This time I’m not getting back in the car…

There have been 2 times in my life when anxiety has manifested itself physically in my body. (As opposed to the racing, obsessive thoughts that were my typical manifestation.)
 
The first time was nearly 13 years ago when I was walking into Walmart with 3 babies in tow. Just getting there had been monumental. I was on the verge of tears all the time. I was tired. I was hormonal. 3 babies in 3 years did quite the number on me. Just walking into the grocery store seemed impossible. What would I do if one (or heaven forbid 2) of them started crying? How would I fit groceries into the cart with 2 toddlers and a car seat carrier? What if I couldn’t make it through the store without crying?
 
In that moment I felt panic well up within me, in my chest, & I got back in the car and drove home. I couldn’t do it.
 
13 years later I’m here again but I’m not getting back in the car. I’m fighting. I’m learning to breathe. Literally & figuratively. And there are 3 main things helping me learn to breathe deeply in this season. Yes, lifestyle change is HUGE. What we put into our bodies and how we move our bodies will help with our mental health SO MUCH. But, for today, these the immediate things helping me…
 
1. God’s Word is a balm to my soul. I am once again falling in love with the comfort & peace He gives me when I sit in His presence. Oh, He is so good. Summer in the Psalms has been just what my heart needed. I have started a collection of verses that I am writing & putting in my phone for quick recall.
 
2. Breathing in essential oils in the moment of anxiety. For several moments. Y’all. The research is astounding for oils & emotions. Google it. Read pub med articles. Get high quality oils & start smelling them. Be weird. It’s worth it. (Go here to read more of my story with oils.) 
 
3. Wise, trusted mentors & friends. I happen to have several of these amazing people in my life. One is my actual counselor. Several other friends will meet with me when I need it or “meet me” on Marco Polo. They speak truth from God’s Word to me. They read pages to me from books to encourage me. They talk me off the ledge of bad decisions I want to make in the moment.  They share their own experiences from years past. They help me not feel crazy. ha!  We all need a few people like that in our lives, right!?? 
 
“For no matter where I am, even when I’m far from home, I will cry out to you… When I’m feeble & overwhelmed, guide me into your glory where I am safe & sheltered. Ps. 61:2.
P.S. I wrote this a few days ago and already I’m breathing easier…life is a journey, so many seasons. I pray that through it all I can give Him glory for all He is doing…in the good and the bad and IN THE WAITING! 

Five Verses to Renew My Mind

To be transformed by the renewing of our minds we must constantly be in that renewing process. It takes work and being intentional about what we put into our minds.

I want to share some Scriptures that are helping me right now! We all have different struggles, so these verses may not apply to your particular struggle. But, I pray they will be a starting point for you! Do a little digging and find Scripture that pertains to the battles you are facing right now.

What exactly do I do with these verses? I write them. Pray them. Write them again. Read them again. Meditate on them. Put them in my phone. Have them set as alarms on my phone throughout the day. Write on index cards and carry with me. All the things.

Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” Most of us have things we don’t love about ourselves. But God is teaching me that I need to embrace who He made me to be in order for me to fully live out His calling on my life. I’m a work in progress on this one. 

Psalm 37:23-24 TPT The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him.  If they stumble badly they will still survive, for the Lord lifts them up with his hands.” Don’t you love that? EVEN IF we stumble BADLY, we will survive, for the Lord will lift us up! 

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” He created me to use me! I am His handiwork! He prepared good works for me to do IN ADVANCE.

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” I need not fear what others think or don’t think of me…GOD alone is my salvation and my light.

Psalm 61:2 TPT From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” This is one of my favorite verses for anxiety…when I’m overwhelmed, LEAD ME TO YOU, GOD. Yes. Yes. Yes. 

 

How I Am Learning to Renew My Mind

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that lie that I will never have healthy emotions or that I will always struggle in certain areas of life. The powerful truth that WE CAN CHANGE is something God has been working in my heart for about a year now. Romans 12:2 says that we can be TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING of our minds. But, I admit, I don’t always believe it. So, I keep doing those GOOD THINGS that I know are bringing me one step closer.

That renewing takes WORK. It takes being INTENTIONAL. Whatever your struggle is, whether it’s a relationship, your job, your emotions or a physical ailment, we must continually be renewing our minds with TRUTH.

I am also learning that our minds, bodies and souls are so closely tied together. Have you ever noticed that when you don’t sleep well your mood is affected? Have you noticed that when you eat certain foods you have more energy? Or less energy?

When we feel good we are more able to live out the callings on our lives – and SERVE the PEOPLE in our lives – with joy and confidence and energy.

Galatians 6:9 tells us to NOT GROW WEARY of doing good. Most of the time, quite honestly, we know the good things we need to be doing. But we are waiting to feel motivated.

Don’t wait to feel like doing the things you know you need to do. Get up and do the thing, friends!

How I Am Learning to Renew My Mind

I am asking God to help me re-direct my thoughts the MOMENT the lie pops into my head. This seems to be a huge hurdle for me. But I am getting quicker. I like to write verses down on cards and also use my phone with alarms to go off with verses too.  I am working on a list of TRUTHS that help me personally to combat the specific lies I face the most often. (In my next post I will share a list of Scriptures that are helping me personally.)

What you eat matters so much. I have noticed that when I eat a big plate of pancakes, I feel pretty yucky several hours later or the next day. Hmmmm. Not a coincidence! That doesn’t mean that all those carbs are bad for you, but that is one thing my body seems to do better without.

