Did you know, the command "fear not" is the most repeated command in the Bible? There are over 365 references to calming your fears and anxieties. One for everyday of the year and then some!
Fear is something we all face and handle in different ways. Fear of loss, fear of death, of rejection, of the unknown, even fear of airplanes, spiders, heights, masks, clowns, the number thirteen.... Whew! The list goes on and on. No wonder God made it a priority for His people to know to "fear not, because He is always with us" And for His people, He is patient and reminds us again and again day after day... fear not.
Here are a few of my favorite verses that I use in my daily life and I hope that they are a blessing to you as well.
For all my worriers out there, I keep this one on hand. "Be anxious for nothing." Philippians 4:6 One of my favorites. I use this verse to remind me that things are out of my control. And no matter how much I want to worry and fret, it changes nothing. It doesn't help the situation it only makes me tired and more stressed. So stop worrying, be anxious for nothing.
When the bills pile up around me and I'm afraid I'm not going to have enough money to feed myself or my family, or I'm going to be tossed out on to the street and end up living in a cardboard box, (yes, I've stressed out this much before...) I rely on this verse in Matthew: Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on, is not life more than food and body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)
He has always taken care of me, and even though my poor choices have put me in some pretty interesting predicaments, He has always provided for me. It may not have been a steak dinner, but, I have never gone without.
We have all been wounded in love before and He tells us to guard our hearts, but He also thinks that love is the greatest thing ever. So, do not give up on love, ever. And when it comes to finding your mate, only the deepest, truest love will do. And you will know when you find it because 1 John 4:18 tells us: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whosoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Do you love in fear or need or do you love in peace and perfection?
In Joshua 1:9, He has no time for foolishness he just puts it out there: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord is with you wherever you go.
Any questions? Didn't think so...
There will be nights that I lay awake wondering, half-planning, half-wishing what I want for my future. I fear that I won't see my children grow and raise their own families. I fear that I'll be stuck cutting hair for the rest of my life. I fear that I will not see my dreams fulfilled. I fear that my body or mind won't be strong enough to get me through the trials of my life. But then Matthew comes to my rescue again and in the 6th chapter and the 34th verse it reads: Do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble.
Leave tomorrow's worries for tomorrow... and then, be anxious for nothing! (Philippians 4:6)
Often we get caught up in feeling the need to defend ourselves. How many times have you been accused of something that you were totally innocent of? Or people would just talk about you behind your back without any cause at all? Or being bullied. You want to shout out and defend yourself, but sometimes things get so escalated that your voice falls on deaf ears. You are resigned to think that everyone will believe the lies. But the Bible says, fear not. You will have your day and the truth will come to the surface. Exodus 14:14 says: The Lord will fight for you and you only have to be silent.
A most popular and favorite passage to deal with your deepest, darkest fears comes from Psalms. The twenty-third Psalm is one of the most read and recognized and most comforting passage from the Bible. Here is the 4th verse: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.
It calms me every time.
Another fear that used to haunt me day in and day out was my past. I was not a good person. I was frozen with guilt when I would recall some of the hurtful and hateful things I did once upon a time. And even still, I struggle with letting my past go and forgiving myself but luckily Isaiah 43:1 reminds me that I am saved. I have been forgiven. All my sins have been washed away. It says: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are Mine.
These verses have helped me and continue to help me in my times of trouble. You can take what you find useful and ignore the rest or go digging around for different ones that speak to you. I am not posting these to start any kind of debate or fall into a context argument, but to hopefully offer you peace in a not so peaceful world and bring up the point that if He took the time to tell us over 365 times to fear not, He must have wanted us to do it. I'm just helping you get started.
Trust, children of God, that He sees your fears and he knows what you are going through. Trust that He is faithful.
Fear not, for I am with you... Isaiah 41:10
Birthdays mean different things to different people. There was a time that I preferred not to celebrate my birthday and would allow the day to just come and go as if it were just another day. Then I decided, wait a second! It's NOT just another day. I have made it a WHOLE additional year! And if every day is a gift! That's an extra 365 gifts given to lil ol me.
These days, I celebrate my birthday. I am having the time of my life! I've reached the age that the tiniest things don't stress me out. I find beauty and love all over the place! I know that worrying is just a waste of time. I have made mistakes, but they didn't kill me and have taught me many, many lessons. I have done the best I could with the resources I had to be the best mother I could be. I have grandchildren... I enjoy the fact that I have been granted another one. I may not do anything big, or public, but there will be cake.
