A Check On Our Goals

Life and Happiness

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about my word for the year: consistency. (See the post here.) In February, I wrote about it again. But since then I haven’t mentioned my word much (and I see a lot of YOU haven’t mentioned yours lately either…) Now that it’s getting to the end of the year, I thought it might be time to take stock.

Here were some of my consistency goals:

  • I want to consistently seek out God
  • I want to consistently encourage others
  • I want to consistently find joy
  • I want to consistently be investing in myself and my business
  • I want to consistently be intentional about everything I say and do so that others who see me, talk to me or read my words will know, without a doubt, who I am and what I believe (and put into action! See my post about that!)

I think I’ve done well with most of these. I’ve been consistently seeking God and His will for my life by listening to a plethora of Christian podcasts, being involved in a women’s Bible study, and seeking out Bible studies I can do on my own. It’s a bit ironic that by doing these things, I’ve also consistently been finding joy and encouraging others in the process. Sometimes when you really focus on God, the rest falls into place.

In addition, I created some very specific goals for myself. These included being consistent, but also specifically for things like increasing my income (I set a 5% increase goal on that), communicating CONSISTENTLY with my husband, exercising daily (for at least 30 minutes), and fostering good relationships.

As I began to take stock recently of these specific goals, I see that I’ve been doing well. In fact, I’ve exceeded my income increase goal (thank you, Lord, for new publishers and new clients). Sometimes the communication with my husband is still tough – he’s still doing dissertation work and is really focused on that – but we try. Exercise has been going well and I do come close to doing that 30 minutes every day. (Alas, I’ve gained weight though so I’m feeling a little bit like I’ve failed on that endeavor.) But I’ve fostered several new, fledgling friendships this year and I hope they will continue to grow and thrive.

As we head into the winter months, I know my work will slow down some and the dreary days might bring on depressed moods and lack of motivation. To combat this – and to keep with my consistency goals – I’ve begun working again on my nonfiction book about negativity and finding God’s truth for our souls. I’ve got a lot of words, but not a very organized structure. However, I plan to work on it through the winter and hope – no, wait, my GOAL is to have a finished product come spring.

I know I can count on my readers to help me by praying consistently for me and these goals. I’ll certainly pray for you as well.

How about you? What is your word for the year and how are you following the goals you’ve set for yourself? I’d love to hear about them.

Remember to follow me on Instagram for some encouraging and uplifting posts. If you’re a Christian writer, please join my Facebook group here.

Hope you’re having a good week. God bless!

 

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Is Change Good, Bad, or Simply Inevitable?

Life and Happiness

My computer is on the fritz and I’m going to need a new one. Was that a collective groan I heard from all my readers? I agree. When it started to slow down and I couldn’t get it to perform the tasks I needed, I panicked. Then, I began to work out ways I could fix it. (None worked.) Finally, I resigned myself to the fact that the thing is old and I probably need a new one.

I’m not one to change things that often. I like to use products until their very last leg. (I don’t get rid of something simply because it’s old.) Even though this computer is almost ten years old, I still thought it had some legs left. I guess I was wrong.

As I researched new computers (while using my husband’s laptop for work – thank GOD for that), I started to feel more panic arise in my chest. What if I picked the wrong one? (I’m not good with making big purchases – especially for myself.) I wanted the same exact computer I had – except better.

As I kept looking I thought, “This might be good. Fun, even.”

What is it about something new?

Yes, change is hard and it’ll take time out of my schedule to find a computer, shop for one, maybe even need to order one. And then there will be the setup time (double ugh) of it all, hoping and praying that all my much-needed files get transferred over.

Yet, I’m excited for a new computer, too. My old one lost its touchscreen capabilities awhile back and it doesn’t run as quickly as it used to. The thing is HEAVY besides and every time I lug it to conference or to a writing meet-up, I complain about the heft. (The new one I’m looking at is HALF the weight! I’m almost giddy considering it.)

I still feel a bit of panic inside, worry it won’t get done in the time I need it to so I can meet important deadlines. (Even though my husband’s computer has been filling in quite nicely.) I still fret about the money we’ll spend on it. (Even though it’s a much-needed business expense for me, really. I can’t do my job without it.)

