Have you noticed?

If you have been paying attention you would have noticed that I haven’t been doing my post on Fridays in quite a while. I used to feel very guilty about that. I don’t anymore. Times change and that isn’t a realistic goal right now. I still want to make sure I post every month. That’s not something I have accomplished yet in my years of blogging. We are almost half way through the year and I have continued to meet that goal so I feel good about that.

I have been focusing a lot on my mental health over the last year. It has been good. I have made a lot of strides. However as we have often talked about growth is not a straight line and it certainly doesn’t happen on our own time. Over the past few months, I feel like everything I have learned has been put to the test and I can’t say I necessarily passed each test with flying colors.

I will say that I have tried my best. I do recognize that I need to give myself grace. I need to have patience with my own process. Its hard though. My old perfectionist ways just refuse to die!

I Refuse Ayanna Pressley GIF
giphy.com

I had a lot of mental health stuff I wanted to discuss in April but it didn’t really happen. That’s ok. May is mental health awareness month so I will do it now.

It was hard for me to talk about mental health when I know I was sometimes running to my old coping mechanisms. There is space for that though. April was a good reminder that I am not a constant self improvement project. I don’t have to keep striving to the next thing. I can sit in this space and be satisfied with where I am right now.

I am enough, just because, I don’t have to be producing anything, I can just be.

I just want to remind you that, while you are growing and evolving, take time to celebrate that you aren’t what you used to be. Remember that God put everything inside you of that you need to be the best version of you. You are just peeling back the layers so it can be released. You are just fertilizing the soil so the seed inside of you can blossom.

Until next time,

Dominique

200th post

I have reached 200 posts! I am so excited. When I started this blog in 2017, I would have never thought I would reach 200 posts. I did. It was hard, scary, fun, nerve wrecking, I could go on and on but I loved it. Writing is something I always enjoyed since I was a kid but I didn’t know how I was going to pursue that as an adult. It was a dream, I put on a shelf. I am glad that I finally had the courage to pursue my dream and see where it could take me.

I have not had a year since this blog has been in existence that I have a post every month. I posted the second half of 2020. I only did a few posts in 2019 ( I was pregnant and had a baby). 2018 was my best year, 111 posts but I don’t think I posted every month. I don’t typically make resolutions but this year I will. Posting every month is a goal I am setting for myself this year.

I thank each and every one of you for your support. It makes me feel good that the words of my heart are able to impact so many people. People from all over the world read what I write and I am greatly honored by that.

I am excited to see where my writing will take me in 2021 especially because I am starting to take it more seriously.

I appreciate you all,

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.

@thenapministry Instagram

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.

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you so much! I have never been nominated for a blogger award. I feel so seen. I was nominated by clear-reveal.com

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and give a link to their site.
  2. Do a post to show your award.
  3. Give a summary of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice for any new bloggers.
  5. Select at least 15 other bloggers for this award.
  6. Let each nominee know you’ve nominated them and give a link to your post.

My blog started because I was running from what God was telling me to do. I was dealing with infertility at the time and God was telling me to tell my story and I didn’t want to do. I was too nervous, too embarrassed, too ashamed to share my story. I was starting to feel miserable because I wasn’t doing what I was told to do that finally I just got on WordPress and started writing. I got good feedback, so I kept going.

I wanted to write to a blog to help people grow in their relationship with God. I didn’t see anything that I really wanted to read, so as the quote says, I wrote it myself. I got over my fear and just decided to do it.

Write What You Want To Read – Kit Dunsmore's Blog

Two pieces of advice for new bloggers.

  • Don’t worry about numbers. The people who are supposed to read what you write will come. Continue to put in the work
  • Be consistent and intentional. Your readers want to hear from you. Even if its only 2x a month, be consistent in that. Writers write, so be intentional about sitting down and just doing it.

