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!
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.
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!
Are you happy? I mean really happy? What thoughts or situations stand in the way of you being happy more often? About a year or so ago, I came across an article about a Tibetan Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard. After taking part in a 12 year brain study that focused on meditation and compassion, Mr. Ricard has been referred to as the world’s happiest man. You can read more here.
Mr. Ricard’s primary advice is to stop thinking only about yourself. He says the key to happiness is altruism. The reason he gives is that “thinking about yourself and how to make things better for yourself all the time is exhausting and stressful, and it ultimately leads to unhappiness.” It makes sense to me!
Basically, your goal is to not be selfish. As human individuals, it is in our nature to be selfish. We see the world around us from our own unique, limited perspective and unless we make a conscious effort to try to see things from another person’s point of view and try to put the needs of others first, we will continue to be selfish.
Scripture talks a great deal about being more like Christ, and about how to have a healthy relationship with God. Scripture says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and it also says that love, among many other qualities, is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). If we are striving to be more Christlike, we need to be focusing on not being so self-involved. It was when I realized that sin is basically being selfish (putting selfish wants before God’s desire) that I had a more clear picture of a healthy relationship with God and what sin actually means. In fact, the first book I wrote was on this very topic… How love isn’t selfish, and what we can learn about God’s love through human relationships.
Going back to the advice from Mr. Ricard, He suggests to train your mind as if you were training for running a marathon. As a therapist, I completely agree. I frequently reference Philippians 4:8 because it backs up the premise of so much of what I discuss in therapy sessions. Where we choose to focus our thinking determines our emotions and behavior as well. We’ve talked in previous posts about changing the channel from stinking thinking and choosing to focus on truth and what is more helpful and healthy. That takes much practice, as would training for a marathon. Mr. Ricard does this through meditation. One specific thing he says to do is to spend 15 continuous minutes each day thinking happy thoughts.
8 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.
Make positive thinking – specifically, thinking about helping others and being compassionate – a habit.
To create thinking habits, take the same approach you would take to change other habits too. Increase awareness of the habit, make efforts to stop and replace the habit as soon as you catch it (even if it is after the fact), and keep practicing. For more ideas on changing your thinking habits, revisit the post, 6 Barriers to Wellness (and how to overcome them).
Be sure to visit our Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to share your ideas on making altruistic thinking a habit!
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Additionally, please note that the information provided at Every Day Incredible is not intended to replace individual treatment with a professional mental health provider. If you are not currently working with a mental health provider, you are encouraged to find one that is a good fit for you.