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, 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!

The Power of “Yet”

Yet.

Its just small word. Only three letters. But did you know that 3 letters can be very, very powerful? Just think about it. That one word in the English language has the power to open negative, defeating utterances to a world of possibilities and opportunities.

How often do you tell yourself you can’t do things? How often do you focus on all of the things you haven’t done, and the places you haven’t gone?

It’s easy to get trapped in that line of thinking.

“I haven’t learned to play that instrument. I haven’t learned another language. I haven’t been to Paris. I haven’t finished that certification. I haven’t gone back for another degree. I haven’t figured out how to change the display settings on my husband’s car radio. I haven’t been to a Broadway play in New York. I haven’t gone on an Alaskan cruise. I haven’t taken cooking classes. I haven’t paid off the mortgage.”

Do you focus on these things? I’m sure you have your own “I haven’t” list, right?

If you don’t keep it in check, that list can keep growing and growing and growing. This truth is, it’s not possible to do All. The. Things. We just can’t. But, how do you feel when you focus on all of the things you haven’t done? Do you feel like giving up or like it is too late to try? It’s like seeing the glass as half empty.

Now to see what happens when we toss in that one little, almost magical word…

I haven’t learned to play the instrument…yet.

I haven’t learned another language…yet.

I haven’t been to Paris yet.

I haven’t finished that certification yet or gone back for another degree yet.

I haven’t figured out how to change the display settings on my husband’s car radio yet.

I haven’t been to a Broadway play in New York yet or gone on an Alaskan cruise yet.

I haven’t taken cooking classes yet.

I haven’t paid off the mortgage..yet…. but with any of these things, if I chose to pursue them and my plans align with God’s guidance, they are all possibilities! I refuse to limit myself by what I tell myself I can’t do. Better yet, I refuse to limit God and His plan for me. When we focus only on the things we haven’t done, seen, or accomplished, we limit what our brains are capable of doing. We stunt our growth and stifle our creativity. True, we haven’t done those things we haven’t done. ..yet. That doesn’t mean we have to close all of the doors.

Open the doors, open the windows. Let the sunlight in and let the breeze air out the room. Even if you never walk through those doors, treat them as future possibilities. Look around at the options you have and ask prayerfully and joyfully, “what door next, God? I haven’t been through any of those…yet.”

Psalm 32:8 (NIV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

 

What have you yet to do that sounds exciting to you? Come discuss this and your own wellness goals in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive extra content and keep up-to-date on what is going on at Every Day Incredible. As always, check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Spiritual Influences on Mental Health

We all form unhealthy thinking habits.

I have recited that line as I begin the spiel to explain where unhealthy thinking originates so many times I can almost say it in my sleep. Client after client, I have explained the general concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy and how our thinking habits affect how we feel and therefore how we behave or react to situations. It’s such important information, yet so infrequently taught.

I used to wonder, though, how we could tell when presentation of mental health illness was a result of spiritual oppression, possession, or simply Mental Health. I’m realizing now that is not that cut and dry.

From a mental health perspective, we really do form thinking habits, whether positive or negative. We form core beliefs that shape how we view the world and interpret every situation we face. Like looking through colored glasses, they impact how we see and process our experiences.

Where do your core beliefs originate?

Did you grow up surrounded by criticism and anxiety? Anger? Depression? What are you surrounding yourself with now? Do you watch television shows that dwell on those themes? Do you spend time with people who respond in those ways?Sometimes core beliefs form as a result of abuse or traumatic experiences. Is that true for you?

Scripture says that the devil roams around the earth, looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

We know from scripture that satan is not omnipresent. As a created being, he can’t be everywhere at once. God is omnipresent and can take care of everyone at the same time. Satan’s following is limited. The demons that fell with him are limited. He works against us in different ways, but here, he and his demons commonly interfere by planting those seeds of thought. Fears, doubts, insecurities, thoughts of injustice… they begin to grow. He may whisper in our ear, “come on, you don’t really think they could love someone like you, do you?” “You have a right to be angry. How dare they do that to you.”

He stirs the pot.

“You have made too many mistakes for anyone to love you.”
“You’ll never be enough.”

These statements are such a stark contrast from last month’s affirmations, aren’t they?? Because they are lies!

He pokes and prods. He pours salt in wounds. He gets the water churning. He plants weeds among the healthy plants.

If we’re not alert, we fall for it. We take the bait and start chewing on those thoughts. They’re a bit like poorly prepared squid that seems to become more and more rubbery the more you chew.

While you’re busy chewing, and really working those thoughts over in your head, he’s free to move on to the next individual and wreak havoc there too.

