How to Forgive: One of the most difficult easy things to do…

 

 

Recently, I had a big discussion with someone about anger and forgiveness, and what makes forgiveness so difficult. I realized that it’s one of the most difficult easy things to do. So, what makes it seem so daunting?

I think a common belief is that we have to FEEL like forgiving in order to forgive. But it’s just simply not true.

Forgiveness is a choice to be Christ-like to someone regardless of what they did to you… it’s choosing to love them anyway and not allow their actions to dictate how you respond or where your thoughts dwell. It’s not dependent on anything the other person could possibly say or do…. not an apology, not an acknowledgement, and not any form of retaliation. None of that will make it happen.

It’s one of the most difficult easy things to do.

When there IS an apology or acknowledgement, it can be easier to forgive because you feel validated and that can help you FEEL more like forgiving. BUT – as you know, that’s not always going to happen. The good thing is that forgiveness does not require it. God didn’t wait for an apology from all of mankind before He sent His Son to die on the cross, after all.
In the discussion I was having, I realized that maybe I could sum up forgiveness with the following:

1. Focus on truth. Your struggle is NOT with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces. If we are not alert, any of us can and will be used and manipulated as pawns by the enemy. Holding a grudge against a manipulated human isn’t tackling the real issue. Put on your spiritual armor and fight the actual enemy.
2. Make a CHOICE to forgive them and continue choosing to do so, even when the temptation creeps in to dwell on thoughts about how wrong they were. What they did may very well have been “horrible,” and you don’t have to “go back to the way things were” before it happened, but you also don’t have to let that action define them. Make a choice to respond with an agape kind of love and compassion. IF this choice is difficult to you, weigh the pros and cons. Consider the bondage that is created by unforgiveness!
3. Pray. For them AND for yourself.  As in… serious, compassionate intercession, pray for them. Pray that they will know peace, joy, healing, and spiritual freedom. Pray that you can recognize the influence of the spiritual enemy and resist them. EVERY time you are tempted to dwell on how hurt you were by them or how wrong they were, choose to use that as a reminder to pray for them with love, compassion, and sincerity.
You WILL be tempted to revisit those hurts from time to time.

“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair” ― Martin Luther 

When you see the birds flying over your head, shoo them away! Remember your choice to forgive, and remember that you are not doing it on your own. Claim the peace God has already extended to you, and thank God in advance for how He is going to help you learn to love those who have wronged you!

Come join our discussions in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. Does something not make sense to you yet, or is there a topic you’d like to see discussed here? Just let me know! I’m here to help you find Christ-centered life balance. I look forward to hearing from you and want to remind you that there are opportunities every day, so make Every Day Incredible!

Self-Care in the Workplace

Of the different places I’ve worked, I had some places that were laid back and relaxed and just generally good environment, and then I’ve had places where I was surrounded by stress, unrealistic expectations, tons of redundant paperwork, and attitudes to match. Your environment really does make a huge difference in how you feel and how you function. I hope that each of you are in a relaxed, laid-back environment, but in reality, I know that it’s not likely for all of you to be. So it’s important to learn how to take care of yourself so you can get your job done and not let the job bring you down.

1. Prayer
Here at everyday incredible, we focus on achieving life balance in all areas of wellness through finding balance in spiritual Wellness. Basically, finding Christ-Centered life balance. In Matthew, chapter 6, we read about many common worries. What we’ll eat, what we’ll drink, what we’ll wear… But Matthew 6:33 says to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all of these things will be added to us. When we are truly focusing on living rightly and on God’s Kingdom rather than the world around us, things are just going to go more smoothly. We need to be focused in the right direction. Starting off your day with prayer, even when you’re busy, is the best way to start. Put on your Spiritual armor before you put on your makeup. Your workplace self care begins before you even get to the workplace.

2. ‎Focus on the truth Channel
As you are learning to identify those core beliefs we’ve been talking about, you are much more prepared to recognize them when they rear their ugly heads. As soon as you recognize them, and I encourage you to ask God to reveal them to you through the Holy Spirit, change the channel. One channel is filled with lies from the enemy, such as that you’re not enough, or that you can’t do your job, or that nobody likes you… or maybe your channel of defeat tells you that you’re not allowed to take a break or you don’t have time for anything other than work. The other channel is focused on the truth. What does Scripture say about who you are? What does Scripture say about who God is to you? What does Scripture say about your priorities? Philippians 4:8 tells us to focus on those good things – things that are righteous and pure and true. We all have an innate tendency to treat ourselves as if certain things are true because they feel true even though we know that they are not. As soon as you catch those are the true thoughts invading your mind and bring you down, change the channel.

