Emotional Health, Faith, Mental Health

Lowering my Expectations

I have not been writing as much as I had hoped to. I tend to set high expectations for myself, and when I fail to meet them, shut down. I was hoping to write one or two blogs a week. I have no idea where that number came from, but I enjoy writing, so it seemed like a low number. However, this plan was not taking into account my full time job, time with my husband, time to read/journal, time with friends, exercise, time to walk the dogs, do the laundry, clean the house, cook meals, eat meals, coach kickboxing, lead worship at church and practice guitar throughout the week, among other things I’m sure I have forgotten.

Nobody had set these expectations for myself, but myself. Nobody else was let down by the fact that I hadn’t written in a few weeks.

I realized that when things I enjoy become mandatory, they tend to lose their spark. I started a blog because I wanted that outlet: to be creative, to share, to process. But once it had deadlines and guidelines and all the other lines, it became unattractive.

I hope that you take the time to do things that you enjoy. Set no expectations or time limits. Stay disciplined, but not to the point that you begin to resent the activity. Set aside time to do the things you enjoy, and if you do them at that time, awesome, and if you don’t get to, don’t sweat it. Reschedule with yourself. Just be sure to not blow yourself off to spend your time on things, people, or activities that are not adding value to your life.

(Here is a silly picture of me on a hike. Again, lowering my expectations to have a perfect photo for every post. I hope it adds value to your life)

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Emotional Health, Faith, Fitness, Mental Health

Goodbye 2018

I believe that we should always be evaluating and pushing ourselves to grow, not just during the beginning of a year. However, that is where we find ourselves today – so there is no better time!

I am starting off 2019 with a new job! I am so excited to learn, grow, and get into a new routine, while making sure not to neglect parts of my old routine. Aside from my job, I am also blessed to have a husband, an amazing family, great friends, a car that runs, a home, two silly dogs, coach kickboxing, and lead worship at church (and who knows what will get added to that list in 2019!)

Some of my goals for 2019 include: getting better at guitar, spending more time in God’s word (I hope to read the entire Bible from start to finish), pushing myself to become a better wife, and creating more time in my schedule for physical activities. But, none of these will happen if I don’t plan for them to happen!

Set goals, create reminders in your phone, on your calendar, on your bathroom mirror, journal – do whatever you need to do to take accountability and get tangible results. Consistency is key! Creating more time in my schedule for physical activities looks like me setting my alarm and sticking to the plan. Even if that means waking up earlier, or clicking pause on a really good Netflix series; I will need to follow through! That is an easier goal to measure. What about being a better wife? Well, that depends. I plan to journal more to reflect on situations, my reactions, to think of my self less, and brainstorm creative ideas to make my hubby feel loved! Some days that may look like doing the dishes, or mowing the lawn, and some days it may look like picking up peanut butter M&M’s for him on my way home. Either way, I want to push myself to serve like Jesus!

Change is a necessary and beautiful thing. For some reason, we humans find the New Year easiest to set goals and make changes. Perhaps the change of the year causes us to finally slow down and reflect on the past 365 days and envision what we would like for the next 365 days.

I challenge all of you to set a few goals for 2019 and beyond. Where do you want to be? How will you get there? Be sure not to compare your year or your life to others. Set your own goals. Write them down. Speak them over your life. Start today and continue tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Don’t let failures or set backs stop you. Embrace the seasons as they come and go. Remind yourself that they will come and go. Work for what you want and be open to the plan God has for your life – even when it doesn’t make sense. How different would our lives look if we treated every new morning as if it were truly a fresh start?

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Emotional Health, Faith, Mental Health

Chronic case of the “yes”

I love staying busy. I have a very active lifestyle and I can’t seem to sit still for too long unless I get caught up in a good book! I also love to please people. I find myself saying “yes” to any and every opportunity. My hand quickly raises at the opportunity to volunteer or help where needed. Even at times when “yes” isn’t my initial thought, I say it anyways, as to not upset the person asking.

In the rare event that I don’t say “yes” I often have trouble deciding the why behind my own “no”. Am I saying “no” because I am already stretched too thin, or am I saying “no” because I am being selfish and lazy? At times, I am also afraid that if I say “no” to something or someone, I am not being obedient to God and His calling on my life. I understand that boundaries are healthy, but I also understand that the human heart is naturally selfish.

Saying “no” at times is healthy and necessary; May I be reminded that saying “yes” to something always means saying “no” to something else. Honestly, this post is a reminder more for myself than for anyone. A reminder to take the time for myself. If I go throughout the day saying yes to everything, scrambling around, but did not take the time to sit and be still in the presence of Jesus, then what is the point? Without that time with The Lord, how much are my words and actions truly reflecting His love? Yes, God wants us to be obedient, and yes that often means going out of our comfort zone and leaving our schedules up to Him. But the best part about all of it is He does not ask us to do it alone. We are not required to do everything (or anything for that matter) in our own strength! He wants to give us His strength. God wants to walk alongside me and you at all times – the good times, the bad times, the busy times, the quiet times, the silly times, the crazy times – and share those experiences with us. No matter what we choose to say “yes” to, may we daily choose to say “yes” to Jesus.

