The Answer May Not Match

The Answer May Not Match

Have you ever asked for directions and what the person told you (or that crazy GPS) had you in an area unfamiliar to what you asked for? You’re looking around thinking “Well, I asked for direction or clarity but this isn’t what I thought it’d look like…”

I’ve had experiences where I’ve asked for or prayed for things and it looked totally different from what I visualized. Sometimes it wasn’t so much the question I asked but who I asked the question to. Other times it wasn’t what I prayed for but the lack of clarity that had me sitting back wondering why things didn’t make since.

To say I’ve had a trying few weeks would be an understatement. I’ve had an experience that even now writing this still shocks me but at the same time I’m grateful for. People like me, Type A personalities, always want to be in control and we hate failing. We want to do and get everything right. Often times we are our worst critic. We are so hard on ourselves.

I’ve said so many times that God is in control. But is He really? (Ask yourself that?). He can’t be in control if you’re in control too. He can’t do the things He needs to do in you and through you if you haven’t opened yourself up to Him and released the need to make things happen yourself. You can’t say that God’s in control and still sit around stressing over things in your life that haven’t even happened yet.

I recently lost total control and in the moment it was very scary. After the moment, it’s strange how clear things were. Everything in my mind was dumped out and blank. There was nothing up there. No lists of things to do, no sad thoughts and most importantly none of those negative thoughts were up there either. All of the things that were floating up there in my head that I had convinced myself were true (like…you’re a failure, you can’t do this, you’re always alone, no one listens to me, you’re not being a good parent) all evaporated. And the things that needed to get done without me got done one way or the other. I was sitting around one day and thought “This is what it must be like when you let God be in control.”

When we remove the worry, self doubt, self criticism, other people’s perceptions, worry over decisions, stress over things that aren’t for us to stress about anyway-when we remove our selves from the equation and let it just be God moving in our lives….well we get peace. We get thoughts that focus on His goodness and His will for our lives. We get clarity. We get a release from the one thing holding us back (which is us-we hold ourselves back).

So I’d prayed for direction. I had prayed for clarity. I had prayed for peace. I had prayed for God to guide my steps. I had prayed for freedom from myself to accept God’s will. And what happened didn’t look like any one of those prayers I asked for but they all got answered. When you seek Him and pray- your prayers will be answered at some point or another. But….expect the unexpected because they may come in a way that you think will break you but instead puts you on the road to victory.

Connect to Something….

Connect to Something….

That makes you feel good or that releases stress and reminds you of the things that you have to be grateful for. For me I love music. I love singing and dancing. From Kindergarten until I graduated high school I was always in a musical program of some sort. I watch a lot of tv shows that involve singing. I used to love Glee and American Idol. I love watching So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, and World of Dance. Watching these shows often makes me wish I would’ve taken up dancing as a child and pursued a career in professional dancing.

I listen to music of all different types of genres and it doesn’t have to be in English either! Spanish, German I don’t care. If it touches me or makes me dance then that’s all I care about. I’ve told my husband so many times that I want to take Latin dance classes. I can Salsa, Merengue and Bachata but I know I would just love taking classes, dressing up and performing.

What is it about music and dancing that I love? Well it makes me feel free. Free from stress, worry-all the things I’m balancing. It also helps me to process my feelings. When I’m having a difficult day and I need guidance I’ll turn on Praise and Worship music to connect deeper with God and often times it turns into me remembering how good He is and how He’s blessed me more than I deserve. I don’t just turn on Praise and Worship when I’m sad, but when I’m happy as well.

When I’m feeling super emotional I’ll play certain artist that tend to have emotional music because I feel like in their music is understanding for what I’m feeling or dealing with. There are times when I’m happy and excited and I want to dance. I’ll put on music that reflects that. A lot of the time that’s Salsa music. The point is my connection to music and dancing helps me to go deeper and to process what I’m going through in the moment. It’s a release for me.

A lot of the time I come out from my dancing/singing sessions feeling blessed, motivated, encouraged, understood and powerful. This could also directly represent my relationship with God. When I connect with Him in prayer or just spend time worshipping Him, I come out feeling the same way or ten times better.

No matter what you’re facing or balancing-good or bad- I challenge you to find your release. Look for something in your life to connect to that pulls you out from that dark place and reminds you of your purpose. Seek something that helps you turn your thoughts or your pain into something productive.

