The Power of Confession

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message.

When he got in the car, he kept his head down, looked away, and muttered some words. Not hearing him outright, I said, “Son, what is it?”

He muttered, “I made a mistake. I looked at someone’s paperwork at school and copied their answer. I didn’t tell my teacher, but I told God ‘I’m sorry’. I will never do it again.”

I conveyed to him that he did right thing by confessing to God and deciding to change. God forgives. God keeps no records of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). Our sins are cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

Jesus takes away the burden of sin, when – through confession – we allow him to do so.

But, later that night (and I mean way-late), I felt a finger-poke in my side.

There he was, standing there, fretting, and worried. He cried, “Mommy, I have to text my teacher now. I feel so guilty. I want this off of my back.”

And, he did. The next morning, he wrote her a text essentially saying he was sorry. That he didn’t want to carry this anymore. That he needs to feel better.

And, after he pressed send, I was amazed. The transformation was huge. He went from being down and dejected to dancing and jubilant. He jumped around the house rejoicing and full of new life.

This is a picture of repentance. When we let go of the guilt, we carry to receive the blessing of the cross that Jesus carried – we always find new life.

Part of the process is forgiving our self. Have you forgiven yourself for the wrongs, the guilt, or the burdens that weigh you down? If Jesus forgave you, can’t you forgive yourself too? If Jesus paid the ultimate price, hasn’t he fully purchased all your mistakes?

If you’ve confessed your sins to God, but still don’t feel life, you might consider doing these three things:

1. Confessing to any other people involved, as God leads you.

2. Letting go internally. This means you release the guilt, shame and burdens to Jesus from within you and receive his gift of forgiveness, once and for all.

3. Choosing not to dwell any more on what issue God has already set you free from.

I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face after he got that burden “off his back.” We can do the same today. Freedom is right on the other side of asking for and receiving forgiveness.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Mistakes

A mistake is defined as “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” .  We have all made them from the little ones to the ones which wreck our lives or those around us.  Do you think of them as leaning lessons and are grateful for the mistake?  OR do you beat yourself up swearing to never do anything “stupid” like that again?

I will admit, depending on the mistake – I can go between the two.  No matter how you handle the mistake, you are not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another and reacted differently each time.  The truth is if we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

The good news is, you can learn from your mistakes. Then, instead of repeating them again, you’ll gain valuable wisdom to help you in the future.

1. Acknowledge Your Errors

Regardless of the size of the mistake or who it has effected,  you have to accept full responsibility for your role in what happened.  You need to ask yourself, “What role did I play in this?”.  The answer can be uncomfortable sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time), but you need to own your part.  Once you have said “I messed up,”  you can start to learn from it.  This is all part of changing and hopefully, not making the same mistake again.

2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions

You don’t want to dwell on your mistakes (this is a tough one for me) BUT reflecting on them can be productive. I don’t know about you but when I dwell on mistakes, I tend to beat myself up a little bit.  So, if you ask yourself these tough questions, it can turn a bashing session into a productive one:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I do better next time?
  • What did I learn from this?

Write down your responses and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience.  Let’s face it, we have all had them at one time.

3. Make A Plan

Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road.  It’s important to spend the bulk of your time thinking about how to do better in the future.  Make a plan to help avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your plan may need to change  No matter how you track your progress, find a way to hold yourself accountable.  Remember what works for one person might not work with someone else.

4. Make It Harder To Mess Up

How will you be sure not to mess up again?  Does willpower alone prevent you from taking an unhealthy shortcut or from giving into immediate gratification (I want what I want when I want it). Increase your chances of success by making it harder to mess up again. Find creative ways to become more disciplined. If using credit cards is your struggle – cut up the cards or freeze them.  Yup, in a big block of ice.  Whenever you try to thaw the block of ice, you will realize how ridiculous the situation is and stop spending money you don’t have.

5. Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Make The Mistake Again

We all have weak moments and the next thing you know, we have made the same mistake again!  Why not create a list of all the reasons why you should stay on track and be self-disciplined,  you can refer to during tough times. Put the list some place where you can see it – if shopping is a problem, put the list in your wallet next to your debit/credit cards.  If flirting on social media is a thing, post your list on your computer so when you start scrolling or are tempted you see the list.  Is it a guarantee?  NO but it may help you to resist the temptation.  Self-discipline is like a muscle. Each time you delay gratification and make a healthy choice, you grow mentally stronger.

Mistakes aren’t always one big blunder. Sometimes, they are a series of little choices leading to failure.  So pay attention to your mistakes, no matter how big or how small they might seem. Recognize each mistake can be an opportunity to build mental muscle and become better.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday

thankful-thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday.  I know the rest of the social media world thinks of today as “Throwback Thursday” but today I want to be “thankful”.

I am thankful for:

  • My Mom who loves me unconditionally
  • Being a child of divorce
  • My loving hubby
  • Being a mom
  • My guardian angels who always guide me
  • A family who supports me despite my faults and bad decisions
  • Mistakes I made in high school which changed my life
  • Mistakes I made in college which shaped my future
  • The variety of jobs as I looked for me
  • The friends who have come for a season and those who have stayed
  • My addiction
  • My relapse and recovery
  • My lack of confidence
  • My business and its roller coaster journey
  • My  weightloss struggle
  • My love of writing
  • My passion for helping others
  • My rocky walk with God
  • My MS
  • The rocky and winding road to find myself
  • and al of the other good, bad and ugly parts of my life

Thankful-for

My life has not been perfect, but today, I am deciding to view it through the lens of thankfulness and gratitude.  For it is those things which have helped to shape me.  It is those imperfections which have helped me to become the woman I am today.  Some days those same things take me on a dark journey of negativity BUT today is NOT one of them.

TODAY, I am thankful for the struggles because without them I would not be able to make a difference in the life of someone else. I would not be able to be compassionate. I would not have the desire to make others smile.

TODAY, I am thankful for a loving God who not only has forgiven me for my mistakes but continues to guide me.  I have faith and trust with Him, all things are possible.

So, what are you thankful for today?  Share with us and let’s celebrate our imperfections together.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

In The Eyes of a Child

Today’s is a re-blog of Vanessa Coppes

YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN FROM A MISTAKE IS IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO YOUR ABILITY TO GET OVER IT

Mistakes…We don’t like them, avoid them, blame them on others, run away from them…(sigh) but they happen. I am the first one to admit to imperfection and if I’ve learned anything in my 35 years is this: when a mistake has been made on your behalf, your opportunity to learn from it is in direct proportion to your ability to get over it. 

Quick example: My 5 year old son missed the school bus the other day. He was playing inside his new fort instead of standing by the window like he’s supposed to every morning 5 minutes before pickup time. His excitement to play in his new fort trumped his responsibility to be ready for school on time.

Now,  you may be wondering where was I while all of this was happening…Well, I was standing right there beside him.

See… I set a timer for him in the mornings because it helps us both stay on track. He knows how much time he has to play before school and I know when to crank up the heat. But he and I have had this “morning drama” more often than not. and since I’ve decided to steer clear from drama in my life, I realized he needed a consequence for his choice. I am trying to teach my son awareness and that there are good and bad consequences for the choices you make.

He heard the timer go off indicating him it was time to go, he ignored my request to go stand by the door… and a few minutes later, he heard the bus drive away from our house…all I could hear was a hysterical “NoOoOoOo!!!!!!”

Later that day, he apologized for not listening to me and said something that left in awe, “Mama, I am going to throw this day away and start with a better one tomorrow.” The next morning I did not have to say a word. In fact he was ready before I even asked him to.

Embrace mistakes as lessons in your personal development. Your opportunity to learn from it is in direct proportion to your ability to get over it.

