Faith, Intentional Living

Stepping Out

In every life there are seasons, some are harder than others.  In some seasons you can see dreams and you can see progress and somehow that is where life now finds me.  As always though when it comes to seeing progress and seeing dreams, that does not mean that things will be easy.  There is always a cost, sometimes a small one, sometimes a bigger one.  Currently the cost is leaving my comfort zone to reach into the unknown.  Those of you who know me know that I love routine, and I am not a huge fan of change.

I find that sometimes my obedience is delayed because of this.  Sometimes the risk of failure appears so big, fears and insecurities speak so loudly, that I resist.  I find excuses, I delay, but eventually I always end up at that point of surrender.  The struggles are real, and I fight with it a long time.  The insecurities can eat a person alive if you are not careful.  But there is something that is bigger, something that outweighs all the problems. That something is knowing that if this is Gods plan then the battle has been won.

This past weekend I was able to attend the Beth Moore Simulcast at our church.  It amazed me how much she spoke to my current circumstances.  It served as a great reminder to me of what really defines me, and what does not.  I want to share with you a declaration that she shared with us, but since I do not have permission to share her image you will need to visit her Identity Declaration.

 

God has changed my heart lately and after fighting it for almost a year, I have agreed to lead a small bible study group for women.  A friend from church was willing to host it for me.  For some of you this may seem like nothing, but for someone who has struggled in the past with social anxiety disorder and is an introvert, it’s kind of huge.  The group is only 6-7 people.  But that makes it perfect sized for me.  Not only has God handpicked these women, but He has been in every detail.  I came away from the first meeting amazed and greatly blessed.

I see how God can use this for the bigger vision that He has said I can do.  But more I see Him creating in me a heart for community.  I have never desired to spend time around others, yet I find myself making time to meet with people.  I am learning that in this world with so many people hurting that community is one thing that many people have neglected.  I know that I have never really made time for meeting with others, and have rarely been invited to do so.  Now though it seems that God may use my loneliness, and this new desire for people to draw me into the community that He created us for.

It is a coming out of my comfort zones, but I have never been more blessed.

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Intentional Living

Boundaries Regarding Technology

Rude, Cellphone

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

As I look around lately I can’t help but see that we have become a very rude society.  People sit together but they don’t talk to one another and they barely look at one another.  It is sad really.  We were created to be in community together, that was by Gods design.  Yet many people are so caught up in technology that they will not lay it down for face to face contact.

I’m not sure when we moved from technology as a helpful tool to letting it control every aspect of our lives.  This is something that I noticed greatly when I did not have my cell phone.  I would try to interact with people in the break room, but many people either did not hear me or they outright ignored me because they were more interested in what was happening online.  It is really sad that we have forsaken His design for something that alienates us further from that which is helpful and good for us.

I am currently spending a lot of time giving myself space so that I can pull back from the social media, and from blogging a bit, just so that I can reconnect with people in real life.  I had taken a small fast from all social media, but now I am trying to work on allowing myself to check it on occasion, but keeping it in moderation.  Instead I am making plans to meet face to face with friends, and spending more time in the Word and with Jesus, the greatest friend that we will ever have.

Do you find yourself with many plans throughout the day and then at the end of the day wondering if you even accomplished anything at all, even though you know that you spent hours online? I know that before I returned to work I did.  In fact, even after I started working I was struggling to balance my online activities and responsibilities with my need for rest, and my need for being in the Word.  I found that I simply could not find time for everything that I had done before.  After admitting defeat, I had to simply stop from everything that was not necessary.  While I was seeking rest, I also was seeking Him, and I prayed about what I really needed to be doing.  I find that I am still very much in the refining process and I do not have it together yet.  I may end up giving up social media again if I find moderation too hard to do.  But what I learned was invaluable.  Spending more time in the presence of the Lord has blessed me beyond what words can say, and honestly it is not worth it to me any longer to waste time that I could better spend with Him.

Relationships are blooming and I find that mostly I am fine without being on Facebook or Twitter regularly.  In fact, my time spent laughing and sharing face to face is irreplaceable.  I long for more community and I am so thankful that I let myself get so exhausted that stopping life as I knew it before was necessary.  I am falling more and more in love with the Word, and I feel more refreshed than I have in a long time.  I encourage you to give yourself the chance to step away from technology and begin to enjoy life as it was meant to be lived!

Do you feel that technology has made us rude?

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Faith, Sharing

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days {Review}

Whatyourheartneedsfortheharddays

 

This book is a balm for the soul!  Once you open the pages it feels just like you are sitting across from a dear friend receiving life-giving encouragement that uplifts and points back to God.  I love the way Holley Gerth writes just as I imagine she would talk in person.  She brings life to her books and then it is as if she sees straight into your own heart. This book is 52 days worth of devotions, I can’t wait for Holley to write one for 365 days.  I can tell that this will quickly be a favorite and may well be read many times throughout the year!

