Do people still call their friends when they need to talk? Or is it just text messages?
I’ve shared my journey over the past year of increasing vulnerability in my relationships with friends. God has brought some amazing new friends into my life that minister to me when I’ve responded to his voice and shared my life.
Most of the time, I send brief text messages to my friends during the week and then try to meet-up for coffee or lunch. However, as I become more real with people, I feel the need to call a friend just to talk about things.
Sure, I talk on the phone with my family, but it feels like years since I’ve called a friend when I need a listening ear or need help. Perhaps it’s a reflection of how closed off I am in my relationships. Or, perhaps, our world is so busy, that I don’t think they’ll be available to talk. Probably a little bit of both.
So, what’s the verdict? Do people still call each other? Do you have a friend that you can call when life gets hard? I have friends that I believe I could call and they would listen. And I’m always free to talk with a friend who calls me. Face-to-face is always my favorite, but that phone call can fill the gaps.
Every Wednesday night, our church does Care Night to reach those who are struggling with anxiety, isolation, and addictions. Recently, our Care Night Pastor was encouraging people to attend and talked about how there is power in our weakness. We find God’s strength when we are able to admit our weaknesses and trust in him. Those words really struck a chord with me.
I’ve been learning a lot about vulnerability and sharing my weaknesses this past year. I’ve always been a perfectionist and I hold things close to the chest. Even when I try to be “in the moment” there is a since of control to it. I recently saw a video of me singing on worship team. I remember feeling to free to move to the music and raise my hands, yet as I watched the video, I was surprised how controlled my motions seemed. Apparently, 43 years of perfectionism is hard to break!
The problem is that being perfect pushes people away. And to be honest, being perfect is exhausting. There’s so much self-doubt, self-criticism, and loneliness. I try so hard to be perfect on the outside, but I’m a mess on the inside.
I’m not perfect. I have nervous ticks that come out even more when I’m stressed — from rolling my eyes, to scrunching my nose, to slightly nodding my head or stretching. It’s embarrassing to me because it is such an obvious physical imperfection. My daughter struggles with anxiety/OCD and is getting a tween attitude that leaves me at my wits end and struggling to know how to help her. I’m more angry, frustrated, and depressed than I want to admit. But that’s okay. God’s power and strength is found in my weakness.
My previous church talked a good game about grace and forgiveness, but made it clear that if you didn’t appear perfect (say the correct things, be involved in certain ministries, wear the right clothes), you didn’t fit in their church. It hurt. But in my feelings of weakness, God led me to a church that values our differences, welcomes us, cares for us, and points us to our Savior. I find myself being more vulnerable and real with people…and they still want to hang out with me! 😉
Jennie Allen gives a great example of being known, not perfect, in her book Get Out of Your Head. She writes:
“I met a new friend after the move to Dallas. Ellen is sophisticated and always says the right thing…she was the kind of new friend who is so awesome, you feel intimidated to be around her (though she would never want you to). The first time we met, I remember playing it safe. I thought I’d hold back and feel her out.
“But the second time, I decided to go for it. I was all of me — opinionated, loud, honest, and passionate. She laughed and started calling more often. She liked me in all my chaotic glory.”
When we stop trying to be perfect and share who we are with others — strengths and weaknesses — that’s when the deep relationships form. That’s where God can meet us and grow us.
As I have been willing to share my hurt and pains with others, I’m realizing that I’m not alone and creating deeper friendships. God is bringing joy and healing to my heart by being real and weak. I’m thankful for recent women in my life with whom I’ve been unapologetically me…and felt known and loved.
And I’m thankful for God’s hope and strength in my weakness.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Balance…the word brings images of peace, calm, and stability, yet it also feels so far away from our lives.
As a mom, there’s the balance of taking care of your kids and yourself. Add in a job and a working mom must balance work, kids, and self.
In relationships, we often strive to balance others emotions and our responses.
Health-wise, we need a balance of foods that give us energy and help us and foods that can cause inflammation (you can have your cake and eat it too…just not all the time!). With exercise, we find ways to make our bodies stronger and have better breath capacity without breaking ourselves down, leaving us injured or immobile.
Where are you needing balance in life?
