What a blessing this weekend has been- an absolutely amazing opportunity. It seemed almost too good to be true, except it was true. I was offered an opportunity to come down to Newport Beach to join 140 women for a ladies conference, and be a guest speaker on health & nutrition- my favorite subject!
I was so nervous at first- completely over thinking it and trying to make my presentation ultra professional - when in reality that isn't me. I'm silly, real, goofy, I like to laugh and have fun ... And the best part - is that is exactly what these women really wanted.
I had no idea what to expect of the demographic - but I was so very pleasantly surprised. Each and every woman I had the pleasure of meeting and engaging in conversation with ended up being purely fabulous. I learned so much more from each of them then I would have ever imagined possible in such a short time. To experience a group of women that large come together for a common cause and just enjoy themselves and each other for every minute of the occasion was profound.
I know I was extremely lucky this year and I was allotted this opportunity as a fill in for their regular speaker. I found myself thinking, "Sheez, I need to get into landscaping so I can come back." I can honestly say that I will miss several of these ladies.
In addition, I am extremely proud of myself this weekend and my willingness to allow personal growth. Normally when put in a situation with a group of people so large, whom of which I do not know, I close off and get super quiet and shy. I never initiate conversation or engage in conversation unless otherwise initiated. I would always make sure to be the 1st to sit at a table so I don't feel like I am interrupting a group of people already sitting together. This weekend was exact opposite. As hard as it was - I forced myself out of my shell and openly would sit next to people and ask to join them - introducing myself and engaging in conversation. Also, instead of just gravitating to the 1st few women I met and felt comfortable around, as I would normally do, I forced myself to sit with new people on every occasion, thereby opening the scope of lovely ladies I had the opportunity to get to know! And in the end what I learned was that I have nothing to loose by being more outgoing and initiating conversation, and only plenty to gain! I wouldn't change this weekend for the world and I am extremely grateful to God for blessing me with such an amazing experience. Amber could have offered this to anyone and this time I was the lucky girl!
In addition, as if this whole conference experience wasn't amazing enough, I was even luckier to meet one woman in particular, Ruthie, who is a member of Saddleback Church. Through our discussions this became known, and she so kindly invited to take me this Sunday morning. This in and of itself was an experience of a lifetime. I was speechless! She is so kind, and words can't express how truly wonderful this morning has been, as a perfect end to a wonderful weekend.
I just wanted to send a special shout out to Amber, because she made this whole event happen, and thought of me, when she could have chose anyone.. And also to Ruthie, for being such a wonderful, kind, compassionate, and generous woman!
Time to write! Been feeling extremely overwhelmed lately. I am in the middle of going through a process of something that is known to be extremely stressful. When I signed up for it, I never thought it would get me this good. I feel like I am failing myself and God over and over again. I try to constantly remind myself, “less worry, more prayer, less worry, more prayer” and for like a day I will pray a lot and worry less, but then it seems the day after I fall right back into my old habits, worrying-worrying- and more worrying. I can sit and say that I truly do believe that there is a plan way bigger then me, and I know that I can worry all day and that will not fix any problem, it will not expedite answers, it will not provide results. The only thing it will do is stress me out, interfere with my ability to perform in all other facets of my life, and interrupt the health of my closest relationships. With that, no one wins. So despite that I can sit and remind myself that this is all truth and exactly how I feel, it is a whole different story to actually remind myself constantly and let go.
I am going to give it a solid try though - that is for sure. Starting tonight. I went on a walk with my little monster, and found myself stressing and thinking and going back in forth in my head over all this stuff for half the walk when it hit me. I wasted almost half my walk worrying about something I have absolutely NO control over, which was my valuable prayer time - my time with not only Mowgli, but God. So I took a deep breath, and let it all go. I prayed, I asked for forgiveness for not staying true to my commitment to pray more, worry less, and I moved on. Now I am not saying I will be perfect from here on out - but I will be damned if I am not going to try to be more aware of my thoughts and actions each and everyday regarding this stressor in my life! I will get through this just like I will get through bigger and more stressful times in my life yet to come. I will come out strong. I will accept that whatever is suppose to happen will happen, and I will trust in the master plan.
