Category Archives: Motivation

Chasing Carrots

So you want to be truly content with life? Maybe you feel like something’s missing, but you don’t even know what it is.

You might find the answer doing five things Jesus did. Instead of chasing after fame, approval, achievement, or comfort, He practiced the five Ss.

Solitude, silence, stillness, service, and secrecy can lead to contentment.

Perfectionism

Choose people over perception. (Mary & Martha)

Choose perfect love over the fear of rejection. It’s not about our behavior but our response to God’s love.

Our calling is to convince people how good our God is.

Be mature and complete in the father’s unconditional love.

There is nothing you can do to cause Him to love you more or less because love is His essence.

Step into His grace.

Key Scriptures

For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. … We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

Romans 3:20, 22 NLT

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42 NLT

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you … If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-44, 46-48 NIV

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear …

1 John 4:18 NIV

 

Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.

• What situations bring out your inner perfectionist?

• Why do you think people struggle with unrealistic expectations for themselves?

Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.

• There are three types of perfectionism: self-oriented, externally-oriented, and others-oriented. When was the last time you struggled with one of these kinds of perfectionism? How did the struggle make you feel?

• In what ways might perfectionism mask an insecurity? How have you seen this play out in your own life?

• Read Romans 3:20-22. Why might it be difficult to accept that we are perfected, not through our own efforts, but through our faith in Christ?

 

Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.

• How can we focus on Christ and the work He’s doing in our lives rather than on our desire to make ourselves better on our own?

• How can we prioritize loving others over chasing perfection this week?

Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.

Father, thank You for sending Your Son to live the perfect life we never could. Thank You for the sacrifice He made, once and for all, to make us right with You. Help us to extend the love and grace You’ve given us to the people in our lives this week. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.

• Look for ways to prioritize giving love and grace to those around you this week rather than pursuing perfectionism.

Consistent Perseverance

Consistent Persistence

I have been going through a storm that has lasted years. I can finally see the light and am overcoming my giant. I want to praise God for the strength He has given me to carry me through these hard times.

I have consistently sought to follow God’s will by daily turning to Him in prayer and reading the word. I began reading the Bible every day three years ago. I love the youversion app and use it daily to follow a plan that leads me through the word with a devotion about my reading each day. Once I have read, I then pray and think about how it applies to my life. Ever day I hear from God. His direction is what guides me through the day. I continue to talk with God throughout the day. My prayer life is life a friendship. I share every thought. My hopes, struggled, and praises.

Having a joyful heart has changed the way I see the world and my life. The first thing I do each day is to give thanks for the day he has given me. I will rejoice for this is the day the Lord had had made.

10 Ways to Keep from Feeling Overwhelmed

1. Let it go.

Whether it’s a critical remark from someone that is gnawing at your insides or an added task that you took upon yourself and now it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed, just let it go. There are few matters that are worth losing sleep over. And there are few things that can’t wait until  tomorrow. Or next week. Or even longer. Your health is more important than holding onto what is stressing you out.   

If you supervise others, practice the art of delegation and allow others to share the load. Know what you do best and hand off the rest to others who can do those jobs better than you. You are only one person. Cut the drama by cutting your schedule.  

2. Sleep on it.

Your mom might have told you years ago to “sleep on it” when you were faced with making a difficult decision. That’s great advice when it comes to not only important decision-making, but to anything that might overwhelm you, such as responding to an accusatory email or angry voice message, or committing to one more task that will leave you overextended. 

Studies show that the brain actually processes situations more thoroughly while you sleep. That means you wake up with a fresh – and often less emotional – perspective. Sleeping on it is the breather that will help you gain perspective and cool the heat of your emotions so you don’t overcommit to something spontaneously or out of guilt.

3. Commit to the three E’s.

I call them the Essential E’s: Eat right, exercise regularly, and embrace sleep. Fueling your body with protein and nutritious food, exercising to release those feel-good endorphins (as well as keep your heart healthier), and embracing opportunities to take a power nap or get a good seven-eight hours of sleep each night will keep you feeling fresh, rather than fatigued and overwhelmed. 

When you eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep, you can be at the top of your game and cope so much better when the drama of life hits. When we are emotionally spent, it’s usually because we are physically and nutritionally spent as well. 

4. Stay out of it.

We often start feeling overwhelmed when we’ve extended ourselves a little too far when it comes to helping others. It’s called enabling – or “rescuing” – and women are great at it. But just because something happens in your sphere of influence doesn’t mean you are the one to run to the rescue and fix it. Just because you are made aware of something doesn’t mean God is assigning it to you. Much drama – and feelings of anxiety – can be avoided when you get in the habit of running your schedule past God first. It looks like this:

1) Stop

2) Seek God’s guidance

3) Stay out of it unless God gives you a clear indication to step into it. We often reverse that. We think I will do this unless God stops me. If you’re already overscheduled, think this way instead: The answer is no unless God says “go.”

