Hey Everyone! It’s been a while, being a mom now & just the stuff of life kept me from sharing with you for a while, so I went all out in this post & made graphics that were easy to apply & follow. I had this thought the other day on how I wanted to improve somethings in my life & I wrote down this list for myself. I hope it encourages you & helps you in your current season! Oh, & at the end of this post you will see a new way that we can stay connected & partner together… I would love for you to look at it & see if it is something you would be interested in. I am glad to be back at it on my website, & I hope you enjoy this new post!
Letting go of something that matters to you is not easy. For you, it could be that you are struggling to let go of a person, thing, or even an event in your life. Sometimes what we struggle to let go of the most are things that hurt us, but I want to encourage you to fight to let it go – If it’s not serving you, or helping you, you can know that holding on to it is not moving you forward… Letting go is all about looking at the reality of the situation – It’s about facing the facts. The facts are – Unfortunately, you don’t have the power to change other people or fix them – But you can change yourself! Sometimes you also encounter circumstances we cannot change – But we can change how we see it. Holding on to something/someone that is holding you back will only keep you in stress, pain, confusion, & all too often, we are holding on to something – left waiting for “why” to be answered – & the truth is, it will not likely be answered. So, the best answer to this problem is to LET IT GO!
I don’t know if you have ever felt this way – but often, I have to remind myself to breathe! Many of us have forgotten how to truly breathe — we live our life satisfied with short breaths & over time our breathing patterns shift, & shallow breaths become the new normal… many of us forget to breathe! You know, it has been found that because most people do not use their lung capacity, their lungs stop functioning & oxygenating their brain & bodies at a healthy rate. When we breathe in a shallow way constantly, our body remains in a constant state of stress! & it is interesting, because often it is our stress that is causing shallow breathing & it is our shallow breathing that is causing stress. Studies show that slowing down & deepening your natural breathing process can help you feel calmer, deal with stress more effectively & even helps the anti-aging process. I want to encourage you to find a way to remember, take a moment, & make space to just BREATHE!
As we get older, fun is not a priority… We forget how important it is to have FUN! Our lives can get so busy & we can be so driven to “get it done” that we forget to laugh & smile. I want to smile & laugh every day intentionally, so that means that I have to create space to make that happen! Life is too short not to enjoy it! We can get so caught up in life that we forget to put effort into our own health mentally & physically. Here are some of the benefits of smiling & laughter discovered by the Mayo Clinic: When you start to laugh & smile, it not only lightens your load mentally – but it can induce beneficial physical changes in your body.
Smiling & Laughing can help you:
- Stimulate your organs.
- Activate & relieve your stress response.
- Soothe tension.
- Improve your immune system.
- Relieve pain.
- Increase overall satisfaction.
- Improve your mood.
If you’re the type of person who cannot seem to stop worrying, let this be a reminder – you HAVE THE POWER to train your brain to stop focusing on things you cannot control. Worrying is a natural response we have in life, we worry about a lot of things every day – without even trying! However, worry can get out of hand, & become a problem in our life. Did you know that chronic or excessive worry can lead to mental health issues? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent mental illness in the United States. About 18% of the United States population, which translates to 40 million adults, aged 18 to 54, have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.” A lot of people want to stop worrying, but don’t know how to stop stressing about things they cannot change. One of the reasons we worry too much is because we tend to focus on problems that are beyond our ability to solve, or we hyper-focus on things we cannot control. The question we should ask is,“why do we waste our time on things we cannot change or control?” I do not have a good enough answer to keep putting effort & time into things I cannot change.
Any other control freaks out there like me? I like to have control, even though I don’t like to admit it… Haha, & it drives me crazy when I am dealing with something I feel like I can do nothing about. The feeling that you are helpless or that something is out of your reach – is just so frustrating to me. You may be a person who feels like things are so out of control right now… Most of us can remember a season where we felt completely overrun with what seemed to be out of our control & we felt stuck. What comes to my mind most when talking about what is uncontrollable is: other people – the way they act, behave, think, or even treat you… It can seem so out of our control! But if you want to have a great life & choose to be successful & happy, you must choose to be real about what you can control & what you cannot. Sometimes it can seem like a grey area or confusing thing to focus on… because we cannot always see in a moment what we can control, but the key to doing this is to take responsibility for yourself no matter what. When you cannot control others or even your circumstances, think this – “But what can I control here?” If you place your effort into actions & pay attention to what you can control instead of obsessing on what you cannot, you will discover that you have a lot of power in any situation! Too many of us give our power over to the uncontrollable’s in life, instead of focusing on what we have control over…
Here are some of the things you always have control over:
- Your thoughts
- Your feelings
- Your behaviors
- Your responses & reactions
I used to think that having a lot of goals was good. I thought that being “busy” & trying to get a lot of things done in one day was the best way to be productive. & somehow I usually ended up frustrated, even though I am a very structured & a hard worker. The fact is that YOU ONLY HAVE SO MUCH TIME IN ONE DAY! So, while it is good to want to be a millionaire by tomorrow or get over a life-long issue by tomorrow… or achieve world peace – Haha :). Sometimes it takes one day at a time to get there. That doesn’t mean that you have to make small progress, but I believe with intentional focus – you can actually achieve more in one day than you could before when your focus was divided in all different directions. I used to get VERY frustrated with myself when I didn’t get accomplished all the things I wanted to in a day, & that added up to a month, & then a year… & I looked back & thought “What was I even doing… I GOT NOTHING DONE/ACCOMPLISHED.” I found that I was so focused on the big picture that I forgot to do the small things that added up every day. Sometimes what we want or need to happen – doesn’t take place in some BIG event, but it is actually a collection of events/days/months/or even years. The point here is – WE NEED TO STOP FOCUSING ON A YEAR FROM NOW & THINK ABOUT TODAY! Ask yourself, what matters today that can help you accomplish that thing a year from now!?? We get so stuck on “figuring it all out…” when sometimes it actually takes time & self-discovery. I mean thank God, God gives us time to mature in life & we aren’t expected to act like an adult at 5 years old. Sometimes you are on a specific path & journey that God is leading you down & while you can’t always see the end – you can be faithful today! I think that’s why God reminds us in Matthew 6:34 – “Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.”