All too often this is how life is for me lately. A series of exciting and yet anxiety-inducing events. I’ve spent more time with people than I’d like lately. I’ve been to entirely too many events. I’ve had barely enough time to breathe or even consider if I’ve showered today. (I have.) Yet, the ongoing events are thrilling and keep me interested in life ahead. I meet new people. Share common interests. Find new and exciting ways of doing things.

I’m looking forward to my new computer – once it’s bought, set up, and running at optimum speed. And I look forward to the future – as a nebulous concept where I’ve already gotten through awkward stages of meet and greets, and have already learned new concepts. Seems reasonable, right?

How about you? Are you content with change, look forward to it, or do you avoid it at all costs?

Self-Discovery: Dreams

Life and Happiness

I often talk about my dreams here on this blog. I’m living out part of a dream, actually, by having my own business and working mostly for myself. I’ve had that dream for a long time, but never really knew how I would accomplish it.

I’ve started several businesses in my life – mostly still based on the ideals or precepts of some other, larger company. I’ve sold Tupperware, Simply Said and Plexus products. I tried to sell wedding invitations. But none of those things ever truly put me in the position I am now in with my editing business: sole control. There is a peace in my heart now that I’ve never experienced before. When I speak with others who hate their jobs or wish for a different scenario, I think about how blessed I am at being able to do what I love.

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. ~ Langston Hughes

If I think about other dreams I’d like to accomplish in life, I’d say that the one main thing is to move to a place where my seasonal affective disorder would be managed better. (i.e. – somewhere with a more consistent climate.) Although I like the seasons of Pennsylvania – we’re about to head into that beautiful fall foliage time of year – the colder temps and rainy days (like we’ve had SO MANY of lately) bring down my spirit. I find it difficult to be creative and hard to find energy to do almost anything. My mood often shifts quite dramatically too in colder months. I dream of a time in my life when that won’t be a problem. Mainly because I’ve been able to move to a warmer, sunnier climate!

Other dreams? Well … I’d like to be a speaker some day. I’m not sure yet what I’ll speak about, but I think it’s something God is working out in my life. I’ve taught some small workshops before and I’d like to do that more, but I’d also like to simply be motivational in my speaking too.

I think these dreams are manageable and worthy of pursuing. And I think that dreams can be achieved. I like this quote:

Follow your dreams. If you have a goal, and you want to achieve it, then work hard and do everything you can to get there, and one day it will come true. ~ Lindsey Vonn

I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but, in the beginning, I had to have the dream, the desire, the WANT of it. Then, when you can truly understand what will bring you happiness and what will fulfill your soul – then you can achieve your dreams by working hard to do so.

For you today, I hope you have dreams and that you aren’t content to simply let them remain as dreams. Work on them. Find a way. Achieve your dreams. You’ll be so happy you did. God bless.

Self-Discovery: Loving Myself

God, Life and Happiness, love

Doesn’t that title just make you cringe? “Loving myself” sounds so … pretentious and shallow to me. There are a lot of Scriptures about love in the Bible, but mostly they seem to deal with loving other people and sharing the love of God. There isn’t a single verse that says, “Love yourself above all others” or “Loving yourself is a good thing.”

So this week’s self-discovery question is sometimes a hard one for us all: Name 5 things you absolutely love – without a doubt – about yourself.

Even though I think this is going to be a hard exercise, I do think God wants us to love even ourselves when He tells us time and time again in the Scriptures to love one another. With that in mind … here goes.

