How Do You Build Relationships?


Today I work up with the realization I suffer from “self-centeredness” on any given day.  SMACK!  When I walked back into recovery, I was unaware of how often I actually did this.  I rationalized and justified everything I did.  I thought I was being responsible.  I thought I was hard working (in other words a workaholic).  Slowly but surely I have found out what the true meaning of “self-centeredness” is and how selfish I truly was (or can be).

Self-centered is defined as “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests”I used to say this wasn’t me!  Then I looked at some other words for self-centeredness and they included egotistical, narcissistic, self-absorbed, selfish, self-involved, and I didn’t think I was any of those either.  Yes, I was an only-child.  Yes, I was spoiled – I was an only child, an only grandchild and an only niece BUT….. You know what they say “everything that comes after the word “but” is BS!  When I thought of egotistical or narcissistic, I thought of people who were so full of themselves, I mean they actually loved themselves.  Most days I don’t love myself and there are even the occasional days when I don’t like myself so how could I be self-centered?

My first time around in recovery, I didn’t grasp this concept.  I became a workaholic and as I was recently told – “I thought your clients came before us, even though you were there for the important things”.  SMACK!  So, this is a concept I am trying hard to understand.

“I choose relationships wisely and nurture them intentionally.”

Okay, so I may choose relationships wisely but I definitely didn’t nurture them.  WHY?  Because I didn’t know how.  YIKES!  Think about it. When there is turmoil in your relationships, it impacts your whole life.  As a result, my relapse and road to being totally self-centered has effected my business, and my personal life.  It has ruined friendships, it has left me sitting on a “pity pot” and struggling to figure out the difference between being self-centered and being responsible.  You would think at the ripe old age of 61, I would know the difference.

The truth is I struggle with building strong relationships and maintaining them. Even in the relationships I didn’t  choose – family members or coworkers – I mean they need to be nurtured in order to be strong and healthy too.  So, I went from people pleasing (pre-recovery), to workaholic (recovery) to self-centeredness (relapse) to relearning the things I learned in kindergarten about making friends.  Talk about a roller coaster.  Along the way has been filled with a lack of confidence and fear which causes me to become (or at least appear to be) self-involved.  I may not always say “ME, ME, ME” although I am grateful for people in my life who lovingly point out to me when I am being “self-centered”.  It is always like a lightbulb going off.

I know this is totally a ramble and for some they will tune out because they have healthy relationships.  They are able to make the best of those relationships by setting strong boundaries, building trust where they can, and expressing gratitude when others are a blessing to them. For those few people who may relate, take it from one who has learned the hard way….. self-centeredness doesn’t always mean we say “me” or “I”, it can come out through our actions.  Do you justify and rationalize everything you do to make sure your plans stay in take?

So, for today I challenge you to ask yourself this powerful question:

What one gesture could I make today to strengthen one of my important relationships?

Are you already feeling the panic?  What if if you made a simple phone call of support to encourage someone?  What if you wrote a thank you note to someone for something that touched your heart?  What if you put your phone away and gave your undivided attention to the person you are sitting next to?  My simple gesture lately has been to put my phone away and be present in the moment.  Is it tough, without a doubt!

Believe it or not these small gestures strengthen the bonds of a relationship, any relationship. We can’t achieve our goals or meet our needs alone –  we need people. And people need us.  So, if you think any of these may be you…. step out of your comfort zone and make a gesture – no matter how small.

Wonder why you are struggling in your business?  Wonder why you scroll through social media thinking the grass is always greener? The truth is those who are most resilient and successful have strong relationships.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel You’re Not Enough


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message……

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

When I was six years old, I skipped off to school with a new box of crayons, a Swiss-polka-dotted dress, and fresh hope that I would be smart. But first grade only confirmed my greatest fear. I was “not enough.”

As soon as my first-grade teacher held up that initial spelling flashcard, I knew I was in trouble. We lined up our miniature wooden chairs in a row like a choo-choo train. The teacher held up a spelling flashcard for us to identify the word. If we missed the word, we had to go to the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I just couldn’t spell to save my life. For some reason, I especially had trouble with the word the.

I’ll help her, my teacher must have thought. She made me a nametag that read

t-h-e, and I had to wear it for two weeks. Students came up to me and asked, “Why are you wearing that tag?” “Is your name ‘The’?” “You must be stupid.” “What’s wrong with you?”

Well, I learned how to spell the word the, but that’s not all I learned. I learned I wasn’t as smart as everybody else, and once again, not enough. And even though I ended up doing well in school, many times I’ve still felt like that little girl in the caboose of the spelling train.

