Overcoming Anxiety

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“Girl, you are being so dramatic right now!”

“Child please, suck it up and get over it!”

If only people knew how and what those with anxiety go through. They would understand that it’s not something that you “suck up” and get going. Sometimes it causes you to stop in your tracks. Or sometimes it triggers so many emotions that it brings you to tears. If only they could walk in your shoes.

Anxiety has gained a lot of attention over the past two decades. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions regarding this topic. Many people believe that anxiety only stems from a major event like 9/11, an abrupt death, or anything that would trigger these emotional events. Although it may seem this way, anxiety can come for whatever reason. There doesn’t have to be one specific purpose. For this reason, it can dramatically transform one’s life. Sometimes anxiety can have a mind of its own. So, we would like to share some tips for you to keep in mind when it comes to overcoming this issue.

Keep reminding yourself of God’s word and your identity in Him.

Speaking from experience, it is easy to get lost in the pitfalls of anxiety. There’s a reason why depression is linked to anxiety. There are a lot of people who have both. Speaking out loud forces you to have control of those inner thoughts. One thing you can do is talk to yourself (no it won’t make you crazy). Those negative thoughts are only the devil trying to hold you back. Show him that you are so much more than what he says. So start by speaking positive things to yourself.

“You are amazing and you can get through this.”

“Yes, I can do this.”

“Take your time and take it slow.”

“I’m just going to take it one step at a time.”

Also, read your bible and write down the scriptures that really touch your heart. Copy them on post its and index cards. Tape them on your walls and mirrors. Keep speaking these scriptures and positive affirmations to yourself. Soon you will discover that you have the power and confidence to speak and declare great things.

Figure out the source of the problem/anxiety.

Think about your past, childhood, adolescent years, etc. Keep a journal of your emotions and feelings as you go through these different events. Ask yourself the following questions:

What triggers these emotions? What do you think about?

Are these emotions linked to any fears?

Do they stem from a childhood experience?

What experience did you have that could cause them?

Focus on the key aspects to categorize these issues. If you struggle with anxiety when it comes to death. Then put these emotions and events in the death category. If you struggle with PTSD or flashbacks, put these journal topics in a separate category. Organize your thoughts and take your time documenting them. Also, it’s okay to cry as your journal your emotions. Write down how you feel and what you are experiencing.

This is not a permanent problem. You can get through it.

Yes, it may feel that your anxiety or depression will never go away. Yes, it is tough to face and get through. Remember, that this is not a permanent problem. There are several methods, tips, and things you can do to either conquer this issue or reduce it dramatically. You are more than your problem. You can get through it. Most of all, you will get through it.

Continue to work on it with baby steps.

As you embark on conquering this issue, do different things to force you to push past this issue. If you have anxiety when it comes to driving, drive one or two miles from the house and back. Slowly ease into the routine of triggering these emotional events whether they are panic attacks, flashbacks, etc. to work through them. You don’t want to just experience them but discover what works to conquer them. As you create your routine, you will discover that these issues will turn into minor setbacks that you have power over. You will not see the results overnight but keep practicing on your routine and it will soon become easier to get through them.

Also, don’t be afraid to seek out counsel from either a friend, family member, or professional. If you find that your anxiety, depression, or panic attacks are getting out of hand, find someone that is willing to help. You never have to face this alone.

My Story:

I (Ariel) experience anxiety when it came to learning how to drive. My fear and anxiety for driving just came randomly. I quickly learned that I didn’t even want to drive. I never had a dramatic experience with accidents, nightmares, or anything. It just occurred the older I became. I soon discovered that driving was a symbol of independence. Since I am the youngest of my family, I second guessed everything out of not trusting myself and my own independence. The more I drove, the more my anxiety decreased. Although I still have it when it comes to driving, I’ve learned how to have control over my fears and panic attacks. It just takes time, prayer, effort, and positive affirmations. The issue may still be there, but you will learn to take control of the issue instead of it taking control of you!


Topic of the Week Inspiration:

This week’s topic of the week is in honor of Katie, from “A Cousin’s Prayer.” This book was our book of the month for March. Katie struggled with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression following an accident that killed her boyfriend and injured two of her friends. After discussing her anxiety with a friend, Katie soon discovered that she was not alone. Also, constant prying from her parents led to her learning how to conquer the issue from a professional therapist. After taking routine baby steps, she was able to take control of her anxiety.