Yes, we may have people in our lives that we can talk to sometimes that can help pick us up or celebrate with us. But we all know from personal experience that people aren’t always there for you. Sometimes you have to tough it out alone and pull your own self out or celebrate alone. And that’s ok. Just find that thing that gets you there and keeps you pushing through. Find the thing that won’t let you give up on you. You’re worth fighting for.

Learn to Enjoy…

Learn to Enjoy…

The company of yourself!!! Ok I’m an introvert. Because I’m such a friendly, outgoing person people tend to find that really hard to believe about me. I do love people. I love spending time with those that I have relationship with but I also enjoy mass amounts of time alone. I have to mentally work myself up to be in group settings. After spending large amounts of time with people I need several days to decompress.

Sometimes I find it hard to commit to dates, parties, events or other “adventures” because I may have over exhausted myself by spending lots of time going out doing things with other people so I don’t have the energy to do it repeatedly. I tend to get cranky when I don’t have the time to regroup before embarking on something else. In life, things are busy. We don’t always get the alone time we desire. But you know how I learned these things about myself? By spending time with myself.

Early on in life I lost myself. Big time. I lost the motivation I had to meet my goals personally or career wise. I was fully committed to being a wife and mother and that’s what my life revolved around. When I look back on that time in my life I realized I was depressed but didn’t know it. But because I didn’t spend time with myself getting to listen to my thoughts and my desires and my heart I lost myself. It took me some counseling, some alone time just thinking and definitely some Jesus to get back to the things that I am passionate about.

Being alone with yourself doesn’t necessarily mean never going out with friends or doing things with family. But it does mean you need to actually carve out time to hear your own thoughts or think about your life goals or maybe evaluate your career goals. Being alone with yourself also provides you with the opportunity to seek God for His purpose for your life. Some of the loneliest stages of my life created some of the most beautiful moments for me.

When I felt at my lowest and on my own like I had no one, those were the moments and opportunities that I had to self evaluate and really get to know me without all of the clutter of people and life. There is something to be said for being set apart. Sometimes when we feel like we are all alone it’s actually God setting us apart so that He can take us to a new level in life.

You can’t know what you want in life if you don’t actually know who you are. You can’t know who you are if you don’t spend time with yourself and with God. Not with people all the time because, at times,people will put labels on you that aren’t what God says about you. We will let those labels stick and then let it hold us back. You have to spend time alone so you can hear what God says about you.

So if you’re finding yourself in a season of restlessness with yourself right now and you’re struggling with finding your purpose, spend some time with yourself. If you’re struggling through relationships and you can’t decide on what you should do within those relationships, spend some time with yourself. If you’ve gotten off track in life and lost your purpose, motivation, or drive then take some time out to clear your head and hear your thoughts. It is in these moments when we take time to quiet the noise and just sit with nothing but our thoughts that God can grab our attention and speak to our broken places, heal the shattered pieces and encourage us to keep going.

Spend some time alone getting to know you so that you can walk into the next stage of life that God is calling you to. Your future you depends on it!

Stop Holding It In

When I get upset I tend to shut down. I get really quiet and reserved. I very rarely respond to anything out of anger. I usually take the time to think about how I feel, what I feel and why I feel that way. Ladies we are emotional beings and at times (Who am I kidding?? Most of the time! Lol) we let our emotions lead us. We let them over rule our decision making sometimes.

While it’s ok to take the time when angry or upset to calm down or think, don’t let what you’re feeling stay inside. I’m guilty of this a lot because I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt. A person can hurt me or show me with their actions how they feel and I’ll still try to be understanding. We have got to learn to accept people and their faults without letting them continuously hurt us. We have also got to learn to be more vocal with those around us.

It does us no good if our friend or husband or coworker keeps doing things that bother us or hurt us and we don’t tell them. Yes, there are somethings that we are just being petty about or over reacting to. But there are other things that we linger on or can’t let go of and it’s because we need to communicate. We need to be honest. Sometimes we need to be honest with ourselves and move on from relationships. Other times we need to be honest with the person.

Someone’s best chance at getting better as a person is through someone else being honest with them. You are doing your friends and other relationships a great disservice if you’re not being truthful with them about your feelings or certain behaviors they exhibit that you’re not communicating to them. We have to do these things in love, of course. But we have to start talking to people and stop holding everything in.