  1. My hair. Yep, I’m starting off with a shallow one. (I’m working my way up – stay with me.) I have naturally curly hair and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it for most of my life. I’ve mostly kept it short because curly hair can become unruly when it gets long. This irritates me because I can never put it up in a ponytail and my style is often the same day in and day out. However, I’ve gotten SO MANY compliments over the years. People always tell me how they wished they had curly hair. Recently, I’ve been keeping it short (and have found a stylist who understands the curly haired girl’s struggles). I used to fight against the short hair style, thinking it too “boyish.” But now, I embrace it. It’s what works best for my curls and I’ve begun to really appreciate these curls.
  2. My fingernails. Okay, another shallow one. My nails grow and look nice all the time. I get compliments on my nails just like my hair. However, the main reason I love them is because they remind me of my mom and gram. You see, my fingernails look exactly like my mom’s and grandmother’s. All three of us could always grow our nails without much work. While others go to get manicures on a weekly basis, we barely even file ours and I rarely use polish. So my beautiful nails remind me of the family I’m part of and the DNA I share with some pretty amazing women.
  3. My emotions. Okay, this one has been a struggle for me for years too. My emotions can sometimes get the better of me and cause some really crappy moments in my life. However, I like to cry. I like to laugh. I don’t always like to be angry, but sometimes it’s best to get it out. Over the years, I’ve learned that suppressing my emotions doesn’t work well for me. I get sick to my stomach and get headaches. But when I let it all out – I feel better. It’s so much better to just cry it out. It’s freeing and I’m thankful I can do it.
  4. The way I care too much. I’ll be honest. This is not one I love WITHOUT A DOUBT. I do doubt it sometimes because it can often lead me into a world of hurt. But my husband says it’s something he loves about me and how can he be wrong? My heart is big – for everyone. I want to give everyone a chance. I often give people too many chances. But I think, in the long run, it’s a good thing that I care too much. Don’t we need more of that in the world?
  5. My gifts. God gave me the gifts of writing and editing. It took me a long time to figure out these gifts and how I could use them to help others, but now that I have – I really love it. When you finally step into the knowledge of who you are meant to be – who God made you to be – it is one of the most satisfying and wonderful things you could ever imagine. I do truly love my gifts from God.

I did it!! Now what about you? What five things do you love about yourself?

Writing Tips – Getting Personal

God, Religion, Writing

If you write personal experience stories, devotions, or even Bible studies – today’s writing tip is for you.

As I was editing a Bible study-type manuscript last week, I realized the author was making the same mistake that so many authors of this type of manuscript make: not getting personal enough.

Writing is a personal kind of thing, right? When we write fiction, even though it’s, well, fiction, doesn’t it usually contain some kind of personal touch? I think most writers craft their stories by digging up some personal stuff from their own lives and putting it out there in a fictional setting. That’s what I did with “What You Think You Know.” It’s a type of therapy for every writer.

When we write nonfiction, that isn’t always the case because we’re trying to convince, not entertain. Nonfiction is often filled with facts and figures. But when you’re writing CHRISTIAN nonfiction, like devotions and even Bible studies, there needs to be a personal connection to the reader in order to get your message – God’s message – across.

For instance, if your devotion is talking about forgiveness, does it make sense to 1) talk about forgiveness in a detached kind of way – simply sharing facts from the Bible – as if you’ve never forgiven or experienced forgiveness before or 2) write about it by first telling a story of how you received or gave forgiveness once in your life?

(The answer is #2 in case you aren’t following along.)

When you read a Christian devotion, does the lesson connect better for you if the author has told you a story about his or her own life first as an example? I think it does. Just read Max Lucado, Joyce Meyer, or Liz Curtis Higgs. They use their own personal stories to connect their readers to Christ. And they do so in a transparent and real way. They don’t sugar coat things. Anyone who has read a Joyce Meyer’s book knows about her story of abuse. She puts it out there not to draw attention to herself, but to draw attention to how Christ saved her from it!

But I’ve found that although these authors want to share the message of Christ, they don’t always want to share their story. Or, what I see most often, is that an author will share only a small bit about their experience or will be vague about the event. So vague that I’m often scratching my head trying to make the connection. This isn’t what you want for your readers.

I think Christian writers do a great disservice to their readers by not being honest and transparent. After all, if you’ve learned from an experience or mistake in your past, don’t you think by sharing it – with transparency – that others could learn from it too? And if God has given you this message to share – don’t you think He wants you to share the whole thing? Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be ashamed. We all make mistakes. We all have learning moments. Sharing it could help someone else. But it must be done in an honest way.

So my advice this month is for devotion or Bible study authors. Put your TRUE story out there! Let God use you and your story to share His message. If He has called you to write about Him, He doesn’t just need another book that tells people to forgive. He wants you to tell YOUR story in order to SHOW people how to forgive. Your experiences can have impact, but you have to share them.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33 NIV

 

Self-Discovery: Take One

Life and Happiness

If you’ve been a reader of my blog posts you know that I often write in an effort to figure out how to improve myself. I think life is a never-ending discovery about ourselves. I write it all down and publish it because I hope that maybe my journey might help someone else with their journey. 