Is Chasing Your Crush a Turn Off?

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There are no age limits on crushing. Just like when you were an adolescent, that special person walks by and you had butterflies. As an adult, you try to control yourself by fixing your clothes and ensuring that your breath doesn’t have a scent.

When you really like someone, you may feel compelled to be noticed by that individual especially if they’re single. It may begin with a causal conversation here and there and then your emotions easily takeover. Before you know it, you’re running up to say hello, starting all of the conversations on social media, and always asking questions. The individual may participate in these encounters, but you may find yourself becoming the fabulous chaser. So, the question is, “Is chasing your crush a turn off?”

Chasing a guy if you’re a girl or vice versa easily depends on the situation and the individual. One person may consider it as flattering while another may think of it as annoying. Starting out as friends is always the best way to begin a relationship because relationships are based on friendships. How many times have you heard of couples stating that they married their best friend?

If you are friends, you don’t want to ruin the friendship by switching gears so dramatically. That doesn’t mean not to share if you are interested in a relationship. But don’t go from a great friend to a stalking your best friend every five seconds (speaking from experience).  They will begin to see the signs of your chasing and will start changing how they perceive you. This can be hard especially if you confided in each other and have a strong a relationship.

Chasing could be a go or a no depending on your situation. So, we would like to share three tips for you to keep in mind moving forward.

  1. You can’t change a guy’s mind/vice versa

When you like someone, the feeling may or may not be mutual. That individual may view you as their best friend/sibling and would like to keep it that way. You see this with a lot of guys. The girl may begin to crush on the guy but he just views her as a friend. By that time, the girl feels a little betrayed because his “friendship” role became confused with his “potential boyfriend” role. Frustrations rise between the two especially the one crushing because you WANT that person to feel different. You want that person to say they feel the same way and it starts to sting a little.

Remember, you can’t “change” the individual’s mind, they like what they like and do however they feel. If that’s the case, that individual may change their mind or not. Either way don’t use that to validate your attractiveness, personality, or anything to determine your “potential girlfriend/boyfriend status.” It just means that, THAT individual doesn’t view you as that relationship person FOR THEM.

  1. Your friendship/relationship should be as balanced as possible

Just like tip number one, you want that person to feel the same way. At the beginning of a relationship, you want the person to like you just as much as you like them. The friendship may be that way but the potential relationship may not. It’s okay as long as you both are honest with each other. This can be stopped. You don’t want to find yourself constantly chasing after that person in the friendship or relationship. If you are always running behind them to say hello, this is not a balanced friendship to begin with. There should be times that you both are starting conversations, liking each other’s social media content, etc. Balance is the key to not only a healthy relationship but a healthy friendship as well.

3. Just because you’re crushing..

  • You may not see what they see. They may see someone else as a potential significant other or they may not be interested in starting a relationship right now. How they view you may not be the same as how you see yourself for them. You may think you are a great wife in the making for them but they may view you as just Sarah-their best friend since high school. You can’t force them to see what you see. You are beautiful and worth having he just may not be that person.
  • Give it time but don’t waste valuable time. When you give someone a chance to see if they will ever be interested in pursuing you, don’t wait forever. Move on with your life. You are an amazing individual and God has that person specially designed for you. If you have expressed some interest and he never gives you a chance, keep your options open. Don’t waste your time being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. You are a valuable person who deserves to be loved just as much as you love the other person. Remember what we said about balance.

To answer the topic of this blog, is chasing your crush a turn off? Most of the time, it can be. It all depends on that individual, but you don’t want to turn into a stalker. You don’t want to hoover behind that person so much that they can’t talk to anyone else or enjoy hanging out because you are always there. Be considerate of your space and take it slow. Starting out as friends is always better for the relationship. Be patient and stay positive and in due time that special person will come.