Sometimes it’s not easy to say it so write it down. I keep journals. I’ve kept them all of my life. And sometimes when I’m dealing with something and I don’t quite know how I feel or what to do I write it out. I write out frustrations or confusion or pain. Just getting those things out on paper and then going back and reading it gives me such freedom!

So I’m encouraging us today to be more open with communication. Be more open with those we love about our thoughts to include our goals and dreams. We don’t always have to communicate the negative. Start sharing positive things or plans you have so that those around you can encourage you, cheer you on, and tell you how proud they are of you. We are not in competition with each other. Your pain is just as valid as mine no matter how big or small. And your dreams are important! Let it out. It’s good for you.

You Can’t Know Everything

You Can’t Know Everything

I’m a planner. I like to have things put together in advance and thought out. I like to know where something’s going to be and what time, what’s going to happen when we get there or what’s going to be expected of me once I arrive. While I love surprises, I do not like the element of surprise in reference to work or events I am helping with. I like to have all the tools I need available. I want to always be prepared. I don’t like last minute pop ups. I am not a fly by the seat of my pants type girl.

I’ve been put in situations where nothing was planned or thought out and we were scrambling to put things together within a certain time frame. I’ve had moments where I thought I had thought out every detail and missed something so I had to improvise. I’ve helped people with functions they were doing whether it be a birthday party or Christmas party or a business event and there was something forgotten or missing so we had to make what we had work or go back to the store for the hundredth time.

What I’ve come to learn in these situations is that it all came together. It all worked out how it was supposed to. It may have been stressful or overwhelming. There were moments where I would think “What am I going to do?” or “I don’t see how this is going to work out” but it all did. Even with my planning and lists or trying to anticipate the things that could go wrong something popped up that I didn’t plan for and it still worked out.

These moments are a lot like life. Sometimes we get ourselves so worked up over things trying to anticipate the problem and all we end up doing is creating unnecessary stress. And sometimes some of the problems we tried to plan for never even happen or a problem we didn’t anticipate happens instead. But eventually it turns out as it should or sometimes even better than we anticipated!

The point is, in many ways, we are walking through life blind. We can set goals, reach achievements or mile stones. We can create bucket lists or have our lives all mapped out but no matter what we are going to come into bumps in the road. There are going to be road blocks. There will be things we planned for so we are prepared to resolve the issue and then there will be the unexpected. We cannot know everything. We can’t always plan for all the things life will throw our way. And that’s ok!

I’ve learned through life’s hiccups it’s made me more resilient. It’s made it easier in certain situations that when the unexpected happens to adjust accordingly. It’s funny that as parents when our kids don’t get their way we will tell them “You can’t always get what you want” or “Things won’t always go your way” but we neglect to remind ourselves of the same things during this thing called life.

So here’s a reminder that we can’t know it all, we aren’t supposed to know it all and for the things that we won’t have a plan for God will provide the tools,wisdom and knowledge to handle it. Embrace the unknown. There’s so much freedom in not worrying constantly about the outcome of things and watching God bring it all together. After all, not matter what, He’s working all things together for our good! That gives me great comfort and peace and I hope it does the same for you.

It’s Ok To Change…..

It’s Ok To Change…..

your hair color, your mind, your style or anything about yourself and life that you don’t like . Most importantly it’s ok to grow into a different but better version of yourself. For the most part, I am a pretty passive person. For me that word passive pretty much equals people pleasing in the since where I always want those around me to be happy (Although, I have learned that I’m only responsible for my happiness and my happiness alone). I try to be accepting of people’s flaws and I try to be very understanding of whatever it is that they are dealing with. I’m a pretty empathetic person. When those connected to me are going through difficult things I tend to feel their pain, literally it seems. I feel as if I am suffering right along with them although their situation is not my problem.

Because of this personality flaw and strength, (I consider it to be a little bit of both) I tend to take on a lot. I overlook a lot. Ignore certain things. I even rationalize certain behaviors that most would deem unacceptable or give the benefit of the doubt when it’s clear as day what is going on. I know that it’s because I don’t want to rock the boat. I know it’s because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable and I don’t want to argue about something that is not as important to me as it may be to other people. Not that I shy away from confrontation. When something bothers me enough or I feel like it needs to be addressed I have no problem talking about it. But something about me that I know needs to change is my worry of hurting people or upsetting people and doing it at the expense of my own feelings and well being.

