Self-Care Not Optional

I think I have mentioned in the past that some people actually don’t like the woman in Prov. 31. True – I have heard it with my own ears. I think some find her to be hard to live up to. I mean she does so much and seems so selfless. As I read of her, I see her as balanced. Someone who gets up early to make time for herself. Someone who works in her garden (which can be relaxing and allows time for pensiveness). Someone who uses her hands to create and explores her creative side. Someone who spends time with God. See, while she worked hard, I also envision her making time to nurture her own spirit and interests. I see her as a woman in touch with her need for self-care.

The bible talks a lot of about self-care. Scriptures like the ones below from Mark and Matthew remind us that God wants us to care for ourselves. He wants us to take time for ourselves. Only then can we be awesome for those around us.

Mark 6:31 “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.”

How can we love our neighbors as ourselves, if we aren’t practicing love for ourselves. Self-care is not selfish, but one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves.

So, what are you doing today or this week to renew your soul and spirit? How do you practice regular self-care? …And on the 7th day, He rested, maybe you should follow his cue.

Lord, help us to disavow the lie that we must always be busy. Help us to embrace the concept and importance of self-care. Lord help us to make room for the person who probably needs us the most right now and gets the least from us – ourselves. Show us what brings us peace and joy. Remind us of our gifts and talents. Lord show us how to make room for our renewal and recognize the blessing that it is not only for ourselves but also for others. Amen!

Remembering

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This week seems to have been all about getting through and believing in your awesomeness. This week I just wanted to remind myself, my friends and you all to take life one day at a time, deal with tomorrows stress tomorrow; and to punch that lie of not being enough in the gut because you are. Today, want to sum up the week with another reminder. Remember all the battles you have won. Remember all the strides you have made. Remember all the seemingly small feats that you have made. Remember that you have made it this far. Sometimes it is so easy to become stuck in the right now, that we forget to look back and smile. We forget to look back and appreciate. Sometimes when we look back and remember, it actually replenishes our emotional and spiritual fortitude to look ahead and BELIEVE. Believe that you are strong enough for this journey and that you with the help of God have proven that time and time again.

More than Enough

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Recently a friend mentioned struggling about not feeling that they were enough — enough to meet the needs of those around them, enough to live out God’s purpose for their life, and enough to accomplish their dreams. As I tried to encourage her, I heard me giving her the same advice that I give myself. (Positive self-talk and affirmations daily are so key.) I heard other friends chime in saying that they too have the same feelings. In this time of additional stresses, it is so easy to suffer from feelings of not being enough – Enough at home, enough at work, enough in your marriage, enough with your kids, and enough to accomplish your dreams.

Being enough is about belief and actions. Believe that you are and do the work. Doing the work means doing the things that physically get us to where we are trying to go and doing the work of including God in the journey. Faith + Works. If you are doing that and have been doing that, know that you are enough. Read it, say it, be it and believe it. God said in his word that you are more than enough.

He said you are more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)

He said you are wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

He said you were created to do his God work. (Ephesians 2:10)

He said you can do all things with His help. (Philippians 4:13)

He said you are blessed because you believe that He will fulfill his promises to you. (Luke 1:4-5)

God hears you. I know it doesn’t feel like he always does and things are lining up but they are. We just gotta keep going. Keep taking and appreciating those incremental gains. Just keep taking your steps and God will keep being the tailwinds. You are more than enough. Don’t grow weary. Don’t give up. Speak life over your life and over your dreams. Take it one day at a time. Looking further ahead can be overwhelming sometimes. Even when you don’t believe it. Just say it and keep saying it. Today I just wanted to encourage everyone that you are enough! In fact, you are more than enough. We often say she believed she could and she did, but I also want to add she believed she already was and she became. Keep going! Keep believing. Keep becoming.

Be blessed!

One Day at A Time

Stresssed Mom

This year everyone has been stretched and challenged in the most dynamic ways. Many of us has had to do more with less — less time, less structure, less childcare, less help, or less money. I remember the excitement just last month or so over the new year but many of us have found that we have much of the same hurdles from last year in this year. I saw a card in Marshalls a few weeks ago that read, “Alexa, fast forward to 2021.” Well, that Alexa command clearly served no value and the card was sitting on the clearance rack.

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, we can’t just fast forward to a new time or a better time. We don’t know what that will look like or when that time will come. We just gotta keep moving forward through the challenges — but it is hard. It is hard to not become overwhelmed when we look at everything before us, everything we need to do and having coming at us, so don’t. Don’t look a week ahead, or a month ahead, just take it one day at a time. In Matthew 6:34 the scripture says don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough worries. (Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.)