Topic of the Week Character Highlight

The topic of the week is in honor of Eunice from “A Cousin’s Prayer,” our book of the month for March. Eunice chased Freeman throughout the book. She even found herself starting rumors about Katie and Freeman and sabotaging their friendship for herself. In the end everything backfired, and Eunice found herself without Freeman because she caused so much damage. Eunice’s character teaches us a valuable lesson of how chasing her crush was a huge turn off for the guy. He found her to be nice and attractive, but he didn’t have his space to really see if she was the one for him. Freeman soon discovered that another girl who was just herself, sweet, and patient was the individual he had in mind all along.

“Shhh…Don’t Tell God”

How many times have you bowed your head to say your prayers and never truly said what was on your heart?

I can admit that I’ve been struggling with this same issue lately. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane routine of “Lord, please bless my family, my job, and my finances.” When in reality, we are skipping out on a true outpouring that can and will take place if we just open our hearts. It had gotten to the point where I would say my prayers and feel just as empty as before my “rehearsed prayer.” A prayer that I’ve recited to God over and over and over again. I’m sure God was like, “Honey I get it already!!”

Spreading God's Love One Heart at a Time

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How many times have you bowed your head to say your prayers and never truly said what was on your heart?

I can admit that I’ve been struggling with this same issue lately. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane routine of “Lord, please bless my family, my job, and my finances.” When in reality, we are skipping out on a true outpouring that can and will take place if we just open our hearts. It had gotten to the point where I would say my prayers and feel just as empty as before my “rehearsed prayer.” A prayer that I’ve recited to God over and over and over again. I’m sure God was like, “Honey I get it already!!”

I’ve been reading a daily prayer book every morning before I read my bible. It wasn’t until I came across a daily meditation that distinctly talked about these…

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“A Cousin’s Prayer” Book Review

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The Official Book Description:

“A year after her boyfriend was killed, a traumatized Katie Miller returns to her Amish community in Indiana, struggling with depression and panic attacks. Will she ever find the courage to face her inner demons? Freeman Bontrager has been interested in Katie ever since they were in school. Now that Katie is home, Freeman finds excuses to spend time at the Miller house. Is there any future for him with this emotionally scarred woman, or should he turn to the fair beauty Eunice Byler? When a mysterious package appears on Katie’s doorstep, Freeman’s loyalty is tested. Will he win her trust only to lose his standing with her parents? What will it take for Katie to overcome her fears and dare to live – and love – again?”

My Initial Thoughts:

This is my second time reading the book, “A Cousin’s Prayer.” The first time I read it, I was immediately hooked to the plot, characters, and contrasting difference of communities between the Amish and English. After reading it the first time, I remembering wishing I was Amish because it seemed so cool and peaceful. The way Mrs. Brunstetter writes about the community draws you into their world, language, and friendships. She captures the close connection of the families with the “small town” feel.

Loss and anxiety are the main themes centered around Katie’s character. So, this is what makes her a relatable character. Brunstetter ensures that you have a complete understanding of her struggles from her thoughts and emotions to her frequent panic attacks. She takes you on a journey to explore the value of growth and healing for Katie.

I was also huge fan of Eunice and her contrasting personality. She had me fired up flipping through those pages. Freeman, Wayne, and Lorraine all made the plot interesting as well. One thing I love about this author is that she gives the reader a recap of the past piece by piece. I have not read the first book, so I didn’t know exactly what happened not just with Katie but with all of the characters. The way this book is organized, I could tell that Mrs. Wanda is an experienced writer.

The Ending:

The first half of the book did go by a little slow when I read it the second time versus the first. I think it is because of the emotions of the book. This book really depends on your mood to either draw you in immediately or take a while. If you are going through the same season as Katie, this book will go by faster because you are searching for that hope and transformation. Speaking from experience, I was anxious reading this book the first time. So I had a different reaction the second time I finished. This has nothing to do with the plot. I just believe that there are moments that this book can be a little heavy. The second half got really interesting when Katie found the “mystery package” on her door step. That’s when the juice dripped from page to page all the way to the end.

From the second half to the end of the book, I was reading that book nonstop. I believe it’s because I was wondering if the author would give definite answers by the end. Some of the questions that ran through my mind were, “Will Katie get Freeman? When will Eunice stop starting mess? And, will Katie’s mom ever lighten up?” I don’t want to reveal too much but the ending will make your heart smile. And the one thing I love most, Wanda answers your questions!! There are a lot of authors who go back to the mundane method of cliffhangers when it comes to book series, but Mrs. Wanda takes a different approach. Thank you Mrs. Wanda! So I was definitely pleased overall with the plot especially the ending and getting my questions answered.