More then anything, I know I need to let go of a few things, and leave the process in the hands of God, so that I can function normally and be myself again. I have been running around like a crazy chicken with its head cut off not knowing left from right, forgetting simple, but essential tasks, neglecting the love of my life (my little monster) and pushing away those I care most about. I keep feeling so overwhelmed, not understanding how to quite balance it all, when the reality is that IF I wasn’t so wound up over things I can’t even control, then I would be mentally stronger and more capable of balancing those things I do have control over. I can do this... I can.. I will...
I have been thinking a lot lately about prayer. Not only the power of it, but the quality of it. Is there such thing as a good prayer vs a bad prayer? Or is there just a better prayer? Two weeks ago at church the service was all about prayer in desperation. It was super interesting, because prior to this I had never considered that there was perhaps a better way to pray during desperate times. The truth is - that this whole prayer concept is all still fairly new to me and I am just learning as I go along. The good thing is that I feel that I after listening to the service on desperation prayer, that I may have done a good job when I was in desperate measures, myself, although there is always room for improvement.
Lately, I have been feeling extremely lost. I have had a lot of “unknowns” in my life. Not really knowing which direction to go, which decision to make, which path to take... I was having a discussion with a good friend and I was telling her how I have been resorting to prayer instead of worry. I expressed to her that I have been asking God to show me a sign, to show me the way. She made a good point, which also got me thinking. She explained to me that with that prayer for a sign, that I also needed to pray to God that he would also help me to be aware of his signs, to know how to see it when it shows, and to understand how to read his signs. This was important for me, because the truth is, I actually have NO idea how to read signs - I probably MISread them all the time. And then things happen and I read into it too much, questioning, “does this mean I should do this?” or “does that mean I should do that”..... So I thought, ok.. ok.. I can do this - I can start also praying that God shows me how to distinguish his signs from false signs. And I optimistically think ...I am learning how to pray better. So the past week this is exactly what I have been doing - asking not only for a sign, but for the ability to know the sign when I see it.
Then last night I was listening to the service from this past Sunday on podcast and I was listening to this girl share her story. Somewhere in her story she explained the prayers she had with God. What I got out of her sharing of her prayer request & request for a sign, is that she was extremely specific. While I just pray and ask God for a sign, and to help me see the sign, which is very vague all in all, she actually requested a very specific sign. She was going to go on a mission trip & she asked very specifically for God to show her a sign that it was her calling to go, by providing her childcare, which he did, and which she did go on her trip. It was an “ah-hah” moment. Not that my prayer has been bad, it just has room to better... Instead of vaguely asking for a sign, of which there are false signs thrown into our face daily, and now I have to ask for the strength and ability to see the correct sign, which is a two step process, now I realize that I can pray for and request specific signs to help lead me in the better specific direction.
Well, sounds easy right? Not so much... I went on my daily morning walk with Mowgli today, where I usually pray. I practiced this specific request prayer. It wasn’t easy. What I quickly realized is that I have to actually be way more proactive. I have to actually think of something that I want/need to help me in one direction of two that I might be deciding to go and then pray for that specific thing/action. Whoa... talk about confusing. So now I am standing there (well walking)... thinking.. “ok well I have option A. or B. So IF option A is best then maybe I should ask for this sign to show me option A, but if option B is best then maybe I should ask for this sign, but oh wait, no that won’t work - so what should I ask for to be my sign to get me to know that option A is my destiny”.. YIKES... did I make that ever too complicated. I may not have been as successful in my specific prayer request today, but I am definitely committed to learning how to pray better each and every day, and until then, I still made sure to pray in the way I am currently familiar and know how. I trust that God is still happy with my prayers, but excited that I am eager to continue to grow in my ability to pray, as well as many other facets of my spiritual life. And as always, it is about the journey, not the destination :)
So the other day I had to write about the fear I was faced with, to get it off my chest. Saturday was a rough day all in all - the overwhelming feelings I had around my deepest fears left me somewhat debilitated mentally and emotionally. I struggled most of the day with the urge to just stay in bed, figuring if I was sleeping I wasn’t thinking. But I overcame those urges. Instead of sleeping and ignoring it, or rather, what I usually do best, which is just try to fight it....... I PRAYED. This was new to me. In the past, prior to my newer built relationship with God, I struggled this battle and I often lost. I fell into a vicious cycle over and over, where I would let these negative and self destructive emotions win, I would create my own self fulfilling, destructive prophecy, I would fail, and then I would confirm with myself that I knew that was going to happen all along. Every time things started getting good - really good - I would create a crumble. Typical.