3. ‎Set goals
When you have prayed on your Spiritual armor, turn the channel to The Truth Network, and you’re prepared to start working, resist the urge to move forward without a plan. I say this to myself as much as I do to each of you. I know that I have been guilty of allowing myself to feel overwhelmed and just trying to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that to try to get everything done. That just adds to your sense of being overwhelmed and will not help you be as productive as you would like. So before you do anything else at work, make your plan. You wouldn’t build a house without one, and you wouldn’t go into battle without one. Each day needs a plan with SMART goals. I encourage you to go back and check out the post on smart goals for more information on what that means.

4. ‎Take breaks
When you feel overwhelmed and have unrealistic amount of work to do, it can be tempting to work through lunches and breaks. Those breaks are really important though. If you’re not scheduling and taking breaks, it can be tempting to get sidetracked by other things, such as chatting with co-workers, and you may end up spending more time with distractions than you would have with a scheduled break. A break at work, whether you work in an office or at home, may look like taking a short walk, closing your eyes and doing controlled breathing or imagery, taking time to work on crafty project or coloring page, some yoga poses or anything else that allows you to focus on something else for a while that’s not work related. One good idea to help you focus on Truth while having some time to decompress would be to find a scripture coloring book. Check here for some examples. I’ll also include a website link I have given many clients with some great and free relaxation downloads. They range in length, and with some headphones would be easy to do at your desk or in your car. On a grander scale, don’t forget to take regular breaks from work. A wise man once told me that it’s a good idea to take at least three days at least 3 times a year to go somewhere away from home if possible.

Come join our discussions in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. Does something not make sense to you yet, or is there a topic you’d like to see discussed here? Just let me know! I’m here to help you find Christ-centered life balance. I look forward to hearing from you and want to remind you that there are opportunities every day, so make Every Day Incredible!

A Prayer for When You are Feeling Overwhelmed and Stressed

This year, my approach to prayer has changed- in a good way. God has been speaking to my heart and guiding me through scripture to have a deeper understanding of what it means to have spiritual authority in the name of Jesus Christ, and the freedom that comes along with that.

The other day, I was feeling overwhelmed by the things on my to-do list. I started to feel stressed and was almost in tears. Then, it hit me. I can resist that. I don’t have to give in to feeling stressed and overwhelmed just because I’m tempted. It was like a switch flipped. I said, “No. I’m not doing this anymore.” I realized it was a tactic of our spiritual enemy, and I felt indignant.

Rather than tears, I felt fired up. I adjusted my helmet of salvation and breastplate of righteousness. I tightened my belt of truth and my shoes of good news. I picked up my shield of faith, and I drew my sword. I chose to fight back. I told satan there may be times he catches me off guard, but AS SOON AS I recognize his handiwork, l will stand my ground. I WILL draw my sword and claim the authority given to me as a child of the Most High God. Scripture tells me that Jesus won victory on the cross. It tells me that I am a co-heir with Christ and that if I have accepted Him, confessed my sins, accepted His forgiveness and payment for my sins – I have victory by association.

 

I’m realizing that I had been cowering at the thought of addressing the enemy. I wasn’t using my sword as it was intended. My armor wasn’t secured properly in place. I ran to the Father, armor slipping, but hadn’t started to stand my ground until recently. I don’t have to keep looking back to check and make sure my Heavenly Father is still there, as a child does in a new environment. I have confidence that He is ALWAYS there, and He told us to stand our ground. He gave us a sword and told us to resist the devil. Jesus demonstrated how to use the sword while being tempted in the desert. He answered satan with scripture.  We can do the same.

After I addressed the enemy, sword in hand, I prayed to the Father, and jotted down this version of what I had prayed:

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit to bring to my attention very quickly when the enemy is attacking. Help me to be able to stand my ground and claim the authority given to me through Jesus’s death and victory on the cross and my acceptance of it. I have applied the blood to myself and to my household, and I know that we have authority over evil. I know that scripture says no weapon formed against us will prosper, so the weapons of discouragement, depression, stress, anxiety and fear, pride, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, feeling overwhelmed… None of those will prosper because we have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. I know the truth, and scripture says the truth will set me free. I am free indeed. In my freedom, I thank you, Abba, for the joy that you’ve given to me, the peace you have given my soul, the healing you give me for past hurts, and the ability and the authority to exercise my power through your Holy Name over our enemy. I know it it’s nothing of my own authority, but the authority of your name.
Amen

Self-Care: How to take care of yourself

What does self-care mean to you? If you’re anything like me, your first thought might be a scoff and thinking, “when am I supposed to do that??”

