When I originally started this post it was about how to focus on God, just generally. There are tons of verses in the bible about focusing on God to have peace, joy, hope, etc. I already do many of the things needed to focus on Him. Having a daily quiet time, praying when I’m upset instead of talking to my friends, reading and studying his word. However I recently had a trying week. Zooming all day can be The worst!
I really just felt off, I had received some news that wasn’t sitting with me well and I didn’t know how to handle it. I did all the things I mentioned above but there weren’t really working. I needed to know what I should do when things are not all peachy. When I didn’t get the answer I wanted in prayer. When I didn’t feel like having a quiet time. What do I do then?
1. Do something constructive– Watch a movie, read a book. Practice some self care. Whatever you do to make you feel good. Keep it constructive though. Having a glass of wine might make you feel good but if you have too many you won’t get a chance to deal with how you feel.
2. Write down what is bothering you-I just do a brain dump. Just a list of everything that is bothering me to just get it out of my head.
3. Identity how you are feelingbut don’t stay there-I ask myself a few questions. How I am feeling. Why do I feel this way? Is it based on fact? Am I imagining worse case scenarios?
4. Find verses about how you are feeling-The bible app has great tool under the Search option where they have emoji faces and it has different emotions. Each category has ten emotions listed under it. So I am sure you can find how you feel.
5. Don’t lean on your own understanding.-Even when we have all the facts, God is bigger than facts. Trust that God can handle whatever situation you are in.
2020 is finally ending. Thank goodness! It wasn’t a bad year but I am glad that it is almost over. It has been interesting year for sure. I definitely learned a lot about myself and about other people. Here are some of the lessons that I learned.
Letgo of things that don’t serve me, perfectionism and overthinking, just to name a few.
I am enough.
You can definitely have too much of a good thing.
Pour into people that pour into me.
It’s ok to say no.
I’m not responsible for the choices that anyone else makes.
Self care is not selfish.
Perfectionism is a form of procrastination.
Healing and growth are not linear.
Read the directions on hair and skincare products. It can be helpful.
Trying new things is good even if you suck at it.
Feel my feelings.
Feelings aren’t bad or good, they just are.
Shame is a tool of the devil to keep you from reaching your full potential.
Lean not on my own understanding.
I can break generational curses.
I don’t have to do everything. I can ask for help.
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.
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.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
The word I am focusing on this week is self control. As we are getting close to holiday season it made sense for me to focus on self control. The biggest area I need to focus on is my mouth, not just what I put into it but what comes out of it. The delicious food is going to be tempting me as well as the conversations that are being had. Being around family can make self control difficult, sometimes being around the people we love can get under our skin and make us eat or say things we would not normally eat or say.
How is your self control? I am not really an impulsive person so I didn’t think I had a self control issue. As I am trying to eat healthy and truly make a lifestyle change I noticed my self control needs some work. Portion control for me is a definitely a problem. Now I am going to give myself a little slack on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will feel better about that slack though if I tighten up my eating habits on a regular basis. I certainly don’t follow the national guidelines.
I heap food on my plate and almost always go back for seconds unless its something healthy. I thoroughly enjoy the taste of food and have a hard time telling myself no when it comes to food. They don’t call it comfort food for no reason. I spend more money on food then I do on most things. I am not sure why that is. It’s like a little crack and once I open up the floodgates I can’t stop.
Self control with my mouth isn’t much better. Having to always be right is a problem as well as getting the last word. I have gotten better but it is still a problem. Why do I have to be right all the time? I honestly don’t know. It is so hard to hear somebody make a blanket statement and not respond to it. Like, all men do (insert whatever stereotype you want) and it makes me so mad. Or hear someone say something I don’t agree with in general. Or when someone says something I know is not right. Do I have to correct them?What do I get out of these debates? Nothing. What difference does it make what they think? In the grand scheme of things, none. I am probably not going to change their minds and it’s only going to make me upset.
Oddly enough, controlling what comes out of my mouth is easier for me than what goes into it. I am only trying to engage in conversations that help me grow, make me think differently, and change my thought process. I need to have this same thought process about food. Its hard though because food is SO good. If I want to be the best version of myself, I know I need to work on it. My next goal is consistent exercise. We’ll work on that in 2021, lol.
I was listening to a podcast the other day, The Suga. Its a podcast for black moms but most of the conversations I think would be relevant for any woman. One of the thing the host said that really struck me was, “I’m letting go of things that don’t serve me.”
I felt that in my bones, but its easier said that done. I have been working really hard on making sure I am doing things because I want to and not out of some weird obligation that I put on myself. Some days I am successful at it and other days I am not.