Cake means there is something to celebrate. I am something to celebrate. I am loved. I may not have accomplished every thing I have set out to do, but I've been given another birthday to keep trying.
I have lived a full life and in case this IS my last birthday, I'm not at all upset. I can look back and see all the wonderful people who have shared my life in the past and how they have made a difference. Some have stayed for a long time, others for only a season, still others were merely a blip on the screen, but I'm a firm believer that people come in to your life for a reason.
So, I am happy that YOU are in my life. Thank you for being a part and helping me to continue to fulfill my dreams and help others along the way. I am happy that this is where my life's path has lead me. I am looking forward to what the future has to offer and I promise to be grateful for all the moments in between.
Today is my birthday. Celebrate with me. Appreciate all the things that have happened to bring you here. Love the people that are in your life now today and all your yesterdays. And above all...Eat cake!!
What is success? Is there just one answer? If you get if wrong are you doomed to failure for the rest of your days? I think not.
With the beginning of a new year people tend to reflect on their life. Where are they going? Where have they been? What's worked and what hasn't. What happens next. I think we all strive for success, some more than others. But in the end, we want to look back on our lives and say ,"Yes, I was successful".
The common answer for "What is success?" is usually equated to making money. Lots of money. Ridiculous amounts of money. Success equals riches. But hopefully after reading today's article, I hope you will view things a little differently.
So what is success? I'm going to tell you. And I think you might be surprised by my answer.
Success Is Perception. You're idea of success and someone else's idea of success could be completely different. When you look at other people's lives and are perhaps unimpressed with what they have achieved you may be shocked to find that they are gleefully happy with the abundance of success they've had. Something as regular as cooking a meal for a large number of people comes as second nature to a person that comes from a large family or works in a restaurant, but could have been a major challenge for the new bride that is taking on Christmas dinner for her new in-laws and her own family. If she doesn't serve the turkey raw or the potatoes lumpy and keeps the tiered cake on top of each other, that... is success.
Success Is Personal. Success can only be found by pursuing your own dreams, not by following the dreams others force on you. Meaning, you and only you can decide what success means to you. I met a man once who became a doctor. His father was a doctor, his brother was a doctor his grandfather was a doctor, even his daughter was studying to be a doctor. He had his own practice, the nice home, the nice car and all the other cushy stuff that comes along with it. By anyone else's standards, he was a success. But by his own, his was living his father's dream for him. He wanted to work on cars. Rebuild cars. It wasn't until he gave up his practice to "retire" and built a garage in his backyard and started to rebuild his first car, that he considered himself a success. His path to "success" was a long time coming.
"Success is when you've reached a personal goal."
- Katherynn Bourgeret-Caldwell
Your vision of success is completely your own. You may achieve the exact same thing as someone else and not feel anything, because it wasn't what your idea of success was. You're idea of success may be as simple as a balanced checkbook, filling up your day planner with activities or owing a Lexus. Whatever you have in your mind that is success, will have a greater impact on you than fulfilling someone else's goal list. (Which is why they say if you don't have a goal for yourself, you'll be helping someone else reach their goal!)
Success Is Satisfaction. There is no point in being rich if you can't enjoy it. I'm sure you've heard of the people who've "made it". They reached that such-n -such dollar amount and are considered successful, but they are so busy working that they can't even enjoy their success! If making more money is going to be your idea of success then absolutely, go for it! but I can't help but feel that you're are more likely to enjoy the "rich" part if you enjoy the getting there part. Do what you love and you will be "rich". Know when it's enough. Don't lose your happiness for the sake of your success.
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
- Dale Carnegie
"Success is measured by your happiness and not the material things you have in your life."
Success Is Happiness. The truth is, we have little successes everyday. As we lay our head on our pillows at night, if we were only to take a moment and reflect on the things that happened that day, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we found many, many successes that we just forgot to celebrate. If you are pushing and pushing toward a goal and it has lost it's happiness factor, perhaps it isn't for you. Even if it's something mundane and unexciting as eliminating debt, it should still bring you some joy. It might mean that you have to work extra hours, (not fun) or cut back on your spending (also not fun) but if you don't feel a sense of accomplishment watching that big overwhelming number get smaller and smaller, then it's not bringing you happiness. And you should perhaps find another way to reach that goal.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, your large goals are made up of smaller, achievable, daily goals. Learn to recognize the daily successes you reach and be happy. It's not worth it in the long run if it steals your happiness.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you'll be successful."
