There is a humbling that happens within us when we have a shadows experience. I just think that we can become comfortable and complacent when we stay there too long. I think we then become afraid to step out of the shadows into the forefront even when we know Christ is calling us into the front lines of ministry. Nobody knows better than Jesus, you and honestly the devil of what your truly capable of doing with the gift of God in you. I think we forget that satan knows what’s inside of us too and he fights us to keep us surrendered to our own plans rather than walking in Jesus plans that he has for us even before the foundations of this earth. You were not created to stay in the shadows. You were not created to hide out behind the scenes. Come out of the shadows, you have stayed there long enough.
I felt in my heart that at the beginning of this new year would be the perfect time to encourage you to stop playing small. I want to encourage you to stop pretending to be less when deep inside you know you have more inside you. You bring so much to the table when you bring all of who you are with you. Your in that room because you need to be. You have operated in the background long enough. There are countless well known individuals in this world who started with nothing but realized who they really were and cultivated that gift to allow it to to take them forward. Let this year of 2023 be the year you come out of the shadows. Let this year be the year you be who you truly are. Let it be the year you stop playing small. I believe in you. Go be great💚.
6. You don’t always need to start over, just start again.
7. Be intentional with your time.
8. Be in the moment your in.
9. Everybody has an opinion but every opinion concerning you does not always matter💚.
Choose Jesus more this year. Oftentimes we can find ourselves choosing everything but Jesus. Choosing Jesus every morning as a way to start your day. Make sure to find a scripture to read and meditate on throughout your day. Invite him in to your day. Spend time in his word and talking to him. We can sometimes make talking to Jesus so complicated and it makes others believe they can’t do it. Prayer is simply just talking to God about anything and everything. He is waiting on you. I know there were times I’ve chosen unimportant things over Jesus but this year my desire is to choose Jesus more.
You are always important. I want you to remember that when making decisions this year. Sometimes we make decisions and we never consider how those decisions will affect us. I know I’ve sacrificed myself a lot in decision making to make sure that others were happy even if I was miserable. So, this year I decided to make sure to consider myself more this year. Some people may see it as selfish but it’s not selfish to think of yourself. I think what is selfish is to think of everyone else and never consider yourself. So this year, please remember that, “you are important too”.
Boundaries are healthy and needed. Boundaries are an excellent way to care for you and your mental health. Boundaries even with the people you love and call family are healthy. Setting a healthy boundary is another way of choosing yourself and making yourself important. A boundary says to others that they will not treat you any kind of way and still have access to you. Boundaries tell others that you love yourself enough to protect yourself from those who don’t know how to treat you well. Trust me practice setting boundaries and enforcing them, you will end a lot of toxic relationships and be bless with healthy ones.
Me time is necessary for your mental health. I did not know how vital me time was to taking care of my mental health. I plan to make more time for it this year. I feel so much better when I take time for myself. The same way we prioritize everything else is the same way we should prioritize time for ourselves. I love going to Barnes and Nobles alone and looking at books, slowly walking the isle just taking my time. I’m on nobody’s schedule but my own. I often will go to the lake and just sit on the peer and dream. It does not matter how you spend it as long as it’s time for you. Do what makes you happy during that time. Learn to be with yourself. Try it and see how much it helps you this year. My desire is at least 3 times a month to do something for me. I hope you will join me.
Stop talking yourself out of good things. This is simple, YOU deserve good things. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of good things because it seems like a risk. Believe it or not something’s that require a risk can still be a good thing for us. So be willing to take a little risk to get to the good things that you so deserve.
You don’t always need to start over, just startagain. It can be difficult to start over, and unnecessary too. I truly believe that there are more times than not that we just need to start again. When we start over and go back to the beginning we waste precious time that we could use. When we just start again we honor the work we have already done and we can move further along. Now there might be times that we do need to just start over, but keep in mind that starting over is not so bad, it’s a chance to get it right for you. I just want you to remember this year that starting over is not always the answer, maybe starting again is the better option.
Be intentional with your time. This one speaks for itself. Be mindful how you spend your time. Time is precious so in this new year let’s be more intentional in how we spend our time.
Be in the moment your in. One of my favorite quotes is,”Be where your feet are”. Basically meaning to be in the moment your in. We can find ourselves being physically present but mentally checked out. We can find ourselves being physically present but thinking about all the other things we need to be doing. Let me remind you that we miss precious times with those we love and sometimes we miss important information that we need to hear. To be in the moment means that every bit of your attention is in that moment. It means that mentally you are in that moment that your living right then. Don’t miss precious moments this year, be in the moment your in💚.