Holley will be hosting a face(book) club for her new book, What Your Heart Needs For the Hard Days! You can read about it on her blog at : http://holleygerth.com/heart-needs-hard-days and to join all you have to do is “like” her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HolleyGerthPage

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Reads Blog Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Sharing

The Hard Times

Sometimes it is hard to write.  The words just don’t seem to come as easily when you find yourself in the midst of a struggle and begin to search within.  I find my life these days in a constant state of change. In all the uncertainty I cling tightly to the fact that I am never alone and that God already has the victory. I am being reshaped and refined and it is uncomfortable, but necessary. However I am choosing to use this as a chance to redefine myself in some ways.

Currently I am keeping a close watch on my perspectives and trying not to fall back in old habits. I am also reevaluating how I spend my time and what, if anything, I do really has an internal impact. This season is challenging, but grown folk, gotta grow up. I am determined to grow up in every way. I am trying to make better choices and better handle my finances. This time I want to have money for bills, giving and spending, as well as saving for Congo. I have never paid so much attention to my money before, but it does make me feel more responsible as I try to keep a budget and save money. It feels great to be working again, even in the midst of uncertainty about the plant closing in a few years. I have seen growth in how I am handling things on the job.

Another thing I find frustrating in the paradoxes I am seeing in my life; on one hand growth and change, on the other, sins and habits to overcome; wanting newer things and wanting money to give to worthy causes and save; wanting to save money for Congo, and wanting a place of my own.

I am seeking God for direction on these things. Even as I surrender to this process I find it very unsettling and I am thankful that I do not need to face this alone. In this process I realized that I am to step out and lead a small Bible study group.  While this excites me, it has me also facing some insecurities.  I also find that the lies from the Evil one are coming against me full force, because I chose to move forward.

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Awareness, Mental Health

An Education on Depression: It doesn’t have a look

Depression

I know by now you have probably heard about the death of Robin Williams. Coincidentally this happened the very night that I decided to take a break from social media and blogging. In a sense I struggled with my resolve, because his death brings talking about depression to the front of people’s minds. This gives me an opportunity to share. Yet I stuck to my commitment to fast. So I have resorted to writing this post old school style and I will post it on my return.

Like always hearing of someone losing their battle with depression gets me to thinking, sometimes this is a good thing and other times not such a good thing. I was thinking what an opportunity for the church to begin to educate people on depression and how it is okay to seek help. While I pondered different ways for someone else to do this, it occurred to me that there is a lot of people who just don’t know about depression.  I will not present a list of signs and symptoms, because you can Google that, instead I want to share based on my personal experiences.

Depression

For people who have never experienced depression, many of you probably have the worst case scenario in your heads. I know that growing up and being totally uneducated on depression I thought it described the person who was always sad, crying, no control over their emotions, the one who was always in the counselors office and always had massive drama. I never realized that depression does not have a look, and it could happen to anybody.

I want to share something a little closer to what I have seen to be the truth.

  1. Depression does not always look like what you see on TV
  2. Depression is no respecter of persons
  3. Depression rarely comes on you all at once. In fact, I would have to compare depression to sin. Often when we begin to sin, it is not something we set out to do. Instead it is more like a slow fade from what we know to do, and before you know it you wonder how you got so far off course. In many ways depression is the same you don’t see it coming, it sneaks up on you and sometimes you fail to see it until it is too late.
  4. Not every case of depression equals a crisis

My Past

For each person the signs and symptoms may vary. But, reflecting on my past I have to admit I never thought I was depressed. Many people labelled me as a happy child, and I would have not said otherwise. In the early days of what I now know was depression, I would not have said that I was upset or sad about anything.

As a child I was always different kind of did my thing. Over time though I would often notice a nagging sense of dissatisfaction yet I could never pinpoint a reason. It just felt like there had to be more than this. You would not have known it to see me though. I wore a smile like most women wear makeup and even today that remains mostly true.

As I aged this sense of dissatisfaction was not the only sign though, although I didn’t know enough to notice. I got up and did as I was expected to do, followed my routine, but often it felt like I was going through the motions. I wasn’t really happy, yet I was not unhappy either. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I started to notice problems with not being happy, dissatisfaction that would not go away, isolating from others, problems being around others, and right before I sought help problems with comprehension, feeling worthless, irritable, feeling nothing has meaning, no motivation.

Initially I wanted help because I couldn’t handle being around people without being nervous and shaky, I thought it would be social anxiety disorder but they insisted that I had depression. Even now after battling depression for years, a person must remain ever alert to your personal warning signs or you can be caught unaware by an episode of depression.

The thing is many symptoms are things everyone experiences at some time or another. The problems arise when it is uncontrolled and persistent symptoms. Some common symptoms that I know everyone has sometimes are:

  • Feeling oversensitive
  • Irrational responses
  • Being needy
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Racing thoughts
  • Negativity

As you can see some symptoms are pretty common, while others like thoughts of suicide are not something someone who is not depressed, or in that stage of depression would face. Some people still argue about whether medications are necessary in really treating depression. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that they made a huge difference towards getting me to a place where I could function or be happy.

I shared recently that I had come off of my medications. I made it 11 weeks without medications before I began to see warning signs, so I chose to go back on the medication. There is no shame in being on medications and there is no shame in seeking professional counseling.

If you feel like you could be suffering from depression or another mental health problem, please seek help so that you can get back to living the life you were meant to live.

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Fruits VS Works

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