wanted a baby but the babies room was my closet. I was partying every weekend and eating terribly. That’s not going to work. I needed to get some things in order.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 NIV

Do you want a new job and your applying a lot of places but no hits yet? Have you mentally checked out of your current position? Are you still doing your best or just going through the motions?

Your praying for a spouse but have you done your own work to be ready for them when God sends them your way?

You want to write a book but have you set time assign to make sure you get it done?

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Don’t read this as manipulation because it’s not. Its putting yourself in the best position possible. It goes back to bloom where you’re planted

Gods timing is always best but we can show him we are ready. Faith without works are dead. We play an active role in our lives. The choices we make big or small make are all impactful.

Until next time,

Dominique

Bloom where you are planted

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this saying. Tons of change has been happening in my life right now. Most of it I have no control over. My mom moved, my cousin that is like my big sister moved, we were trying to sell our house and buy a new one, I interviewed for a new job. So many things were happening at once.

I felt out of sorts. Nothing was working out for us. The houses we bid on we were constantly outbid, hadn’t heard anything about the position I interviewed for. I felt like I was in a standstill. So I decided to fast and ask God for clarity. Should we move or stay in our house? Should I start looking for jobs outside of our organization?

My answers came quickly. Stay. Bloom where I planted you.

What is bloom where your planted?

Bloom where your planted is doing the best you can where you are right now.

Its not looking to far into the future or the past but enjoying each moment as it happens.

Its making sure you have done everything you can in this place and time in your life before you move on to the next thing.

We worry so much about accomplishing the next thing we don’t stop and smell the roses where we are right now.

We talked years ago about the power of standing still. Standing still doesn’t mean the abscense of movement. Its the absence of fretting, worrying and being anxious.

Its being comfortable in the thought that God has you exactly where you are supposed to be. It’s not comparing yourself to where other people are or where you think you should be.

This takes growth. It’s choosing to be ok even if you don’t like where you’re at in the moment.

We don’t always bloom because we are often in a rush to get to the next thing. We haven’t learned everything we could learn or done everything we could do before we are ready to move on.

We are often chasing better. I know I was. Better is good. Its better than what I had before. However God wants best. You don’t always get best because we settled for better. We decided we were ready to move on from a space without checking in with God first.

Do the best you can, where you are, that’s all God is asking and when it’s time for you to move He will certainly tell you.

People aren’t just one thing

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 NLT

The first time I saw this verse it was in the NIV which says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, which is cool but what does that mean? I like wonderfully complex much better. Complex means consisting of many different and connected parts. I love that! God made us layered and multifaceted which is a good thing. The world doesn’t seem that way though. If we let social media tell it everyone has to look the same, like the same things, go to the same places.

As I’ve gotten older I have still been trying to squeeze myself in a box, a label. But I listened to this podcast recently and she talked about how people can be more than one thing. How two things can exist in the same space. It reminded me of that verse.

Am I church girl? Or churchy? I wouldn’t say so. I didn’t grow up in church. I wasn’t baptized until I was an adult, I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. 🙃 Its took me so long to start this blog because I was worried that people would see it or me as too churchy. Then I was worried that people wouldn’t see it as not churchy enough. What a box I put myself in.

As we talk about mental health, I feel like labeling yourself can cause a lot of mental anguish. Labeling is all about making comparisons. We already learned that comparison is the thief of joy. Trying to define who you are by the worlds standards is not only putting yourself in a box but its putting God in a box too. If say I’m just a X (insert whatever your thing is) then that is letting God know he can only do so much for me, and through me. How about instead we said I am who I am? No more, no less. I’m open to all possibilities.

Not anymore. As I learn to let things go that don’t serve me, shrinking myself to fit inside someone else’s image of me is something I’m no longer doing.

I’m just focusing on being me. Being 100% authentic, no labels, no boxes.

I used to get mad at myself for not being the best version of myself right now. Thats not a thing though. You can’t rush progress. I used to think that I was too old to be just figuring these things out. I would rather do it now in my 30s then be 60+ just starting to be my authentic self. I have a lot of life left to live. I don’t want to waste another minute not being 100% me.

God made you as exactly as you’re supposed to be. Don’t sell him or yourself short by being anything less.

How to feel your feelings

Feelings can be tricky. I have always had a complicated relationship with my feelings. One of my favorite sayings is feelings lie. Calling someone a liar isn’t a great way to start off a relationship. In the last year though I have started to come around to the thought that feelings are useful. I was a classic stuffer. If something bothered me, I would just stuff it down and ignore it as long as possible. I would distract myself in books or sitcoms until I didn’t feel bad anymore. I used to be uncomfortable when other people expressed their emotions. You start crying around me and I was done! Done!