Everybody has an opinion, but not everyopinion concerning you matters. So this one is my favorite one. It’s true that everyone is entitled to their opinion but it’s not true that you have to navigate your life through their opinions. I know personally what it feels like to live in the opinions of others trying to fit in. I lost who I was and began to feel bitter towards myself. It was exhausting chasing everybody’s opinion concerning my life and decisions. I not only chased their opinions, I then let them dictate my life. I quickly learned that I needed to take back my life. I decided to only invite a little bit of wisdom in from those who had truly invested in my life. The greatest voice in my life today is Jesus and my family including very few friends who are like family to me. You will not believe the peace and confidence I live my life in now💚.
To the one hurting this holiday, I want you to know, I’m thinking of you. I want you to know, I can relate to you. You can have the good things, a beautiful tree, it can be filled with gifts but still feel empty and sad inside. Right now, you might be sitting around family that you love so deeply and still feel all alone. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one and tonight you are longing for what never can be again. I understand the longing to hear their voice one more time, to receive a hug or even just to sit in their presence. I have no magical words but I want you to know, I’m thinking of you. I feel you tonight, the one hurting during the holidays. Your pain is just as real as the next person’s. Even though everything is completely amazing in your life right now but your still hurting, I get it. Honestly mental health struggles don’t take a back seat to the holidays. I want you to know that you are not alone in your pain. Physically it might feel like it, mentally it might seem like it but I’m praying that your soul knows that you are never alone.
Lord I thank you for the person reading this right now. God I thank you for comforting their heart right in this moment. Let your unconditional love surround them right now. May they know that you are with them and they are never alone. Thank you God……Amen
Lord Jesus, I so desperately need you in my life. I need your peace and unconditional love. Lord please forgive me of all my sins and come into my heart. Lord I invite you to walk with me, talk with me, lead and guide me. You are the greatest gift and thank you for coming into my heart. Im so excited to begin my life brand new with you. Amen
Lately this has been my greatest struggle. I’ve found myself afraid of the future which is the unknown to me. I’ve found myself worrying about things that are beyond my control. I’ve been over processing in my heart and mind all the what if’s. Just allowing the noise in my head to become louder and louder. Right now the unknown makes me feel unsafe and a little out of sorts. As this world is changing and I see things happening around me, I feel like I can’t trust the things in my world that use to feel stable and safe for me. It feels so overwhelming at times as I consider what the future holds. I think I’ve believed that Christians are not suppose to be afraid but we’re human and as humans we are going to experience human emotions. I’m learning how to place my unknown future into the hands of an unseen God who has great plans for my life.
I want to know all the details of what is ahead of me. I find myself trying to plan out the unknown when all I need is to trust God who created me and knows the details of my future. I find my heart being overwhelmed and anxious about not being able to see how this world will continue to unfold . Are you like me wanting to know every single detail before it happens? You want to know every step you will take and how those steps will work for you or against you. You don’t want to trust in what you can’t see. You would rather see it all and then trust because only then will you know how it all works. Oh how we wish the world was simpler just like that. Unfortunately that is just not how it all works in this earth. You may never know all the details of what’s next. You can plan and plan and plan and it still not go as you planned but, it’s ok, it really, truly is ok. Fear can paralyze us and keep us from the beauty of what’s in our futures. I will be honest with you, it can’t possibly ALL be ugly, it’s just sometimes we can’t see the beauty because we’re so focused on the ugly.
I’m encouraging myself with this one. Fear is natural but letting it keep you stagnant is harmful. Go for it, give fear a punch in the face. Step out in that dream. Write your plan to accomplish that goal and ask God for courage to do it. Write the book, make the call, create the resume and don’t sell yourself short in it. Fill out that application, go to that counseling session( it might just save your life), make that friend connection, join the church you’ve been visiting, have that conversation. You know what it is you have been so afraid of. Only you know the fear of your unknown. I know the unknown to you is known to God. If he said do it, DO it. If he said go, GO. As we are approaching 2023 more quickly than ever, let’s do the thing we’ve been wanting to do. Maybe it’s an art class, a pottery class, maybe it’s a writing class or a branding class for your new company. Let’s go for it. Let’s walk boldly into the fear of the unknown trusting a God that knows.
God I thank you for the person reading this. Give them the peace they need. Help them to not allow the fear of the unknown to keep them stagnant. Help them to know that you are with them in all of of it. Amen.