Moses was a man who felt he wasn’t good enough. When God spoke to him through a burning bush and called him to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage, he had a big case of the “not good enoughs.”

That’s when he had a one-sided argument with God. Moses told God he was the wrong man for the job. He wasn’t brave enough, strong enough, smart enough, eloquent enough, charismatic enough, or confident enough.

At one point, Moses said, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-15).

Moses was 80 years old when he had his argument with God at the burning bush. But even the weakest knees in the hands of I AM can become a mighty force to be reckoned with.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that you too, at one time or another, will struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy just like Moses did. And the underlying statement feeding the sense of worthlessness is “I’m not __________ enough.” You can fill that blank in with any number of qualities.

But here’s what we need to remember: Whatever we feel we are not, God is. He is the God who fills in our gaps; He is I AM who fills in our blanks.

When we say, “I’m not strong enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not wise enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not bold enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not smart enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not good enough,” God says, “I AM.”

Once we let go of the lies that we are not enough and take hold of the truth that we are more than enough because of Jesus’s presence and power in us, then we will be set free from paralyzing insecurity and be on our way to experiencing courageous confidence to do everything He calls us to do. It’s time get out of the caboose and sit up front with the Chief Engineer.

You want to know something amazing? One of my greatest weakness as a child was spelling words. And now that is what God has called me to do today…write with words. I stand with Paul who lamented about his weakness: “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

That’s what happens when we allow God to fill in our blanks. He turns what we perceive as our greatest weakness into our greatest strengths.

What is God calling you to do today? In what areas do you feel that you’re not enough? Oh friend, because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, and His power in you, you are more than enough! Don’t forget it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

NOTE:  Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

What’s Your Take Away?

Since this week is a week of reflection in preparation for the New Year, let me ask you this question:

What’s the most valuable thing you are taking away from this past year?

Did you learn something new?  Did you overcome an obstacle or health challenge?  Did you find a solution to a problem?  Have you found a new passion in your business?

For me, this question is actually helping me shape my plan for the upcoming year.   Think about this:

Were you faced with a challenge this year?  Did you find a solution to it?  Believe it or not, there is probably a greater lesson to be learned in the solution which you can apply to new situations in the future. When you take a few moments to reflect, you begin to take ownership of your newfound wisdom. The best part is, when you take away the greater lesson, you won’t have to learn the lesson over and over again.

Whatever is going on in our lives at any given moment is actually there to teach you and help you to grow.  BUT it can only happen when you pause, reflect and ponder the message being offered.

As I look back on 2017, I have learned many lessons by identifying the situations which frustrated, disappointed, perplexed, or even excited me.  I am grateful of a planner which helps me track those moments because the memory is not what it used to be…

As I look at each situation, I ask myself one powerful question:

What am I going to take away from this situation so  I am somehow better for it, wiser for it, and able to move forward in the most powerful way possible?’

Then I am owning the answer!  I am applying the wisdom in other areas of my life now and looking for ways to store it so I can use it in the future.

Guess what?  You just got a little bit wiser!

I challenge you to look at a situation you are currently facing or faced this past year.  Now ask yourself the powerful question:

What am I going to take away from this situation so that I am somehow better for it, wiser for it, and able to move forward in the most powerful way possible?

Share your lesson with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

The Power of the Tongue


Today’s message is from Mary Southerland

LORD, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say ~           Psalm 141:3

Our son and daughter-in-law and their four children recently moved to Kansas City and are living with us until they find a house. The conversation around the dinner table each night is always quite animated as Lelia and Jaydan, the nine-year-old twins, give a play-by-play account of their day at school.

During the middle of dinner last night, a rare moment of silence occurred. It did not last long. Lelia looked at me and said, “Mimi, do you know what the strongest muscle in the human body is?” I stopped to think about the question before offering several answers that Lelia quickly dismissed as wrong. “I give up!” I said. With her blue eyes twinkling and a big grin on her face, Lelia said, “It’s the tongue!”

Okay. I had to do a little research. The correct answer to Lelia’s question all depends on how you define strength. And the tongue is not really one muscle, but a conglomeration of eight different muscles.

When it comes to versatility, the tongue is indeed powerful. Its combination of elasticity and forcefulness gives us the ability to speak, eat, sip, swallow … the list is quite impressive.

