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!

Are Emotions Ruling Your Decisions?

We have all done it, right?  Let emotions rule our decisions.  I am sure there are more time than I can remember where I made impulse decisions based on how I was feeling instead of thinking them through.

When we make an important decision at the height of an emotional state – whether we are angry or ecstatic, frustrated or giddy – can lead to decisions you regret.  How about the shopping spree when you were feeling down?  Or the eating binge? Or maybe you left a job after a bad review or incident?

Emotions are powerful. Sometimes they are positive and sometimes they are negative, but they always have the power to move us into action.

I have to admit, I take action more often when the emotions are uncomfortable – like fear or anger or frustration.  The end result was to always get rid of the feeling.  Yup, stuffing feelings lead me to my addiction and then to my relapse so many years later.  Those inner gremlins reared their ugly head and made me feel less than in so many ways.  They compared me to what others were doing in similar situations (or so I thought).  The end result was some really bad decisions leading to credit card debt and more negative feelings.

Emotions can  be brought on by the circumstances and events in your life, or by the manipulative behavior of a particular person in your life.  The key is to take notice when you feel pressure to make an important decision in the midst of strong emotion. Is it easy – NO!  The pressure of our emotions is strong.  It allows those inner gremlins we thought we had dealt with so many years ago to gain some strength.  Emotions or stuffing them, allows old behaviors to come back creating more of a mess.

The next time you feel pressured by your emotions, I want you to do something different…

That’s right. Do absolutely nothing. I know it is scary – trust me, I have been there more times than I can count lately.  Let yourself feel uncomfortable, afraid, angry, sad – and don’t make a decision or take an action. Just sit with the emotion.  No, I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little).  Talk it out with someone BEFORE you make the decision.  Over the last eight months, I’m grateful to have found a group of like minded people who help me through the emotions BEFORE I make a decision.  I hate asking for help.  I mean at 61 you would think I could make them on my own.  The truth is I can’t….

We need to embrace the idea that your emotions don’t have to rule. The are not facts they are feelings.  Emotions can actually teach you something. What message is your emotions sending you? What can you learn? And when would be a better time for you to make a decision or take action?

I’m a person who seeks instant gratification.  I hate feeling uncomfortable.  I don’t like people to see me being emotional so I stuff feelings which doesn’t make for good decision making either.  Do you stuff your emotions or do you share them?

The reality is – it is oaky to be emotional. It’s natural. Just don’t let your emotions think for you. Slow down. Take a breath. Be wise.  Remember emotions are not facts!

Today, I challenge you to not let your emotions rule your actions. STOP! Be still. Hold off on making a decision until you are less emotional. When we are emotional, we fell the NEED to make a decision immediately to get rid of the feelings.  But, what would happen if you refused to make a decision or take action in the midst of high emotions?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Happy ThirtyOne Anniversary

 

Happy 8th Thirty One Anniversary to ME!!!!

I can’t believe eight years ago today, I started this journey.  For many, staying 8 years at a job, any job, is amazing!  I will admit in my own life, before recovery, I jumped from job to job always looking to make more money.  More money equaled prestige, a title and deep down allowed me to bury my lack of confidence a little further.  It wasn’t until I entered recovery the first time, I started to see happiness was more than just about the money, it was about making a difference.

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot, trying to remember life 8 years ago.  2011 was a crazy time – I got married to the love of my life after a 9 year engagement, I left a job I loved because of commuting and health issues and my relapse took on a life of its own.

Why am I talking about all of this?  As I mark my eighth anniversary with Thirty One I realize the difference it has made in my life.  Despite the many times I thought about quitting because I wasn’t “as good as” or “didn’t have a good month” or “didn’t earn the leadership trip” or any of the other comparisons/excuses I made – I stuck with it.  God had a plan and even through my relapse, I felt it. For those who don’t know my Thirty One story, here it is.  Did I remember it myself?  NO!  I’m grateful for blogging because it helps me to remember.

Here is how the story goes…..

See, the truth is I joined Thirty One in 2009 and didn’t do much with it.  Yup, I was a kitknapper. I had a few sales but nothing much and it wasn’t long before I went inactive.

I can’t remember exactly how or why it all happened – God had a plan.  I started following Hope Shortt on Facebook and I read her story.  On February 7th, 2011, I talked with her and told her I wanted to join her Thirty One team. She asked me “what my why” was?  Kind of the standard question when someone joins your team…

I was nervous and being a “people pleasing person” I told her I wanted to earn some extra money.  I had a good job – Chief Operating Officer for a non-profit and who had time for much of anything else.  BUT the truth was, deep down I had a big dream but fear and doubt crept in along with Negative Nellie so I stuffed it down deep.  I started sharing the products at vendor/craft shows, not wanting to do home parties and really not interested in having a team.   Recruiting wasn’t an option because I joined the day before the FREEZE. No, not the weather although it was cold; Thirty One froze enrollment because they were growing so fast.  I was relieved. I had been doing craft/ vendor shows for over 20 years, so it was going to be easy.  Hope listened and said she would be there to help when I needed her. No pressure just support and kindness.2014-08-09-18-17-48-4

So started my journey with Thirty One.  I did LOTS of vendor events. Fear and doubt kept me company.   I didn’t have much confidence – I know amazing, right?    This was so far out of my comfort zone.  I was a grant writer and social worker, what did I know about sales.  I had several failed attempts at my own business so what was I thinking?