Success Is Sharing. Success can be learned. We are not all born knowing that we can have all the things we want if we just go after them. Some have been trained that you get what you get and that's all there is. That makes me so sad. There are hundreds upon hundreds of examples out there of people who came from nothing and have made something of themselves. They became successful. They could go to sleep at night knowing they did what they needed to do to feel successful.
Success is Action, Determination, Passion... success is all those things but it is also learned.
One of the best ways to enjoy your success is to share it with others. Don't keep it all to yourself. Teach, help others to rise up from where they are and be the person they want to be. When you help others get to where they want to go, the universe gives back to you. And while that may sound like mumbo-jumbo, I promise you that it is fact.
Be grateful for your successes. And make sure the people around you, the ones that helped you get there know how much they mean to you. Give. Share. Teach. Show gratitude.
"Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success is how you treat other people. Your family, friends, co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way."
Success Is A Continuous Journey. Success should never be considered a one way street. It's more than one street. It takes alleys and intersections, mountains and valleys. It goes up and it goes down. It is never-ending. One success will lead to another. You're constantly building and growing and learning. And when you reach your life goals... make new ones. Keep doing the things that work. Cut out the things that don't. Nothing stays the same. Be flexible and always hunger for more. If you reach your life's goal and then quit, watch and see how fast everything will unravel! You have to stay in the game. Keep moving. Keep growing. Keep setting new goals.
"Success is not final: failure is not final; it is the courage to continue that counts."
Success Is Balance. To me, this is the meaning of success. You can have it all, and you should strive for that.
Money - Happiness - Family & Friends - Security - Health - Peace of Mind - Hope
You need all these things to be balanced and feel successful. Take even one off the list and you are thrown off-balance.
If you have all the money you could ever want, but you have lost your family in the process, that is not success.
If you have the biggest mansion on the street but have worked yourself to near death, and you are alone, that is not success.
If you stole the money to get that need met, you would have it, but you would no longer have peace of mind. You'd always be looking over your shoulder, wondering when you'll be caught. That is not success.
You have reached your goal but have lost everything else in the process and finally you lose hope. That is not success.
We all know examples of the above stories. The news and celebrity magazines are covered with them.
Balance is the key to success. You need happiness, health, enough money to not have to worry, security, friends and family, when you lay your head down at night you have peace of mind and hope. You need a little bit of all these things to find true success.
Not everyone's list will be prioritized in the same way, but every one of these needs should be met for a balanced, successful life.
If you are struggling to make ends meet, then I can see how finances would be top of the list, but don't sacrifice the other items to secure more money. There is nothing wrong with wanting money. There is nothing wrong with wanting lots of money. The problem comes when that's your only focus, and it will cost you in the long run.
Your list will change in its order, but if you find happiness in each of these, you will be truly successful indeed.
"What money can't buy...
Money will buy you a house, but it won't buy a home,
Money will buy you a companion or followers but it won't buy you a friend,
Money will buy you a bed, but it won't buy you a good night's sleep,
Money will buy you a good time, but it won't buy you peace of mind."
Coming soon, I'll discuss the critical success factors to help you reach every goal on your list!! Be sure to stay tuned and check back often!
Watch Your Love Blossom
Have you ever heard the saying, "If you don't water the plant, if will surely die"? It is not only referring to your lovely house plants, it is referring to your relationships. Far, far too often we take our relationships for granted and "coast" assuming that since everything has been fine, it should continue to be fine. That is so not true. In fact that's a guaranteed way to slowly deteriorate your relationship.
Your relationship with your mate is possibly the most important relationship that you choose to go into. One that you have to work the hardest at and one that should never be taken for granted. But it is also the one that will have the biggest effect on your overall happiness in your everyday life. I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. When you have a fight with your partner it affects you for the whole day, am I right? Looking at the bigger picture, the partner you choose will have that kind of power over your emotions whether you want him/her to or not. Whether you fight it or not or whether you can hide it or not, it will still get to you.
Love WILL die because of neglect. Love is a constant emotion. It will grow when it is fed and it will die if left un-tended. Like a plant, it will whither away with out regular "feedings." You need to take an active role in your partner's life, feeding, encouraging and never letting doubt creep in. If you get to the point where you take your love for granted, it has already begun to whither away and death is imminent.