I will never forget how long it took me to give myself permission to actually rest after the accident. I was home and laying in bed but I wasn’t truly resting. My mind was constantly going with the why and how questions. I was sleeping at night but my body wasn’t resting. Did you know that mental well being works together with your physical well being. When I finally let myself REST mentally, I noticed my physical body begin to rest too. Rest is not an indication of laziness. Slowing down in your life is not an indication of laziness. It actually is self care at its best.
So the quote below pretty much sums up my thought about rest. It takes mental and physical rest together in order for our bodies to reap the benefits it brings. You feel better and you think with more clarity when your entire being embraces REST. Rest has a way of soothing tired muscles and relieving stress. Rest has a way of bringing new fresh perspective about situations that have been troubling our heart. Rest is like deep restoration to our souls. There is one other kind of rest I want to talk with you about. This rest is a rest that we can enjoy in Jesus. Did you know that he loves to give us rest. Those times when everything seems to be falling apart and you don’t know what to do, how to feel, where to turn or even how to take the next steps, you can rest in knowing that Jesus has you. Please stay with me here in this next paragraph as I share with you a more excellent way to rest.
Rest in Jesus is more like trusting in him. To trust in anything it has to be tried and proven to be worthy of our trust. When we trust Jesus we find that we can confidently rest in him. We have an assurance that he is going to work it out for us. Now be reminded working it out for us does not mean he will always give us what we want but be assured that he will always give us what we need. When we find rest in Jesus, we can rest from striving knowing that if Jesus is in it, everything is going to be alright. I notice that when I finally rest in Jesus there is this peace that floods me. Now the situation may not change but I change in the situation. Peace overwhelms me and I remember that Jesus delights in me resting in his strong arms of mercy. There is safety in the rest that Jesus offers to us.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I want to invite you today to rest from all the things today. You know the things that have been weighing your heart down. Those things that you have absolutely no control over. Rest in knowing that Jesus created you and he knows the very numbers of hairs that are on your head. He knows you from the inside out and he loves you unconditionally. You are always on his mind, just because he loves you that much. Rest knowing that you are seen, known and loved.
Father thank you for the one reading this. I thank you that they will find rest in knowing that you are always at work. Let them rest in your everlasting love for them. Father help them to stop striving but find sweet rest in all that you are. We praise and thank you for being God. Amen
So this beauty of mine(my daughter) sent me this photo of her. I was immediately captivated by the message I felt building in my heart surrounding it. I thought of this scripture and wanted to share it with you.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in. Psalm 24:7 KJV
I know life itself can burden our hearts. It can make us forget about the beauty we find when we find the strength and courage to hold our heads up. There was a time that life felt so overwhelming for me that my head was down. Not in the literal sense but spiritually. I was so bound by my circumstances that I was missing beauty all around me. I will never forget the moment that I noticed the beauty of the sky and I immediately realize in that same moment that spiritually my head had been down. This scripture was such a blessing to me. It tells us to lift up our heads….hold your head up beautiful and see that though life is hard in this moment, there is still hidden beauty for us to see. The ugliness of my situation was robbing me of the beauty that was still there. My strength was beautiful, my perseverance was beautiful, my courage was beautiful and more than anything Jesus was still taking ashes and making something beautiful.
to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 KJV
Did you know that looking up can give you a different perspective and new hope? Looking up refocuses your attention on how far you have come rather than on how far you have to go. Lately the sky has been absolutely beautiful. I’ve found myself drawn into all the beautiful colors and designs found when I look up to the beauty of the sky. I would not see the sky holding my head down nor would I see it if I was not looking for it’s beauty. So, once you hold your head, then look for the beauty, it’s there I promise. Life is beautiful. Is it hard? Yes, it’s hard but it’s also amazing. Every single breath you take is beautiful. So, I want to leave you with this thought,”Holding my head up invites me to see the beauty still around me”. The situation might be ugly, but your courage is beautiful. The circumstances might be difficult but your strength is beautiful. The desire to quit in it is real but the beauty of your perseverance is amazing. The struggle to keep your head up is painful and exhausting, but the beauty of the peace and rest that Jesus gives us life giving.
