When hubs looked at my first post at first glance he said, “Is this a book review.” 😉
So that is the title of this posting.
This is rather hard to share about, however, I am feeling the need to share my experience.
Growing up in a Christian home and living my life as best as I could with Jesus by my side I have experienced a lot of ups and downs during this journey. (The journey is never over until we die and are before God so I know my work on earth is still not done :).) God never leaves us, but we like to be in control so we leave and try it alone. This has been the case with me.
My relationship with God started two years after my parents got a divorce – I was 13 years old. Those closest to me understand why I leaned into my creator during this time of feeling lost. Being a child and feeling it was my fault when no one ever said that, was very draining. My high school years were strictly academics and bible studies. I yearned to know more about Jesus and our relationship was one that could not be touched. During this season is when I made the promise to my parents and to God to stay pure until my wedding night.
By God’s power and not my own this happened!
Three months prior to our wedding day Michael and I prayed about me getting on birth control. I had never taken a pill and am not someone who enjoys taking medication. At first my symptoms were bearable headaches, stomach pain, and nausea. As it progressed I experienced major depression to the point Michael didn’t know what mood I would be in when I got home. I struggled with this, since I wanted to feel like myself – carefree, joyful, and confident. However, this wasn’t happening and even though I shared with him about it being related to the pill he denied the fact that it was.
As I mentioned in my last post this increased my commute. I dreaded the drive to work each day and got anxiety driving home with the road being unfamiliar, curvy, and flowing with heavy traffic. I would cry and not know why – “I should be happy” I would say, “I married the man I love”. I believe God planted the idea to look for some books to hear on my drive. So I started listening to Joyce Meyer one of my favorite spiritual mentors. The first book was Battlefield of the Mind, you would think that it would help me transition my thinking, but I am like a sheep – quite dumb so even though I learned from it I wasn’t applying all of it to my life. I think I may have been over stimulated with information and crying while listening is really difficult to grasp content – at least for me. However, I learned our thoughts have power and we are in control of where our thoughts go. We can stop them or feed into them allowing them to grow into something bigger and it can truly hurt you and those around you.
I am currently reading this book with a mentor of mine along with doing the study guide. I am being more present in applying these principles to my life.
Mindlessly reading or listening to anything will not do anything for you in the long run – it is just white noise.
Get your Hopes Up!, was listened too during a hard week – I literally felt I was watching everything and couldn’t control what occurred. Joyce, points out how hope is a great thing to have, sometimes I lose hope by not seeing progress in areas of my life for example, my fitness journey, my marriage, and personal growth. Hoping good thoughts will only reap a better outcome for my life in the long run. I have learned that this perspective has allowed me to hope for a better tomorrow — whether at home, work, and in my relationships with friends. Having a realistic yet a hopeful spirit will only set me up for a brighter tomorrow and allow me to get up again when I fall down.
Living Courageously, has a motto interwoven so beautifully and it still rings in my ears – “Do it afraid!” That is partially why we started this blog – I suggested to Michael my idea and he was totally game (I love that about him)! For me it is something I am doing afraid. I say that, since writing is super personal and also an insecurity. Although, I got great grades in H.S. and college a comment an AP English teacher made has stuck with me over the years. It wasn’t a kind comment and it was shared in front of all my peers during a passing period. Even though I tried to brush it off I haven’t ever felt I was good enough. Joyce, also has encouraged me in this area though, sharing that she failed English in H.S. and how God has allowed her to write so many books. God uses those society says no to. I love that. So even though I never failed in school I have stamped myself as a failure from a stupid comment from a teacher, who didn’t understand my metaphors. That was 10 years ago — SO CRAZY! As I am writing I realized I have never forgiven her….I just did. 🙂 Forgiving feels good it allows the load to be dropped so you can move forward in a healthy way. I also realized by listening to this book that dreaming and wishing don’t accomplish anything – if action is not taking place. It makes sense, but I have struggled with the spirit of passivity for too long. I desire to take action and spend my days moving forward not standing still. With God this will happen!
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
With each book I have progressively seen a healthy side of me shine through. I guess the perfect person to ask would be my husband as he has seen each side of me. Michael has been able to love me through it – frustrated at times, but always coming around to be the hero and pray. I know he wouldn’t sugarcoat it either ;)!
The Mind Connection, is a piggy back off of The Battlefield of the Mind which is very helpful as knowledge is key – learning can only benefit our progress. My main take away from this book was the fact that stress can affect our health. We can experience physical pain such as headaches, back pain, and even more serious issues simply by allowing our mind to wander. Just because I am an artist doesn’t give me the right to let it wander into unsafe territory that could possibly hurt my thoughts towards Michael or others. Thinking has power I realized this during this book – even if you don’t say it audibly it has been planted in your brain and your brain will continue to feed on that if you allow it to. I want to protect my thoughts and only think well of those that love and dislike me. You might be confused by saying, “those that dislike me”, but Joyce shared several stories that inspired me of people who had mended relationships by good thoughts coming to mind. Something to try it doesn’t hurt anyone showing love!