I shared recently that for this year, I’m not setting a bunch of goals. I’ve learned that balance, for me, is taking one day at a time. When I set lofty goals for my business, I can push so hard and do so much that I burn out.
I love to eat healthy and stopped eating sweets over 5 years ago. Yes, I don’t crave them, but I also fear even taking a bite and trying something. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, so I’m working to find balance having a piece of dark chocolate every once in while without the fear that it will start controlling me. 😉
I’ve spent a lot of my life closed off from people, resisting community, and compartmentalizing my life. I’m learning to balance my relationships by opening myself up to others and allowing them to invest in me while I also invest in them.
Where do you need balance? Work? Relationships? Health?
Start with one area and start making changes. Remember, small changes over time make a big difference.
For many people, New Year = New Goals. And, as we know, most people only last a month or two before giving up on them. Having goals is great, however, most people give up because it is unattainable, they don’t have a plan to meet the goal, or they are looking for quick results.
There is nothing wrong with coming up with a list of goals for the new year…as long as you realize that it might take all year (or even longer) to attain them. Most won’t get achieved in one month — which means that you can’t give up after January if you haven’t met your goal AND you can’t wait to get started until November or December. Start right away with the knowledge that anything great worth doing is worth the time and effort.
It’s helpful to have smaller goals as you reach for your big goals (which I like to call my Dreams for the year). Dreams are the big picture, but you need multiple, smaller goals to reach your big goal/dream. So, you may have a big goal of losing 30lbs, but your smaller goals may be to lose 1-2 pounds per week, add one vegetable to your day, etc. You may want to get into an exercise routine again, but you can’t just go run five miles. Your smaller goal may be to do 10 minutes of movement per day for one week, etc. and then build from there.
Another reason people fail to meet their goals is that they don’t know how to make goals. You need to make SMART goals.
Specific: Goals should be clear and state specifically what you wish to be accomplished.
Measurable: You need to be able to measure your goals so that you can see your progress.
Attainable: Goals should be realistically attainable.
Relevant: Goals need to be relevant to your particular needs, interests, and abilities.
Time-bound: Goals need to have a timeline for completion.
Your smaller goals may only be for a week or month, then once you meet that goal, you create a new one to move you toward ultimately completing your big goal. When I decided I wanted to stop eating chocolate every day and quit sugar years ago, my original goal was to go just one day without sugar! After I did the one day, my goal was one week. Then it was two weeks, then one month, etc. I started with a super small goal and then built on it.
If you read my previous post, you know that I’m waiting to set any goals for the year and just taking it one day at a time. (Focusing on the daily, is in itself a small goal!). You might not have goals you are working on now, but these are some tips that will help whenever you choose to create a goal.
Need help with your goals? Feel free to reach out and I can give you some other tools and resources to get you going and offer accountability.
It’s a New Year! A time where people make new goals, dream about the upcoming year, and hope that things are better than the last year.
I was looking back at my social media posts from last year…you know, the ones with champagne and talking about making 2021 the best year yet…and it broke me. 2021 was hard. The first seven months brought challenges and betrayal that I never imagined (I share my journey in previous blog posts). It was really hard. And, yes, God in his amazing grace, redeemed the final months and brought peace, joy, and unity to my life and relationships. My faith is deeper and more real that it has been in years…praise Jesus through the hard.
But, as the calendar moves into 2022, I’m wary. To be honest, I’m afraid that 2022 will start of the same as 2021…God did amazing things in the life of me and my family, but I don’t want to go through that hardship again.
(It’s silly, but last year was the first NYE that my husband and I were in two different locations — we didn’t get to bring in 2021 together. So, I told him that I didn’t care what we did for NYE this year, as long as I was with him. As if that was what threw off 2021. 🙄🤣 )
I’m working to trust God and his goodness — that he will continue to provide and care for me and my family. But, I’m entering 2022 slowly. I’m not dreaming big dreams or planning big goals. There is no word of the year for me this year, etc. I’m simply going to take each day as it comes (I mean, I’ll still be planning things — it’s what I do) and trust God. I’m not going to try to force his hand and rush his schedule for my life.
Maybe you’re like me. Has the weight of life’s issues made you wary of the new year? I still have hope and joy, just taking it one step at time. Because if there’s one thing I learned in 2021, it’s that God is by my side through all my trials, that he is standing in the fire with me, and I have joy because of how he has brought me through every battle.