How do YOU handle mistakes?  In my “previous life”, I was hesitant to admit my mistakes for fear of what people would think.  As we count the hours to the deadline for holiday orders, I pray I will embrace any mistakes I make.  When life gets crazy and we are rushed, mistakes happen… the question is, how will you handle it?

When I became a MOM many years ago, I learned it was important to admit my mistakes and take ownership of them.  I didn’t want my daughter growing up putting mom on a pedestal which could topple and crumble, leaving her filled with doubts and heartache.  It was a great learning lesson for me as I embraced my mistakes over the years.  I know it sounds crazy but some of those mistakes have made me the person I am today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You An Effective Leader?

leaders

Deep down I believe we are all leaders.  Now, for some it may be a little deeper than others.  You know there are people who leading seems to come naturally, right?  Then there are others who struggle with doubt in their abilities to lead.  Which one are you? Or do you fall someplace in the middle.  I will admit, depending on the situation I can fall in either category.

The truth is, the only qualification for being a leader is “you make decisions which influence other people”.  Yup, it is as simple as it comes.  Since we are all leaders, we might as well work on being a great ones, right?

The key to becoming a great leader is not to focus on becoming “a great leader”  but to focus on whether or not you are someone worth following.  This can apply to anywhere you are a leader – our home, your job, your community or in your own business.

Every since Andy Andrews was a speaker at Thirty One’s National Conference, I have been diving into his books and his ideas.  He says there are THREE key qualities of someone who is worth following and they are:

unknown 1. They are truly transparent
This seems to be the new “buzz word” in the business world.  Being transparent means you always take ownership of your mistakes and shortcomings in front of the people you’re leading. You don’t pretend to be perfect and you admit when you’re wrong.  I am definitely transparent!

A truly good leader will also know the difference between a mistake and a bad choice.  Do you know the difference?  A mistake is something accidentally done, but with good intentions. A bad choice is something purposely done.  I tend to make more mistakes than I do bad choices although when it came to my addictions I would have to say it was more bad choices.

Knowing how to handle the consequences of both by being transparent builds your followers’ loyalty.  When people understand your thinking and see you are human, they will want to follow you.

images   2. They know how to get back on track
Leaders along with their followers make mistakes and poor choices.  A great leader will know how to get not only themselves but also their followers back on track when they are negatively affected by a mistake or bad choice.

Leaders can shift perspective back to the big picture when things go wrong.  Leaders remain calm in the face of confusion and crisis.  When we are transparent, followers feel safe coming to us with their own mistakes and bad choices.

6a00e54f8c25c9883401157249b1b2970b3. They take advantage of teachable moments.
To remain a leader and help people grow, great leaders take advantage of opportunities to teach.  Don’t we do this as parents?

How many times have we let our “bad mood” handle a situation inappropriately?  The end result is not good and usually leads to a screaming match, right?  How often have you used a moment like this to be transparent with your kids.

As a single mom who was a recovering addict, I needed to acknowledge my bad choices and ask forgiveness.  If it was just a mistake, a simple apology worked to make things right.  If I made a bad choice, I didn’t wait to be transparent.  I easily shared what was happening with me and the fact it was no excuse for how inappropriately I had acted. I will admit, many thought I shared way too much with my young daughter BUT it always strengthened our relationship. The valuable teaching moments rarely occured at convenient times.  So, it meant stopping what I was doing, checking my emotions, and taking a sharp detour. Great leaders seize teachable moments, whether they’re inconvenient and uncomfortable.

It is easy to focus  on ourselves when we think about effective leadership but it can be overwhelming at time.  So, shy not shift from a “ME” perspective to an outward focus.

Ask yourself:

  • Who stands to gain from my improved leadership?
  • How will my leadership help those following me?
  • How would a steady, calm presence of leadership make those around me become more effective?

Picture those people in your mind—your family members, your co-workers, your employees, or whomever else you might be leading. They will give you all the motivation you need to become someone worth following.

Who do you follow?  Picture one of those leaders from your own life, right now.  What did they do to make you want to follow them?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!