Clear the Clutter!
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”
Our minds are more powerful than we might realize.
Did you know that people have actually lost weight by simply seeing themselves exercise in their mind! Hear me again: they didn’t actually do any exercise. They simply visualized themselves doing the exercise. AND. They. Lost. Weight.
Yup. It’s true. Our minds are powerful. And if we fill it with negativity like:
- I’m not good enough
- I’ll never fit in
- I don’t have a purpose
- The nightly news
- Fear and dread
- Constant arguing
Then we will have that in our lives abundantly.
On the other hand, if we fill our minds with positivity like:
- God loves me
- I have a purpose (even if I’m not totally sure what it is)
- I am loved
- UP television
- Peace and calm
- Fun times with friends and family
Then we will have that in our lives abundantly.
God gives us freedom to think about whatever we want. But Satan also has the ability to influence our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
“Take captive every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
So, how do we know of what we’re thinking is from God or not. Well, we can test it.
Here are a few litmus tests for each thought:
- Does it contradict the Bible?
- Does it help me show love to others?
- Will this further the kingdom of God?
- Do I have the mind of Christ?
- How is this thought offering grace to others?
I only know these things because I have allowed so many thoughts in the past turn to actions that, I realized later, were not of God. And that led to some very painful events for me. (Saying sorry is really hard.)
2 Timothy 1:7 says,
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
He gives us tools to use our mind wisely and powerfully! What we put in matters. From out of the overflow of the heart and mind the mouth speaks.
What are you allowing in your mind?
Let’s get real here friends.
Life is hard. Being a woman is hard. Parenting is hard. Work is hard. Doing the right thing is hard.
And sometimes we do it well. And sometimes we don’t.
You know, in easy times and in tough times most of us know at least one thing to do to help ourselves or our situation. We know at least one thing to help us lose weight. We know at least one thing to raise our kids to be happy and healthy. We know at least one thing to help our relationships.
YET, sometimes we do those things and sometimes we don’t.
Why? Why do we choose to do things that we know probably won’t help and might even hurt the situation or circumstance.
Because we’re tired. We’re overwhelmed. We don’t have any willpower left.
Plus, pride, selfishness, the ways of the world, and evil can get in the way too.
And choosing the quick or easy thing doesn’t usually give us the results we’re looking for. In our culture of instant gratification hard work doesn’t seem very enticing.
So, what are we to do to help ourselves get through- especially during the really tough times? Here’s my top three ways:
Turn your eyes to Jesus. Tell him your hurts, your struggles, your pain. He knows what you’re going through, and he knows how it feels.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
And God wants us to co continually ask, seek, and knock. It’s not a one time and voila. Draw close to God in persistent prayer and He will draw near to you.
2. Read and Meditate on Scripture
The Bible has answers for all life questions and struggles. It may not be in the form of a neon blinking sign (which I prefer! Ha!). But, as we read more of God’s word we get to know Him more, and He then reveals more of his plan.
Study scripture (and believe it) for tips on physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s the greatest guidebook ever!
“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'”
3. Get an Accountability Partner
Having someone like a friend, coach, or pastor to help hold you accountable can be life changing. They can help you step towards your goals in a way you can’t do by yourself.
Again, most of us know what to do. We just have a hard time following through. Having an accountability partner can be the missing piece- especially if we’ve tried again and again without success.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other one up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Which one of these do you need more of in your life? How can you implement more of that starting today?
Set yourself up for success and better ability to handle the storms of life with these three tips.
If you need someone to be your accountability partner, I would be honored to have the opportunity to walk alongside you in life.
Click here to schedule a time to chat with me for free to see if we might be a good team.
Hi. My name is Carrie. And I am a recovering perfectionist.
I like things neat, tidy, my way, and perfect. And I prefer the people around me to be too.
However, that’s not real life.
Real life is messy, imperfect, unpredictable, painful, and way out of my control. (God is showing me this pretty intensely in the current season of my life. Sigh.)
I feel like part of being a perfectionist is feeling in control. And when life spirals out of control then we freak out, stress out, and our anxiety hits the roof (and perhaps blows it to smithereens).
Control is really an illusion. There are certain things in life that we can control such as:
- What we eat
- What we wear
- What we talk about
- What we think about
- Our happiness
- Who we hang out with
- How seriously we take life
- What we believe
- Our priorities
- How kind we are
Other than that, God has the ultimate say on what goes on in this crazy world of ours. We can’t control other people. We can’t control situations. We can’t control hate.
So, if you’re a perfectionist – recovering or not- like me, I invite for you to take a step back. Allow God to do His thing (He’s actually really good at it) and give Him control over all things. All things.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Are you willing to potentially have a broken heart? Are you willing to be vulnerable? Are you willing to put your self on the line?