5. Trust God to control what you can’t.

My friend, Donna, learned recently that the more she rests and trusts, the more God goes to bat for her. She had just learned of her mother’s sudden death in a car accident and felt the pull to leave her business to travel and be with her family and help make final arrangements. But although her heart was saying You need to go, her head was saying It’s a busy month, you can’t leave… you have to be here to keep things running smoothly. In the midst of the mental battle, she listened closely for God’s voice: Trust Me. Go do what you need to do. 

Donna left her business in the hands of capable people and trusted God with the rest. When she returned a month later, she discovered her business experienced its highest grossing month on record! Then when she stepped away from her business a second time – this time for two months after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis – her business experienced its best two months ever, financially. God was affirming to her, again, the principle that He can take care of more while we rest than we can while we stress!

6. Stop trying to please everyone.

I’m sure at one point you knew clearly who the priority people were in your life. But that can get fuzzy when we are trying to please too many people, which is often the case when we begin to feel overwhelmed. 

So stop being a people-pleaser and realize who matter the most in your life. Who are the people who will cry the most at your funeral? Put them first. Make everyone else take a number and wait in line. In short, that’s the simplest way to live without regrets. Priority people get the first and best of your time. Everyone else will simply have to learn to wait.

7. Pray it through.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, talk to God about it. Just giving Him your concerns will help usher peace into your life and give you a little more clarity. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…” (NLT).  

You can experience that peace, not a feeling of being overwhelmed, when you pray about what is pressuring you. Praying is equivalent to taking an intermission. It quiets your soul, clears your mind, and teaches you to leave your concerns with God, who is better at taking care of them anyway. 

8. Get outdoors.

There is something therapeutic about getting outdoors, breathing the fresh air, and noticing the beauty of creation (even if it’s just some trees that line the sidewalk outside your office building). 

Getting out into nature reminds us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1) and it makes us realize that the petty things of this earth that overwhelm us don’t really matter in the scope of eternity.

9. Reduce the clutter.

Do you realize that just by cleaning off your desk, getting rid of too many clothes in your closet, or clearing the kitchen counter can help you feel less overwhelmed? Everyone needs a clean, clear space to think, work and exist. Where is yours? 

When there is less clutter, there are less choices to make and less time spent trying to find things that get lost in the mess. How many times have you lost your keys right as you are trying to leave the house? Keeping all belongings in a designated space will prevent this issue, and save you the frustration of misplacing important items. Simplify your work or living space. It brings peace.

10. Go off the grid.

Slide 10 of 10

Imagine spending a whole day (or maybe even a week!) being inaccessible – no internet, no interruptions, no demands. Just you and the quiet. Most high-level business people need this at least one or two weeks a year in order to maintain their creativity, energy, and overall sanity. But you and I can try it in smaller chunks – like for an hour or two a day – if that’s what it takes to ease your anxiety. 

The world won’t stop if you do. You’ll just get the rest you need so you can perform better when you return to your desk, computer, or cellphone. Go off the grid by carving out time periods when you cannot be reached. Shut down your computer. Turn off your cellphone. Rediscover quiet and recollect your thoughts. 

We often believe that we must respond to every request, every email, and every text or voice message immediately. That not only leaves us feeling overwhelmed, but it trains others to expect us to be at their beck and call. Practice the art of being inaccessible (so you can quietly reflect) and trust God that when you take the time to rest He won’t punish you for it by making you miss important opportunities. 

By Cindi McMenamin

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk with God and their relationships. She is the author of 15 books, including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, and her newest book, Drama Free, upon which this article is based.  For more on her speaking ministry, books, or free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

 

 

Three Approaches to Marriage
· Casual approach—Marriage is just a piece of paper.
· Contractual approach—Marriage is a contract.
· Covenantal approach—Marriage is a holy covenant established by God.

Marriage is more than a piece of paper or temporary commitment that should be ended based on minor or even major differences or problems. Marriage is hard and takes work on both sides. Two becoming one is not easy, but very rewarding.

Sometimes You Are Going To Feel Lost, Alone, And Directionless

Sometimes you will have to rewrite texts and e-mails thirty times before erasing everything and decide to stay in a bubble. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by loneliness and search for comfort on the Internet. At other times, you will reach everyone who listens. Collect text or dozens of tastes on a selfie in seconds, and get excited for a split second before they feel misery again.