Whether you work full time at an office, or work from home, whether you are shuffling kids to and from childcare, school, extracurricular activities, birthday parties, and all the other appointments and events they need to attend, or you have no children and are just on the go all the time for other reasons – it’s so easy to get in a routine of hurrying to another destination all the time. It’s easy to get distracted by the daily grind to the point that some of the important things fall by the wayside.

Do you forget to take care of yourself at times?

In grad school, I had a professor share with us “the oxygen mask principal.” Basically, the premise is that if you are on an airplane and the steward is going through the safety procedures spiel, you will be informed that if the cabin pressure drops, oxygen masks will drop from the panels above you. If you are traveling with an elderly person or small child, you put YOUR mask on first, THEN help them. If you try to put an oxygen mask on someone else and they are fighting you out of fear and confusion, or there is any difficulty at all, you are going to run out of oxygen and not be able to help anyone. Put your oxygen mask on first.

With that said, I am fully aware that it’s no easy task. When you’re in the middle of deadlines, maintaining a home, and just trying to make it through each day, finding time for self-care can be a true challenge. In reality, when you are able to step back, take a slow, controlled breath and refocus, it makes a huge difference in your ability to be productive.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you get stressed and overwhelmed easily? I’m willing to guess that when you are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not as productive as when you are calm and focused.

You can do a quick google search and come up with lots of “self-care” ideas, such as taking a bubble bath, reading a good book, taking a walk in nature, taking time to color or craft… and these are all great ways to take care of yourself.

On a deeper level, however, to truly take care of yourself, get to the root of the issue. Find balance in the areas that are all out of sorts for you.As I’ve shared before, I believe that the key to overall wellness is spiritual wellness, and we can ask God to reveal to us through the Holy Spirit any unresolved areas that need to be addressed in order to restore balance. As an overview though, to take care of yourself and increase your productivity, I would recommend that you:

1. Place your spiritual wellness at the top of your priorities list. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
2. Through prayer, keeping thought records, speaking with a trusted friend or mentor, learn to identify those core beliefs, or “strongholds” that are interfering with your balance. Do you have that little voice in your head that always tells you that you’re not going to accomplish things? That you’re not enough? Learn to recognize them and deal with them.
3. Set your SMART goals regularly. Know what items on your to do list are highest priority and go from there. Writing down your list and organizing it helps you organize your thoughts and feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Don’t feed into believing that you don’t have time to sit down and write out your to do list. Resist those unhelpful, negative thoughts.
4. Give yourself permission to engage in those self-care activities that are commonly recommended. Include them in your goals!. Balance is the key!
5. Take action. Nodding and telling yourself these are good ideas is not going to cut it. Prove to yourself that you can meet your realistic goals!

Each of these steps has been discussed to some degree here at Every Day Incredible. I encourage you to go back and listen to past episodes, and come discuss them in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. Does something not make sense to you yet, or is there a topic you’d like to see discussed here? Just let me know! I’m here to help you find Christ-centered life balance. I look forward to hearing from you and want to remind you that there are opportunities every day, so make Every Day Incredible!

How to Defeat Self-Sabotage: Getting to the root of the problem

 

As you know, we’ve talked about self-sabotage a few times lately. Today, I want to talk about what’s behind the self-sabotage problem.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about “Imposter Syndrome” and the struggle that Moses had with feeling that he was not enough even though God himself appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush that didn’t burn. We’ve also talked about how self-sabotage can occur through unforgiveness and other footholds in our lives that result in anxiety, depression, anger, and any number of barriers to reaching our goals. Today we come to discussing the root of self-sabotage.

We have talked at other times about core beliefs and how they impact our overall wellness. Now is a good time to revisit that discussion. So in this post, I really want to highlight how all of these posts here at every day incredible really fit together to form the bigger picture of wellness and a Christ-centered life balance.

When I am having sessions with a client for mental health therapy, what generally happens is that we discuss various areas of difficulty in their lives. I ask questions to bring up more details as needed, and I pull out themes in what they are saying. We use that to get to the root of the problem, which is typically more of an overall, big-picture issue than it is about a specific situation or relationship. For example, relationship problems are rarely truly about who takes out the trash.