“There was another in the fire, standing next to me. There was another in the water, holding back the seas. And if I ever need reminding of how good He’s been to me, I’ll count the joy in every battle, ’cause I know that’s where He’ll be.” Another In The Fire
Here’s to the New Year and taking one day at a time, trusting God’s plan, and digging deeper in all my relationships.
Today, December 13th, is my 43rd birthday and I’m amazed at how fast this year has flown by! This year had it’s ups and downs, but overall, I feel amazing and that the Lord brought me back to life this year.
I know that many people dread getting older, but the deeper I get in to my 40s, the more I love it! Yes, my hormones can be a little wacky, but I’ve found some natural ways to keep them under control. I’ve had to cut back on some of my running miles, but I’ve become stronger and have learned to appreciate rest, stretching, and a good walk. I love being in my 40s, because I am comfortable in my skin and being who God created me to be…not just saying it to convince myself (ahem…30s), but truly feeling it deep in my soul.
I’ve seen amazing growth in my relationships. I’m more honest and real with how I feel…and less second guessing everything I do. Instead of having pity parties about how I don’t feel seen or understood (how I don’t fit in), I’ve embraced the way God made me and the result…I’m more fully able to love the people around me — my husband, my kids, my parents, my friends, my neighbors, and those I’ve never met.
I feel my age. I know that sounds weird, but there were so many times in my 30s, that I would still think of myself as 18…and then get upset when I didn’t look or feel that young. Now, I’m stronger and healthier than I was 10+ years ago, but I “feel” my age in the wisdom and perspective that comes with getting older. This means that I’m not trying to be a younger version of me, but embracing where I currently am.
Don’t get me wrong — I still say and do stupid things and second guess myself. But, I am growing with each new year and becoming more of the woman God has created me to be. I rest in the love of my Heavenly Father, able to fully love myself and others.
Thank you, Lord, for your continued work in my life, year after year. I’m excited to see what you have planned for this next year!
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
This might be the biggest lie that we teach children. Words wound deeply and can stick with us for years.
I was pondering this on my way to teach P.E. to 5th-8th graders the other day. My first class of the day is 6th grade and my son is in that class. Trying to be funny about not liking the activity we were doing, he said something that hit on my biggest insecurity and took the wind out of my sails. Words hurt.
I’ve seen people I trusted say hurtful things about my family, labeling and accusing, demeaning and laying us bare. Words that cut deeply and left us raw and exposed. Words that are still trying to heal. Words hurt.
I’ve watched my daughter’s anxiety rise as a result of the careless words spoken impulsively by kids she considered her friends. Words hurt.
Words can also heal.
I’ve watched my daughter radiate joy when her brother compliments her on something she has done that is really important to her. Words heal.
I’ve watched my son’s chest expand and smile return as his dad praises his performance and tells him how proud his is of him. Words heal.
I’ve felt acknowledged and affirmed when a new friend has shown genuine care and asked to spend time with me. Words heal.
How are you using your words? Are you using them to lift someone up and encourage them or are you using them to bring others down?
I’m working to pause before speaking and keeping harsh words to myself, because I know how words can hurt.
And I’m choosing to tell someone every day something affirming and encouraging, because I know how words can heal.
“Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24, NLT
Most people think of January 1st as the best time to start working on their health goals (new year, etc.), however, the summer is a great time to get healthy!
With the warmer weather and longer days, there are so many more ways to move your body and keep active. And the summer also means a larger selection of yummy fruits and vegetables to snack on to help your reach your nutrition goals.
So, now that summer is in full swing, here are some ways to make the most of it (health-wise):
Let your body get up with the sun and go for a nice long walk before it gets too hot outside. It’ll wake you up and get you ready for the day.
Stock up on fruits and veggies. Even better…find a Farmer’s Market near you and support their businesses, get the best fruit and veggies, and enjoy the fresh air while you shop!
Got a sweet craving? Buy a watermelon and have it sliced up and in your fridge to grab whenever you have a craving. (Tip: I cut my watermelon in half and cube one side, then put saran wrap on the other half. After I eat the cubes, then I cut up the other half. I find that none of the watermelon goes bad that way.) Another great grab and go option are grapes.