If you’re anything like me, you put entirely too much pressure on yourself. May this be a reminder for all of us (especially me) that the pressure is off! You are beloved because of who Jesus is, not because of the works you do or don’t do! Let us rest in that Truth today.

(Disclosure: I didn’t check the yes box on the image below to please Tyler. I was dying to check yes since the moment I met him)

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Faith, Fitness, Mental Health

We Run.

A poem I wrote in 2014. Here is just a glimpse into my brain and why I love to run….


I run

My intimate time

The rhythm of my feet on the pavement begins as a metronome

My heart beat catches up

I am free

Nothing can touch me

Time goes on

The endorphins awake and give me a high that addicts throw their lives away for

As my feet alternate from ground to air, my worries spill out before the feet of Jesus

I tell Him about my day, my goals, my fears

Sweat drips down my nose

I take a different road than normal because I’m tired of my usual route

The Lord reminds me that no matter which way I go, He is there

And when I go astray, He is still there

I cannot go the wrong way as long as He is first in my life

He carries me when I feel tired

and shows me His beautiful creations every time

I understand deeper

I tell Him more about my dreams

He listens

We run.

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Mental Health

Why you need to spend more time alone

We are living in a time where we are connected via social media to more people than ever before. Human beings long for human interactions, but we also require alone time (some more than others). So, why do you feel drained at the end of every day, even on your days off? Because even your alone time is being consumed with social interactions. Being constantly connected to other people can be demanding and draining, and I would argue that most of our social time is spent discussing meaningless topics anyways. Our generation obsesses over taking care of our external bodies, but we tend to completely neglect our eternal bodies (our souls). Alone time is extremely important for spiritual and emotional health. In a time with such high percentages of people with anxiety, depression, and mental health issues, I believe that now more than ever we should stress the importance of true alone time, along with more meaningful time spent together. This time should be taken without your phone (or at least with your phone on do not disturb). Below are some ideas and examples of what this alone time has looked like for me.

1. Meditation – I am new to this, but I highly recommend making this part of your routine. There is something so peaceful about stopping everything to just be. Whether you listen to a guided meditation, or you just listen to instrumental music/sounds, this is great alone time. Even meditating with someone can feel simultaneously like bonding time and alone time. Use this time to clear your mind, or pray. Warning: if you rush through your meditation just to check it off of your list, this is not helpful. I only mention this because I have done it and it was extremely counterproductive.

2. Journaling – This is very therapeutic. I keep a prayer journal, but I do not pressure myself to make an entry a day or any sort of requirement. I usually end up journaling when I am upset or anxious. When you force yourself to put into words how you are feeling, it allows you to process them in a way that you normally couldn’t. Don’t be afraid to spend time alone with your thoughts. If you don’t want anyone to see your journal then don’t keep one! Write out your prayers/thoughts/emotions on a piece of paper and burn it or throw it away when you are finished. This can also be a great strategy when journaling about a situation or person that you need to let go.

3. Time in Nature – This will look different for everyone. My alone time in nature varies from running to hiking to hammocking to surfing. No matter the activity you are doing in nature or if you are just laying still in the grass, one thing is consistent and that is God’s presence. God is begging for more time with us, and He loves to reveal Himself in nature. Spend some time alone with yourself, alone with God, in nature. Plant flowers, or take a walk. Notice the way that He carefully designed this earth. May it mirror how carefully he designed you.

4. Affirmations – If you do not already, get in the habit of showering yourself with words of encouragement. When you wake up every morning, look in the mirror and SAY OUT LOUD what you need to hear most. Tell yourself you are beautiful, you matter, you are patient, you can make a difference, your identity is found in Jesus, you will show God’s love to others. Remind yourself of these things and others even if you don’t believe them. Convince yourself of who you are by speaking to life who you wish to become. These types of exercises set the mood for the day. No matter what happens during the day, you are confident in who you are.

5. Reading – Spending time in God’s living Word is some of the best time you can set aside for yourself. Again, if it feels like a chore to check off your list, don’t do it. Pray for God to give you the hunger for His Word. Then, enjoy that time with Him when He does. No matter what you choose to read, you will find this alone time to be energizing and fulfilling. Take a moment after reading to reflect and process. Taking the time to set your phone aside to read a fantasy novel is great alone time (double points if you read outside and triple points if you read outside in a hammock). Start a book club with your friends. You will have alone time to read, and quality time to discuss the book! Take a bubble bath and read that book you never finished from last Summer. If you tell me you’re just not a reader, I’ll tell you you’re just lazy and haven’t found the right genre or book.

Set a time and plan ahead to have these moments with yourself. If you don’t plan for them, they will rarely present themselves to you. Set an alarm on your phone. Take a lunch break. Make it part of your morning or bedtime routine. Get in the habit of spending time getting to know and understanding yourself. Again, some people will require more alone time than others and that is okay. I dare you to take the time, to grow, to learn to fall in love with yourself, by yourself.

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