The thinking habit takes shape.

If we start to realize it and make changes, around he comes again to fight a little harder. He wants to keep us distracted, and defeated. He doesn’t want us to replace that unhelpful self talk with truth because then he can’t win. He wants us to keep the “stinking thinking.”

So, as we say about the stinking thinking, we have to change it. If you’ve followed Every Day Incredible at all, I’m sure you’ve heard a few ideas by now about how to catch and challenge the negative thoughts that come.

Some tips are:

1. Keep a record of how often you have the negative thoughts. Use a journal, use a thought record smartphone app. Use your phone. Just keep track, whatever you do. As you become more aware, it becomes easier and easier to resist.
2. Surround yourself with people who are in the habit of focusing on the truth rather than the lies of satan.
3. Replace the negative thoughts with affirmations, scripture, and prayer.

The more you recognize those unhelpful thoughts, the stronger you become in the war against any evil forces of this world. Like Jesus as He was tempted in the desert by satan, challenge those temptations and lies with what you know to be truth – what can be backed by Scripture.

What truths can become part of your defense against evil forces? Come discuss this and your own wellness goals in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. Be sure to check out the Victory Wall and share when you are able to successfully resist the negative thinking habits. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Resist the Devil and He Will Flee From You (Affirmations Series #5)

Throughout this month, we have focused on affirmations as positive, healthy, and helpful self-talk. However… affirmations are not limited to self-talk. We live in a society that is quick to point out the negative. Any time spent on social media will certainly highlight this! Check out any political post, any article on public breastfeeding, or …. Well… really, any article that goes viral and is seen by keyboard warriors who care nothing about the poster or person referenced. It is both frightening and discouraging how quick people can be to tear others down just because they can.

We talked last week about the spiritual influences around us, and this is no different! The spiritual battlefield is real, and finding balance means we have to learn to acknowledge it for what it is. With that said, I’d like to turn this post toward affirming those around us.

Negativity can be an easy habit to form and a hard one to break. How many of you have found yourself in a vicious cycle of “no, stop, don’t” with your children, or in pointing out the negative in situations you face with your spouse? Telling yourself it’ll never get better? Telling your friends only the “bad stuff” happening to you?

I know I have! It wears us all down if we get into that mode. Misery loves company, so the saying goes. BUT… I’d like to stop here and share the verse that has played over and over in my head lately.

 

James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

I am realizing more and more what resisting the devil really looks like. It’s not only telling him to go away (but I totally do that too, in determined defiance), but it also looks like replacing those negative thoughts, criticisms, and hopeless statements with what we know is true and healthy. It looks like going against that sinful, selfish human nature when you are tempted to fire back a jab when your feelings are hurt. It looks like giving your child a hug when you feel like screaming. It looks like going to your spouse and saying, “I love you, how can we work on this together?” instead of slamming the door as you walk away.

 

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

 

I’m being completely real with you when I tell you, I had really gotten myself pulled into that negativity cycle for a while. With God’s help, I’m really working to change that. This morning, my 6 year old dumped his entire bowl of cereal in his lap. I kept my cool. He helped clean it up, the morning went on, and there was a lot of giggling going on about various things that happened (such as letting my three year old brush MY teeth so he wouldn’t whine about me brushing his… THAT was entertaining). At one moment, I looked at my husband and commented on the difference. I realized THAT is what resisting the devil often looks like in practice.

In another recent situation, I said something through text that came across poorly. It nearly caused a big blow-up between my husband and me. I felt that nagging temptation to snap at the response (though I completely understood how it had come across and why he was upset). I hesitated. I responded with an apology and reminding him that I love him and I didn’t mean for the statement to come across like it had. The moment passed, and it didn’t escalate. I later realized again… THAT was is what resisting the devil often looks like in practice. I thanked God and thought, “Ha! you didn’t play me that time, satan!”

I’m learning how important it is to not only resist the devil for my own self, but also to build up those around me. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to give more frequent affirmations to my family and others I encounter. Have you heard something positive about someone you know? Tell them. Is your spouse having a tough time at work? Tell him how appreciated he is. Tell your kids how great they are. Be sure you are taking time to acknowledge what is true of those around you. You will often be able to see their strengths much more quickly than they will. Help them resist the devil’s tactics by affirming them every chance you get with what you know is true. I’d like to get you started with some examples, but I would love for you to share your own as well!

 

You are loved.

You are appreciated.

You are a great kid!

You are such a great worker.

You inspire me when you _______.

I’m so thankful you are my husband.

I’m so thankful for your friendship.

You are a great listener.

You are a blessing to me.

You brighten my day.

You bring me joy.