I really wanted to dive deeper into this concept. I have talked about this process a little in the post Unlearning. Unlearning is all about letting go of thought processes go that no longer serve you. I feel like this is the next step in that process. Letting go of activities that no longer serve me. This to me is harder because in unlearning you can immediately see the benefit and it impacts nobody but yourself. I don’t want to appear selfish by saying no or not helping at some function or attending some event.
I have to remind myself that self care is not selfish and letting go of things that don’t serve me is only going to help me feel better.
How do know that something no longer serves you?
How do you feel when you leave that event?
How do you feel when you complete that activity?
If you don’t feel like you gained anything then it may be time to do something else. By gained I mean, do you feel full? Fulfilled? Satisfied?
Or is it just something to check off your list?
Are these (whatever your thing/s is) pouring into you?
When I was dealing with FOMO, I said I was only going to pour into people who poured into me. It helped me a great deal in dealing with missing out on activities or feeling like I needed to be invited somewhere. I am going to start applying that same philosophy to my calendar as well.
Another good reminder that I got from the Joyce Meyer book I just finished was, just because this thing I am doing is great, doesn’t mean that it is great for me. I have to learn to let go.
This guided mediation was pretty cool. I didn’t use everything they said, but they were definitely some great takeaways.
The word I am focusing on this week is Rest. I have not been doing a lot of it and its starting to catch up with me. I’m not usually person that needs to be told to take a break. I love relaxing! Most of my favorite activities involve sitting down, lol.
Lately though, I have been cramming my schedule to the max because it FEELS like we have more time because we are spending it at home. It’s true but sometimes more time at home, needs to just be more time at home.
I thought I had Covid a few weeks ago, not because I had been coughing, or had a fever or sore throat but because I was tired. Tieeeeeed.
I know that one of the symptoms is fatigue so I’m like oh no, the other stuff is about to start, but it never did. I don’t have Covid, I need to rest. Not just physically rest but mentally rest.
I like this list I found online. I schedule a lot of things in my life, I appreciate a good list. However I have never scheduled rest time, I don’t have a day scheduled for just me. I schedule days to hang with friends, date nights with my husband, but not for myself. I need to fix that asap. One of my friends reads the blog and started having Self Care Sunday based on what she read here. Her kids even have been doing Self Care Fridays. Clearly I haven’t been taking my own advice.
I also need to uncommit to some activities but I don’t want to do it.
The reason why I dont want to cut anything that I have been doing is because I hate FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’ve talked about it here before, I have gotten much better with it, but it still lingers from time to time.
JOMO is a concept I had never heard of but it makes a lot of sense. Its the JOY OF MISSING OUT. Filling content with staying in and disconnecting as a form of self care.
I’m bad as a kid thinking I am going to miss something. I’m letting it go though because I am not giving all the things on my calendar 100%. I’m just rushing from one thing to the next. I need to be a whole person to take care of my son, to be a good wife, to be the best version of myself.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 29-30
I should have done it sooner, but better late than never. Its never too late to make yourself a priority.
I hear a lot of people who talk about they read something good in a book, or heard it on a podcast or YouTube video but they don’t know how to execute it in real life. It can seem overwhelming when you have learned a lot of information but you are unsure how to implement it. Here is a list of things to try. The list is long so you can figure out what works best for you, it may be on thing or a combination. Keep trying until something sticks!
Write it down-Hearing something is not always enough. Jot a note in your phone, in a journal, somewhere you can reference back. Your brain remembers things better when you write them down.
Do one thing at a time– You probably hear good stuff all the time. You can’t do all the things, at the same time. Pick one good thing you heard and see if it works.
Carve out time with yourself -How busy are you? Have you set assign time to get things done? Are you exhausted after work? What changes do you need to make to give yourself more free time?
Change your thought process– even if you have started and stopped before, believe that this time will be different. You are different. You are coming at this with renewed energy and focus.
Treat yourself how you would treat a friend-Give yourself a break. Remember you are doing the best you can.
Set timers/alarms on your phone-this is a great way to get an external reminder. I set an alarm on my phone for 3pm everyday to write. I don’t need it anymore but it was great in helping me establish a routine.
Put post its up in your house or car to remind yourself of the things you learned
Get rid of distractions-Set blocks on your phone for notifications. I put my Instagram and Facebook on a timer and when my time is up thats it. My friend just completely deletes the app off her phone. Whatever it takes.
Get to the root of the problem–what are you afraid of?
Only person stopping you is you. Do you think that it won’t Really happen? Is what you want Gods plan or yours? You may need to double check. Do it despite how you feel, the more you do it you’ll start to get used to it.
The key thing with all these strategies is being intentional. Its waking up everyday and deciding that I am going to do better than the day before. You already did the first part which is the research. You were able to look into resources, that’s a good thing. Celebrate that small win. Now you just have to do the next step. The harder step, which is putting in the work. I believe in you. You got this!