My first TWO potential recruits came during the “freeze”.  I was honest with them,  I was going to be learning along with them. Believe it or not, they still joined as soon as the freeze lifted and quickly qualified with $1,000 in sales.  I was now a Senior Consultant and in Leadership. YIKES!  I wasn’t sure what it meant but it was okay.  I was having fun and slowly building confidence.  Then my first home office lead wanted a HOME PARTY! Panic set in… it was someone I didn’t know and I was clueless.  I stumbled my way through it – no additional parties bookedbut I had sales and it was kind of fun.

My FIRST Thirty One National Conference was August of 2012.  It was there I set a goal and decided to write my dream on paper – I was going for Leadership. The goal was to be Director BEFORE National Conference 2013. The stats say those who go to national conference earn more – TRUE! Those who go to national conference – PROMOTE – TRUE! In October, 2012 I was a Director in Qualification and in January 2013, I earned my $1,000 Director Bonus.  I had gained confidence as a consultant but being a Director brought new fears and challenges.

At National Conference 2013, I was joined by my daughter and members of the Rays of Hope Team. I walked across stage and was CELEBRATED as a NEW Thirty One Director. Tears of joy flowed freely all weekend and continue each time I think back to the moment.  Hope Shortt, my Senior Executive Director, hugged me on stage.   It is weird, the MS has stolen the memory but the emotion of walking across the stage stays with me bringing me to tears each time I think of it.

Since then my why has changed so much.  I no longer work full-time due to health reasons.  We rely on my Thirty One business as the second income in the house.  It pays my credit card debt as a result of my relapse as well as some standard household bills (groceries, cell phone, cable and meals out).  It allows me to work from home as I struggle with my MS.

I struggle with my “why” and learning to DREAM BIG. I still get nervous before a Home party.  I struggle with personal development and fighting my haunting inner gremlins as processing thoughts are difficult most days.  I am blessed with a sisterhood across the country who helps me when I am struggling, who celebrates with me and who encourages me when I struggle.   My team inspires me everyday.  They accept me for who I am and have helped me to learn to love me for me.

One of the biggest blessings is the support from the Pink Bubble Warriors.  A group of Thirty One sisters with chronic diseases.  Together we inspire each other.  I gained some of my confidence back which was lost in HIGH SCHOOL. Yes, I earn FREE products! Yes, I earn a commission check every two weeks!  Yes, I found a sisterhood I didn’t know existed in my Thirty One sisters! Yes, I have grown in my walk with God, learning to trust and believe his will will be done in my business!  The benefits have definitely outweighed the negatives of those rough months.

This past year has been a true struggle – accepting my relapse, and the need for a twelve step recovery program to help fight the demons in my life.  It is the result of vision casting with the Beacon of Hope Team (my upline’s team) which has helped me to focus on my why again.  To Make a Difference in as many lives as possible while becoming debt free – is what keeps me going every day.  It can be a little act of kindness with happy mail or a hug to delivering a welcome basket to a new single mom moving into her forever home.  It is those things which keep me going when I am not sure what to do.

A $99 pink box eight years ago, CHANGED MY LIFE. Could it be the thing which changes yours? 

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do You Downsize Your Dream?

Do you have BIG dreams? The kind which scare you and make you wonder if they are even possible…

Do you dream BIG for a moment and before the thought even finishes, you have found 100 different reasons it won’t happen?

There was a time (pre-MS brain fog) when I would DREAM BIG of having my own business where I was financially stable (no debt) , I could make my own hours and do what I wanted, when I wanted.  The dream soon became reality – or at least a little bit.  I have my own business where I make my own hours and am slowly becoming debt-free but I have downsized those dreams.

WHY?

For me, it is more about health issues.  I dreamed of promoting in Thirty One, of being part of the Gives Council BUT over the last year or so, I have begun to accept some things.  Traveling is more difficult.  Processing thoughts is a struggle most days.  My memory is just not what it used to be.  Some would say I settled.  Others would say I am realistic.  I am happy where I am, enjoying the moment.

Do You Dream BIG?

The truth is most people downsize their dreams out of fear. Fear of criticism. Fear of failure. Fear of success and doubts about whether they can keep it up. It’s risky to dream big. The truth is, the real risk is living small. It’s getting to the end of your life and realizing so much more was possible, if only you had been willing to listen to – and pursue – the desires of your heart.

What’s your real dream? Not the dream you’ve downsized so it feels more manageable, but the true desire of your heart. Too often, we surrender to fear and settle for something less than what we really want. We even try to convince ourselves we don’t want what we want. But it’s useless. You can try to bury your dream, but it doesn’t mean it will die.

One of the most powerful decisions successful women make is this:

I do not downsize my dream.

Whether it is a vision of being debt-free and financially independent or a career calling you or a fitness goal – be bold enough to declare your real dream and go after it. Persist. Do the hard work. Be willing to face disapproval or the criticism of others. In doing so, you will be true to yourself and set the stage for creating a life which is an authentic adventure of meaningful experiences.

Don’t judge other’s dreams or even when they change their dreams.  Don’t compare yourself to others if you have similar dreams or goals.  These are the thoughts which will keep you dreaming small or not dreaming at all.  They will keep you from living the life you were meant to have.

What is YOUR big dream?  Share it with us.  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!