 

 

Self-sabotage is actually a very common issue. Some of the core beliefs, or problematic strongholds I commonly see are core beliefs such as,

“I’m not enough,”
“I don’t deserve better because of things I’ve done,”
“I don’t deserve better because of who I am,”
or “I’m not as good as they are at doing that.”

Then, it’s like we get to a point where we subconsciously tell ourselves, “if I can’t do it perfectly, which I know I can’t, why bother even trying?”

For those who struggle with perfectionism, I’m sure you’re probably nodding along with what I’m saying.

We may find something inspirational and motivational and get fired up to give it another try, yet if that core belief… that stronghold continues to exist deep within us, it won’t be long until we have that spiritual enemy whispering into our ear and to our wounded hearts, telling us just how ridiculous we are for thinking for a moment that we could do it.. for believing that God created us with strengths and with a purpose.

To defeat self-sabotage from a Biblical perspective, it needs to start with spiritual wellness.

My challenge to you is:
1. Pray for God, through the Holy Spirit, to open your eyes, as He opened the eyes of Balaam and of Elisha’s servant to see the spiritual forces around you.
2. Ask Him reveal to you any footholds or legal ground you may have given your spiritual enemy. Address them. Confess them, repent of them, and break ties with them.
3. ‎ Pray for wisdom, as James chapter 1 tells us that God will give it to us if we ask for it.
4. ‎ Ask God to reveal any strongholds to you. As we have discussed here at every day incredible before, using thought records can be helpful in identifying unhelpful core beliefs. These are those strongholds. When you learn to identify what your strongholds are, you will be more prepared to resist the temptation to feed into them when the enemy comes around to stir the pot.
5. Claim the victory God has already given you through the cross.

I’d like to leave you with a prayer today, and encourage you to pray along with me.

 

Heavenly Father, I come boldly and humbly before your throne. In James, Chapter 1, I have read that You give wisdom to those who ask for it. I ask you now for the wisdom I need. As Paul prayed for the Colossians, I ask that you fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I want to know You more. I want to please You more.
I ask that you would open my eyes to see the spiritual influences around me, that I am able to have the discernment I need in order to move forward in your plan for me. As you opened the eyes of Balaam and of Elisha’s servant, I ask that you would allow me to recognize not only the dark forces at work around me, but also the mighty warrior angels fighting on my behalf, for which I am grateful.
I ask that you send your Holy Spirit to bring to my attention any footholds I have given the enemy. Bring them to my attention that I may confess and repent of them and turn to rely fully on you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I tear down, smash, crush, and destroy every stronghold created by mistakes I have made, trauma I have experience, or generational sin before me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I cancel every assignment by evil forces against me and against those in my life. I tear down, smash, crush, and destroy every stronghold that goes against Your truth and Your love, including the strongholds of fear, anxiety, depression and hopelessness, inferiority, unforgiveness, anger and resentment, bitterness, unrealistic expectations, and anything else that interferes with my ability to see myself for who I am and You and to see You for who You really are.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I claim the victory that has already been won through the cross. I apply the blood to my life and the lives of my household. I thank you Father that I don’t have to remain in bondage to spiritual forces because my debt has already been paid. I thank you Jesus Christ, for willingly taking on the torment intended for me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask that you send Your spirit of truth For it is written that that you shall know the truth the truth will set you free. I claim that freedom in The name of Jesus Christ. I willingly repent of the sinful attitudes, actions, and beliefs that have kept me distanced from you. Draw me close to you, I pray. In the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Have you found spiritual freedom? If so, come let us know in the every day incredible ladies facebook group, or on our twitter @incredibledaily. I look forward to hearing from you! Check back often so you don’t miss anything, and remember that there are opportunities every day, so make every day incredible.

Incredible Journal of Prayer and Praise: How to Start a Prayer Book

In our Every Day Incredible Ladies: Digging Deeper group, we are starting prayer journals. As with any journal, there are many approaches we could take, but I wanted to share with you a glimpse of what we are doing in the group to start creating our own prayer books that include Bible journaling and praise journaling.

First though, let me give you a why. One big reason is that it can be easy to forget how far you’ve come if you’re not keeping records of your journey. Being able to look back on answered prayers can work wonders for your faith. Otherwise, sometimes we forget what we have been praying for. Another reason is so you can go back and pray those prayers again. There is a lot of power in praying them out loud as well. Some prayers can also be shared to help others in their faith.

There are many other reasons to keep prayer and praise journals. Feel free to share your reasons in the comments!

 

Moving on, I want to share some ideas for you as you choose a journal to begin.