Recommendations:

I would start recommending this book to girls and women in their late teens to early twenties. I think Katie will be relatable to this age bracket because she is trying to grow up. She is faced with the trials and tribulations of heartache, anxiety, moving forward, and getting out of her comfort zone. There were a lot of moments when Katie had to grow and remind her parents that she is not a child. I think this will really grasp anyone in that age group.

I would also recommend this book to anyone dealing with anxiety or grief. I feel that this book would give that individual hope as they move forward and rebuild their lives. Some of the advice, scriptures, and messages regarding these two themes can be used in real life. Finally, this book would give an individual going through that dark season something to look forward to in the end.

This is a great read that will go in the fun reads section of our book reviews because of its’ plot and exposure for the reader.

I would love to see Hallmark make a show out of her books to shine light on the modern day Amish community. I think this would give everyday Americans insight on the Amish lifestyle. I remember the shows “Return to Amish” and “Breaking Amish” on TLC. These shows focus more on individuals who want to leave their Amish community. I would like to see a show with this plot in reverse.

Here’s a link to the author’s official website: https://wandabrunstetter.com/amish-series/indiana-cousins/

Amazon Purchase Here:

 

Dealing w/ Death of Loved Ones

Whether the individual passed abruptly or has battled a health condition, nothing can prepare you for the start of THAT moment. This moment takes you by surprise as it is the first of many occasions you realize that person is no longer here. You may have done a lot of praying, thinking, and preparing to establish a focal point to help you cope with this new chapter. You know this moment will come in your mind, but you just don’t know how your heart will take it. The realization settles in that it is more difficult than you imagined it to be.

Although dealing with concept of death can be hard, the sorrow and bitterness that follows is worse. One thing we want you to realize is that no matter what you do, it is no longer in your hands. Please don’t blame yourself with the past moments of what you could’ve done to prolong their life. God’s timing is all that matters and you did the best you could do. It could be walking into that individual’s room or remembering the sound of their voice that triggers those thoughts and emotions. It is normal to miss them and have regrets. It takes a while to get through that fresh point. Try to remember how much of a pivotal role you played in their emotional, mental, and spiritual health just with your presence of being there.

Although this may sound cliché, think of the times you laughed so hard you cried with that individual. Be grateful for the times you were able to support one another. And never forget the puzzle piece they added to your master puzzle of life.

There will be times that you think of that person on a good day and cry. And there will be times when your heart is full of pain. At the end of the day, remember it will get better. The new journey of adapting to your new life without that individual will be a tough one. Keep in mind how they would have wanted you not to move on but move forward. We say move forward because you can’t just get over that person, you continue to move forward with the next point of your life with the memories, love, and support they played.

You are human and it is okay to hurt.

It is okay to not be okay.

It is okay to seek a therapist, counselor, or pastor for support.

It is okay to cry.

It is okay to feel alone.

It is okay to have regrets.

It is okay to relive the moments you could have done better.

It is okay to miss that individual.

And it is okay to wonder and question why.

All of these are aspects of grief and pain. Take your time to heal and move forward. We are right behind you. Talk to a friend or start a diary as you begin this journey. Never be afraid to rely on your faith in God for strength because He is the epitome of strength. He can and will help you get through it.


Topic of Week Character Highlight:

This week’s topic of the week was inspired by Katie from our book of the month, “A Cousin’s Prayer.” Katie is the main character of the book who resides in an Amish community. She is dealing the death of her boyfriend a year ago. She discovers that she has not moved on as she is faced with sorrow, depression, self blame, and anxiety. Katie had to learn to move forward with her life with the help of the Lord, her friends and family.

To every hardworking woman…

To every woman that has sacrificed time, money, family, and free time to pave the way for our future, thank you!

To every woman that has broken barriers for us, thank you.
To every woman that has prayed for us, thank you.
To every woman that has marched for us, thank you.
To every woman that has persevered for us, thank you.
To every hardworking woman out there, thank you!