15 Bloggers that I am nominating.

Home Page

https://becominghistapestry.com/

How To Increase Your Blog Traffic Without Using Social Media

https://desirayl.wordpress.com/

https://writing-reading-living.com/

https://inspirelifee.com/

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/103904259/posts/2957058860

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/84443719/posts/2886708228

https://kishasdailydevotional.wordpress.com/

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/102350914/posts/2959969898

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/91993602/posts/2856793914

WordPress Help 2.0

I’m sorry I don’t have a post with fresh new content. WordPress updated its editing on how you post and I don’t know how to use it. I usually use WordPress on my phone, until the day of posting. I write the posts on my phone in my notes app and then I just share them to WordPress. I do the editing on my computer, adding the pictures, gifs, any final thoughts etc.

Think of how I was surprised I was to trying to edit a post this morning, like what is going on. I don’t even know how to add pictures anymore. (Update: I figured this out.)

I was going to try to push through, because you know…perfectionism. I’m not though.

I am going to admit, I don’t know how to do this and hopefully some of my fellow bloggers reading this will offer me some assistance.

I just figured out how to do this fancy quote thing. Definitely will be using ALL.OF.THE.TIME.

I still don’t know how to add links, but I’m figuring it out. I don’t have the time right now to play around with this but by next week, I will be back with fresh new content.

I appreciate your grace,

Dominique

PS- So after playing around with it more, I actually do like it, its just a lot and its going to take me some time to get used to all of it.


I thought I had a better plan

By nature I am a planner. However when I get an idea in my head I jump.

 parks and recreation idea parks and rec rob lowe lightbulb moment GIF

I immediately get into planner and execution mode. I pray but I don’t always wait for God to answer. I look for signs of what I want to do not necessarily what God wants me to do.

Earlier in quarantine I was feeling promptings from God but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it is. I thought I should start a podcast. So I immediately found a co-host.

positive do it GIF

A girl at church that I know from leadership classes who is funny and smart, young but most definitely a bible scholar. We discussed names, themes, etc.  I even did research  on how to start a podcast but I wasn’t feeling quite right about but I didn’t know why.

In bible study we were studying Jonah and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought I knew better than God. If you are doing what God wants, there will be peace. God is not a God of confusion. 1 Corinthians 14:33   Jonah thought he knew better than God, that’s why he didn’t want to go Tarshish like God wanted him to. Jonah 1-2

Just like Saul in 1 Samuel 15. God told Saul to go kill everyone, leave nothing behind.  Saul thought he knew better and decided to save the king and all the best animals. He said he was going to give the best animals to God as a sacrifice. Sounds good, but that wasn’t his instruction from God.

I like this girl from church but I don’t know her that well. I didn’t know if we would vibe hosting a podcast.

Hip Hop Vibe GIF by FanmioDance Dancing GIF

I should have probably asked her to teach a Sunday school class with me first to see how we play off each other on a consistent basis. I should have done a lot of things differently but I wanted to start things right away. Its that microwave growth syndrome. I was supposed to call her a week later to discuss our research but I forgot, which isn’t like me at all. Forgetting to call her was a clear sign that I needed to rethink some things. It wasn’t meant to be right now. I know that because even though a podcast is a great idea and I am not opposed to doing one later, that isn’t what God told me to do. 

I know I you’re probably thinking that this isn’t that serious. What’s the big deal with starting a podcast? The big deal isn’t about the podcast. Its about not doing what God told me to do. Its thinking I knew more than God

Tv Land I Know Everything GIF by YoungerTV

I was really avoiding getting back into my blog. I can’t even say I had a good reason I was just scared. I was worried again about what people would think of me. I was worried that they would reject me the messenger because things I’ve done or things I have said. I am definitely not a holy roller. I felt having a co-host would take some of the heat off of me and my shortcomings.

I didn’t start the podcast instead I prayed. I asked God to give me strength and help me overcome my fear of what people think. Its always better to pray, first and move later.

all gifs from giphy.com

Resources

Jonah 1-2

1 Samuel 15

Making bible study interesting

When you hear bible study what do you think? Boring, hard, work, school, too difficult. Too much. Where do I start?

too much headache GIF

giphy.com

I used to feel that way about bible study. Some times I still do.

If you have been reading this blog for any period of time you would say, but Dominique you like to read. True. I do. So that helps. I bet you would like to read if it was interesting and didn’t take a long time. Bible study doesn’t have to be like being back in school. It can be as simple as you want it to be. The internet has made it a lot easier to find a method that works for you.