Please know that I’m writing these same words on my heart as I’m writing them in this space. I’m so grateful for your presence here. I’m honored that you would read my words. I don’t take it lightly. Be encouraged💚
Father I thank you for the person reading this right now. Please fill them with your peace. Let them know that they are not alone. Be with them. Help them to lift up their heads and see the beauty still surrounding them. Please don’t let the ugliness of their situation keep them bound to what they see. Help them to experience your beauty in all of it. In Jesus Name. Amen
What is that thing you love to do that fills your soul? You know the thing that feels like your soul is smiling inside you. Whatever that thing is, set aside time to do it. You know how you make a plan to do other things, put that thing on your calendar and don’t compromise it. As long as it’s about you and creates a space that your soul feels nourished and full go for it. It does not have to be the same thing every single time. It can be different and I honestly feel like it should. There are times our souls need something more to nourish it. I love to study my Bible, listen to podcast, read books(Karen Kingsbury fan), write poetry, sit at the lake, guided meditations and so many other things. Lately I’ve found myself taking quiet rides in the car, no music or nothing, just me, my Jesus and my thoughts. I also love to listen to worship music. These things are just a portion of the things that fill this soul of mine. I realize that when my soul is in a good place, my heart feels lighter and happier which helps me to be better and do better.
I guess your probably wondering why I’m I writing a whole blog about this topic. Well when we do the things that fill our soul, I firmly believe it helps us get or stay in a mentally healthy place. Our soul is deeply connected to our mental health. When we can think clearer and our emotions are not overwhelming us, we can do the things God created us for. I hope you know, your mental health does not negate the call of God on your life. You will read that often in this space. I think we all need to be reminded that a mental health struggle does not make us BAD or UNUSABLE. It might take some exploring to discover what really fills your soul. I’m not talking about what makes you happy necessary but that thing that makes you smile inside first. That thing that restores the weary places in your soul. Now this might surprise you but, I’m going to write it anyway😁👀. That thing might not have anything to do with something spiritual. Hear me with this, I’m not saying it cannot be spiritual but it does not have to. I think it can be connected to self care. A day of self care is a way to fill your soul. I can share lots of ideas but you have to explore things for yourself to know. You will know when your running on empty and hopefully you will step away and do that thing or things that will fill your soul to overflowing.
Catching beautiful sunrises is something that has a way of filling my soul. It’s nothing like watching the sun rise and take it’s rightful place. I like to chase beautiful skies and take pictures of God showing out in his masterful work. I love to think he is doing it just for me, because I’m his favorite 😜. I scroll through those pictures and just smile thinking how faithful God has been in my life. When Satan wanted to take me out by my own hand, God intervened and said NO. So, yes I find things that work for me to keep me mentally healthy. One of those things is doing the thing that fills my soul.
I want to challenge you in my closing of this post. What is it that you can begin to do that would fill up your soul? Now, I want to warn you that this might require you to actually think of yourself, which might be hard for you to do. I give you permission to do it anyway. Trust me, you will thank me later. Honestly when I show up here and write, it fills my soul in ways I can’t explain. I give you permission to go on a exploration of what fills your soul. I would love to hear what you discover or what you already have in place and might just need to add to it.
I’m so grateful and honored for your presence here. I do not take it lightly that you would read my words. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart💚.
Father I thank you for every person who would stop here and read these words. I thank you that they will dig deep inside and find that thing that fills their soul. That thing that helps them to smile from the inside out. May your presence surround them and may they feel your love all around them. Bless their coming and going. I thank you for the sweetest of encounters with you. I thank you for love notes written on their hearts from you. You are faithful and good. We praise you for it, in Jesus name. Amen
I must admit that this might be a little touchy for people to read. I promise to tread here softly but truthfully. I know that a lot of christians believe that if we have Jesus we have everything that we need. I truly believe that Jesus offers to us everything we need but I also completely believe that he uses others as well to help him be that in the earth. I’m going to try to make this a little clearer. Jesus cannot come in the flesh and sit with us and offer wisdom and support in a flesh body but he can embody a therapist and fill him or her with his wisdom to do just that in a fleshly human body. The same with doctors, nurses, psychiatrist etc…he uses so many different avenues to be all that we need in the earth. So with all that being said, I want to share with you about having Jesus and still going to therapy. I will not say that therapy is for everyone because I strongly believe it is an individual choice. I do believe that anyone that needs therapy should be able to go without the judgement of others. Therapy does not say you are a weak Christian as a matter of fact, to me your just as strong of a Christian as the next person your just doing what you need to do to remain in a place that God can use you. Did you realize that being mentally healthy is important to you doing ministry healthy?
