Short Video: “Empathy”

We were recently asked to do a short video on the subject of “empathy”. Please click below to watch. Thank you to Hood Memorial Christian Church and Pastor Jason Williams for asking us to be a part of your current series on “Healthy Relationships”. Continue reading “Short Video: “Empathy””

Looking Ahead at 2020

2019 is setting and 2020 is on the horizon.  With this comes a lot of reflection and forward thinking.  This time of year is used by many as a time to look at what has worked, what hasn’t worked and to set goals for this new beginning.  Social media and other media advertisements will be full of new ways to improve yourself and be better.  Now, I am not going to use this post as a means of bashing goals or self-care at all. Instead, I am considering the important difference between rules verses guidelines.   Continue reading “Looking Ahead at 2020”

What is Driving You?

Whether I want to really admit it or even think about it, what I truly believe drives my actions.  And to take it a step further, a lot of times my actions don’t line up with what I say I believe.  My beliefs drive my thoughts, how I view myself, how I view others and how I view God.   I can try to fake it until I make it all day long but what I truly believe is what still drives me.  It will come out!     Continue reading “What is Driving You?”

Admission: The First Step to Freedom

Words have felt stuck in my throat.  They are stuffed down and unable to come out.  It has been a while since I have written.  I have not even been doing my personal journaling.    

Describing my words as being stuck, stuffed and unable to come out is a reflection of how our lives can be at times as well.  I do not know about you but I have definitely encountered periods of time where I felt stuck, stuffed down and unable to shake it off.     Continue reading “Admission: The First Step to Freedom”

Lessons from The Lion King 

I’ve been searching and searching for how to fix this funk I’ve been in lately.  The more I search and read the more deflated I’ve been feeling.  I just beat myself up over and over again.  I’ll never measure up.  I’ll never figure out why I am so irritable.  I’ll never be content.  The more I search, the more this is enforced and believed.  God keeps whispering to me to quit searching and just go back to the truths of who I am.    Continue reading “Lessons from The Lion King “

Free Devotional Series

Our friends at Trueface have released a free 7 day devotional available on YouVersion.  It’s titled “Two Roads: Please God…or Trust Him?”.  You can find it on the YouVersion Bible app on your phone or click here for direct access.  Neil and I have started it and it has brought about some great conversation.  Hope you enjoy!

-Melissa

****Over the summer months we will continue blogging but we will also slow down a little along the way so we may not post every Tuesday. We hope you enjoy your summer!

 

Pivoting in Life

There are many turns in life.  One chapter ends and another one begins.  Ups and downs throughout the process.  We recently experienced another turn in our life.  Our son graduated from Campbell University!  It was a very happy and memorable day and we celebrated all weekend.  See Neil’s post from last week for more on this wonderful occasion. 

Prior to the graduation, I was thinking about our son and our life with him.  There have been happy times, sad times, good times and not so good times.  Each one created a pivot in our life’s journey.  I asked myself what I was most happy about during this graduation season.  It would be easy for me to say that I was proud of him because of what all he has accomplished and I am.  I could also say that each pivot was a literal turning point in our lives and those pivots helped make him what he is today.  That is true.  But it boils down to something much more……who he is. 

Pivots do not define us.  They can describe something we did or did not do but they do not define who we truly are.  Life’s pivots can mature us and teach us more and more about who we really are.  Life experiences offer an opportunity for us to look a little deeper at ourselves.  What made us choose this or that?  What part of my true self does this experience reflect?   

I encourage you to look at pivots in your life and take some time to reflect on them.  What have they taught you about who you are? 

 -Melissa 

****Over the summer months we will continue blogging but we will also slow down a little along the way so we may not post every Tuesday.  We hope you enjoy your summer! 


 

Not Enough

How often do you feel like there’s not enough of something? There’s not enough time, not enough energy, not enough help, and somedays I feel like I’m just not enough. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have gone through my list of “not-enoughs” before even getting out of bed in the mornings. I wake up already behind. My to-do list is longer than the time I have for the day and I’ve barely had my eyes open for five minutes! I get out of bed defeated.

The concept of scarcity was presented to me through reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. In her book she quotes another author, Lynne Twist. It reads, “What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.” Waking up defeated starts my day unfulfilled and that theme usually continues throughout the day. When my mind is constantly focused on not having enough time, money, energy, help, etc. then there is no way for me to see what I do have and what I am capable of.

Gratitude is lost in the “not-enoughs”. She goes on to quote Lynne Twist and says “Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything……It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough and that we are enough.”

Fear is usually lurking in the background. If we stop and really think about what is going on when the “not-enoughs” are consuming our thoughts, we will usually find fear rooted in there somewhere. Fear of what others will think when we can’t get it all done. Fear of failing. Fear of being exposed as a failure. Fear of what we think is true becoming true: that we are not enough. Shame tells us that we are not enough. Shame tells us that something is wrong with us. It feeds the fears. It feeds the scarcity.