You did such a great job with that.

You rock!

I’m so thankful to be your mommy.

You make me smile!

You are doing fantastic, thank you!

 

 

Think about what affirmations you would love to hear from others. Can you think of someone else who needs to hear the same? Tell them!

I’d like to leave you with one more passage for the week.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

15 Affirmations to Survive Parenthood (Affirmation Series #4)

Parenting is tough.  Any of you out there who are parents, this post is especially for you, but even if you don’t have children, I think you can still gain something from it. Before we get to some helpful affirmations about parenting, I’d like to share a personal spiritual growth moment with you.

One night recently, I was reading the story of Balaam’s talking donkey to my children. As I read it to them, I felt God speaking to my heart. First, I want to back up though. Because of some life experiences this year, I’ve been paying more and more attention to the fact that there is a very real and active spiritual realm around us. While scripture makes frequent references to it, it seems we don’t often treat it as real, and even as I was writing out this post, I had that inner voice ask me if I was sure I wanted to talk about it because… well, people don’t talk about these things. It’s something that makes people look like fanatics, right? Well… to that, I say, hush, satan. Leave me alone. I’m going to share about it anyway because it’s very real.

I’ve been reading more about spiritual warfare over the past few months and coming to some major realizations. I believe some of satan’s biggest methods of attack are found in that inner voice. Self-doubt and criticism, resentment and anger, distraction, and the list goes on. My husband and I have three boys here on Earth. They are six, three, and a newborn. Yes, in response to the question I often get, I do have my hands full. But, I love my boys more than I could even say. Obviously, they are kids, and if anybody wonders about sinful, selfish nature, just watch kids for a little bit. Yes, we are all born with it. Before children learn to put themselves after others, the world revolves around them in their own minds. In today’s society especially, we see lots and lots of individuals who never really learn that. It creates a lack of compassion and a lack of happiness. As we discussed in the post about what we can learn from the world’s happiest man, it takes thinking outside ourselves to be truly happy.

Okay, now back to the Bible Storytime. I chose the story of Balaam and the talking donkey because I thought my boys would enjoy it. It turns out, there was a real lesson for me in it.

Balaam was not doing what God want him to do, and was trying to go in the opposite direction. If you remember the story, there was an angel of the Lord in the path in front of him with a sword, ready to do battle. The donkey could see him, but Balaam could not. The donkey veered off the path into a field, and Balaam struck him. When the angel moved further up the path, the donkey tried to avoid him by walking against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot. Again, Balaam was angry and hit the donkey. A third time, the angel stood in the path where there were walls on both sides and there was no way to avoid him. So the donkey laid down. For a third time, Balaam became angry and hit the donkey.
At this point, the donkey spoke. It asked Balaam why he had hit him the three times. Balaam responded that he was angry that the donkey had made a fool of him. As I told my boys, if a donkey were talking to me, looking like a fool would be the least of my concerns at the moment. I would be more focused on the fact that a donkey was talking to me. But not Balaam.
He was so caught up in his anger and that underlying fear and belief that other people would think he looked like a fool. Then God open his eyes and allowed him to see the angel as well. The angel also asked him why he had hit his donkey, and told him that he was acting foolishly…. by not following God’s leading.
So I’ve read the story many times, but as I was reading it to my boys, it had a much different impact. Balaam had gotten so angry at his donkey that he hit him three times. The Donkey was responding to something the Balaam couldn’t see… Something in the spiritual realm.
I thought of my role as a mom. Sometimes it is so tough. When the kids are not listening, tearing up household items, dragging out a mess, Etc. It can all really try my patience sometimes- especially when I’m tired and overwhelmed because of other life stresses. I try to keep my cool, but I am definitely not perfect.
I know that kids often respond to being overtired, being over stimulated, having sensory needs that are not being met, if they’re sick or tired… Yet sometimes I still act like they are simply just being stubborn like donkeys. But that’s not even the truth. I think satan uses all of those things to try to keep us focused in the wrong directions. He tries to tear us down using all the distractions of life, whispering those lies into our ears about how we’re not good enough parents or how our children are simply trying to make us mad. It’s not true. Kids react to their environments and their bodies and any number of other influences. They are just figuring out this whole thing called life, and so are we.
Now I find myself praying that I will have my own eyes opened to the influences my kids have to face. I almost cried reading the story to my boys because I felt like it was really putting me in check. I always try to keep my cool, but I need to work on reminding myself of affirmations I need to hear most. My boys are not trying to work against me as much as it may feel like they are. When they are sick, tired, have too much sugar, have been over stimulated… Satan will use all of those things if we let him. But I know what scripture says, and I know that if we resist satan that he has to flee. In the name of Jesus. Because greater is He who lives in us than he who lives in the world.
So ladies, in this moment, I’m asking all of you to pray for me and my household, and I am praying for you and yours. I hope to hear from you in the Every Day Incredible ladies Facebook group where we can all keep one another accountable. We all need reminders, and that’s just what affirmations do. They help keep the truth fresh in our minds so we can resist satan’s attempts to bring us down and distract us from God’s will for us. He wants to disrupt our balance and steal our joy, we need to call him out in the name of Jesus and cling to our joy in Christ.
I’d like to end this post with some affirmations. Share with us which affirmation hits home for you, whether it is on this list or not.