Sometimes you feel overwhelming emotion. You will cry until your contacts come off. You will look in the mirror as tears run down your face, and the reflection will make your stomach firmer. At other times, you will feel numb. Your mind becomes a void. You do not care about anything, let alone yourself.

Sometimes you skip your showers and let your nail polish and roots grow, because the idea of taking care of you does not even come to your mind. At other times, the little things you have taken for granted, the things that really pleased you, like sending your best friends and eating a full meal, will become invincible missions.

Sometimes you can press the alarm one, two or three times before turning it off completely so you can sleep until noon. At other times, you will fix the ceiling because the ghosts of your past are glittering around you, mocking your memories and preventing you from resting.

Sometimes you will have dark thoughts. They will sabotage themselves. They will repel the people who matter most to you. At other times, you call friends (or relatives) at two in the morning. You will catch the shoulders. They will drain all your feelings. You do not want to let go of people who take care of you. They do not want to part for a second.

Sometimes you wonder about your goal. You will feel lost, alone and without direction. And these feelings will be so insistent, a distraction from all that was important to you, will make you wonder if you will feel so forever. You will wonder if you will ever come out of the rut that caused a life of disappointment.

But even if your hope is gone, you must continue to chug. You must believe in yourself because the phrase you heard millions of times is true. It’s better. They will see the sunlight again. You will feel relieved. You will have renewed confidence. You will recognize your own value.

Powerful Prayer

THIS IS A MOST POWERFUL PRAYER! I would encourage you to print it out and pray through it often.

In the Name of Jesus I completely surrender myself to You, Heavenly Father, as a living sacrifice. I choose not to be conformed to this world, but choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Father, I pray that You would show me Your will and enable me to walk in all the fullness of Your will for my life. I claim that Your power and Your anointing shall be upon me, and that when the enemy comes against me one way, the Holy Spirit will force him to flee from me seven different ways. I pray and believe that every trap the enemy sets for me will backfire on him, and work out for my good, which is for Your glory; for You said all things work together for the good, for those who love the Lord, who are called according to Your purpose. Satan, the blood of Jesus Christ is against you.

Words Matter

Never say mean words out of anger. Your anger will pass. But your mean words can scar a person for life. So use kind words or be silent.

We have all gone through some obstacles at a certain point of our lives in the name of survival. We often tend to deny them as they are difficult to deal with. However, as difficult as they are to bear, it is imperative if we want to live a fulfilling life.

Happiness is based on embracing and accepting the negative aspects of life. Denying them turns a blind eye to reality.

#1 Worrying is useless

Worrying is created in the mind and really doesn’t offer any value to our lives. Will worrying change what’s going to happen? If not, then it’s a waste of time.

“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so.

If we don’t know how to breathe, smile, and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness.

#2 If we want to be happy, we must see reality for what it is

We need to see reality for what it is. We need to be open minded and open to the truth, instead of focusing on our own unrealistic opinions. Many people choose to remain positive by avoiding negative situations, but what we need to do is to confront them.

#3 We need to accept change actively

We always have to remember that change is the only constant. The most basic example of this saying is the change from day to night and night to day on a daily basis. There is nothing that remains unchanged in the world, which is why it is only painful when we hold on to things as they are and cannot find the strength to accept change as it happens.

As we grow up, one also has to find the maturity to be secure enough to embrace change because of its unavoidable nature.

#4 The root of suffering is pursuing temporary feeling

Most people crave feelings of happiness, such as joy, euphoria, and excitement. However, these feelings are temporary and the pursuit of them turns into suffering. True happiness comes from inner peace and it is based on a feeling of being satisfied and happy with your true self. Yuval Noah Harari explains that people can stop suffering only when they understand the impermanent nature of their feelings and stop craving them.

#5 A relationship with our creator and savior is the path to reducing suffering

Reading the Bible, praying, and studying the ways of Jesus, which emphasize love and acceptance of others, compassion, honesty, and the ability to forgive. The Bible teaches us everything we need for a for filling life of love and connection to others. My faith has been a life line and source of strength in my suffering through trichotillomania, bipolar depression and mania, and anxiety.

Climb Out of that Hole

Don’t let the weight of this world get you down. When you are in a hole, look up and ask for the help you need to climb out. Don’t stay stuck and wallow in self pity. Unfortunately this life is hard and we all have our struggles. Keep fighting and be thankful for the good things no matter how small. True joy comes from an attitude of gratitude. #tistheseason #speaklife #gracefortoday