Don’t Let Your Past Define You

past

How many thoughts do you have about yourself? And of those, how many are negative?

It wasn’t until I was suffering from soul-crushing anxiety and felt depleted of all motivation that I started giving my thought-life some…well…thought.

Who says my creative efforts are not good enough?

Who says I’m a major disappointment?

Who tells me that I can never change?

Or says I will certainly fail if I try?

Who believes that I am broken?

I do.

It’s me. My thoughts are to blame.

“For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7

Whether you realize it or not, your past experiences, other people and your own failures have shaped your thought-life.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the way you think about yourself will influence how you view yourself. And how you view yourself will determine your actions, reactions, and habits.

Dave Sumrall sums it up best:

“Your life is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts.”

Sadly, our strongest thoughts often come from the times we’ve been wounded most. We continue to allow past hurts and failures influence our thoughts about ourselves, life and relationships. Even when those experiences are long gone, our thought-life is still full of residual hurt, blame, shame and insecurity.

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

How often do I find myself calling to mind the things of the past? Or thinking about past hurts, regrets and mistakes?

How often do these thoughts produce doubt and insecurity in me? Or convince me that I cannot change?

But the breakthrough will not come through Continue reading

Low Fodmap Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple Salsa

fish

My favorite part about summer? The gas grill. Throw on just about any meal, toss in a few sides and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Officially on my Make-It-Again List, this recipe gets all three stamps of approval.

glutenfreelogodairyfreelogo2lowfodmaplogo3

That’s right. This fish dish is gluten free, dairy free, and low fodmap! Not to mention full of omega 3’s, clean ingredients, and no sugar added! The combination of jalapenos, Cajun seasoning, and fresh pineapple gives it the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

This is a great way to enjoy a healthy dinner today without the digestive pain tomorrow!

But enough about that. On to the important stuff. Continue reading

2 Ways to Overcome Your Fear This Week

fearDon’t worry. Easier said than done.

Especially for me. I come from a long generational line of worriers. Anxiety and fear have been constant companions for most of my life. Fretting has become a common pastime around here.

How about you this week?

Because every time I turn on the news fear is being magnified. We fear terror. We fear race. We fear other religions. We fear diseases (Zika? Anyone?). We even fear the upcoming election.

I even find myself worrying ABOUT WORRYING.

Seriously?

I’m even anxious about the fact that I am still struggling with fear and anxiety. I thought I had kicked this habit by now. But faced with circumstances outside my control this week, fear reared its ugly head once more. I couldn’t seem to shake the acceleration in my heart nor the pit in my stomach.

But here’s what I’m learning.

Be fearless. Not less fearful.

This might sound ridiculously simple, but it was super profound to me. I realized that in trying to overcome my fear and anxiety, my focus was all wrong.

My goal was to be less fearful. 

You know, because being afraid a smaller percentage of the time was better than all the time. Right? Continue reading

3 Critical Reminders About Pain & Suffering

reminders about pain and sufferingAt some point in our lives we will all experience a tragedy, a physical illness, the death of a loved one or the loss of a dream.

In these moments, doubts and questions will arise. How could this happen? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How am I ever going to survive this? Where is God in all of this?

I have been there. Three times, in fact.

My father died tragically in his 40’s, leaving me to pick up the pieces of my broken teenage heart.

I battled a dark depression in college that threatened to undermine my faith, my mind and my emotional well being.

And recently, the rapid decline of my physical health and diagnosis of an autoimmune disease left me with more questions than answers.

Do I really trust God to take care of me? Can I really depend on Him to provide what I need? If He really cares about me, why is He letting me suffer? I know He can heal me, but can I keep my faith even if He chooses not to? Do I still believe God is good and loving even when He doesn’t step in to relieve my suffering?

These questions haunted me.

But these questions saved my life.

When you are in pain long enough, you get desperate. Desperate for relief. Desperate for answers. Desperate for God.

Sometimes God seems silent when we suffer. But His silence is not apathy. He is still moving. Sometimes, He waits until we are ready to listen, after our attempts to numb our pain no longer satisfy.

Pain is inevitable. But you can prepare for it. 

In a world where pain and suffering seems rampant, it’s critical to remember the truth about suffering so that we will know how to handle it when it comes. Continue reading

3 Cures for the Blogging Blues (and comparison)

stunning lifestyle imagery for modern creatives... check out another scenery / perspective

Yesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I was tired. We returned earlier in the week from our travels and hit the ground running.

I felt overwhelmed. My last few days have been engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I also personally committed to myself (and you) that I would post at least once a week on this blog. But a crazy road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of writer’s block. I stared at a blank screen more times this week than I want to admit.

So naturally, I did what any tired and overwhelmed writer would do.

I looked at her blog. You know the one.

The blog with the snazzy logo. The perfectly organized layout. Full of witty posts and relevant topics. The blog with a bazillion likes that everybody knows about. You know, the one she gets paid for. I imagine her at her (perfectly organized) desk gleefully cranking out 10 brilliant freebies a week without even breaking a mental sweat (something I can only dream, about).

Somewhere between her snazzy logo and midnight madness, I got moody.

I got downright depressed. In one swooping moment, my thoughts went down the drain, sucking my emotions in with it.

In that moment, I psychoanalyzed my own work and gave myself an F for failure. Suddenly, all my efforts felt in vain. No longer was I good enough, creative enough, fast enough, witty enough, relevant or professional enough.

When someone’s success makes us depressed, there’s a problem.

Instead of being inspired by her success, I felt inferior. Sad. Discouraged. Overwhelmed. Behind.

Times infinity.

Like, maybe I should just cut my losses early and save myself some time. After all, who can keep up with the ever-growing, fast-paced blogging community with its social media omnipresence and brilliant advertising?

Truth be told, I had a bad case of the blogging blues.

And if you are a writer, chances are you’ve had them too. Continue reading

Because Freedom Isn’t Free

sunset-flag-america-fieldstitleThe first summer my husband and I were married we decided to road trip-it for a two week tour of the East Coast. So naturally, we bought our first car and racked up 3,000 miles within the first month.

Our trip was a conglomerate of sightseeing, trail-hiking, food-consuming, memory-making moments.

But there is one moment, one day in particular, I will never forget.

One moment in time that has been forever etched in my mind.

We celebrated the 4th of July with millions of other people. In Boston. Where the story of America began.

That morning, we got up early and made our way to the Charles River to get one of those oh-so-limited wristbands that would allow us to be part of the famous Boston Pops celebration that night. The sun was hot as we mingled with thousands of other sweaty patriots armed in their liberty foam hats, waving flags and guzzling slurpees.

Finally the moment came.

The sun dipped below the horizon and the crowds pressed in further as the band began to play. Media cameras posed, famous news anchors reporting a few yards away. The music was all-consuming as the age-old familiar songs rang out across America.

ry=480We had waited all day for this.

Then the national anthem came. I breathed it all in – the crowd, the singing, the glow of the river, the crystal-clear night sky. The battle for our freedom literally fought just over those banks. I tried envisioning the ships, the cannons, the men’s unwavering courage for the cause of liberty.

I sang the lyrics loud as the music crescendoed to a close. To my surprise, four fighter jets shot out from behind the stage, creating a sonic boom so loud I could only hear the sound of my own heart beating, echoed by the words, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Ya’ll, I have never felt so patriotic in my entire life as I did in that moment.

I may have even saluted. I just couldn’t help myself.

My heart pulsed in sync with every resounding firework boom. Even in the rain, no one left. Mesmerized by the patriotic display, it was as if somehow we were all united regardless of our diverse backgrounds, preferences, or color. Continue reading