About two weeks ago, a colleague sent an after hours email (because well we all work after hours these days right 🙂 ) and her tone was full of stress. She spoke of all the emails that just came out and how they will affect our team and asked if we had seen then. Because I tend to peek at email after hours, I saw her email. My reply after the stressful day was that today has had enough of its own anxieties, I will deal with this anxiety tomorrow.  The team laughed and said good point. God has all the good points. All we need to do is follow them. His advice is timeless, boundless and applicable to all eras and situations. So, let’s take take life one day at a time and deal with issues of each day as they come. To do it any over way, puts too much of the burden on ourselves. Cast your cares on the Lord and He will help you. Each day, just ask him, Lord help me to get through this day, provide me enough strength for this day and make it your daily prayer. Try it this week. Share the advice with a friend or maybe even a stressed out co-worker.

Be blessed!

Heart Health

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The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” God is warning us to protect our hearts and keep it healthy. So this month, with February being Heart Health month, I wanted to ask, “How do you keep your heart healthy?”

Here are 5 quick ways the God tells us to protect our hearts. Hope you will share others.

1. Be honest, speak uplifting words and be someone of Integrity.
Don’t only ensure you do these things, but keep people who don’t follow these life rules far from you. Stay away from drama and lips that cause and enjoy drama.
(Prov. 4:24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.)


2.  Live in the now, don’t look back in regret of the past.

You can’t change the past. All you can do is repent if applicable, take the learned lessons and move forward.
(Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.)

3. Renew Your Mind.
Stay connected to God– pray, talk to Him, read your Bible.
(Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.)

4. Love the Lord with Everything in You.
(Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.)

5. Speak God’s Affirming Words and Truth.
I do this by writing some affirmations that speak to my current life situations and start each day speaking those affirmations over my life.

(Psalms 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.)

What do you do to keep your heart healthy? 

Remodel

This weekend we put the finishing touches on a condo I purchased 18 years ago. It has been rented for the past 12 years and in the rush of preparing to turn it over to the next renter, there hasn’t been much time for remodel, upgrades, etc. Just the basics. Fresh paint, cleaning and some touchups.

This year we took a little time to go beyond the surface. We gave it some new bones, a level foundation in terms of new flooring, cabinets and some appliances. My sweet husband also went into the walls and assessed that the outlet boxes rusted in the wall and some plugs were not as secure or supplying power and updated the electrical. He pulled things out of the walls that were outdated (old intercoms, wall radios and even a wall-vac). He repaired walls, added more lighting and removed old, rusty fixtures. He gave it a severely needed overhaul. (The unit celebrates its 50th next year.)

I looked at the external touchups needed, what I could see with my eye, but he started going beyond that and looked beyond the exterior blemishes to get to the heart of what was needed.

As I went to see the final product this weekend, I was thinking wow, we should have done this a long time ago, but you know we were busy and this took time and a whole lot of energy.

The more I think about this, it reminds me of our lives. We are always rushing off to the next thing that we often just have time for the basics — a quick prayer out the door and maybe a quick verse but over time, we, just like that old condo need a remodel. We need to update, upgrade, gut and remove the rusty parts of us in order to align to the needs of who we are today. A fresh coat of paint (a new outfit, haircut, or for us women a little blush or bronzer to make us look a little more alert and rested) will only make us look like we are doing ok, but like the condo we need a remodel from the inside. What do I mean?

We may need to refresh our power supply. We need to ensure that we are properly connected to God’s power supply. Is it lose? Hanging on by a thread? Do we have a poor connection? Is it overloaded? (I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5)

What does our foundation look like? I am reminded of the old hymnal, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. (Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6: 47-48)

Are we walking through life with hurt within from the past that we need to go inward and remove or at least work through? Old hurt living within us has no more function than a 1970’s wall-vac in a 2020 condo (that doesn’t even have carpet anymore). (Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!… Isaiah 43:18-19)

Maybe we need to add a little more light to our lives (in terms of what we do, what we read, and who we interact with)? (Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16.)

Remodels take time and they are definitely costly. Not in terms of money as in the condo but they cost us emotionally. There is a cost of digging deep and it absolutely takes time. Likely more time than a 2-3 week condo remodel, but God wants us to continue to do deeper. To look more and more like him. To prune to the old fruit so that we can bear good fruit. To not only look the part but be the part. This year, perhaps we can assess if we are up to God’s code and if not consider updating our connection, gutting out what doesn’t look like Him on the inside, working through the updated issues of old and beautifying our heart. Everything is so much more beautiful after a remodel — even us.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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There may be some of you who are opposed to Valentine’s Day. Some may say it’s just another day to commercialize love. (I think it is only that if you allow it to be.) I won’t get into the history of Saint Valentine but I love love. I love Valentine’s Day. Not because of flowers or candy or gifts, but I just love the extra emphasis on love that spreads across the world at the same time. In today’s world, we need a little more love. We need a lot more Valentine’s Days on the calendar. Some may feel a bit bah humbug about Valentine’s Day because maybe they are getting a divorce, don’t have a significant other, or are just having a difficult time with their partner.