I heard this quote from a Brene Brown book. It struck me then and even more now.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Sometimes in life we put ourselves out there. We risk being seen. We allow ourselves, our thoughts, our visions, our goals, our lives to be vulnerable. We risk it all.
This quote struck me intensely today because my heart is breaking over a situation. But this quote reminds me that giving love (a.k.a. time, energy, feeling, passion…) is taking a risk. Perhaps the biggest risk in life.
But if we choose to lock ourselves away, harden our hearts, and allow no one in then we’ll never experience what God intended for us. We might be stifling the greatest gift God has for our lives. And let me tell you I have hardened my heart before and it’s not a fun place to be.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-39:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
So, the question, “To love or not to love?” has an answer. Right here. We are told to love God and love people. All people.
Is your heart breaking today? Perhaps, you too have allowed yourself to love and you’ve been hurt in the process. Take heart my friend.
God is with us, and He is for us! There is nothing in this world that can separate us from His love. That doesn’t mean that life won’t hurt. God is very clear that we will have trouble in this world. But take heart, “He has overcome the world.”
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.
Our health is directly related to how we deal with stress. And time is one of those stresses that affects all of us. How effectively do you use your time? I know I am not always the best manager of my time.
So, I’ve been reading this book called The Deborah Anointing, by Michelle McClain-Walters (she also wrote The Anna Anointing and The Esther Anointing). In it she says,
“The quality of your life is determined by how effectively you use time.”
Notice she says, “time,” not “your time,” Hmmmm….
We feel most stressed when our calendars are so full and we feel like we have to get it all done NOW! So, how can we practically understand time and manage it better?
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Michelle goes on to describe four spiritual seasons of time in our lives. We experience:
Spiritual winter – a time of death to self
Spiritual spring – a time to embrace the call
Spiritual summer – a time of revelation
Spiritual fall – a time of harvest and fulfillment
In the midst of our busy schedules it’s important to keep Christ as our focus. It is sooooooo easy to allow ourselves to focus on things of this world – money, status, reputations, ourselves… (God has been working on my heart on this very thing lately. Sigh.)
Our life here on earth was meant as a preparation period for our eternity. God created each of us perfectly and for His purposes. If what we’re doing isn’t glorifying God in some way, we might need to reconsider if we need that thing. What spiritual season are you currently in? And how can you honor and accept where you are?
Let’s look at 5 ways we can practically keep our focus on God and use our time wisely no matter what spiritual season you might be in.
1.Adequate time with God daily
This is the most important part of our day. Think about this: You have about 8-10 hours of time during the day that are most likely dedicated to someone else – work, kids, whatever. That leaves you with 14-16 hours of time for yourself. Hopefully about 8 of those hours are sleeping. And that gives you 6-8 hours to do whatever else you desire. What are you doing with that time? Cooking and eating, exercising, playing, chores… What can you do so that time with God is your number one, non-negotiable priority?
2. Make a list of our top 5 priorities
I encourage you to take a moment and write down the top 5 priorities in your life. These are the MOST important things. This list will help you prioritize what you say yes or no to. Then use this list. Don’t just make it and put it aside. Allow it to help you make decisions.
3. Take time to breathe
You might be thinking, Carrie, I breathe all day long. I know, I know. But, I’m talking about time to focus on your breath. Every time you breathe in oxygen God is breathing into you His breath of life. Take time for 10 deep, focused breaths a day (at least) and watch your stress melt away. There are many different breathing techniques for different things. If you need help with this please let me know! I’m happy to give you more details, information, or tips.
4. Say no
This might be one of the hardest things for us. Saying no – especially when they are good things! But, it also might be what needs to happen to clear some things out of your calendar to make room for your top 5 priorities. I invite for you to inquire of God first to see if it’s something He wants you to do or not. Is there anything you can say no to today? And I might add – that if you have kids show them how to say no to things too. You will help set them up for success in so many ways.
5. Make a plan and be flexible
It’s important to not be willy-nilly all the time or just live by the seat of our pants. We do need a plan. But it’s also important to be flexible with that plan. Life is uncertain and when we hold on to our plans like a tight fist then we are only causing more strain and stress on ourselves. (Take a moment and make a tight fist. See how that would feel in your entire body to carry that around all day every day.) Make a plan, and allow God to infuse, change, and direct you – even when His way seems way out of the way. His plans are always good!
So, what is one thing you can do today to be a better manager of time?
“Are the walls to lock you in or to keep others away? And if the doors were to be opened would you leave or would you stay?”
These are the first words in the song, “Run Wild” by for KING & COUNTRY. I love this song and it resonates with me deeply.