This is what I do. 

Pray. I don’t mean in any overly spiritual sense. Just ask God to show what he wants you to see.

Think. Think about the things you ask God when you pray. Do you ask God to bless you at work? Do you ask God to help you raise your kids? Do you ask God to help you be a better wife, partner, etc? Do you want to know God’s character or promises? You can start there.

Find. You can do this a few different ways. You can look in the bible app and they have a search option where you can type a key word and it will give you all the scriptures in the bible that relate to that word. So when I wanted to know who God is, I type it in the search box.

Tons of scripture popped up. If you’re old schooling it and reading a physical bible, it hopefully has a topic search in the back where you can look up things by subject. If you don’t have a study bible you should get one. Super helpful. They typically have reading plans to help you get started, so you aren’t just opening your bible and trying to land on something that speaks to you. I definitely used to do that. You could also go to Pintrest or Google and somebody has already did the finding for you, you just have to get your verse for the day.

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Pintrest.com livingfreeindeed.com

Write. Once you find a verse or passage that speaks to what you’re looking for, write it down. It can be in the notes app on your phone, but you want to write down what comes to your head or questions you may have so you can refer back to it later. 

Remember this:

The good thing about studying the bible is that it doesn’t have to be done in any specific way. There are tons of methods out there. 

15 minutes is a great place to start. God just wants your time and attention. Reading the bible is good but it just skims the surface. Devotionals are a great place to start if you don’t have a lot of time.

Pray and write, that’s all you have to do, everything else will fall into place.

The more you study the word of God, unlike Algebra, or OChem, the more you will want to study it and learn more. 

Don’t worry I am here to help. I am going to include  in future posts some more bible study methods and tips that will help.


Resources

Good study bibles-Quest, LifeHack, Life Application  

SOAP bible study method

11 Ways to Study the Bible: Methods, Techniques & Tips

 

 

Accountability partners

I recently wrote a post about using my friends to keep me accountable in my writing and someone in the Christian Writers Network group I am in asked me some great questions.

How do you find an accountability partner?

If you have a network at church I would start there because hopefully you can find like minded people.  If not there then a trusted (girl)friend who respects your goals. You also could try special interest group like the Christians Writers Network that I found on Facebook, or weight loss group, alcoholics anonymous, etc, it really just depends on your goal.

What do I look for in an accountability partner?

I would make sure this person can call you out if you are not getting your goals done. So you want your accountability partner to be someone you trust. You also want to make sure they are not too busy to check in with you about your goals. I would also try to find someone who has similar goals. If you are trying to work out 3x a week, it may not be a good idea to have your friend who doesn’t work out hold you accountable to that goal. I asked my friends to hold me accountable with this blog because they read it consistently and if I miss a post they would say something.

What is expected from both partners?

Both people should be able to check in with each other to make sure they are staying on target, pray for each other and (respectfully) call you out if you start to slip. You should also motivate each other to stay faithful when it gets hard.

Support

I think support is important in your accountability partner too. You want someone who can work out with you sometimes or by the product you are trying to sell, pop in your Zoom meeting or read what you’re writing. You don’t just want somebody who keeps you on track. You want somebody that believes in what you are doing and that you be will be successful.

Reminders

Be open with your accountability partner not just about your successes but with your failures as well. Be open to their feedback, good and bad. This person is just trying to help you grow. Respect any meet ups or check ins you have. If you aren’t going to respect what you all have set up, you won’t be able to get the full benefit of the process.


Additional resources

What is an Accountability Partner — And How to Choose Yours

 

Silencing the inner critic

Do you have an inner critic that harasses you? I certainly do. It can be ridiculous sometimes. I am about to start reading a book, Get out of your head by Jennie Allen to help me deal with this a little better. In the mean time though, I started to research what I needed to do to essentially work on my self-talk. 

I know that if I am more critical of myself I am more critical of other people. I don’t want to be that way. Based on my research this is what I have discovered.

I saw this definition of inner critic vs inner guidance. Wow.

 

Chloe Bailey Wow GIF by grown-ish

giphy.com

 

innercriticvs.innerguidance 

I felt both seen and attacked at the same time. This description is excellent. I didn’t even realize that I do some of these things but now that I have the framework I can begin to change my thought process.