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This isn’t the healthiest way to deal with things for sure.

Feelings are not good or bad, they just are.

Feelings are just a signal alerting your body to something.

I could only identify with negative feelings, like anger. This I know how to express. Or sadness, like when someone dies. You having a bad day, ha! Suck it up.

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Someone gave me a feelings wheel last year that I found to be extremely helpful. I also use both of these methods that I found online this year.

@justgirlproject

I like this one for justgirlproject because writing things down is helpful for me. The talking to someone part is more tricky because that involves being vulnerable which I don’t always like. Now that I have been doing it more often, I noticed that being vulnerable isn’t all bad. When you are that transparent about your situation or feelings other people tend to be as well.

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I like this one too because its something my pastor says to do. He also says, questions your thoughts. Why do I feel this way? Is it true? Is it based on fact?

As much as I did not like feeling my feelings, I noticed that the more I did, the better I felt. The truth about feelings are if you don’t deal with them now, you will certainly have to deal with them later.

The bible has a whole book that talks about feelings…Psalms. The writers of that book were not afraid to talk to God about how they felt. They poured out their anguish, their devotion, their misery and God responded. Even if you have no one to talk to about your feelings, talk to God. He made our heart, so he understands how we feel.

Resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/harnessing-principles-change/202010/the-key-skill-we-rarely-learn-how-feel-your-feelings

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/healthy-emotions_b_4856069

https://www.jointheprogressproject.com/podcast/138

Being intentional

We have talked before about being intentional, about how we use our time, how we take care of ourselves, how we talk to our signifcant others. Intentionality is important. I set my phone on DO NOT DISTURB for the first time ever last Friday. I had never done that before. It was very freeing.

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While I was figuring out how to put my phone on do not distrub, I noticed how many notifications I get from different apps. I get 44 notifications a day from Google. 44! That is insane. McCaffe Security sends me 41 per day, about what, I have no idea.

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I didn’t even know that I could stop this. I never looked into, never even thought about.

I feel that’s how people go about their day. Just dealing with situations as they arise vs setting aside time to map out how they want their day to look. Are you living out of habit or intention?

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How do you start your day? Are you waking up everyday checking social media or the news? Are you asking God to lead you as you move through out the day? Are you praying or meditating?Are you eating breakfast? Drinking water?

I think a lot about balance and try to be intentional about the choices that I’m making but sometimes I don’t do it. Its harder to be intentional when you are tired, stressed, hungry or bored. What are your triggers? What keeps you making the best choices all the time? Identifying what keeps you from making good choices can help you in the long run.

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I like this list because if you try you can do these things despite your circumstances. If wake up everyday and decide that nothing is going to disturb your peace you are going to make decisions to ensure that your peace isn’t disturbed. You can do that with anything in your life.

Intentional living is letting God know that you are ready and available for what he needs you to do. Being intentional helps you grow and not be stagnant. It helps you stop for a moment and reflect on how and why things are happening.

Being intentional is waking up everyday and deciding to live on purpose. Not just letting life happen to you but you impacting your life.What choices are you making today that your future self will thank you for?

Until next time,

Dominique

Productivity is the thief of joy*

I make this statement tongue in cheek but follow my logic here.

I say this because on one hand productivity is great. We were made to get stuff done, not lay around all time surfing Netflix and Instagram. On the other hand the constant need to be producing and getting stuff done can be a hinderance. Its a hinderance to rest, to enjoying the Sabbath, to enjoying your family and friends.

Last week was the first week in 6 months that I didn’t post at least one blog post. The work week I had was insane! Insane. I had a massive project that I needed to finish and I only had a week to get it done. So every night I was working late making sure everything was going to be complete by the deadline. It was! I finished with a little bit of time to spare. Unfortunately that spare time didn’t go to the blog. I need to celebrate the small win. Win: I set a goal back in June to post everyday and I was able to exceed that goal. That’s a good thing. I’m going to silence my inner critic. I’m going to give myself some grace for not meeting my goal this week and move on.

I talked about rest a few weeks ago. Toxic productivity knows nothing about rest. How often do you push yourself to get something done? How often do you feel that this thing just can’t wait? Do you enjoy your days off or are you rushing to complete to-do list items? A day off should be a day off. Even the Lord rested one day of the week and He certainly didn’t have to do.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:1-3

Being a creative and this concept of always producing, always putting out content, it makes the work more difficult. I want to make sure what I give to you is the best of me every time. Not perfect, but my best. That sometimes gets lost in translation, in trying to hit goals, deadlines, get more followers, sell more product or this urge to get stuff done.