Love is an unselfish thing. You think about what your partner wants or needs before you do anything, make decisions, before you act. Lust is a selfish act. You are thinking only of your self gratification. To love unselfishly is an act of trust and commitment. You have to trust that your partner will do the same for you. One of my favorite things to remind couples is that if you are both giving 100%, (Not 50/50) nothing can fall through the cracks. You are giving one hundred percent to your relationship, and so is your partner. That's loving unconditionally and unselfishly.
That doesn't mean there won't be problems, but you go into them knowing that no one is going to run away. You're going to work them out, together.
This same rule applies to watering the plants.
Don't let things become stale. Don't just assume things. It's one thing to "know" your partner, it's another to assume to know things. Take what you know, and use it to enhance your relationship.
Loving and connecting to others is a trait that comes naturally to me, but to others its a skill that needs to be learned. It may feel uncomfortable at first, or maybe even forced, but if you stick with it, you'll be able to see how your love will grow into a sincere, deep, enduring love. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.
Never stop dating each other. Always court her. Dress up for him. Keep things fresh. Become aware of areas that you might have let things lapse. It might be a pain to apply make-up after a long day of child wrangling, but it will make your man feel loved and appreciated. Don't want to take a walk while the game is on, I get it, but it will make her feel special and important. Boredom can quickly kill a relationship.
Make each other a priority. End of story. His/her needs should never fall too low on your list. I understand that life is busy but this is the person that you have chosen to be your partner. The one that you want with you through the good times and the bad and if you neglect that relationship, you will end up alone and always searching for what you might have had all along. It's more than romance. It's respect. It's value. It's friendship. Nothing that is worth anything comes easy. Invest in your partner and it will pay you back it triplicate.
Quality time. When you are able to carve out some time for each other, make sure there are no other interruptions. Make your mate the most important, beautiful, loved person in the room.
Communication. Keep the lines of communication open. Don't let to much time pass before you settle differences. Say, "I love you" every night before you fall asleep whether you're angry or not. Make sure your partner knows that no matter what, you're still there. NEVER, never let doubt creep into his/her thoughts. The imagination can be a wicked thing and we tend to think the worse. Don't be afraid to open up to each other. Develop that trust with one another. It can only make your relationship stronger.
If you are a parent, the best thing you can do for your children is to show them that you love and respect their other parent. Children will grow up feeling more secure and will be less likely to fall into un-loving, defeating relationships.
When love is tended to, it will grow and blossom within itself and spread to the other areas of your life.
Grow your love and watch what happens.
Follow Your Dreams
My daughter gave me a necklace for Christmas. It’s a pretty, simple, elegant silver ring with the words Follow Your Dreams etched into it. I love it. My girl knows her momma. Knows that I’ve been itching for more, but too afraid to go after the things that I really want. Always coming up with excuses or finding what seemed to be legitimate reasons for why I couldn’t do certain things. I would let the wrong people influence me so I would catch myself giving up or procrastinating. This thoughtful gift gave me permission to go find the “more” I am so desperately needing. So, more than the esthetics, I’ve decided to take the advice of the jewelry and my girl. 2014 will bring on a different set of resolutions for me. Instead of following my usual routine that helps me get through the year, I’m going to focus on things that I think are going to make me happy.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to dive off the deep end, but this year I’m going to add goals that specifically will get me closer to my dreams. If the goal doesn’t get me closer to where I eventually want to be, then it gets put off lower down the list.
Which leaves me to decide what my real dreams are and create a break-down list of things I need to do to get me there.
The dreams, they have to be realistic. They can be big, fantastic even, but they must be reachable. Most of my “dreams” have been put on my long-term goal list. Meaning something that I could eventually reach, but I’m not in any real hurry to get there. And every once in a while, I’d work on them. But this year, I’m switching things up. I’ve decided to pull a couple of my smaller dreams, ones that could actually be reached in twelve months, and bring them into focus. They are the ones I’m going after this year.
The break down. My usual goals, which have become habitual, like setting money away for savings, or paying down debt, simplifying life, those are still in place. Every year, I try to add new goals to always help me continue to grow and become the Elizabeth 2.0 version. This year will be no different, just more focused.
You can do it too. We can compare notes!