Have you stopped to think about what is possible today? You have been reading through all of these ways to improve your life – & you may even be feeling overwhelmed thinking – HOW AM I GOING TO DO ALL OF THIS? Well, I want to encourage you to think about what is possible TODAY. Maybe today you need to breathe more intentionally, or maybe you need to let it go, or focus on what you can control… it will be different for all of us. Because every day has its unique challenges. I wanted to share these 10 things with you, because these are things I struggle with too! It is not easy in the world & time that we live in to remember to intentionally smile & laugh because we have things to do! But what use is it if you get all the things done & you are unhappy in life? Sometimes we just need a reminder – So, here’s yours! Take what you need from this list – or maybe even something not on this list & focus on what is possible for you today. You don’t have to conquer everything or fix it all now… Trust the process, trust your path & just be faithful with what you have been given today!
So, with everything that has been said in this post – I want you to think about ONE ACTION THAT YOU CAN TAKE TODAY, THAT WILL MOVE YOU FORWARD. It will be different for each of us, because we are all unique & when reading this, we will find ourselves in different seasons & facing various issues. So, the point here is that YOU GET TO CHOOSE what is most important to put your effort into – decide what will move you forward based on where you find yourself today! Don’t think about the “right” answer or what you should choose, go with your gut – you know what you need right now better than anyone else because – you are you! 🙂 Often, we tend to choose what we think others would say or what we think should be most important – but that will not help you get where you want to be. What moves one person forward, may not move you forward! & if you are unsure what you need to do, can I suggest that you take a moment & ask God to help you. He knows better than anyone else where you are right now in your mind, heart, life, etc. I believe that you can take ONE step today & look back & be grateful you did because it helped you MOVE FORWARD!
Some of us are in a stressful season & we can think that it is easier to just abdicate our responsibility to take action steps wisely. We make the excuse that we don’t “have the time” or “emotional space” to “GO THERE” – but I would like to suggest to you that YOU CANNOT – NOT TAKE THE TIME to take ACTION ON PURPOSE! One of the things I like to visualize when thinking about choosing to grow in a positive & purposeful direction is weeds. Yes, WEEDS! Growth is inevitable, but positive growth is not! You do not have to go water your weeds for them to grow. You do not need to fertilize them or set them in the right sunlight – A weed will grow wherever it can, & negative things in our life are the same way… they grow by default. This is why I am asking you to take a second to think about the actions you take & make them ON PURPOSE! Because growth will happen in your life whether you like it or not, but not all growth is good. I am not happy about the weeds that overtake the yard at my house & in the same way – I feel the same about the negative ways I have grown in my life, mind, emotions, etc. I have to choose BY DESIGN to grow positive, it doesn’t just happen! Make a choice today – to live & grow by design not default… it will take some effort!
What do you do when you don’t know what else to do? What if you are giving it your all & not getting the kind of life or result that you want? The answer is TURN IT OVER TO GOD! You are not meant to carry burdens, heaviness, or even hurt that is beyond what you can handle. Today maybe God wants to remind you that He is the one that carries our burdens. & the more we try to do His job, the more stressful life is going to get for you… because you are carrying something you were never meant to. In Psalm 55:22 we are reminded to, “Turn your burdens over to the LORD, & he will take care of you.” Also, in Luke 12:25 it tells us, “& which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Worry, fear, anxiety – do nothing good for us… But the Bible says in Psalm 3:3 – “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” It can be so tempting in the minutia of life to forget WHO GOD IS in our life! We don’t need to figure it all out or have the answers… All God wants us to do is what we can – He will take care of what we cannot. What does that mean? It looks like being faithful to what you have been entrusted with: your family, your job, your money, your body, your attitude, your life, your responses… & I love God’s reminder to us about who He is no matter what we do, 2 Timothy 2:13 – “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown himself.” No matter what we do or how we act, God does not change who He is!