See, about 10 years ago I had locked myself in a prison of my own making. I allowed depression, anxiety, perfectionism, and co-dependency to rule my life. And my prison became a safe place. I knew what to expect (panic attacks, social anxiety, stomach pain…). And as horrible as these things were I didn’t quite know how to escape. And if I did what would the pain be like on the other side? Worse perhaps? Fear kept me trapped.
So, in working with a counselor (for many, many years) she showed me that the door was open and always had been. I didn’t have to be in bondage to my emotions, feelings, and OCD-ness. Yet, stepping out of the comfort zone was extremely hard. And it took me awhile to actually shed the chains of imprisonment.
And what took even longer was shedding the effects of my imprisonment. My hardened heart, my requirement for control in all situations, my tendency for enjoying being a hermit…
And if I’m honest those things still arise on occasion. If I can be aware of when these things might rear their ugly head, then I can take steps to prevent them from taking over. But if they blindside me then I become a prisoner in that moment.
So, I’m learning to be free again. And if I’m honest… this freedom is pretty awesome. I want to encourage you that if you feel imprisoned, you too can be free!
And the only way I can enjoy this freedom is because I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus paid the price for my ugly sin. He took on my shame, my imprisonment, my sin, and because He loves me so much I can live free. And He tells us:
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
So, are you living free? And what are you doing with your freedom?
Run wild. Live free. Love strong my friends.
“Encourage women with your story.”
For years- and I mean years- I knew that there was something God wanted me to do.
But He wouldn’t tell me what.
And then one Sunday morning about 4 years ago, out of the blue, I was sitting in church and God spoke to my heart. He said, I want you to encourage women with your story.” The words were so loud I actually looked around the room to see if anyone else heard them.
Nope. Just me.
At first I was excited to finally know my task. But 5 seconds later I was in mortal dread. What?!?? My story? My deepest, darkest secret?!?! Nooooooooooo!!!!!
Anything but that God.
Bam. Anxiety attack.
Needless to say, I didn’t hear much of the sermon that day. My mind was racing. My heart was beating out of my chest. And I was at church by myself. Nobody to whisper to, “Hey! God just spoke to me.”
I felt alone. Like I had for the previous 15 years.
See, I held my secret – the I had an abortion secret- in for 10 years without telling a single soul. I internalized the trauma and became very sick- mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was having anxiety and panic attacks. I developed ulcers and food allergies. I was in immense pain. I was severely depressed. I thought about cutting myself everyday to release some of the pain. And I wanted to die.
And I didn’t realize all these symptoms were from the stress of trying to be perfect enough so nobody would find out about my secret.
Through counseling (with an amazing woman – Thank you, Sybil!) I was able to learn to manage and eventually control my anxiety. This took years! I’m talking like 6 or 7 of them. But, what I didn’t realize at the time was that God was molding me and shaping me into a new calling. He was getting me ready for what He wanted me to do – encourage women with my story.
Being that I have an absolutely terrible memory, I am digging out all my old journals. I will be using them to remind me of the hard times (and I’m feeling the anxiety rising as I do this) so I can share, encourage, and love on you with my story.
The raw, real truth of it.
Hang on friends. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. But, one thing I know for sure – the bumps are what smooth us out in the end. Kinda like rocks on a shore line. Smooth, shiny, and beautiful. But they didn’t get like that in a day. It takes years of tumbling.
Here’s a prayer I found in a journal that I had written for myself in November of 2015:
I commit this calling to you. I don’t have any idea how, what, where, when this will come to fruition. I feel uncertain and wonky. I feel my anxiety growing inside me. I lay down my burdens, anxieties, and fears at your feet. I will let you take care of the details. I will honor you as my Father by allowing you to be in control.
There has been so much talk about abortion lately. So many people are quick to exert their opinion and to ask questions like, who would ever, how could somebody choose, or why in the world?
This post is only for people who have or have had a deep dark secret, have skeletons in their closet, or have had an abortion. If you’re not one of those people then this is not for you.
If you have a deep, dark secret (like having an abortion, perhaps) I bet you’ve kept it a secret for a reason.
Shame. Guilt. Don’t want to deal with the judgement of people finding out…
Here’s what I have to say about that:
The ONLY opinion of you that matters is from God. And He knows about the deepest, darkest places of your soul. And He loves you more than you could ever dream of being loved.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to [the brim] of all the fullness of God,”
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV), words in [ ] are mine.
God forgives all of the darkest places when we come to Him and ask. That’s all it takes. Asking.