Regardless of whether we have eros love (romantic love), we can still appreciate and cherish the other loves in our lives. The love of family and friends, parents, children, siblings or even pets. Most importantly we can spend today basking in the love that Christ has for us. He love us – so much. Unlike the human love we share with our partners, family and friends — it is perfect and without fault or condition. It has always been there and it will never end. He wants nothing from us but our heart.

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There is one more love that I pray we all appreciate today — Ourselves. Self-love is sometimes the hardest. We are sometimes the hardest on ourselves. Our bodies, our accomplishments, you name it, but each of us is special. Each of us was made amazing and fabulous and before we can expect another human to love us unconditionally, we each must start a beautiful love affair on the inside with the person in the mirror.

Regardless of which loves you have at this very moment, Happy Valentine’s Day to you. There is love in your life worth celebrating and I hope you will celebrate them all. Take a little time today to appreciate your loves, do something sweet for your loves, and spend time with them. Take some time today to love on all the loves in your life. Take some time to read 1 Corinthians 13 today and apply it to all of your loves.

…and if by chance you don’t hear this from anyone else today….

I love you with the love of God and so does He.

Be blessed and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Verbs and Nouns

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I love to learn. As annoying as it is to my kids, I find knowledge and facts interesting. It’s funny because this year my word is FOCUS and I meant that fully in the sense of the verb. I want to be focused (the adjective). I want to focus on completing the things I have started and doing the things that God wants me to focus on. As I have been doing that, some of those things I have been focusing on have started to come into FOCUS – the noun. (I find that kind of cool — geeky but cool). I can’t help but think of the statement that as we take steps to move toward God, He takes steps to move toward us. As I start to do my part and FOCUS on the things the He wants me to focus on, He moves toward me in those things and provides me more information on the central point, the FOCUS area. Sometimes it is hard for us to FOCUS because we have so many questions – the what, when, how, where, and why but when we move out on faith, God provides the answers. Maybe that’s why faith and works go together. Maybe it is because we need the faith to do the works (God’s work at least).

If there is something that God wants you to do, be, go, or try, push through the questions. Move in spite of the what, when, where, how and why and just go. Take up your cross and go (move). As you move, He will provide breadcrumbs when you least expect them. He will provide you with just enough answers to keep going. Try not to be greedy and want all the breadcrumbs at once. Rather, be thankful for the breadcrumbs as they come and keep moving. Your verbs will equal God’s nouns 🙂

Be blessed!

Transparency

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This year I just want all types of growth. As I type that, I think watch out because you know what happens when you say things like that. EEK. But nonetheless, I do. I want to expand beyond my current self and boundaries into being the person that God wants me to be to myself and most importantly others. That requires a definite increase in my transparency. Some of my more recent posts about rest and growing weary was a big step for me in terms of being transparent and I want to continue down that path. I think it is one thing to share what is on your mind but sharing your heart is a level deeper. Sharing your heart can mean sharing your fears and emotions which while that can be scary, it can feel really good. For me, it has definitely felt good. I hope that you will feel safe enough to engage, to be transparent and to share with me as I share with you. In this time of dispersed living, I pray this space can become a safe community for feelings, fears, encouragement and motivation, where everyone feels not just welcomed but supported. God Applied is about applying God to life (this very complex, interesting, life filled with differences). It is not about being judge-y, perfect, or saintly. It’s about living life with all the love, help, insight and tools that God gives us. One of those tools is each other. God says in Prov. 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Be amazing! Be Blessed!

What’s Your Distraction

Last week when I rested, I tried to keep in my living up to my word of the year – FOCUS. I looked at my list of things that I would focus: being present with my family, my physical fitness, time with God, and writing. I kept focus on all but the writing — whether it is my next book, my blog, or professional articles. I’m proud that I maintained some focus but the one thing God told me to do this year was write. I would say but God which audience, which topics, which, which, which and He would just reply – JUST WRITE. I promise you I am not one of those people who walk around saying God said this and God said but clearly God has been telling me to JUST WRITE.

You could encourage me and say but something had to give. It didn’t. I gave up the one thing I am supposed to be doing so that I could have time to indulge in trying to do things outside of my focus list. I was distracted by my emotions. I took on an additional client. I looked for replacement work when the whole time, I was supposed to be writing.

The more I pondered this I found it interesting that the one thing my distraction distracted me from was the one thing God wants me to do. My distraction distracted me from my purpose. Often times it is the one thing that we don’t do, don’t prioritize, don’t make time for, or don’t feel good enough to do, is the one thing that God really wants us to do. It’s the thing that we were created to do and give to the world. Whatever you were created to do, be, or give; whatever your gift to the world is push through whatever tries to keep you from it.