The first thing on here is thinks in black or white. I definitely do that. I am not big on seeing shades of gray. Either it is or it isn’t. People have been pointing this out to me recently so I am working on trying to see additional options.

I wrote a post about combating the devil with Gods word.   This a great idea, I just need to be more consistent. I also need to memorize the word. Study it so if you can’t memorize you know what it means. Speak it to yourself. That way as soon as something bad pops in my head, I can tell my inner critic to hush!

Stop Talking Fix My Life GIF by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

giphy.com

I will also stop rehearsing events. Sometimes after going someplace I would replay things that I said and how I responded to things. Should I have said it differently? Should I have responded differently? This doesn’t help me however because the event has already happened. It does me no good to replay every word I said.

When do you hear your inner critic the loudest?

What books or passages do you read in the bible for comfort?

My inner critic comes out sometimes when I read the bible. That’s not good because I take what should be conviction and turn it in to condemnation. Condemnation doesn’t come from God.  I just read that we shouldn’t just look to the bible for just conviction but also for comfort. Which I know in theory makes sense but in practice is something very different. I have been reading Psalms every night before I got to bed. It has been helping.

The picture below is exactly what is going on in my head. I wouldn’t say that I was being mean and critical to myself. I would say that I just trying to improve upon whatever I am doing. Clearly that is FALSE!

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@justgirlproject I love their page!

 

I don’t mind taking risks but the “putting myself out there” is the hard part. I am learning however that when I am weak, I am strong. I will talk more about this concept in some upcoming posts. 


Resources

https://www.projectinspired.com/how-to-silence-your-inner-critic/ https://thinkdivinely.com/setting-your-mind-on-christ-are-you-ready-to-silence-that-inner-critic/

6 steps to finding your passion

1. Ask God to help you. The very first thing you should do is pray. We will talk later about taking assessments and quizzes but none of that really helps if it isn’t what God wants you to do.

Lead me in the right path, O Lord , or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. Psalms 5:8 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.5.8.NL

2. Think about what you’re good at. What do you like to do? What are your hobbies? When I asked God to help me find my passion the first thing that popped in my head was writing and reading. I didn’t think those things could be gifts because they weren’t hard. I didn’t have to work at them. I went to see an author speak at a high school in my area and when she talked about how she got her start it was from journaling. I was amazed! I journaled everyday for years. If this lady could use that as her jumping off point to a successful writing career then so could I. I never thought it could be that simple but it is.

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/pro.2.6.NLT

3. Take some aptitude tests if necessary. I have done three different types of assessments, spiritual gifts, Strengthsfinder, and the Enneagram. For me, all three assessments were important. I wanted to do the spiritual gifts test because I wanted to know how what I have could used inside the body of Christ specifically. I do feel like most of the things I discovered were similar but that isn’t a bad thing. Finding some of my skills were similar gave me confirmation that I was moving in the right direction.

https://giftstest.com/

Spiritual Gifts Test – Adult Version

https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/strengthsfinder.aspx   (Strengths is not free, but very informative. You could see if your job could pay for the test.)

https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test ( This is free and I felt it was the most accurate when describing the type of person I was.

4. Think about your experiences good and bad. This can help you develop your passion by thinking about how you would recreate those experiences for other people. Everything we go through can be used for good not only for us but for others. When I decided that I wanted to take my writing seriously, I wanted to write the things I was searching for and not finding anywhere. I want people to type in a key word or hashtag and find my blog. Eventually, I want to write the books that I have not seen written for people my age.

5. Try something new. Is there something you have seen online that looks interesting? Is there a master class you want to take? Is there something that you always wanted to try but have been afraid to? 

6. Don’t worry if the thing you already want to do is being done. It doesn’t matter how people are doing thing you do. There is someone that needs what YOU have to offer and nobody does it like you. We are each unique and designed with a purpose. A good friend of mine told me to think about how many different types of bread are in the store. Tons! Has that stopped people from making bread? Nope! 

Pursing your passion is going to involve taking a risk. God has put everything inside of you already that you need to succeed. Don’t let fear or fear of failure stop you from giving your gifts to the world.