The Value of Forgiveness

I distinctly remember when I had to learn the value of forgiveness. It all started when I was a seventh-grade middle school girl. I was in a lot of clubs, cheered, and made some friends. Out of all the many friends, there was one who mysteriously started acting different one day. Before I knew it, she went from saying things every once in a while to using me as bait for her comic strip every week. The one girl I thought I knew like the back of my hand betrayed me. The underlying problem? It was all over a guy, a guy that we both liked but she was able to get. Even though the guy liked and dated her, she still continued to bully me.

A few years later, when we were in high school, she came limping into the classroom with dirt all over her clothes, barely able to talk. Some of her friends were helping her to the teacher to explain about the accident. The class began to burst into laughter as they tried to comprehend the whole case. I remember having my fair share in chuckles as well. When I got home that day, I could not wait to tell my sister what happened. I could barely get the words out of my mouth to explain the whole story. Before I could finish, she gladly interrupted me to say, “Dude, that’s not funny.” I was first taken back at how she just didn’t even try to listen to my story and how she must have forgotten how much this girl put me through. I remember thinking and trying to plead my case of how I was the victim in all of this. She sighed and said, “This is really not funny! I think out of all that has happened, you’ve never found it in your heart to forgive her what she has done years ago. I can tell by how much you couldn’t wait to tell me this story. You might want to start working on that. If not, you will always look for things like this just to feel better about the situation.”

My heart just sank. I thought to myself how she just made me feel so low after a situation that I didn’t even cause. I went to my room and thought about it and discovered, my sister was right. I never forgave this girl for all she has done to me. No, she has not apologized or tried to make amends. But that didn’t matter. I had to move on for myself.

This was the first of many times I learned how important it is to forgive. Someone will treat you so bad and will never think about it again but you may hold on to what they did for the next two decades. Are they struggling to move on or you? Yeah, I know it hurts to admit that to yourself.

The motto “Forgive and forget” can be a hard one to tackle. It’s not easy. Most of all, it’s hard to forget. One thing I’ve learned is to stop expecting things from the individual who hurt you. Why should you expect them to apologize or make amends if they hurt you? In other words, don’t look for an apology to start the forgiveness stage. You have to forgive them in your heart whether they make the first step or not.

I stopped expecting my bully to apologize. So, to find forgiveness in my heart for her, I had to think of things from her perspective. I eventually learned of her upbringing and some things that she struggled with growing up. I thought about how her home life was drastically different than mine. My heart began to weep for her and how there were a lot of things I grew up with that she did not. I came from a two parent household with an older sister (one who set me straight LOL). I had the opportunity to cheer and join clubs. Finally, my parents taught me the significance of a strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, something that has helped me so much growing up. There were a lot of things that I had that she did not have.

After comparing our lives, I thought about how she had a hard time expressing herself due to her upbringing. There were plenty of times when she made mean jokes during our friendship to disguise her current struggles. Of course, I was too young and blind to read between the lines. Now as an adult, I now see that those were little cries for help and a listening ear. Although there weren’t a lot of things I could have done to change things, I could have become a listening ear.

Finally, I turned all of my thoughts and emotions over to God. I told Him what was on my heart. I asked him to help me forgive her for all of the things she had done. Yes, all of this took time but I eventually found peace. I found peace enough to help her, pray for her, and wish the best for her. I knew I had finally gotten over it when I asked myself, “If I were to see her in the store in need of help, would I help her?” The answer is yes! If she needed help today, I would help. I made a promise to myself that no matter what, that’s what I would do.

Forgiveness can be a hard topic to discuss. When you discuss the actions, individuals, and situations, it can be hard to do. Every situation is different. We are all humans and we have human emotions. Whether you are the one asking for forgiveness or the one forgiving, take it slow. Think and consider the other individual and what they’ve gone through. I hope and pray that you find the peace in your heart to forgive. No it is not easy. Yes, it does take a while. At the end of the day, it’s something that needs to be done.

When was the first time you learned the value of forgiveness?


Topic of the Week Inspiration:

The topic of the week was inspired by the character Makaeli from the book, “The Lovechild.” The Lovechild was our book of the month for February. This book covered a variety of topics ranging from family secrets, forgiveness, and facing your past, all of which Makaeli dealt with. Makaeli discovered that after finally giving everything to God, it was easier to forgive her sister for the abuse. Things began to make a 180 as she found it in her heart to forgive.

