Fear Has a Really Big Mouth!

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message…

I often try to quiet fear by pretending it doesn’t exist. Clever… I know. But alas, it does exist and that’s not always a bad thing. To the contrary, it can actually keep us safe in proper context. When my house was struck by lightning and lit with fire, fear sounded an emotional alarm, insisting that I escape – and fast. In this instance, fear was good. It kept me safe.

In many instances, however, fear is not good.

I’ve found that while it’s natural to be afraid at times – human, even – it’s best to not allow feelings of fear to consume and control large spaces of real estate in my heart. David handles the intersection of his fear and faith nicely.

In Psalm 56, captured by the Philistines in Gath, and in Psalm 57, hiding in a cave to escape the pursuit of Saul, David sifted through honest feelings of vulnerability and desperation. I imagine his reality was one of shaky hands, pulse raging wild and brows soaked in sweat. Yet fear was silenced as he made the powerful decision to redirect his emotions toward a more productive, more faith-filled response when David chose to trust God.

By choosing to trust God in the hiding and in the chains, David’s fear shifted to faith.

Faith shuts the mouth of fear.

“When I am afraid, I will trust you.” (Psalm 56:3, CSB)

“You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8-9, CSB)

These weren’t just flippant statements or memorized verses.

These were sturdy declarations.

Deliberate choices made by a deeply determined worshiper. The kind of choices that change and calm a frantic heart. The kind of choices that speak peace to anxiousness. The kind of choices we can make when we’re afraid. The kind of choice we can make when fear screams loud within.

Bring it.

Fear is a liar.

We can choose faith, knowing God is for us.

Decision made.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

In God’s Waiting Room

 

Thank you Rachel Wojo for today’s message…

I have a confession to make. I’m terrible at waiting. Whether in a doctor’s office waiting room, parent pickup line, or restaurant waiting area, I strategize ways to wait the least amount of time.

If you can use an app and wait less time than standing in line? I use it. If you can order ahead and potentially wait less time? I do it. Now I realize that this is not all bad; I certainly don’t want everything in life to be a journey. But what if the desire for instant gratification is so strong that it makes me miss important parts of growth and relationship?

At some points in my life, I’ve felt like I was sitting in God’s waiting room. Oh, I know; there were no magazines and no chairs. But for reasons unknown to me, I was waiting on God. To send answers. To open an opportunity. To create a new situation.  Whatever the circumstance, it was outside my control and I felt tempted to stomp my foot like a toddler. I sometimes felt tempted to try to make a change without God’s help. Have you ever sat in God’s waiting room? I know you have.

Why does God place us there? While I’m still learning how to wait patiently on God, I’ve combed the Word for hints on embracing this concept. One of those hints is that God wants to prepare us for the answer.

If I gave my 13-year-old son a car for his birthday this year, what would happen? Most likely something horrible since he’s not qualified to drive a car. He hasn’t taken a single driving lesson. He doesn’t know how the equipment functions. He barely understands how to unlock and start the car. My son would have to wait to truly unwrap that gift because he’s just not ready for it.

God alone knows when we are ready for the answer for which we are waiting. He wants us to be equipped for the answer He is providing. He knows that catastrophe could lie ahead if we move on without preparation. He knows how hard it would be to sit and stare at the answer while we continue to work on our qualifications.

Today’s verse provides the encouragement we need to keep going through the waiting period. So often our focus is either on the wait or the result we desire. But while our focus is on the wait, God’s focus is on the work. Be strong and courageous, Friend. God will provide the answers in his perfect timing.

When we begin to view life from a faith-filled perspective, we can look back over the course of the journey and realize that God was there all along. We  weren’t waiting for no reason! Spiritual hindsight comes as we adjust our lenses to see as God sees. Although we can’t see things to come, we recognize that just as God had a purpose for the wait in the past, so can He be trusted with the future.

Perhaps today you are waiting on God to provide a new job, heal a sickness, or mend a broken relationship. The journey has been long, and you are flat-out tired of waiting. Take heart. The God who loves you beyond measure is right there with you in your wait. He longs to provide the strength you need to keep from barging ahead on your own. He has not left you alone in the wait.

What we perceive as waiting on God is actually his wooing. He longs to draw you close and equip you well.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Decision Does Every Successful Woman Make?

Fearless. It’s a frequently used word. We’re told to be fearless. It is something we aim for, right?  But what does it really mean?  According to Webster it is to have a “lack fear”.  And fear is defined as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat“.  Is being fearless really what we want tor need in order to succeed?  Many say fearlessness is a myth.  The truth is if you want to succeed and have a more fulfilling life, you need to be brave – NOT fearless.

