Does Your Light Shine?

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Happiness is derived from helping others, making a difference, and serving the world in your own unique way.  For me, I try to do it by helping those who are struggling.

No matter what your purpose is, let your underlying mission be to “live your life in a way people say  “There’s something different about them and I want to feel the same peace, joy, and love in my own life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Here are five ways you can share this idea:

1. Look for ways to be a blessing.

Letting your light shine means letting all the good within you come out. In a world full of negativity, you will be amazed at the light which enters your world when you do something good.  It is like a burst of fresh air. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Find ways to be a blessing to others with simple random acts of kindness.  It can be as easy as a “thank you” or holding the door for someone, or paying for someone’s coffee.  It can be for someone you know or someone you don’t know – either way, your light with shine.

2. Refuse to be judgmental.

One of the fastest ways to turn people away from God is to judge them. And sometimes we do it without even realizing it.  Have you heard the saying “hate the act not the person”?  Basically, we can acknowledge a person has done wrong without condemning them for it.  We are all sinners and fall short every day.   We have all done things we need to be forgiven for, and by grace the grace of God,  we have received forgiveness.  Choose to pray for those you feel tempted to judge – not always an easy thing to do. Embrace and support others when they are trying to do better. .

3. Speak up for what is just.

Speak up for what is just—not right. Do you confuse being right with doing right? I know I have.  We should really be focusing more on doing right. No matter what, especially during conflict, it’s essential you treat people justly. Ensure those who cross your path are better off because they encountered you.  When in a situation where others are being cheated, disrespected, or done a disservice, let your light shine and speak up. Don’t ATTACK but do it in a direct, calm, straightforward, and nonjudgmental manner.  It may not always be easy but it is important to do.

4. Let go of the desire to fit in.

This is probably the toughest thing for this “people pleaser”.  Letting our light shine when we feel the need to fit in everywhere you go, is probably the hardest thing for me.  I am learning a simple smile, talking kindly to people can make all of the difference in the world.  When we are more concerned about being an instrument of truth and love rather than fitting in, our light will shine.

5. Don’t hide your spiritual life.

Do you have a relationship with God but pretend publicly he is not central in your life?  If God is an important part of who you are, why would you keep it to yourself?  Does it have something to do with fitting in?  I don’t mean you need to have a Bible on your desk or quote scripture all of the time. When an opportunity comes up  to share where your strength comes from or how blessed you are, be honest.  Your faith is a part of who you are. When you free yourself to be who you are, you also free others to be who they truly are.  You will also stop trying to please the world.

8330AB52.jpgHas your light dimmed in today’s crazy world?  I challenge you this week to find one way to share your light with the world.  Share how you did it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Give Yourself Permission to Make a Change

 

Change – it’s not something which is easy for me – or most people.  I am again learning how I can’t change the past, I can’t go back an get a new beginning.  BUT what I can do is start a new start today and make a new ending.

At the ripe old age of 61 with MS kicking my butt a lot of days, I wonder if it is to late to make changes.  I think back to the many changes I made in my career – I started out looking at law school to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves, then it was off to Atlantic City to work in the hotel/casinos.  As my addiction progressed and finally sent me to my knees, a new passion emerged and my life as a social worker was born.  A career I would not change for the world.  I learned so much and it gave me a chance to make difference in the lives of others.  I know I am squirreling…..

How often have you asked yourself if it is too late to change careers and pursue something you are  more passionate about.  The truth is “It’s never too late,”!  If you feel led in a new direction, make a plan to transition and go for it!

Whether you are in your twenties, or  in your sixties — it is never too late.  Life is too short to settle and be unhappy.  So whether you want to change jobs, save a relationship or start planning for retirement – DO IT!  I know, easier said then done, right?

The first thing you need to do is LET GO of the idea it’s too late to change the course of your life.  Stop comparing yourself to others and where they are.  Give up the shoulda, coulda and woulda.  The world pressures us to believe everything has to happen in a certain time frame, and when we want to go a different route, FEAR steps in.  It can feel as though it is “against the rules” to follow a path outside the norm.  Who is to say what the “norm” is?   Fear will keep you stuck where you are, thinking it is wrong to change your mind about what you want in life. God will often lead you in a new direction when you have learned all you were supposed to learn at a particular stage of your life.  Have you learned everything you could for your current stage of life?

Our experiences develop us into a unique person and our path doesn’t look like anyone else’s and it shouldn’t. Believe it or not, the mistakes you’ve made – you can learn from them and use those lessons to make a change sometimes for the better..

Is it time to reconsider the things you had decided it was too late to do?  Why not rekindle your desire for change.  Give yourself permission to dream a bigger dream,  walking a divinely inspired path which is uniquely yours.  It’s not too late to try something new.  In fact, life becomes stale when you get stuck in a rut.  I know, it’s tempting to give up on the idea you could have what you really want in your life, but you don’t have to give in to temptation. Your journey becomes richer and more joyful when you remain open to your possibilities.