– composition notebook
– diary style, hard back
– 3 ring binder of any size
– sketch book for an art style journal
– find an app to use
– use Google Keep or Google Drive (With Keep, you can use #tags to separate by prayers, praises, needs, happy moments, etc.. With Drive, try creating folders titled with the month and year. Both are accessible from a smart phone, tablet, or desktop/laptop without having to carry around a physical book.

 

Whatever you choose to use, make it your own. If you are using a physical book, try decorating the cover. Do a collage. Paint it. Draw on it. Cover it. Whatever you want… but let it be something that in inspiring and encouraging to you.
Fill it. If you use a 3 ring binder, you could try creating sections for praise, prayer, happy thoughts, etc. Move things around if you need to move them!

 

As you begin your journal, try these ideas:
– Print/write scripture with truths you want to use in prayer
– Print/write prayers you find online/ on pinterest/here
– Write your OWN prayers that address what you are currently facing.
– Write your own “breath prayers” – quick, one-line prayers you can pray throughout the day, every day.
– Write your gratitude

 

Above all,  keep it positive! Focus on truth!

 

Rather than using your journal as a place to vent, use it as a place to turn to God. Rather than telling Him the problem, Thank Him in advance for how He is working in the situation. Claim the promises you find in Scripture. Write what God is teaching you through your current situation (if you aren’t sure, ask Him for wisdom, discernment, and understanding so you know His will for you and your actions/attitudes may be pleasing to Him).

 

Share the lessons you are comfortable with sharing in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group! Share the verses you find that are significant to you. Share the prayers that you find powerful. The groups are designed to be a place where all group members can build one another up so we can run the race together. Sharing the comfort with others that you receive from God is not only scriptural, it gives what you are facing a deeper purpose and therefore helps you to be better able to cope with it.

 

Share your journal prompt ideas and other journal ideas in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group too! What are you using for your journal?

 

If you are interested in joining the Digging Deeper! group, check out the “take the next step” tab or go to http://diggingdeeper.everydayincredible.net  Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list for freebies, updates, and offers, and add us to your contacts so you don’t miss anything! I look forward to hearing from you in the groups, and remember – there are opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

Happy Journal, Happy Life

Hey ladies! I just wanted to share a quick post about a new project I learned about recently. It is launching SOON.

Jennie Moraitis, of Little Girl Designs is releasing a book called, Happy Journal, Happy Life. I snagged an advance copy and I LOVE it. It’s a fantastic way to focus on happy moments and capture positive emotions that can point back to God’s blessings and truth.

As I started reading the book, I remembered sitting on a plane on the way back from Peru, doodling about favorite things that happened on the mission trip I’d just joined. Then on a plane on the way back from Albuquerque New Mexico, I did the same. I did a bit of doodling when I was in the UK a few months too. I love looking back at them, but I’d never thought of making it a regular form of journaling. Until now!

Sunday Night, as I was going through the bedtime routine with my boys, I asked them about their favorite happy parts of the weekend, then I doodled them in a journal. Granted, it was no work of art (in my defense, I was nursing the baby while rocking in the rocking chair WITH the room lights off for the majority of it), but I just wanted to capture some of the images, even if only in rough stick people form. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “a picture paints a thousand words.” Happy journaling is a way to say thousands of words with just a few small images. It’s fun and speaks volumes.

Not only is it a fun way to journal, it supports what we’ve been discussing here at Every Day Incredible – changing the channel to what is good, true, helpful, healthy… well, refer to Phil 4:8. It can help keep you focused on the good stuff.

Jennie is giving away free copies of the book on launch day. People can get their free copy on launch day by registering at happyjournalhappylife.com. It’s only free until Sunday, Nov 5th 2017, so go now!

I just want to note that I am not an affiliate… this is just a project that I LOVE and want to share. Go check it out!

Be watching for challenges in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group soon! Good things happen when we devote time focusing on good things!

Self-Sabotage: How unforgiveness and bitterness lead to anxiety

Ephesians 4:25-32
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your 

neighbor, for we are all members of one body.“In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

Forgiveness is a topic I have discussed with many clients. It’s a difficult topic to discuss. It comes attached to so many different emotions and past hurts. Something I realized over the years is that forgiveness is so commonly misunderstood and it is perpetuated by those misunderstandings.

Most commonly, people tend to believe that forgiving someone means that
A. It’s letting them off the hook,
B. It means you think whatever they did is “okay” or you condone it,
C. It’s a single-time choice that once you make, you forget whatever happened.