“The Lovechild” Book Review

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The book in a Nutshell:

The author introduces Makaeli, a sassy, biracial, fashion designer living her lavish life in Italy. Makaeli is fulfilling her childhood dream as this nice Italian photographer and long time friend is pursuing her. Although she is living her dreams, Makaeli is full of insecurities and regrets all coming from a bad childhood. It is revealed that Makaeli has a past that she is running from until she is forced to face it. Her older abusive sister, Raquel is in the hospital back in the US. Makaeli comes back home to visit her sister as she is nearing death. In the midst of her visit, she learns about some pretty serious secrets from her other sister and brother, Lisa and Matt. In an attempt to run back home, she eventually learns the value of running back to God, the solver of all problems. In the end, Makaeli also discovers why she is referred to as “The Lovechild.”

For a quick overview of our thoughts, watch the video below.

My Initial Thoughts:

If you watched the video above, you already know that I first received this book from my mom. She was so excited about this book and how it ended that she wanted me to read it as well.

I love how the Ashea ensures that you get a glimpse of Makaeli’s routine before her past is poured out. She unveils more about her past piece by piece through her thoughts, feelings, insecurities, and flashbacks. You have a direct connection to the character throughout the book whether you share the same experiences or not.

I also loved how Ashea authors the book from both the perspective of Makaeli and her sister, Lisa. It allows you to not only get a glimpse into their minds, but it also gives you a dual perspective as to how and why the family secrets were hidden for so long. You also get a chance to learn about Lisa’s hidden marital problems and pregnancy. As a reader, you become the fly on the wall for both of their conversations, inner thoughts, and emotions. Between the plot and the juice that spills from page to page, I was hooked to this book.

The Ending:

I was sad that the book was over but I was very happy with the ending. This book goes into the faith booster category!!! Sidenote-A faith booster is a book that allows for you to follow the characters as they transform into a better character building their faith and yours as a reader.

The author allows for you to follow the path of these characters and relate to them like they are your own relatives. I can truly say this book made feel so good reading the ending. I loved witnessing not only the journey and transformation of Makaeli but the supporting characters as well. I feel like that is one important piece that differentiates this book from so many in the African American Christian genre.

Recommendations:

I would first recommend this book to anyone struggling with their faith. Whether they stopped believing, gone back to the path of destruction, or feel lost, this is a book I would suggest. The age demographic for this book can go in any category. I was a teenager when I first read this book. It is a clean read without unveiling or tempting the reader to do anything that will detour their Christian journey.

Finally, I am definitely checking out more of Ashea Goldson’s work. I’m not sure how long she has been writing, but she definitely has a gift. I can tell she is an experienced writer by the way she can alternate characters and unveil details so good. I’ve read books where authors have tried this same approach and either made mistakes or the plot was all over the place. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more!

This book is available in stores and online. Below is the link to the Amazon page!

Learning to Love Yourself

It’s Valentine’s Day and we hope that your heart is overflowing with love.

A lot of people associate this holiday as a love devotion to others. On the other hand, more people should consider this day and everyday to celebrate the love they have for themselves.

Are you part of that crowd? If so, here are some tips to help you learn how to value and love yourself!

1. Focus on God first

If you’ve read our last blog, “Finding your identity in Christ,” you will understand the importance of this step. God created you, values you, and loves you. Understand that He created you for a great reason. Your life has a purpose and there’s a reason that you are existing right here, right now. Therefore, you must embrace His creation(you).

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

We love the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This statement is structured around truth. It’s easy to scroll through Facebook and Instagram or watch those popular YouTubers brag about their huge new house. However, it’s hard to deal with your newly bashed confidence afterwards.

Remember, things are glamorized for you to think this way, hence the concept of social media influencers. And your friends are included in that list of influencers. You don’t have to scroll through Sarah Lee’s new wedding photos wishing you were her. Give her a like and nice comment and keep it moving.

Take some time away from social media to be thankful for what you have.