Here are some things it’s not too late for you to do:

  • Change careers
  • Go back to school
  • Fall in love
  • Apologize to someone you hurt
  • Forgive someone who hurt you
  • Plan a trip to your dream destination
  • Have children (even if it’s biologically impossible, the child you were meant to have may be waiting to be adopted by you)
  • Start saving for retirement
  • Get fit
  • Start taking better care of yourself
  • Turn your finances around
  • Deepen your relationship with God
  • Change your attitude or your perspective on life

Today is a NEW day and I am letting go of the thoughts of “it’s too late”.  Just for today, I am going to focus on the positive and where I want to be in my life.  I am going to open my mind to new possibilities. I’m going to take a step in the direction to achieve my potential.

Share with us, what you decided it’s too late to do.  Then tell us what steps you are going to take to move toward it? You are not alone… We can do this together.

Have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let Go of the Old, Make Room for the New

I have been spring cleaning over the last few weeks….Chasing some of the dust bunnies away and attacking the many “junk drawers” around the house.  I am always amazed at the things I find.  WHY?  Because I can’t believe I held on to them “just in case”.

I am a just in case kind of gal.  When we go on a trip, I pack extra “just in case”.  When we go on a road trip, I pack extra snacks “just in case”.  So, finding things I have kept around “just in case” I need them or someone else will want it is what I seem to do.  I have been reading the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am slowing looking at things a little differently in our home.

Why is it so hard to let go? Whether it’s old e-mail or a worn-out sweater, outdated files or a toxic friendship, sometimes we hold on to things for too long. They serve no purpose but to clutter our lives unnecessarily. Today, I want to challenge you to face your fear of letting go.

There are a few common fears which appear when it’s time to let go of something. What are you hanging on to even though it’s time to let go? Which of these pesky fears is it time to face?

  • fear you won’t have what you need in the future
  • fear of being wrong
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of regret

Breaking through fear requires one key factor: courage. Courage requires faith and trust  your future will be okay without the thing you are letting go of.  YIKES!  Scary, right?  You can muster up the courage to let go by coaching yourself with questions which will help you get unstuck, such as:

  • What does my intuition tell me about letting go in this situation? Will I follow it?
  • If the thing I fear most happens, what is my plan B?
  • Who could I ask to hold me accountable and encourage me as I let go?

Make a decision. For those of us who are people pleasers, this is tough.  I know, I am one of them.  I second guess myself a million times.  The best thing to do is to carve out some time to do what you need to do. You can do it.  Start with small amounts of time, say 15 minutes, set a timer and when it rings you are done.

The truth is as I have been doing this, I have realized how much time and money has been spent “just in case”.  I see a sale and think “I could use this” then never do.  I see an idea which worked for someone else so I jump in with both feet, only to find out it isn’t me.  May has been full of life reflections for me.  I wonder why it took till the age of 61 to learn some of these lessons.

Toss out the OLD and move on.  You will be surprised several weeks or months later, you never once needed or missed what was tossed, donated or sold. Imagine that!

My challenge to you is this:  Is there something it’s time to let go of?  You know what it is. Muster up the courage and just do it. You’ll feel lighter for it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful-day!

Difficult or Burdensome?

Letting Go…. not something most of us do easily.  This time of year is filled with so many things – work, holiday shopping, visiting family/ friends, cooking, baking, wrapping presents, decorating, cleaning… What if you could LET GO of just one or two of those things?

I start MS injections tomorrow (at least give them a try), I am finding there are things I need to let go of.  Some things may fe letting go for a season, while others are for good.  I have to embrace my journey and NOT get wrapped up in the picture of the “perfect XXX” (fill in the blank).

I was struggling this morning trying to decide about an upcoming leadership training – should/could I travel, what would people think if I don’t go or does it mean I don’t care about my business if I don’t go – the comparison game inner gremlins were hard at work – actually working overtime.  This scripture popped up.  I’ve seen it many times but for some reason, today the words took on new meaning:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Maybe you are working on a project (business, job, etc), and to be blunt, you dread it.  It isn’t hard and someone else might love it BUT you don’t.  Maybe it isn’t purposeful.  Maybe is won’t lead to a better opportunity.  Maybe it is sucking up a lot of time you could better spend elsewhere.  The worst is, it  doesn’t use your strengths well. Bottom line – it has become a burden.  I have heard this lately from consultants in direct sales.  Their passion has turned to only an occasional spark and it has become more work than anything else. They are sticking with the business because of fear, need for an income, a big following… the list goes on AND none of the reasons include a passion for the work they are doing.