Recently, I pinned a photo on Pinterest that listed 30 questions a person could use as part of a self-discovery journal. As most of you know, this blog is my journal. So, I figured I’d use some of those questions over the next few months (I don’t have time to write a post every day. Sorry.) and see what discoveries about myself I might find along the way. I encourage you to utilize some of these and maybe make some discoveries about yourself along the way too.

First question:  If I could go back in time, what would I tell my younger self?

Whew. That’s a loaded one, isn’t it? I think we’d all like to go back in time and tell our younger self SOMETHING. I’ve seen a lot of people answer this question with, “It’ll be okay.” I agree with that, but I don’t think it would be enough for my younger self. In fact, I bet a few older people DID tell me that along the way and I didn’t listen or it didn’t mean much to me. After all, how could they know what I was going through? (Sarcasm.)

Instead, I’d probably tell my younger something more specific. Things like, appreciate the moment, listen to your parents, form more relationships based on honesty and common interests, have more fun.

You see, as a young person, I worried a lot about what people thought of me. (I still do it sometimes.) It often prevented me from having fun or making any lasting relationships. My worry and anxiety overrode the basic enjoyment of life and childhood. Does this friend understand me? Why doesn’t she spend more time with me? What can I do to make her like me more? Should I change my hair? Should I get contacts? Should I take the same classes? Should I change my hobbies? Should I drink more? Should I go out to more parties?

When you second guess who you are, trying to figure out what others want you to be, it really takes the joy out of things. Let’s face it. It’s exhausting. I found myself participating in things I didn’t find joy in and having friends who had none of the same interests as me. They were often the “cool” kids (or who I thought were cool) and I simply longed to be part of that crowd.

Over time I learned that the friends that truly understood me were the ones that meant the most to me and whose friendships have lasted the longest. They are my people, my tribe. And through them – and my own self-discovery journey – I’ve learned that who I am is pretty cool. I AM a cool kid. Simply because I am me. And that’s what I wish my younger self would have known all along.

How Do Your Roots Grow?

God, Life and Happiness, Religion

I was looking at a plant in my living room the other day, and I realized the plant looked like it was close to outgrowing the planter it was in. I began to wonder if the plant would break out of the planter, and thought I should probably consider finding a new one for it. But it’s the perfect size for the space I want it in and if it was any bigger, I’d have to move it, but don’t have the space. Then I realized I have other plants in the house that seem to be larger than the pot they’re in too, but none of them break out.

Have you ever transferred a plant from one pot to another? Don’t you love that intricate maze of roots on the inside and how they form themselves to the shape of the planter around them? They make do with the room they are given.

This makes me think of two things in our lives.

  1. How resilient we can be as humans as we adapt to the spaces around us.
  2. How dangerous it can be as Christians when we conform to the world around us.

Whew. These are two really different ideas. Yet as Christians, it’s sometimes a fine line we walk between those two realities. We can be resilient creatures as we choose to adapt to those around us – even those who don’t have the same beliefs we do. We can be caring, understanding, accepting – to a point. It’s a good thing to adapt and accept change when we need to. It’s a good thing to be kind of everyone no matter what their beliefs. However, it becomes dangerous when we let it change who we are at our core.

You see, we shouldn’t be like that plant. We shouldn’t simply choose to accept the space we’re in and conform to it. Yes, the plant is still growing, still alive, but is it THRIVING? It is reaching its full potential? Could it be brighter, more colorful, have more impact if it simply broke out of the planter and had more room to grow?

Of course, I don’t really want my plant to do that. I like it where it is. I like it in the planter it’s in, and I’ll probably keep it that way. I’m the gardener in this case and the plant has to do what I say it can do. (Unless it goes all Little Shop of Horrors on me…)

And guess what? There are probably some people or circumstances in your life that would like to keep you in check like that too. Maybe you’re even doing it to yourself. How are you feeling restricted today? Maybe you’ve been conforming to what others say is right. Or maybe you’re believing some false truths in your life. Maybe someone’s feeding you lies about your faith or your worth in God’s eyes. Maybe it’s been holding you back in your ministry efforts or keeping you from having a deeper relationship with God.