Over the years as I’ve grown and learned more about myself I could see and feel the changes in me. Those changes would scare me! Not because they were bad, they were good changes. I didn’t always handle them well or communicate them as effectively as I should have but the changes were necessary to my personal growth. I was afraid that making the changes internally that I needed to make would make people not like me or be angry with me. I was afraid that I would lose connections with friends or friends would not be able to relate to me. While to others it seems like a silly fear, to me it was a real one. I wanted to be better but not at the expense of losing people. Let that sink in for a moment. Too many of us want to make changes in our lives. Too many of us want to be better moms, wives, sisters, friends, etc. but fear losing relationships so at the expense of who we are and who we want to be we’ll delay or stunt our own personal growth. We will hinder or sacrifice our personal well being for fear of being judged or walked away from. But no matter who you are or what you do someone will be upset. So it’s an irrational fear and not worth hindering the changes needed for your own personal growth.

The saying that those who really love you will love you no matter what happens or who you are is not only true but important to people who struggle with this. Relationships can be complicated but they don’t always have to be if at the core of those relationships is love and acceptance. Unconditional love is not loving someone as along as they fall in line with our exact beliefs or what we want. Unconditional love is loving someone in spite of the the fact that we don’t always agree and the other person isn’t always who we want them to be. So don’t be afraid to change. Don’t be afraid to be better. Don’t be afraid to look at yourself and go “I don’t like this about me and I need to work on that.” If it means stepping away from somethings or some people that’s ok. It doesn’t mean it’s the end. It’s actually a new beginning. I have the most amount of respect and admiration for people who know who they are and stand true to that at the risk of people not liking them. It’s ok for people to not like you as long as you LOVE yourself. It doesn’t make you perfect or better than anyone else but it makes you better than the person you were yesterday.

So fight for the changes you need to make and don’t let the fear of losing anything or anyone take away from that. It’s not worth it. But growing into who God has destined you to be will be worth it in more ways than you’ll ever know because you’ll change into a person that you’ll love even if the people you’re afraid of losing don’t……

Overthinking Much?

Overthinking Much?

Ok who does this?!! I dooooo!!!!! While I have gotten better, I still over think almost everything and at times I make a rather simple task or decision really complicated.

If I text someone and they usually respond quickly and it takes 4 hours I’m like “Are they mad at me?” Mind you I haven’t done anything to them so I don’t know why I even go there and then when they do respond I over analyze the text message and I’m all like “Ok they don’t quite sound like themselves…” now in their response they clearly said they were busy trying to meet a deadline at work but I’ve just created a whole argument where there was no issue.

Don’t take me to a restaurant or give me 5 colors to choose from or ask my opinion and have 7 different options. My brain will overload, short circuit and it could take a while to get to an answer. I think-as I sit here overthinking this blog- that over thinking comes from the need or desire to be perfect. We want things to look perfect or sound perfect or want to make the perfect choice when sometimes there really isn’t a perfect choice. There’s just the choice that works for you.

Relax! I often have to tell myself to just calm down, take a deep breath and choose the chicken! Picking food should not be stressful and making a decision should not be solely based on what someone else might deem perfect. Of course it’s understood that with certain things you want everything to look a certain way-such as weddings, birthday parties, or your outfit. But in all honesty what looks perfect to me or you will not always look perfect to someone else. So here we are stressing about how exact we want something to be when someone’s going to look at it for two seconds and go “Oh cute.” And then they’ll move right along.

I remember having a conversation with a friend not too long ago about how I’ll do something and I put a lot of effort into it but it’s not received the way I think it should be. To me it looks great! It looks perfect. But when someone else sees it their version of perfection is not the same as mine so they want to tweak this or change that. And I’m like I don’t get it. This wise friend says to me “It’s not personal. If it’s someone’s vision, their baby, their dream you aren’t going to understand or see it like they will. So remove your feelings from it and just continue doing your best knowing that no matter the outcome it’s not you personally.” In that moment I received so much clarity.

We want what’s perfect for us but it’s not always perfection to everyone else and that’s ok! Stop stressing about it. Stop over thinking the colors or the theme or all the other minute details based on what others might view as perfect cause they just might not see it that way. Focus on what works for you. For me that takes a lot of pressure off and then I stop overthinking things that aren’t meant to be difficult.

Like Forest Gump said “Life’s a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get.” So just roll with it!