Brave and courage are synonymous…. Courage is my word for this year.  Think about it…

If your heart gets broken, you become afraid to open it to the possibility of love, right?  Isn’t courage which gives you the hope to love again.

When you get burned out in your career (or your business) and you dream something better is possible, isn’t it courage which empowers you to try something new.

When you’ve made poor money decisions, have credit card debt or are blindsided financially and have to start over, it takes courage to believe it’s possible, right?

Over the last month, I have had the courage to make some major changes in my life.  They all actually started in some way about 8 months ago but I have had the courage to face some things head on this month.  I started opening up about my past mistakes to others without fear of judgement.  I am only as sick as my secrets and I don’t want to be sick anymore.  I see the glimmer of hope as my creative juices start to flow again – ready to venture into doing more of my angel side hustle.  I have revamped my budget and am keeping tight reins on my spending.  I am willing to accept suggestions on how to run my business from those who have a more experience instead of hiding in fear.  I am willing to accept and embrace my MS and the changes it has caused me to make in my life – facing the limitations with courage instead of allowing fear of what I am losing take over.

Do I still have hurdles to climb?  YES!  Do I still struggle with fear?  YES!  The inner gremlins of pride, comparison and worrying what people think play with my thoughts.  Each day I gain a little bit more courage which translates into a little bit more peace in my life.

No matter what your challenges or dreams are, you will face obstacles causing doubt and fear to rise up.  Those inner gremlins you thought were long buried or even gone will raise their head and feel revived when they sense even just a wisp of doubt.  The difference can be every single time YOU can make the decision to choose courage. Even if your first response isn’t courage (yup, it happens sometimes), your second response can be. Over and over again, if we are going to live authentic, full lives, we must choose courage.

Today, I challenge you to repeat this simple mantra when you are struggling – :“I choose courage over fear.”  Some days, I use the Serenity Prayer multiple times to keep me on track.  What situation or area of your life do you need to choose courage over fear right now?  Share it with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Ready to Quit?

We are coming to the end of  a “J month”…. one of those months when people don’t typically spend.  It includes June and July too.  I’m grateful Thirty One set us up for success with an AMAZING outlet sale at the beginning of the month.  Did I have incredible sales?  NO!  Did I beat last year’s numbers?  NO!  Did I panic and think about quitting?  NO!  I didn’t but some on my team did – they saw incredible success during the holiday selling season and in just 2 short weeks, they were ready to throw in the towel.

Whether you are in direct sales or have your own business there are times you may have felt like everything is going against you? You tried everything and nothing worked, right?  Maybe instead of your business growing, your business (and your confidence) was shrinking?  Been there, done that and got the t-shirt!  Have you ever wondered why you’re doing this at all?  Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and calling it quits?

Believe it or not, you aren’t alone. I have felt the same way over the past 8 years and especially when health issues flared up.  I’ve been self-employed (only income) for 2 plus years.  It has its highs and lows but even when I feel like quitting, I know things will even out, settle down and start working again if I simply hang on.

How do I know?  Because I’ve seen it work the same way time and time again, for myself and for others.   I have faith in the foundation I laid in my business.  I know there is no success without failure, no confidence without fear and no rewards without sacrifice. It’s part of the process.  Do I still have fear and doubt?  Absolutely!  Honestly, it is one of the reasons for my word this year is “COURAGE”!   As difficult as it is, we need to learn to trust the process,  growing through our difficulties instead of giving up.

Here are 4 things I have learned about working through difficult times in your business (and life):

1. Take a step back and rest. When I am feeling overwhelmed and like nothing is going right, I simply take a step back.  Crazy, right?  It is usually a key sign I need to give myself some space and time to rest, renew and refresh.  Despite our best efforts, we can’t pour from an empty cup.  We have to take care of ourself first before we can take care of our business and others.  The “people pleasing” me wants to help everyone so I definitely struggle with this concept.  When things are the toughest or we are smack in the middle of a difficult situation, all we can see is what is in front of us.  We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  So, when it happens – take a short break. I have found when I take a step back and get out of the mix, I can actually see the bigger picture.  The creative side kicks in with new ideas and a glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel.  .

2. Go back to your vision & your why.  One of the worst parts of my MS is not remembering – not only do I not have memories of important times in my life BUT I tend to forget my “why” or have a link to the emotional aspect of it.  The truth is, when you take your eyes off your why, your vision or your goals, you’ll start to get off track and before you know it, end up in a ditch of despair.  Revisit your vision, if it doesn’t resonate anymore, create a new vision board, new goals and a new plan for success. Take some time to write out your 30 day or 90 day or 12 month vision for your life and business. Reconnect with what makes you feel excited and passionate and purposeful.  Keep focusing on your goals, don’t look in any direction but straight ahead.