In order to live healthy, faith-filled lives, we must not be constricted by the ways of this fallen planet. We can’t be like that plant, simply filling up the space we’re given. We have to break out. Reach out. Share our faith with others. Fellowship with other believers, soaking up the essential nutrients we get from fellowship. Ingesting the Word as our nourishment. Branching out our roots to both feed and be fed.

Consider what’s holding you back this week. Are you being properly nourished? Break out. Reach out. Feel the sun on your face. Soak up the Living Water. Connect with your Creator and feel His care in your life today.

The Art of Being Still

God, Life and Happiness, Writing

A few weeks ago, I attended a writing conference. I was not truly interested in hearing one more workshop about story structure, plot devices, or how to brand myself or sell my books. What I needed was time to write. And I needed something to jump start my creative juices.

Every day I’m on the go. I have a list beside my laptop of all the deadlines I need to meet and the people I need to touch base with. This list also contains items that I need or want to work on like this blog or a leadership course I’m taking as part of my DAR membership. I also have a goal sheet above my desk that outlines all I’d like to accomplish this year.

As a result of all these lists, I find myself without much down time. So when I was at the writing conference the workshop “Creative Nature Walk” seemed to appeal to me. I was ready to just be with nature – God’s creation – and let the muses speak to me. And I was not disappointed!

The leader of our walk wasn’t just there to lead us in the way we’d walk around the gorgeous Grove City College campus, she was there to lead our writing as well. She started with a few Bible scriptures about Truth, Peace, Righteousness, and Mercy. She said that we’re so ingrained in our society to look down (at our phones, our laptops, etc.) that we forget to look up. That was the purpose of our walk – to look up, away from the tasks of the day, and to see God in our surroundings.

When we got to our first “station” on the walk, she indicated benches and luxurious, green grass on which to sit and invited us to simply take in our surroundings. Journal, take pictures, draw … whatever. We would have ten minutes.

I dug into the exercise and began journaling, breathed in the fresh air, soaked up the warm sun, and snapped a few pics on my camera. Done! I completed the task! Just like I do every day in my real life. Except … our ten minutes wasn’t up. Others were still writing, enjoying the sun, and taking photos. So I wrote some more in my journal. But the time was still not up and I found myself becoming restless.

How hard was it for me to be still! Ten minutes doesn’t seem like that long of a time when we are faced with so many chores during our day, but when faced with nothing BUT time … it can be a long time to bear! I began to contemplate how hard it was to be still and yet how essential it really is in our daily lives.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” How often do we do that? I know I’m rarely still. I even have trouble sleeping! I have a long list of to-do items, after all! But God tells us to truly know Him, we must first be still.

I figured maybe this stillness was what I had been missing in my life. Since that day during my writing conference I am striving to find a bit of stillness in my every day life. It might just mean a few minutes of quiet on my patio or a short walk without a podcast or music playing in my ear. Sometimes it means just taking a deep breath and feeling God’s presence beside me.

I have been able to write more since that time and I feel a sense of peace in my life now. I know it was exactly what I needed to learn during my writing conference adventure.

I hope you will seek out a moment to be still today. While you do, give up your thoughts to God. Feel free to write what comes to your mind in a journal, but don’t feel like you HAVE to write or do ANYTHING during this time. Just … be still.

Reading The Screwtape Letters

God, Life and Happiness, Religion, Uncategorized

I recently began a study of the book “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis with some friends. As I first began to read it, I thought, “I have NO clue what this is about!” Turns out a few of the other ladies didn’t either! But thankfully, the internet to the rescue. On Wikipedia there is this explanation:

In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis provides a series of lessons in the importance of taking a deliberate role in Christian faith by portraying a typical human life, with all its temptations and failings, seen from devils’ viewpoints. Screwtape holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy (“Lowerarchy”) of Hell, and acts as a mentor to his nephew Wormwood, an inexperienced (and incompetent) tempter.

In the thirty-one letters which constitute the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining God’s words and of promoting abandonment of God in “the Patient,” interspersed with observations on human nature and on the Bible. In Screwtape’s advice, selfish gain and power are seen as the only good, and neither demon can comprehend God’s love for man or acknowledge human virtue.