What are your dreams? Are there a couple that could be reached in a year if you concentrate specifically on them? What do you need to learn to get you closer? Are there any books, courses or college you need that will benefit you? Do you need to start setting aside money for your dream to come true? How much? How much can you afford to set aside each week? What time adjustments to do you have to make to work on these goals? Do you have a support team in place? If not, who could you ask to encourage you? Who could you call on to help you? Think of people that could mentor you, support you, teach you, fuel you. Can you handle the naysayers that ARE going to come at you? Create your timeline of how long and when things need to be implemented on your plan. Break things down to where they are comfortable and reachable for you. If you try to take to big of bites, you’re more likely to get intimidated and give up. (Trust me on this...) Plus, the smaller completions, the more you have to celebrate! And you’ll look forward to the little successes almost as much as the big one.
It’s a new year. Time to wipe the slate clean and make 2014 the year you want. Make it the year that when you look back on it from 2015, you’ll be proud. And you’ll have grown as a person and your self-confidence has gotten bigger: stronger making your future options better and better.
I’m excited at the possibilities of 2014. I am excited to seem my dreams come a little closer. I’m excited to hear what you are doing to make your dreams come true.
It’s 2014, y’all. Follow your dreams!!
As an author the words, "The End" have a profound significance. I spend hours upon hours trying to get to that part of the story. And then, I need to be happy about the journey. I need you, the reader, to be just as happy on the journey as I was if not more. I don't just write for me, I write for you.
I have written countless articles and pieces of the non-fiction variety and am now even publishing some of those as well, but when I reach the end of those there doesn't seem to be as much stress involved. I really enjoy writing non-fiction, probably in part because of the lack of stress, but I am a knowledge junkie. Non-fiction is all about research and regurgitating information in a pleasing format. And if you can add in some of your own personal experience or wisdom on the issue, all the better. But it doesn't bother me if someone doesn't rave over my non-fiction work.
But I just completed my second fiction that I am getting ready to publish. Which means I'm sending it out for the public to hopefully enjoy and get pleasure from. There is a lot more stress and pressure when writing a piece of fiction.
In a way, you would think it would be easier because I can make everything up! I mean everything! I don't really have to fact check and it makes me laugh when people try to tell me that I'm "wrong" about stuff. Guess what?! I made it up! Lol. But I digress, the down side of making everything up, is that you have to... make-everything-up. The characters, from head to toe, their emotions, thier choices, their conflicts. The town, the setting, the plot... All the pieces have to fit together neatly, and all the questions have to be answered... AND it has to be entertaining! I will lay in bed for hours trying to put all these things together. Oh! The stress! When I offer up a fiction to the public, there are days of stress before there is even a need for it. I don't stress about the sales, I don't stress about the distribution or the book signings (or lack thereof), I stress about you.
I spend so much time trying to get to "The End" and have a piece of work that I can be proud of and a whole story that you can get caught up in; characters that you grow to love, and hate. Characters that become real to you and you miss them when they're not around. I stress out that if this is the second book you're reading of mine, that you'll give it a fair chance. I stress out that you will allow me to expand my horizons and branch out into other areas of interest. I stress that you won't love the characters and the story the way that I do. I stress that you'll put mean things on Amazon... See? It's a wonder I get any sleep at all!
But I couldn't stop the writing process. Even if I wanted to. Getting to those two little words, "The End", gives me such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and an inner peace that I can't even explain. So even with all the stress that goes along with it, I am driven to get to those two little words. They have such an impact on my daily life.
In the beginning, when they are so far away, I can take time, getting to know the people in my stories and learn what they're capable of and what troubles they're going to get in to. I always know how the story is going to end, but sometimes the stuff in the middle surprises even me! So in the middle, when the end is just a blurry vision, I get more excited at how things are fleshing out and want to introduce them to everyone, but I have to be still for a little longer. And then... when the end is sooo close, I am locked into the story and in front of my computer for as many hours as possible. The rest of my life pretty much gets put on hold because I am so driven to get to be able to type those two little words! (My friends and family are very understanding!)
Then the day comes... I type, The End. All the stress I felt before goes away; and I offer my work to the next person in the business chain of writing. Everything I was worried about seems to disappear and I am comfortable with whatever will be. The outcome of the success or failure of story is in your hands.
Don't get me wrong, I am riveted to the Amazon review pages and watching my numbers, and am really and truly pleased when someone likes my work. I am so flattered every single time someone takes time out of their life to tell me that they enjoyed my stories, articles or books or even better, fills in those five little stars on Amazon or Goodreads! So now you know how important those two little words are in the eyes of this author. Oh, did mention that there's always a treat of ice cream waiting for me after every "The End"?! As if I needed more incentive!