3. Appreciate your gifts

Every individual is born with an array of gifts and talents. That’s one of God’s gifts to us! Use your time to grow your gifts and appreciate the talents you have. There’s no one else in this world like you. Take advantage of the fact that you are the OG. You are the real deal!

If you have some weaknesses that you would like to work on, use your time to turn those weaknesses into motivations. This will help you expand on those traits by working on them-with them.

Remember, Jesus Christ was the only perfect person to walk this earth. So appreciate your imperfections!

4. Understand how much you are loved

You have so many people that love you. You are loved so much that there are people that love you already that you haven’t met. Most importantly, you are loved so much that Jesus died on the cross for you before you and generations before you were thought about. Do you get the point? You are loved!!!!

Acknowledge and embrace the people in your life. They are what made you into the wonderful person you are today. Whether they have hurt you or treated you like gold, every person that you’ve come into contact with has an impact on your life. Thank them for that because you are stronger and better because of them.

5. Focus on yourself before moving forward

You have been through so much because of that, only you can tell your story. Facing your problems and work on those hidden painful spots lurking at the bottom of your heart. To love yourself, you must love the scars that built you as well. Face your past and accept your experiences, mistakes, and adversities. Overtime, you will appreciate what you’ve been through and how much you have overcome.

Finally, you must understand that before you love anyone else, you have to love yourself. That’s one of the traits that will make you desirable when that special person comes along. That’s what makes you into a great friend, mother, daughter, etc.

So, how are you spending your Valentine’s Day? Are you treating yourself as well?

Finding Your Identity in Christ

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If you’re a Christian, you probably can give every detail of the day you were saved. The memories flood your mind with the church, the people, and feelings that overwhelmed your heart. Although this was a life changing occasion, there are still instances when your heart may feel, lost. It’s during crucial moments like this when you must figure out who you are to pick yourself back up. So, how do you find your identity in Christ?

Align Yourself with God

Relationships, careers, and worldly problems sneak their way back into your mind. Therefore, you must align yourself with God. This means you need to focus more on Him instead of your problems. Pray more and ask God to lead you in the direction He wants you to go.

Ask for His will to be done. The best and only way to really know who you are is when you know how God views you. God knows exactly who you are and will inform you of your calling and purpose.

You will soon discover that after you align yourself with God, you will be more at peace with your past. If you had a hard childhood or went through some life altering experiences, anything that has held you back emotionally, mentally, and spiritually will no longer control you. Those things will become distant to your emotions as you focus more on God than those problems.

Jeremiah 29 12-13- “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Be Willing to Change…Again

God has a hand over your life. He will never fail you no matter what. So, when you come running back to Him. He will welcome you with open arms and a warm heart. Isn’t that amazing? As you align yourself with the Lord, He will change you again. As you get older and experience more things, your perspectives will change meaning your heart will change. All of this changing may be overwhelming at first but as you seek Him and in His word (the bible), your life values, morals, and perspectives will become more structured to your beliefs.

Your heart will change causing you to hear Him more. The things that you once wanted to do will no longer be significant to you anymore. Your old dreams and goals will change. Therefore, your heart will become more humble to how you view yourself, gifts, and talents.

Be Willing to Sacrifice

Just like Jesus sacrificed His life for you, you must do the same to fulfill the purpose and will of God. This means that you must be willing to have a servant’s heart. Give more, love more, and be willing to sacrifice more. Submit yourself and your heart to God and He will give you more than you’ve ever imagined both figuratively and literally. The more you give yourself to God, the more He will replenish your life with joy, peace, health, and wealth.

Matthew 23:12 “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles”himself shall be exalted.”

Keep God First in EVERYTHING

Finally, as a Christian, God must come first in your life. This means before you do anything, you must pray about it first. Ask God to lead and guide you in your decision making process. Meditate on His word and fast to become closer to Him. God loves to be included in your life. As you include more of Him, He will include more into your results. Think of the saying, “You will reap what you sow.” This is a true statement.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


Topic Character Highlight of the Week:

The topic of the week is in honor of Makaeli from our book of the month. Makaeli soon discovered that after she realigned herself with God, her painful past became more peaceful to cope with. Makaili also learned that when she came running back to God, God ran her problems away. She feel in love and was able to move forward with her life as she focused more on Him than the people who caused the issues.