 

 

There are many other misconceptions as well, but these seem to be the top 3. To respond to the first one, forgiving doesn’t mean letting them off the hook necessarily. Forgiveness of a debt may mean that the person no longer has to pay the debt, but it doesn’t mean removing all of the consequences of an action.I can forgive my children and not hold their actions against them in the sense that I withhold love, but still stand firm in issuing a time out or removing privileges. I’m still going to show them love while I do that.

Regarding the idea that forgiveness would mean we are condoning what they did or telling them it’s okay, or maybe even inviting them to continue to treat us in the same way – Nope. It’s still important to set healthy boundaries, which is a whole other topic. Again, there are consequences to actions, whether positive or negative. If you have been betrayed by a friend, you can forgive them and continue to show godly love as He has commanded us to do. That doesn’t mean the nature of the relationship goes right back to the way it was before. You may need healthier boundaries with that friend. Forgiving them is saying, “I choose to not let your actions dictate how I respond to you or cause me to withhold God’s love from you. I’m not going to stop treating you like a fellow human being…. but I’m still going to need my house key back.”

Third, it’s really not always just a one-time choice. We may think we have let go, and then when something else has us worn down (think “foothold”), one little thought may pop up. If we dwell on it, we can get that unforgiveness stirred back up again. Think of a Newton’s cradle. If you pick up the ball on the end and drop it to hit the others…. it gets the cycle going again. Back and forth and back and forth. At some point, you have to the ball in place. The enemy is going to be watching those footholds. If we give in to that selfish, hateful thought. If we give in to those self-defeating, self-critical, Moses-at-the-burning-bush thoughts… those become footholds and can let all kinds of other spirits in. A spirit of unforgiveness, a spirit of hatred, a spirit of anger and bitterness….Spirits of anxiety and depression. If those spirits find a way in, they WILL torment you, and they WILL lie to you. Often. Resist them and use the authority given to you by your Heavenly Father to evict them.

Part of the process of finding peace and forgiveness also involves confession and speaking out against the sin of unforgiveness.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Ladies. There is so much power in the spoken word. I will continue to remind you that God SPOKE the world into existence. Our enemy wants to keep us silent… to move and work like an evil ninja, undetected and unchallenged. Bring attention to the evil ninja!

Is there someone that you have a difficult time forgiving from your past? Or your present for that matter? Maybe it’s not just one person, but a pattern of unforgiveness. What that might look like could be a scowl when you hear someone’s name, or a snarky comment when they are mentioned or you see them.

When I think of unforgiveness, I immediately think of one of my all-time favorite books. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. I highly recommend it. In The Hiding Place, Corrie tells the story of how her Dutch family worked with an underground system to protect Jewish people from the Nazis during the Holocaust of World War II.

In the book, she describes how long after the war, she was approached by one of the very guard that was most cruel to her and her sister, who died under his cruel treatment. The man told her that he had become a Christian and asked her for her forgiveness. She said that her initial response was no, and she felt hatred toward him. However, she quickly realized that if she was not willing to forgive him, she did not have forgiveness from God herself.

In scripture, we read a parable about a man on whom his King had pity because he could not repay a huge debt. The man was overjoyed that his debt was gone, but when he encountered another man who owed him a small sum of money, he had him thrown in jail because he couldn’t repay it. When the king heard about it, he was furious. Scripture says he turned the man over to be tormented until he paid back what he owed. It says the Kingdom of Heaven is like this too. Not forgiving others keeps us from being able to accept God’s forgiveness of us. When we are handed over to be tormented, we are giving legal rights to spirits of evil to taunt, manipulate, and otherwise make us miserable. We allow them to plant seeds of doubt, insecurity, fear, anger, depression, and bitterness, among others. We open the floodgates.

Have you ever noticed how when one person is in a bad mood, it can be contagious? Or if you start complaining about one thing, how it can be very easy to get sucked into complaining about everything and get in the habit of being negative? Floodgates. If you dwell on the thought that what that one person did was so horrible and inexcusable to you, human nature’s natural tendency is to find every bit of evidence to support that as possible. Sometimes, we even stretch the facts in our minds to fit our beliefs. We may not even realize we’re doing it. We may not realize just how much we are influenced by those evil spirits … those sneaky evil ninjas tormenting us. We may not realize how much of a habit bitterness and resentment have become.