According to Scripture, the tongue may very well be the strongest muscle in the body. In fact, God has a lot to say about the power of the tongue and the words we speak. Words are power tools that, in the right hands and used correctly, can build and encourage. In the wrong hands and used incorrectly, words can destroy and defeat.

Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can impart false perspectives and untruths. But the right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion, light on a very dark path, and wisdom for questions that seem to have no answers.

I believe God gives us spiritual radar so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. In fact, Paul writes, “Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone” (Colossians 4:6). We just need to check the radar screen before we speak.

Solomon also offers great wisdom concerning the use of words, “Whoever controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3, GWT). In other words, if we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will use and control us.

Proverbs 34:13 offers a very clear directive to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” The word “keep” indicates an action on our part. We decide. We choose the words we speak. That means we must guard our hearts and our minds.

We choose what is allowed to take up room in our mind. It is literally the idea of a guard standing at the gate of the city, stationed there to keep watch. He is there by invitation only. If we want to live right and speak right – we must think right.

Godly responses come from the heart. If there is something wrong with our words, then there is something wrong with our heart. The truth of Proverbs 16:23 is profound in its simplicity, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth.”

A judge utters a few words and a guilty man is taken to death row.

A friend speaks a word of encouragement and a desperate heart finds hope.

A mother lashes out with angry words and the light in her child’s eyes is gone.

A wife offers a word of forgiveness and a marriage is restored.

A gossip makes a phone call and a reputation is destroyed.

A teenager says “no” and changes the course of her life.

Yes, the tongue is strong and powerful as are the words we speak. Let’s choose today to speak words of life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Looking Forward to 2017

images

My word for 2016 was CONFIDENCE. 

CONFIDENCE to believe when the way is rough.  CONFIDENCE to hang on when the going is tough. CONFIDENCE will guide me when my business is slow.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I move forward with the Rays of Hope – Angel Connection.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I overcome doubt with my new contract working with a grassroots non-profit.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I learn to live with my recent diagnosis of MS.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I see and believe in the person that others see in me.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I squash the inner gremlins that have haunted me all of my life.

As a wrap of to this year, I’ve been reflecting A LOT as well as praying on what my word will be in 2017.  I love the beginning of a new year, with all of the hopes and possibilities of what’s ahead, but I know it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed with having 12 brand new months to tackle too. By sharing some of the things I’m looking forward to next year, my hope is it will encourage you to think about what you’re excited about in 2017 so you can enter the new year feeling ready and raring to go!

1. 5 Year Anniversary!

I can hardly believe hubby and I will be married five years and we have been together for 16 years.  My goal is to earn the Leadership Incentive Trip with Thirty One so I can take him on a cruise for our special anniversary.

2. Adventures, big and small!

We’ve been lucky enough to do a little traveling – North Carolina to visit the girls and I headed to Ohio for National Conference.  We had adventures like traveling the State to see doctors about my MS & the many symptoms.  I want to embrace the mini adventures next year too – day trips out to explore new places, and weekend breaks.

3. Full-time in my business

I have been in direct sales for almost 6 years and I am really excited to see what this next year has to bring. I am committing to my business full-time so it will be my main source of income to help with the household bills.  No more part-time job.  I am so grateful to be able to work from home with so many amazing women.  Along with my direct sales business, one of my biggest priorities in my business next year is to continue to create different ways to show up and be of service to the community.  I feel so grateful every single day this is my job, and I want to just give it 100% and show up fully for my business in 2017 along the way.

4. Continuing to embrace less stress, more joy in work and life

This has been one of the biggest takeaways for me in 2016 – a mindset of less stress, more joy is what serves me best in my work and my life. Keeps MS symptoms at a minimum and makes for a happy Hope.  I am learning how to embrace the seasons in my life.  I’m feeling focused, productive, and inspired as I end 2016.  In 2017, I want to give myself permission to live my creative life on my own terms, and embrace my own natural ebb and flow of rest and hustle too.

5. All the growth, discovery, and lessons ahead to come

I don’t know about you, but I learn, grow and change so much during a year.  In 2016, I’ve discovered so much more about myself, who I am, and what is most important to me.  I feel so much more aware and connected to what matters most in my life. I’m so excited to experience all the lessons 2017 has to bring.

I want to thank you so much for following my blog this year.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to connect with you every day.  My vision in everything I do with my business and online presence is to support, encourage and inspire you to be the best YOU, you can be.  I hope to continue to do it in 2017 too.

I believe this is each and every one of you…d41d60aa5f46b43b9c0545e7f97b07c5

What will your word be for 2017?  Share it with us and let’s work together to make this year a success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!