When scarcity, fear and shame dominate our thoughts then we can’t truly experience what we have. We miss out on the moments that make up our day. We stay self-focused.

When the “not-enoughs” are all I hear myself saying then that is a red flag that I need to step back and do a quick evaluation. What can I do with what I have? Usually I have not even asked myself that question! When I do, I’m usually surprised by the answer and quickly realize that what I had in mind wasn’t even true or realistic.

Does your self-talk usually revolve around your “not-enoughs”? If so, I encourage you to take some time to think about what is driving that. What are you afraid of? As I discussed in a previous post, I encourage you to stay small and curious. Ask questions. Look around. Look up. Be present with where you are now and what you have. Being small and curious still leads me but it allows me to live and love along the way.

-Melissa

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What is Your Body Saying?

My day-to-day life can become very much a routine that I just autopilot through.  I wake up when my alarm goes off, I eat meals at mealtime, and I go to bed around a certain time.  I do not even really think about it.  After such a long time of autopilot living, I think I have forgotten what some of these daily experiences feel like.

Our bodies are very smart and tells us many things.  We might not always listen or even stop to recognize it though.    Our limbs need oxygenated blood and our heart helps provide that.  Our lungs need air and we breathe without even thinking about it.  It amazes me when I stop and think about how our body was made and how it adjust to meet our current needs!

Being self-aware is not about being focused only on ourselves.  It is about being open and curious with ourselves.  It is knowing when our body is telling us to stop and rest.  It is knowing when it’s telling us to get up and go.  It is about asking ourselves questions about our body’s responses.

When is the last time you listened to your body and thought about how it communicates with you?  I think after a while we forget what certain things feel like?  One simple way to start is by sitting for just one minute and feeling your heartbeat.  Where do you feel it?  Is it felt in your throat, chest, your gut?  Is it beating really fast?  How does your body tell you to feed it?  Not everyone experiences a stomach growl until they are famished!  Sometimes it is can show up as poor concentration, feelings of weakness or irritability, or fatigue.  Unless we pause, listen and ask ourselves some questions we may not know what is really happening.

Our physical bodies are affected by our thoughts, emotions, and choices and vice versa.  Tapping into one leads to awareness of the others.  All of this is affected in some way by how we view ourselves and God.  I know from experience that there is grace to be offered and received in self-awareness.  It is a beautiful place to listen to God’s whispers to you.

-Melissa

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Locked In

You leave home and lock the door.  You park your car and lock the door before walking off.  You put a lock on your locker and on your safe.  We do all we can to protect our possessions.  A lock serves many purposes and the owner of the key can enter as often as they please.  In general, it’s best to at least share the key with at least one other person in case a need arises, and you are not around.  You wouldn’t just give this key to anyone though.  Not everyone can be trusted to love your possessions like you do.  We get to choose who we share the key with or if we share it at all.

What about the lock we place on ourselves?  Different things cause us to want to hide behind some mask we lock onto ourselves.  It can all look different but usually it all goes back to one thing….shame.  Shame can back us into a corner and makes us believe that we are not good enough.  It tells me that I am a terrible person that will never get it right so I might as well hide.  I need to act like I’m something better.  I can’t let others know how I truly feel.  I put on a “protective” armor and lock it in place.  On workdays, I put on my scrubs and sometimes I choose to lock them in place.  Only “Nurse Melissa” will be present today.  Some days I choose to lock in behind full make- up and very fixed hair.  Only “Put-together Melissa” is showing up that day.  There is many days that I lock myself in behind the mask of “everything gets on my nerves” and the “Cynical Melissa” shows up.

I am the only one with the key.  All the responsibility of hiding my true feelings is on me.  I do not let anyone come close to this key.  I can’t, I just can’t.

Sandra McCracken wrote a song, “Lock and Key”, and I would encourage you to take a listen to it.  She says,

“You can hold your world inside
You can scream out loud
Or you can fight these enemies
And kid fears tonight if you want to

You can drive your car out to L.A
You can lose yourself just to make your way
You can change your mind
Or change your name if you want to

But you’re under lock and key
All by yourself
And sometimes you just need somebody else

I cannot read your complex mind
I can’t understand
All the reasons why
But if you let me in, I can try if you want me to……..”

I can continue to lock my mask in place if I want to.  I can suffer the effects all by myself also.  My relationships start to break apart, I grow tired and weary, I grow quiet & distant, I overeat to keep the emotions at bay, and the list goes on and on.  I can also choose to let a safe person have the key and enter into my life.  I allow them to truly love me by letting them in to see the real me.  It creates a space to breathe and let the mask go.  It can be scary to hand the key over but it is so worth it in the end.

What mask do you typically put on when shame tells you to hide?  Is there anyone you would give a key to?  Jesus is always there and He is always safe.  He puts people in our lives that can be safe places to fall, and we desperately need that. Those special ones are gifts from God that we can finally be ourselves with. When we take that massive step of faith, it opens us up to experience freedom, healing, love, and grace.

-Melissa

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