And if you’ve found yourself in a deep, dark hole because of your shame or guilt I want to encourage you. There is ALWAYS a way out. There is ALWAYS hope. There is ALWAYS love. Even down there in the deepest, darkest pit. Find a pinhole of light and begin moving toward it. Even if it feels like it’s a million miles away. And even if it feels as if you have to cross the entire world to get to it. Take one step toward the light today. And if that’s all you can do today, great! You can take another step towards the light tomorrow. Before long, the light will seem so bright you will wonder how you traveled so quickly!
I hear some of you saying, “Carrie! How do YOU know what it feels like to be judged because of what you’ve done or not done or what’s been done to you?”
Well, because I have lived this truth. See, I am one of those that has had an abortion. I let my decision pull me down into the deepest, darkest pit I couldn’t even imagine. And I didn’t tell a soul. For 10 years I let this dark pit grow until it consumed me. And I wanted to die.
I’ve lived with the shame and regret and guilt of my decision for almost 20 years now. And what I’ve learned is that forgiving yourself is the hardest part. And I’ve also learned it’s so worth the decision.
I now live in freedom from my past. It no longer holds me in bondage. All because of the love and forgiveness of God. And God has asked me to encourage women with my story. So, I boldly (only with God’s help) step out and tell you my deepest, darkest secret.
If you’re out there hiding in the darkness because of fear I encourage you to reach to God. Ask Him to help you walk towards His healing, loving, peaceful light. And if you need someone to talk to, I’m happy to listen as well.
Whoa Nelly: whoa is the word to stop a horse. Nelly is what farmers used to call all their female horses (because they didn’t name their work tools and a horse was a tool – according to urbandictionary.com).
In today’s time this phrase is also used to talk about anything out of control – you know a dog, a kid, breakfast time, life…. And it’s usually used after the fact.
Whoa Nelly! 2018 was cray! That’s the term I’m using for last year. Whoa Nelly!
In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
The year started off really nicely with a few ski trips with my husband to some new and some familiar places. One of those new places was New Hampshire in February. This is where the year began falling off course. We decided to hike up Mt. Washington. Tucker’s Ravine to be exact. With 40 pounds of ski equipment on our backs. And when we arrived at the hiking location my shoes instantly broke apart from dry rot. But I didn’t have any other options so I hiked in broken boots. Oh, and there was a blizzard that day.
I ended up with an injured neck, spine, and foot. Not from the amazing ski down. But from the hike up. Fast forward a few months (I rested and took care of my neck and back, but not the foot) and I re-injured my foot. I was put in a boot.
Then, my husband ended up in the hospital from an infection from being flogged by our rooster (I know, I know. It sounds crazy. And it was.). He nearly lost his leg and was in the hospital for nine days. During that time, in my boot, carrying our whole house to and from the hospital each day, my foot got worse. I got put on crutches and when my husband was discharged they wheeled us both out in wheelchairs. What a sight!!!
My husband healed up pretty quickly – in about half the time the doctors expected. Me on the other hand – my road to healing was not going to be easy.
I wasn’t able to teach or do yoga anymore, but was determined to heal quickly. Within a month or so, I was back at the gym trying to gain strength. I had even termed the summer, “My summer of buff.” But that was short lived. Because I injured my foot again. Really?!?! Yes, really. I was gaining strength and being really mindful and careful, but something wasn’t quite right.
I then began working with a physical therapist (thank you, Penny!!!). What we found out was that when my foot healed the first time it healed incorrectly, so the re-injury was just a matter of when. She did so many things and continues to help me so very much!
And today, in 2019, I am still having pain and it gets tired really quickly, but Penny and I are onto something with a plan of healing.
In addition, the stress of our injuries took my focus completely off my business. And it really showed. I allowed stress and fear to overtake my mind, and my business nearly went under. I even had to take an additional part time job to help make ends meet.
And that was a whole other mind battle to face. Why am I here? Why can’t I be good enough to make my business work? I’m committing my ways to you, God. Why aren’t you following through on your end? and so on and so forth.
Plus, my husband was totally stressed in his job too. We were just a household brewing stress by the gallons.
I ended up cancelling all the ski trips planned for 2019 because of my foot. And skiing is my favorite thing ever! Sigh, again.
So, to say that I was ready to let 2018 go is an understatement.
And now, just a few days after I let go, I have begun anew. Isn’t it amazing how new beginnings can feel refreshing, energizing, and encouraging? It’s like I’m a new person. Why couldn’t I decide to do that in 2018? That I don’t know, but what I do know is sometimes it takes a new year, an event, an injury, a God intervention…. to wake us up and pull us out of the muck and mire and into our God given destiny.
I am determined. I am strong. My mind is focused. Watch out world, cause I’m free! I’m leaving my Whoa Nelly behind. My chains are being broken, and I have God-power behind me!