 

My children rely on me to be a spiritual example.

I enter each day with my kids’ best interest at heart.

I am growing and learning as a parent.

I learn and grow from my mistakes.

My children bring me joy.

God gave me exactly what my children need from me.

My children were designed for me!

I was designed for my children.

God always gives me what I need just what I need it and I can trust Him to continue.

Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

I focus on what is true and helpful for my family.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My children respond to their environment and I can be a positive influence on them.

I have the strengths and resources I need to parent my children well.

My children are resilient and I can continue to help them grow and learn.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for our final post in the August Affirmations series. I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

 

Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within (Affirmations Series #1)

  1. Brian Tracy once stated, “Using affirmations… our potential is literally unlimited.” I would certainly agree with his assessment. Affirmations are without a doubt one of the most powerful personal development tools I have come across in not only my quest to realize my full occupational potential, but also in dealing with fear and anxiety. In addition to being an incredibly powerful stand-alone tool, I have also experienced that they work quite effectively when paired with goal setting and visualization as part of a daily personal and professional development routine.

For example: Each morning, I pour my favorite donut shop blend coffee in my giant Captain America mug, grab the day by the invisible horns, and say “Alright day. The stage awaits, so let’s rock!”

My rhythm section, if you like, consists of goals and affirmations. The work I do in my goals journal acts as my in-the-pocket beat commander. For those of you unskilled in the art of being a wannabe rock star – I’m referring to my imaginary personal development drummer. Along with goals, affirmations add some attitude and flavor to the established focus areas by laying down some beastly low end and supplying an abundance of drive and determination. This rock n’ roll party (think Paul Stanley) all gets kicked off within the first hour of being awake. How do you think this sets the tone for the remaining 23 hours? Since establishing this routine, I have personally experienced a dramatic increase in my willingness to get into the work day and immediately take on tasks that might normally frustrate or discourage me.

It is very possible at this point you could be asking yourself “what is an affirmation?” That’s actually a great question. An affirmation is simply a positive and assertive statement that can be repeated out loud, as self talk, for many different purposes.

You might develop affirmations for personal growth, professional development, achievement, success, or any number of topics.

In my case, I personally relied on affirmations for dealing with fear and anxiety prior to ever using them in the context of achievement or any similar topics. For example, one of my favorite affirmations for anxiety reads “I exist free of fear.”

Compared to the effect that goal setting has had in getting me laser-focused like the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair going after a figure-four leg lock, affirmations have been wildly successful in pairing that focus with a fired-up attitude towards success and achievement.

Here are a few additional examples of affirmations I use regularly:

– “I can do it.”
– “I am responsible.”
– “I feel incredible.”
– “I earn $________ per year, as an exceptional _________.”
– “I achieve the goals I set for myself.”
– “I am unstoppable.”

I should also mention that in my experience, there is no more powerful mental quality to be equipped with in life than resilience. When it comes to affirmations, one of the most important side effects I have noticed is that I am able to rebound far more quickly from rejections, disappointments, and outright failures at any time they may occur. Prior to my current routine this was definitely not the case for me. Affirmations have also provided me with the mental clarity to recognize and be reminded that failure does not exist in and of itself. Failure, in my opinion, is a very important stepping stone to success. Failure is to success as Peter Parker’s spider bite is to swinging from buildings via self-generated web.

What kind of experience have you had with affirmations? Are you in need of a tool in your daily routine that may have the ability to drown out negativity while increasing the level of optimism, resilience, drive, and excitement in your life? No matter where you are in your personal development journey it’s never a bad idea to begin incorporating affirmations into your daily routine. Don’t wait until a better time to begin learning more about the amazing resources that are available at your fingertips. Make a decision to unleash your inner juggernaut today and feel the positive effect that affirmations can make for you!

Are you ready to learn more about the unbelievably positive effect that affirmations could have in your life? Visit http://www.EveryDayIncredible.net and pick up some tips, tricks, motivation, and entertainment for your personal development journey!

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