I will share my own personal journey with you on my experience with therapy and Jesus. I will never forget the moment I entered a therapist office for the first time. I was scared and felt a little ashamed because it had come down to me desperately needing that level of support. I felt like I was somehow failing God by needing to go. What I didn’t understand was that God would meet me in that therapist office and I would sense his presence with me in every session. I did not know how desperately I needed to get those trauma secrets I had been carrying out. I needed to do it with a trained professional who could support and guide me in voicing those experiences that needed to come out. See those secrets were in the dark because I was too ashamed to share them. Once I voiced them they were brought into the light in the safety of her office and after processing them in a healthy place, they soon were rendered powerless. I felt like I was no longer keeping poison inside that was rotting me from the inside out. I’ve gone to counseling off and on for many years now. I’ve also loved and served Jesus through all of it. I have come to realize that Jesus did not stop loving me because I went to therapy. I wasn’t sat on a shelf somewhere and deemed unusable. I believe that he still took all of it and used it for his glory to help others to come to him with their mental health struggles.
I’ve been seeing a therapist for a little while now and it’s been the best thing. I’ve seen a few therapist over the years and it’s been amazing. I’ve seen Christian therapist and secular therapist. I’ve learned that with any therapist you have to take what works for you and leave what doesn’t. Even seeing a Christian therapist does not mean that every thing that they share is going to work for you. The beauty of therapy I believe is the right that you always have to choose. At the end of every session, you get to choose what you walk away with. A good therapist will never force you to use every single technique they teach. The words they speak are not the gospel😉. Good therapist want you to remain in control, they want you to use your voice and remember that this is your life given to you by God and only you can live it. I think of them as someone who can help me to process things that are causing me pain. Oftentimes I view their offices as safe places to let go. I see them as places I can rest from my heavy protective armour and just be. I can be present in that moment with them it is safe to voice my struggles in the safety of their office. When I was processing very painful memories, I longed for those sessions to check in and process those moments. I reminded myself that God was with me and he was going to help me get through the process. Therapist are not God’s but they can be led by God and they can be used by God to help us heal.
I want to leave this thought with you. You can absolutely have Jesus and STILL go to therapy. You can serve Jesus and love him with your whole heart and STILL go to therapy. You can preach, teach, read, quote, study and memorize the word of God and STILL go to therapy. It does not have to be one or the other. You can have them both and still belong to Jesus. Maybe you have been feeling the need to go to therapy but struggling with the stigma that is placed on Christians and therapy. Let that go and get what you need. If therapy is what you need, I pray for courage for you to go after what you need. I am so grateful for your presence here. The fact that you would read my words here in this space means so much to me. I honor your presence here.
Lord Jesus I pray for every person reading this blog post. I pray that you will give them the courage they need to go to therapy. Lord I pray that you will lead them to the therapist that will be the best fit for them. I pray that they will know that you are always with them. I pray they will encounter your love in new and deep ways. In Jesus name I pray. Anen
One thing I struggle with is feeling ashamed of being in a low place when I’m having a hard time. How do you tell someone your sad but you don’t completely understand why? How do you bare the dark night that is happening within your soul? Those are questions I asked myself a lot. Sometimes I found myself choosing to try and walk through it alone. My walking through it alone looked a lot like crying downstairs, or in the shower so no one saw me. I did a lot of avoiding eye contact with people I love dearly. I found myself slowly withdrawing from hanging out with others. I thought I was hiding it but the truth is they knew I was struggling but didn’t know how to help. I believe my hiding it from them made them more uncomfortable reaching out to me.
I wanted to believe I wasn’t alone but the lies of the enemy felt so real. Those lies felt like my truth. You know how it feels when your spiraling down and you feel as if you can’t grasp on to anything of truth. This might be hard to hear and believe but Jesus is right there. We can never hide the low moments from him. He sees them, he feels them and rather you care to believe it or not; he truly understands them. He knows the thoughts you are having, those thoughts that you are ashamed to even voice. The thoughts of ending it all, stoping the pain but leaving those who love you in more pain than you could ever imagine in that moment. Moments no matter how long they feel are only temporary. Those moments are not permanent…..they do change.
I want to encourage you as I encourage myself that there is no shame in reaching out for help in the low moments. There is no shame in admitting that you need prayer or someone to be accountable to in those moments. I actually benefit from checking in with my safe people that never judge the struggle but they just walk with me through those moments praying for me all along the way. We’re going to get through the lows because Jesus is with us. Jesus loves us so much. I believe that his heart is turned towards us in a deeper way in those moments. Don’t be afraid to let him in to those moments. I’m grateful for your presence here. I don’t take it lightly that you would read my words. My hope and prayer is that you will find strength and courage to keep going. I hope you feel less alone.
Father I pray for the one reading these words. I pray that they will feel your presence and know that they are not alone. I pray that they will feel you with them and know that they are surrounded by your overwhelming love. Give them strength for the journey and fill them with your overwhelming peace. In Jesus name. Amen