3. Get out of your head and get into momentum.  “Inaction breeds doubt and fear while action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie   After you take a break and refocus on your vision, take action. Don’t overthink the action you take.  Yup, that’s me.  I want to overthink EVERYTHING.  Or I should say, I want to fix, manage and control everything.  It is a real internal battle for me some days to do something positive to move my business forward.  When I’m struggling, I focus on an area which comes easy to me, one I enjoy and can get some quick results and wins (sales) with.   Why start there?  With a sense of accomplishment, you get the momentum going so you feel more positive about your business.

4. Reach out for help and support.  I need to practice what I say instead of what I do….I’m learning AGAIN to reach out and ask for help.  Another lesson as a result of my relapse.  Everything feels worse when we try to handle it by ourselves. Always being expected to be the “rock” clouded my thinking and often causes me not to reach out for help.  The truth is we don’t have to go through the tough times alone. Reach out to a team member, your up-line, a fellow direct sales sister, a friend, or a family member.  Despite those nasty inner gremlins, we are not the only person to have struggles and it doesn’t make us any more brave to try to get through it by ourself. Be willing to accept support, encouragement and help. In doing so you can make some great connections, friends and accountability partners. You will also realize others go through the same struggles, so you will be able to learn and gain confidence from their experiences.

You aren’t alone. We are all on the same journey, just at different places with different stumbling blocks and paths we are going down. Keep going because there are brighter days ahead.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The Solution to Restlessness


Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message….

Truly my soul finds rest in God. ~ Psalm 62:1

 

Cammie is a children’s ministry director at her church. One day, as she was preparing for the lesson she would teach on Sunday morning, she had an idea for a fun illustration that would require a few props. She asked her four-year-old daughter to help.

“Hey, Taylor! Can you please bring me a few of the Fisher Price people from your dollhouse?”

This reply came from her preschooler who was sitting across the room…

“No, Mom. They just want to chill out. They’ve had a long day.”

So funny… yet so not funny.

My word, people! When our children’s toys need a break, you know that it’s time for you and me to hit the pause button. And, truth be told, I live smack dab in the messy middle of this tension.

The Old Testament indicates that David lived in the messy middle of it too. The Bible says that the Lord made David take a break. Yes. He made him do it. Look: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Hemakes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3, emphasis mine)

I love the way Psalm 23 verse 3 is paraphrased in The Message, “True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”

Yes. Please.

This is the desire of my heart. That I can catch my breath and be sent in the right direction by a loving God who knows what is best.

So, I – you – we have to be intentional. Life comes at us fast. If we are not careful, the dizzy pace at which we live can unwittingly become our weakness and demise.

I know you know this. I do too and yet somehow it still trips us up.

So what’s a woman to do?

Let’s keep it real here; we have obligations. We have families, jobs, friends, communities, and churches that need us. And though this will look different for each of us in the many seasons of life, our people depend on us a ton. They should. God tells us to put our faith into action (James 2). And we must. We must mobilize the hope we have in Christ. Serve. Show love. Feed the hungry. Minister to the widows and orphans. Yes. We must be women of action.

The Bible gives a clear and compelling teaching, however, about this life-pace topic that establishes our first call to action must be focused on the Lord himself! This get-with-Jesus business is the key to us experiencing the maximum abundance that God has in store for every believer.

What it all boils down to is this: God’s BEST requires REST.

So simple… Yet so complicated.

It was Augustine who wrote, “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”

Let me take this one step further by breaking down what the Word of God shows us about this very thing. When we rest in the presence of God, He restores our souls. Rest is the central ingredient in the restoration we all desperately need. Just look at the first four letters of the word!

Today (and in part two of this devotion) we are going to break down R.E.S.T. as an acronym and take a walk through Scripture to see just how God’s best for you is fueled by this discipline.

R.E.S.T. {Reflect. Engage. Surrender. Trust}

It all begins with reflection. There are two parts to this: reflecting ON God and allowing the Spirit of God to work within us so that we become better reflections OF God.

REFLECT on GOD:

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago I will meditate on all Your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:11-12)

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.” (Psalm 143:5-6)

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

REFLECT GOD:

“Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect Your principles!” (Psalm 119:5, NLT)

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is Spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

Meaningful reflection leads to the soul rest we long for.

Today let this truth sink in deep: when you reflect on God, you better reflect God.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!