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As we close to the end of the year think about this: Did you spend more time producing or enjoying? Is there a way to do both? Do you believe you get enough rest? If not, this is the time to make those adjustments so you can go in the new year with a new habit in place.

Its on your street

Have you ever heard this saying before? I have only heard it in the church setting, it essentially means when people around you are being blessed then your blessing can’t be too far away.

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Part of me believes that and part of me doesn’t. You all know I have known so many pregnant people in the last few years and I haven’t had a whiff of being pregnant. So I’m not sure. I was talking to someone at work and he reminded me of this concept.

He said I should be blessed to be around so many people who have the direct hand of God on their lives. I never thought about it that way. I guess I was looking at it from a victim perspective. Maybe not a victim but definitely selfish, like, look at all those people getting blessed and not me.

I know so many people, myself included who feel like when other people are being blessed that they need to “catch up”.

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How do you do that exactly? There really isn’t anyway you can do that. I used to think that whenever someone lapped me with a baby who hadn’t been married as long as I have, like sheesh I really need to get to work now, like that makes any difference. Not! Everything happens when it is supposed. We know that, its just easier said than done when you are in the midst.

I wrote those words a few years ago ironically a few months before I found out I was pregnant.

Now that I have had more time to think about it I do believe that its true. It’s God giving us another sign of Hope.

Its like he is saying hey I haven’t forgotten about you. I know its confusing to see people around you getting the things you want. Its confusing being happy for them and sad for yourself. You don’t have to stay in that space. You can look at it as God was just sending me a reminder that my turn is coming.

I’ve had that happen to me a few times. We have to trust God at his word. You’re waiting anyway so why not have a better mindset about it.

I know this way of thinking sounds bogus. Somebody else being blessed is supposed to make me happy when I’ve been waiting?

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It definitely works to shift your mindset. If you have to wait anyway, you might as well make the wait time as enjoyable as you can.

How to please God

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. Romans 14:17‭-‬18 NLT

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT

When I was trying to get pregnant, my big thing was about how to please God. Clearly I must be doing something wrong if I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I tried to do everything right. Going to church, Sunday school, volunteering, tithing like crazy but nothing worked.

I took trying to please God and went to the extreme with it.

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Not good. That’s why I had to get to a place of beyond righteousness.

Pleasing God is not about not breaking rules or going to church every Sunday. Although God likes these things. More than anything He wants us to pursue him with our whole heart, trust and obey.

Obey isn’t just following rules, its more about trusting God’s plan for your life and believing that it is good. Its about not doing certain things because you know God wouldn’t want you to do them because they aren’t good for you. The things may not be bad, but they may not be good for YOU. Its deciding to follow God when you don’t like it or it doesn’t make sense. Without faith it’s impossible to please God. God wants us to take him at his word. If we don’t understand something ask him, he will explain…somewhat. I say somewhat because the biggest thing about faith is not having to have everything explained.

It happens naturally if you give it a chance. It also won’t feel awkward the more you do it. Just continue to work the cycle.

Hope

The word I am focusing on this week is hope. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

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I spent so much of my life waiting on things. I had to wait 7 years to get married. I had to wait 7 years to have a baby. I see now why I had to wait on those things but I certainly didn’t understand it at the time.

The bible talks a lot about hope. A few of my favorites:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

This Hebrew verse is one that I relied on a lot when I was trying to get pregnant. It talks about holding on to hope because he who promises is faithful.

I can remember month after month waiting on God and not knowing why it was taking so long. What did he want me to do? I would start on the downward spiral of losing hope. What if this never happens? Maybe I don’t deserve a baby.

Something would always stop me though. As bad as I felt I never stayed that far down for too long. I knew if I lost hope I would have nothing to cling to. There would be no where else to go.

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I felt like I couldn’t lose hope because I knew even though it had not happened yet that God could do it. I didn’t come by this feeling overnight. I did a lot of research. I asked God to take this desire away if he didn’t want me to have it. If it wasn’t in his will, then take it away because it hurt to bad to continue to be disappointed month after month.

Feeling like you are losing hope?

Ask God to grow your faith in the places of doubt. Have him show you in little ways how he has been faithful.

Make a list of all the things God has done for you this year.

Ask Him if your dream or desire needs to be tweaked.

Find verses about your situation in the bible to build your hope back up. There is nothing new in the world your situation is in there. I have written down so many verses about infertility and being a mother.

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Hope is powerful. It doesn’t have to be big. When you feel your hope fading just ask God to help you in your unbelief. He understands. He wants you to reach out. Anything is possible even if you only have a sliver of hope, hold on to it. Remember what God has done for you before and know that he can do even more than you could ever imagine.

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Resources

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/