Move your body. Exercise – both cardio and strength training – are so very good for our mental health. When I get done exercising I have a boost of all those good hormones and I feel like I can conquer the world. So, when I went a few weeks without exercising, I noticed a big difference! Get out there and move! Even if it’s a slow start…walk around the block, whatever you need to do to get moving.

Read your Bible. But don’t stop at just reading it. Write a verse that reminds your heart of truth and carry it with you through your day. Pray it. Meditate on it. Fill your mind with truth. I encourage you to work on a list of verses that apply to your own life circumstances and truths that you need to remember.

Pray. Without ceasing. Even if all you can muster is whispering the Name of Jesus, do it. There is POWER in His Name and in turning our eyes to HIM. Tell Him your fears, your worries, your burdens. Let Him minister to your heart as only He can.

Use essential oils all day everyday. Consistency is KEY. Our sense of smell goes straight to the place in our brains where our emotions are stored. So, these tiny little molecules that are pure & high quality being working to help support healthy emotions. Unlike the toxic candles and cleaners and other things we may be breathing in, oils actually HELP our bodies to do what they were made to do. You can read more about essential oils and how they have helped me personally here. 

Find what motivates you and spend time DAILY doing that thing. For me that is reading books. For you it may be listening to podcasts or sermons. Personal growth is HUGE when it comes to renewing our minds. I read a few pages every morning and then when I have a chance during the day of good books that help me to re-focus. My very favorite books on mindset: 40 Days to a Joy Filled Life, The Happiness Dare, Battlefield of the Mind, and Victory Over Darkness.

Get good sleep. Sleep is so important. If you don’t know all the ways that a lack of sleep impacts your life, do a quick google search. After being on sleep meds for so many years, I now use a natural supplement called Immupro from Young Living to help me sleep. Waking up with energy has been a total miracle!!

Fill your body with supplements to boost all of your systems. You may have heard it said that “all disease starts in the gut…” — Hippocrates. If this is true, so many of our problems (including emotional problems) can be helped by using probiotics and taking care to put GOOD things into our bodies and not things that hurt the gut. I currently use the following supplements to support every system in my body: Ningxia Red, Omega 3, Immupro, Life 9 (our probiotic) and Multigreens.

Be careful what you fill your mind with. Choose your reading material wisely. Change the channel. Better yet, turn the TV off. Be intentional about what music you listen to. Turn on the praise music and TURN IT UP. Praise silences the enemy.

Count your blessings. Name them. Write them. Focus on them. When you are tempted with thoughts of self pity, make yourself start naming the blessings in your life. Gratitude can change a life.

Galatians 6:9 Pep Talk

Watch the video here if you’re reading this post in an email.

What if, for today…

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What if…what if today instead of seeing the flab on my arm I wish wasn’t there I saw the muscle that didn’t used to be there either? What if instead of seeing the stretch marks I’ve tried to rid my body of I saw the amazing ways God made my body to bring life into this world? What if instead of seeing the flab around the middle I saw the inches now gone?

What if I saw this same progress in other areas of my life instead of all the ways I’m still lacking? What if I saw the abundance of emotions as more healing than burying them deep within?

What if I saw this same good in others and cheered them on for how FAR THEY HAVE COME?! What if we saw each other as overcomers??!!

What if I stopped focusing on the shame and started focusing on the grace? What if I had eyes to see God in the hard and in the struggle? What if I more quickly noticed the growth instead of the thorns? .

What if…

 

Honest, Imperfect and Beautiful

This quote has me in a puddle of tears this morning. I have tried to share authentically about my struggles online for a few years now. But have I really been honest with you? Better yet, am I being honest with myself? What if I sought to live my own beautiful & honest life instead of what I think you want to read or see here on social media? What if I lived my life that way? And what if my beautiful isn’t beautiful to you? (These are painful questions for me, friends.)

I have lived under the lie that I am insecure and not confident and not ok with who I am for so long that I’m finding it hard to break free. You see, I *thought* I was being honest by sharing those struggles…and in those moments I was being as honest as I knew to be.

But God. Those things actually are not true. I am not insecure. I am whole and free and strong and SECURE IN CHRIST. I am COMPLETE in Christ. I am FREE and FORGIVEN. I am a NEW CREATION. I am a child of God. I’m no longer a slave to fear. I have VICTORY in Jesus. I am flawed yet being perfected & renewed day by day. I am STRONG because of HIS POWER that lives IN ME. I serve a RESURRECTED Savior who is ALIVE and lives in me. I.am.loved.

If I believe He is alive and that He conquered the grave, then I can choose to believe He is resurrecting me, too.

Y’all. I feel it in my bones. He is doing something new. He is changing me. The resurrected King is RESURRECTING ME.  Aren’t you so beyond thankful that God doesn’t STOP doing new things or give up on us? Just because I have seen myself in light of my weakness for {FAR TOO LONG} doesn’t mean that is who I am. Just because it seemed impossible yesterday doesn’t mean that it can’t happen TODAY. Just because I see something through the lens of defeat doesn’t mean that God can’t create BEAUTY from those ASHES. Y’all. He is doing a new thing. And the choice is mine: am I going to believe Him for it or not?!

New mercies. Every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.

Resurrecting by Elevation Worship

Go listen to this song Resurrecting by Elevation Worship today and let’s make the choice to BELIEVE GOD.  (click on the link if you’re reading this post in an email.)