As one negative thought leads to another, we get puffed up in our pride, continually finding reasons to justify our unforgiveness. But, along with pride, comes insecurity. Along with pride comes fear of what other people think. The bitterness and resentment strengthen yet we cling to our right to be upset because… ‘How dare they.’ We stop treating them like part of the body of Christ. We start acting like they are the only ones who struggle with humanity at times. We forget that there is a spiritual battle happening and they are being used and manipulated as pawns. We forget that we are too if we’re not careful.

It’s easy to get blinded by our unhelpful thinking habits and the influence of evil spirits. Going back to Corrie Ten Boom, when Corrie realized she had that hatred still in her heart and she realized that she could not have forgiveness until she was able to let it go, she allowed the Holy Spirit to do a great work in her. Like the rest of us, she did not have the power of her own volition, but when she made the choice to forgive and let it go, the Holy Spirit filled her with the love she needed in that moment. It wasn’t all on her shoulders. God provides what we need, we just have to take the first step.

I have always heard it said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It truly is self-sabotage. It can have a severely detrimental effect on every area of your wellness.

To review, my challenge to you is to:
1. Understand what forgiveness means and what it doesn’t.
2. ‎Ask God to reveal to you any hate or unforgiveness you may be harboring in your heart.
3. ‎Humble yourself. Just because you have a right to feel insulted or offended,. doesn’t mean you have to exercise that right and dwell there. Sometimes we are offended because of our own pride and not an actual transgression against us. Confess it and lay it down. Close that door.

 

I look forward to hearing from you in the group. Don’t forget to sign up for the Every Day Incredible Mailing list at EveryDayIncredible.net for freebies, updates, and offers. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-Centered life balance. I also want to remind you that there are opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

Self-Sabotage: Understanding Imposter Syndrome

I have to, but I can’t. Who am I to do this?

Have you ever been excited and inspired to do something, only to get quickly discouraged and the excitement just… fizzles out?
Maybe you get excited when you think about going back to school for another degree. Maybe it’s about applying for a promotion that starts to make you feel energized. Maybe it’s joining in a Ministry opportunity, or a personal goal like getting healthier and fitting back into those old jeans that were once comfy.

Have you ever looked ahead at a goal like one of these and just felt yourself longing for it until your thoughts drown out the hope with self-doubt and criticism?

This is actually a very common struggle. When we talk about self-sabotage, we are referring to an internal conflict that keeps us from meeting our goals. We may have big dreams of things that we want to accomplish, then that little voice in our head criticizes us for having such big dreams.

Who are you to think you can do that? What makes you think you can accomplish that?

That little voice begins to point out every flaw we have that might stand in the way. When I think of this kind of self-sabotage, I think it’s Moses and his encounter with imposter syndrome. As he stood in front of God in the form of a burning bush, Moses began to give God… The creator of all things… A list of reasons why he, Moses, wasn’t qualified to follow God’s instructions.

1. Who am I that I should go?
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” -Exodus 3:11
When you say to yourself, “I’m a nobody. I don’t deserve this opportunity,” You’re treating yourself like an imposter. You’re treating yourself like you’re not really a child of the King who created you with a purpose. If you are indeed seeking God first (Matt 6:33), and He leads you to something… trust Him that He’s got you covered. He has given you exactly WHAT you need and will continue to give you what you need exactly WHEN you need it. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Not only are such self-defeating thoughts going against who God created us to be, they are lacking faith in our Heavenly Father who has promised to provide. If He calls you to it – He will provide for whatever you lack.

2. ‎ Who do I say sent me?
“Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” -Exodus 3:13
Do you think you have to have all the answers before you can accomplish something? Do you keep researching and planning and researching and planning and planning and researching and… Just stop. Seriously… just stop. Again, if you are seeking God first, and doing what He has instructed you to do, He will give you the answers you need when you need them. Not only that, but if you don’t have all the answers, it’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself permission to say, “You know… I don’t really know.” We’re not ever going to have ALL the answers. Only God does.

3. ‎ They’re not going to believe me or listen to my voice.
“Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ ” -Exodus 4:1
When I was a teenager, I had a relative tell me that my voice just blended into the background and people forgot I was talking. Ouch. That really stuck with me (clearly). Again though, when we dwell on telling ourselves this, that people are not going to listen to us or believe we have the credentials we say we have, we are defeating ourselves before we even start. Again, we are stifling our faith. If God has led us there, He will prepare the way. For those who don’t believe or listen… that’s on them. You are only responsible for your own part of the story.