I know direct sales (or any job) can be “difficult”.  There are peaks and valleys in everything but when something becomes “burdensome” it may be time to let it go.  Here are the key distinctions between activities which are difficult versus ones which are burdensome:

1. You’re working hard and you’re tired, but deep down, you’re energized by the work.

When something is difficult, but you are energized by it, it can be a sign you are right in the midst of your sweet spot. There is a certain gratification which comes with your purpose. You can give everything you have and yet still have the energy to keep going.

2. You feel stretched, but not broken.

Difficult tasks and situations stretch you. They empower you to learn and grow and become more of the person you are meant to be. Growth, by its very definition, expands you into a bigger version of yourself.

3. You are at peace even in the midst of the chaos.

There are seasons of life which are very difficult and even chaotic. You look forward to getting through them, even when you feel uniquely equipped to handle them. Chaos can swirl around you and yet you are calm. You are at peace.

4. There is purpose in the pain.

Difficult tasks and situations lead to purpose. Burdensome ones distract you from your purpose. Difficult, but purposeful situations can transform you, give clarity, strengthen relationships, and mature you so you are better prepared for the future. They lead you towards your purpose.

5. It is worth the effort.

Difficult tasks and situations are purposeful. Burdensome ones are not. If you can see by persevering, the reward will be worth it, stick with it. Difficulties are about making sacrifices for a greater purpose.

So, which situations in your life are burdensome and which ones are difficult?  Will you make a change, removing the burden or persevere through a difficult time?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Let Go of the Need to Please

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” ~Brene Brown

It is Wednesday which means it is HUMP Day and Woohoo Wednesday.  It is the day we focus on US!  The things we like, the things we don’t like and the things we want to do better.

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How many times have you longed to hear the words “you’re so nice”? Or maybe you wait patiently (okay, impatiently) to see how many likes you will get on a post on Facebook or Instagram.  Admit it, we have all been there some time in our life.

I remember moving to a new neighborhood when I was younger.  The same town but a totally different part where I had to make new friends.  I always felt like I wasn’t pretty enough or good enough or smart enough for the popular crowd.  Sadly, those people pleasing characteristics carried over into adulthood.  Crazy, right?270910819fbd9cf830e3b735a08b7b8eI still have a habit of unconsciously putting a great deal of my energy into people pleasing. I keep the boat steady, navigating carefully so as to not make too many waves.  I dislike conflicts of any kind – mainly because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s in my bones to be a peacekeeper. My comfort zone is melting into the background of things, being an observer.  I don’t want to make waves, cause trouble, or upset anyone.

All of these traits have left most people seeing me as a “nice” person. Have you ever wondered if this is really a compliment.  Is “nice” the legacy I want to leave on this world? Is it what I want to be remembered for someday? That I was “nice”? Actually – No.  Nice is sweet, accommodating and agreeable. Nice is polite. But nice does not describe what I or you believe in. It doesnn’t indicate where our boundaries are.

So what about YOU?  Is “nice” the legacy you want to leave behind?

Or do you want to be remembered as a strong and confident woman. A woman with a sense of grace and integrity.  A woman who is straightforward, authentic and very clear about her boundaries. A women who stands firmly in her own truth. A woman who has little concern about receiving approval or validation from others.  A woman who knows who she is and is completely at ease in her own skin. WOW!  I want to be her, what about you?

authentic

We need to be “authentic” and for some it is “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”  We need to release our  need to please, and replace it with the courage to reveal our real and vulnerable selves.  YIKES!

#1 Reclaim your own authenticity.   To do this, we have to figure out when we are losing sight of it.  Resentment creeps in when I am playing the “people pleaser” role. It’s the first sign I am using too much energy worrying about disappointing others.

#2 What is causing the resentment?  Were you unclear about a boundary? Are you uncomfortable with a situation and you haven’t expressed your feelings to someone? Are you holding back you own feelings to avoid hurting another’s?

I have always loved to write – it is my release when it comes to stomping on the people pleasing characteristics, I tend to write a dialogue with myself. Try finishing these sentences and be specific.

1. I feel resentful because….

2. This means I haven’t been clear about something bothering me. Here is the blurred boundary…….

3. Here’s what’s okay with me….

4. Here’s what is not okay with me….

Believe it or no, when all is said and done my feelings of resentment and anger are not actually directed at another person. They are toward me. I am disappointed in myself for not staying loyal to my own values, for not giving myself the respect I so freely give out to others.

Being authentic takes courage. Learning to wade through the discomfort of setting boundaries takes risk. We risk disapproval. We risk being disliked. But I think the risk is worth it if we ultimately find respect for ourselves.

Are you ready to reclaim your authenticity. Let’s be brave, real and imperfect. Let’s be compassionate, kind and honest. Because really, aren’t these so much better than being “nice”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!