As I began to read again, it made more sense. And I began to really become enlightened about how it could be written from the “other side” – but not the heavenly other side, the underworld other side.

Screwtape calls the devil “The Father” and God “The Enemy.” It can be quite confusing as Christians we’re taught the opposite. But as you go along, you begin to understand that demons could possibly think about their “father” the same way we think about our heavenly Father. Weird, right?

As we discussed several of the letters the other night, the conclusion was basically that we didn’t want to dwell on how demons might view us but it was smart and practical to consider that they do exist and are working hard everyday for our demise. They want us in their kingdom as much – or more – as God wants us in His. It doesn’t mean we should dwell on it or become dismayed by it, but it’s important to consider how it affects us on a daily basis.

In addition, this book, when broken down, points out significant moments that happen to the best of us.

In the third letter, Screwtape advises young Wordwood to “Keep his mind on the inner life” and “Bring fully to the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother’s eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy.”

It is this little bit that really spoke to me. How often do I let the little things people do annoy me to a point that I am focused on it and nothing else? All too often, I’m afraid to admit. But this is one of the ways our enemy can remove our focus from the Father. And it happens so simply. And with such abandon and recklessness.

I’m anxious to keep reading “The Screwtape Letters” if only to help me focus more on the things I should  be focusing on and not the little, human and faulty, things I often do.

If you’ve read “The Screwtape Letters,” give me your feedback below! I’d love to hear from you.

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Real Fear or Habit?

Life and Happiness, Religion

Worry affects us all. We can sometimes fill up our brains with it, making it hard to function on a productive, daily basis.

As I get older, this worry often frustrates me. I should be better equipped now to cope with whatever comes my way. After all, shouldn’t I be wiser at this point? Shouldn’t I understand the verse, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34)? And yet, sometimes, I feel like my worry and anxiety have often become worse as I’ve aged.

During a recent visit to my counselor, when I’d expressed some anxiety or worry, she asked me, “Is that how you really feel about it or is it just a habit you keep repeating?”

A habit? What did she mean?

It turns out, we can actually thwart our own efforts and progress by repeating and clinging to unhealthy habits like worry. Because, let’s face it, isn’t is simpler to do the same thing we’ve done for years and years than try to change? We cling to those “easy” habits even when they actually increase the stress and anxiety.

For instance, I cry whenever I hear “Amazing Grace” because it was played at my grandmother’s funeral (and many others). It reminds me of her and so I cry. My mom does too. However, the song isn’t really a sad one – it’s a supposed to be a joyful hymn. But when the strains of that first chorus hit – I cry. It’s a learned habit. It’s a repeated pattern. It has nothing, in actuality, to do with the song itself. I’ve assigned sadness to it because it was played on one particularly difficult day in my life. But it’s been played many times on joyous occasions too. I just don’t remember those days as vividly.

I needed to break the habit. So now when “Amazing Grace” plays, I tell myself, “It’s not about the song.” I don’t let my mind go off on its own path – I direct it to more peaceful places. I still sometimes get choked up – habits are hard to break – but I’ve gotten better.

I think we all fear change. Even if the change might be better for us than how we’re currently doing things, we rant, rave, and rail against it simply because of the fear we feel. We don’t know what the other side holds. We do know what this side holds – anxiety, fear, worry. Even though those things aren’t fun, we know how to cope with them. But, sometimes, we’re even doing that wrong.

Some of us like to eat when we’re stressed. Eating only temporarily relieves anxiety and then we worry we’ve gained too much weight and are unhealthy. Do you see how our fears and worries can often just keep snowballing? It’s a never-ending cycle – or so we think. We can change it, but we have to be willing to break out of those habits. By being mindful of what we eat, we can avoid eating just because we’re stressed, therefore eliminating the other causes of stress. Instead, we can turn to God, read His word, pray, or talk it out with a friend.

And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you. (Romans 12:1-2 TLB)

It’s time to break the cycle. It’s time to change our habits that we label as worry.

I’m ready to not be so stressed – aren’t you? I’m ready to shake off these old habits and not let them define me anymore. I’m ready to be a new person. I’m ready to be transformed, not conformed. I’m ready to show I am a child of the King, a new creature, and I will no longer be held back by worries, anxieties, or fears.

How about you?