Someone on a podcast I listen to said the above phrase and it really resonated with me. I have desperately been trying to go back to the girl I used to be. Back to a time when I was carefree and wasn’t worrying and second guessing all the time. I don’t need to be that girl anymore though. I can be better than her, different than her. 2.0 in fact. I don’t have to go back to where I used to be, to be happy or content. I need to own the space I am currently in and be ok.
Are you content? Are you happy with the space you are in currently? I’m trying. I really am trying. I want to not only be content but be able to celebrate others. I’m working on that too. Those people that I was worried about seeing a few weeks ago, maybe last month. I saw them a few weeks ago and it was good. Nobody asked where I had been or what I was doing. So progress has been made on the celebrating others piece.
Being content, that is giving me more trouble. I used to think that I didn’t want to be too happy because I didn’t want God to think I was satisfied with my situation. Sounds silly when I say it out loud. God knows how I feel. He knows everything about me. He knows me better than I know myself.
I heard a sermon a few weeks ago from Jeremiah 29. It was when God told the Jews they were going to be under captivity of the Babylonians for 70 years. He told them to get comfortable, they were going to be there for a while. In the face of these circumstances he also told them that he knew the plans he had for them, for them to prosper.
I knew God was talking to me when I heard this. He wants me to be comfortable in this current space I am in. First I heard this sermon then I got this scripture during my quiet time.
But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.
Romans 9:31 NLT
Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.
Romans 9:32 NLT
This was me 100% I didn’t think I was trying to earn a blessing but I certainly was doing everything that I could control. Trust is the opposite of control. I believe this is true because if I have to be in control it means I don’t trust the person that is supposed to be guiding me. I say God is the guiding force in my life but then I pray and try to help him along or devise my own plan. Nonsense!
God doesn’t need me to do anything but trust him. That’s the hardest thing to do. You want me to volunteer 10x a month, feed the poor, give to charity, read my bible, do a 100 blog posts I got you. You want me to trust you… well I have some questions.
Help me in my unbelief. I know God can do anything but his timing never seems to align with mine. That’s ok. Trust requires the most work of all and it can’t be quantified. Trust is hard but remembering all God has done for me makes it easier. Everyday when I wake up I thank God for the things he is doing to build that great wall of trust. It helps me calm down when I am anxious about a situation, I remind myself of all the things he has done for me.
Big or small, he has never let me down. I greatly appreciate that. I have walked away from God a 1000x but he has never walked away from me.
The summer flew by as it always does and now its September 1. I can’t believe it. This summer was definitely one of growth. I feel like I did less partying but I didn’t feel bored. The days seemed full. My birthday is in 12 days. It will be my Jesus year so I am excited about that. I’m fasting to prepare for my birthday as well. Get my mind, body and soul into gear. I have more thoughts on the Jesus year that I will get into as I get closer to my birthday.
My boss asked us to three questions that I think would be good for anyone to use as reflection for the end of a season.
What was the highlight of your summer?
Highlight of my summer was traveling, seeing Beyonce’ (twice!) and getting a new puppy.
(Riveria Maya, Mexico June 2018)
(Chicago, July 2018)
(OTR II Cleveland, Ohio July 2018)
(OTR II Columbus, Ohio August 2018)
(OTR II Columbus, Ohio August 2018)
(Hunter James, July 2018)
His name is Hunter James and he is certainly a handful. He has definitely been a challenge but my husband and I have embraced him.
What are you looking forward to in the new year?
I’m looking forward to being a better version of myself. My best friend always calls it 2.0. I like that. I definitely want to do that as well. You guys would be so proud of me! I have really stepped out of my comfort zone in the last few months and the results have been amazing.
I want to continue to grow this blog, work on writing better and jazz up my website. My cousin who is working on being a brand ambassador said there is no “me” on my website. Which is true. At first I didn’t want it to be about me per se. I was worried about people wanting to know my business and using it to gossip. I didn’t want my message to get lost in talking about “me” all the time. I can see how the that would be impersonal though, so I added some pics 🙂
I doubt myself a lot. I may not say it out loud but I do a lot of second guessing and it can be exhausting. I want to be able to go with my gut, use discernment and be satisfied with a decision. I don’t want to replay conversations over and over again to see if I said something stupid, awkward or random. I want to pick out an outfit and just get dressed. Self pity is harder because it sneaks up on you. I can be moving along nicely and my mind will take me back some place that I don’t want to go or bring up a memory that from the past. Or have me worrying about things that have not happened yet. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to anyone else to feel sorry for me, so I’m certainly not going to feel sorry for myself. Self sabotage is sneaky too. I sometimes don’t realize I am doing it until I am in the middle and realized that a better decision could have been made. Like I give up because I don’t see the results in the time frame I want. Things don’t work that way, so I am just trying to remain focused and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and Dominique 2.0 won’t be built in a day either.