Drink your water!!! Remember, you are to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. If you are sweating a lot, then drink more!
Working out in the yard and sweating a lot? USANA just released a watermelon electrolyte replacement drink that is great after a long workout or on a hot day (and doesn’t have all the chemicals that is in Gatorade, etc.). You can find it here: https://danan.usana.com/s/VdbJR1
Summer is the best time to get healthy inside and out! Need more suggestions and/or accountability? Send me message and I would love to help you reach those goals!
Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night person, how you start your day often determines the outcome of it. From health to mindset to productivity, here are some tips to start your day off well.
Get up! As soon as that alarm goes off, get out of bed! Don’t hit the snooze alarm. By training yourself to get up with the first alarm, you will actually be more rested and ready to go. You’ll also feel better about yourself and start the day with a positive mindset.
Open the blinds and make your bed! As soon as you are up, let in the morning light! (If it’s winter and still dark out, you can wait — no need to flash your neighbors in the early morning.) Then make your bed. Why make your bed? Multiple reasons:
You have already accomplished one thing for the day!
This leads to a better self-perception, lowers your stress, and increases a positive mood.
It helps you keep the rest of your room tidy…
As well as your life — it increases productivity!
It will help you fall asleep at night. Getting into a bed that has been made actually helps your to relax better and get to sleep faster.
It’ll also keep you from crawling back into bed when you need to be up and going. 😉
Drink a glass of warm lemon water. Squeeze half a lemon into 8oz of warm (not hot) water. Benefits of lemon water in the morning:
Boosts your immune system
Aids in digestion
Helps with weight loss
Relieves respiratory problems
Helps you kick the coffee habit
Spend 15 minutes in prayer and/or meditation. You can also spend the time reading an inspirational or motivational book. This allows you to prepare your heart and put your head in the right mindset for the day.
Move your body. Spend 30 minutes doing some sort of movement. It doesn’t have to been an intense workout. A brisk walk is fine. Moving your body helps wake you up and gets the blood flowing to your brain, making you more productive and ready to conquer the day. Moving your body can be fun! Need ideas, let me know. 🙂
Shower. Other than the fact that it’s good hygiene (especially after you workout), with so many people still working remotely, it’s important to mention. Take your shower, do your hair, put on makeup, and put on real clothes. Why? You will both feel better about yourself and be in the mindset that you are working and need to get things done.
Start with one thing above and add it to your morning routine until you are doing all of them! You will see a change in your mindset and outlook for the day. And remember…one bad thing doesn’t set the tone for the day. You can turn a bad day into a good one with a positive mindset!
I’m a recovering competitor and perfectionist…two things that don’t always go well together.
I’ve always been an athlete and was above average in most sports growing up. However, because I’m so competitive, all I could see was everyone who was better than me. And because I was a perfectionist, I aligned that with never thinking I was good enough. In my mind, if I wasn’t the best, I clearly wasn’t a good player. At that time, I didn’t realize that was my thinking pattern…I just never really saw my talent. But looking back now, I see how it all connected.
My dad was a constant encouragement to me and would tell me all the time what a great player I was (while also being honest about where I could improve), but it never made a difference. I simply didn’t believe I was as good as he (or the stats) said. And because of it, I gave up on my favorite sport when I was 15 and later wished I could go back and make a different decision.
Perhaps you are a little bit that way as well…especially when it comes to wellness. You see the slim people in magazines and think that you would never be able to look that way, so why try? (As I say all the time, what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect the health level on the inside…) Or you see people your age running marathons and you feel bad about your two mile walk and just want to give up.
Here’s the truth in life…you will never be the best at ANYTHING. There will always be someone better than you. You don’t have to BE the best to succeed in life and reach your goals, but you owe it to yourself to always DO your best.
Let the people who are “better” than you inspire you, but don’t let it defeat you. Determine what your dreams and goals are and work toward them — independent of others dreams and successes. You are capable of great things!
I’m thankful that God has worked in my life and my perfectionist ways — that I am able to show myself grace and see the amazing ways that He has made me and all the gifts He has given me. I don’t want to be the best anymore — because then I have no where to grow.