4. ‎ I am slow of speech and of tongue.
“Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” -Exodus 4:10
Do you focus on your flaws? It’s so incredibly easy to do. The thing is – you are going to be much more aware of any perceived flaws than other people will be. In grade school, I went to speech therapy for a while. There were some sounds that were difficult for me to say correctly. There are times I still hear it and it bothers me. I once mentioned this to my husband, who looked at me strangely. He’d not even noticed it. I’ve known him since childhood. We are ALWAYS going to be our own worst critics.

5. Send anyone but me. ‎“But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” -Exodus 4:13
When we evaluate ourselves and find ourselves lacking, it can be tempting to hunker down, cover our heads, and say, “Let someone else do it, God. I’m not enough.”

Isn’t that what ALL of these excuses are saying? “I’m not enough.”

What does that sound like to you? Isn’t that exactly what we have been talking about here at Every Day Incredible? Those negative, destructive words that find a stronghold deep in our minds and make themselves at home in our wounded hearts?

Isn’t that how our enemy works? Evil is sneaky, ladies.

Acknowledge those thoughts. Are they consistent with who God is, and who you are to God?

No. I can say with confidence that they are not.

I want to challenge you to do something. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Make a list of all of the excuses that echo in your mind when you think of that goal you have always had a dream of reaching. Every excuse that comes. When you have your list, out from each excuse, I want you to challenge it with what God says is true. What is true about who He is, and who You are to Him. If you have trouble with this, come to the Every Day Ladies Facebook group and we can work on this together.

With each excuse, I encourage you to say, out loud, that you choose to no longer give into believing that excuse because the truth is – then finish that thought with the truth you have written.

 

I look forward to hearing from you in the group. Don’t forget to sign up for the Every Day Incredible Mailing list at EveryDayIncredible.net for freebies, updates, and offers. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-Centered life balance. I also want to remind you that there are opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

Spiritual Wellness: The Key to Overall Wellness

If you are just beginning on your journey toward overall wellness, my first question is: how is your spiritual health?

When you look at the diagrams that show all eight areas of wellness, spiritual wellness is one of the eight. Here at Every Day Incredible, we are emphasizing spiritual wellness as being the gateway to wellness for all other areas.

Matthew 6:33 says that if you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things will be added to you. It’s referring to all of the worries that we often have, such as what we’re going to eat or wear or what tomorrow will bring.
Let’s face it when we get overwhelmed, we tend to worry. A lot. It’s not a new struggle.

For those who have been listening or reading for a while now, you will understand that I have been more focused on spiritual warfare lately. While I know that not every struggle in life is a direct spiritual attack, I also recognize how much of our struggles actually are related. I’m much more aware of how much we are influenced by spiritual factors. If you remember, you can check out the post on Balaam’s talking donkey and see how that was a wake-up call for me.

The more I’ve studied, the more I’ve realized how we can make decisions that create opportunities for spiritual bondage for us. There are choices we sometimes make in life that give forces of darkness a legal claim to harass and oppress us. Being a Christian does not exempt us from this.

Many people go through their lives oppressed or harassed by satan’s minions because we never take our claim back and tell them, with the authority given to us by God, to leave us alone. I want to encourage you to take some time for reflection and meditation on God’s word today. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what might be standing in the way of your spiritual health. Ask Him what footholds you may have given that need to be renounced or let go.

What are you clinging to that may be clouding your spiritual vision? Are you finding it difficult to forgive someone? Do you have bitterness in your heart? Are you holding on to some object from your past that represents sinful actions you have taken? Do you speak self-defeating thoughts that go against who God says He is and who God says you are to Him?

We spend quite a bit of time here talking about how we need to change the unhelpful, untrue thinking and replace it with what we know to be true. There are some major spiritual implications to that. What does Scripture say is true? That is what you need to focus on at all times. Learn to make it a habit.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Not only do the negative, untrue thoughts keep you feeling beaten down, they can also give evil a foothold to continue to oppress and harass you. You may actually be giving evil a legal right to do so. I’ll tell you what, thinking about that fires me up. How often have I in the past given the legal right where I didn’t even realize I was doing it?

We know that scripture says there are evil forces at work around us, yet it is something that is difficult for us to discuss for various reasons. We often turn a blind eye to it, as if it’s something only in the cartoons. Y’all, it’s real. To truly have overall wellness, we’ve got to address this first. I invite you to do you own research about spiritual bondage and legal rights and come discuss in the Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group.

As you are working to overcome negative thinking habits and start focusing on what is true, be sure to sign up for the Every Day Incredible email list at everydayincredible.net to download a free pdf on steps to cope with feeling overwhelmed in the daily grind. As always, check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. And remember, there are opportunities in every day, so make Every Day Incredible!

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