Well, as I mentioned, this is before I knew God, and when I tried to fight it alone. Actually interestingly enough, I was just reading through a chapter in A Purpose Driven Life the other day, and it was all about temptation and how when things are good - this is how the devil shows up. In my previous experiences with these self destructive emotions I have never looked at it from this perspective but it totally makes sense now. It says in this chapter that “resisting a thought doesn’t work. It only intensified our focus on the wrong thing and strengthens its allure.” This also makes total sense, as I mentioned above the more I fought the feelings in my past, the more I would actually find reasons to validate them. This time, it didn’t work that way. This time, I got up, I wrote, and then I prayed. I prayed long and passionately over and over again.
Through the past several months through attending church and reading this book, I am learning that I am not alone - and I don’t have to struggle alone. I can come to God. Church and this book have taught me to turn my worries into prayers. Worry less - pray more. This is what I do. So that is what I did. Sunday at church was all about prayer in desperation. It solidified how important my prayer on Saturday was... I realize that while it may seem small to some people, I know the power of my thought (especially my fear driven, self destructive thoughts) and I know that I have a track record of not being able to overcome them and see things at real face value. This time - I won, but not alone, but through God’s power and guidance.
The past several months I have been so blessed to experience the power of prayer over and over again. I feel so much more secure and at peace to know that I am not alone, ever. I always have support, guidance, and strength through every situation, and every tough time. With that I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy, and excitement to constantly commit to evolving my relationship with God and continuing to learn his word and study it and grow with it, each and every day so I can evolve and be the very best version of myself that he made me to be. It is truthfully so refreshing to know that while I experienced the overwhelming emotion that I felt Saturday, with God, I am able to sit here today and express that I have moved through that self destructive behavior, and that means I have taken one more step in the right direction for personal growth and development.
I understand that this doesn’t mean I won’t ever go back to that dark place again, as I am fully aware that the devil never disappears forever - he will always come back to haunt me and I will continue to be tested, but as the The Purpose Driven Life says, we should take it as a compliment when the devil shows up, because it means that you are doing good - because he doesn’t have to try to sabotage what is already bad (something along those lines). On any account, I now know that next time I experience an overwhelm of intense negative or self destructive emotions, I will not be alone, and I will be stronger and better equip to handle the situation, and move through it always.
I have a track record ... It's based on fear... Fear of being hurt again. My last relationship really- really toyed with my emotions and fucked with my head. I realized thereafter that I never wanted to feel that way again, and thought how if I felt like that was love then maybe I had no idea what love really was, because that wasn't it. So I spent four years getting really-really good at creating walls. I blocked everyone out and didn't let anyone close, although if I'm super honest, I've actually been a master @ this my whole life- that's why it was always so easy in my past to pick up and move - I kept myself detached from people- cuz if I didn't let them in close I couldn't get hurt. If I didn't care enough it wouldn't matter if I left or they did. Then with my last relationship I dropped some walls, really opened up and trusted and got burned bad. So there I was at square 1 - probably even square -1...
Miss tough girl... For years I told myself I was happy alone and didn't care if I stayed single - besides I was convinced I'd never meet someone worth my time. However, one day I realized that I would rather love in my life and experience true and real love even if it meant risking being hurt 10x over then to never love again ... Over time I began to slowly open my heart back up - but with caution, which was easy cuz there was still no one worth my time anyhow.
Then I met someone- it started slow- casual - nothing serious ..."I got this" I thought to myself -I won't develop feelings- I won't care enough - therefor I won't get hurt. I told myself all the reasons he would never work... Funny thing is I did develop feelings- feelings unlike any I had ever experienced before - and even crazier I had brief moments where I thought "shouldn't this be scary?" But then almost instantly I was able to let the fear go because it felt too good and too real to even fear ... This lasted a while, but lately this has changed. One event occurred that made me realize just how "real" it might be getting, and that realization came with an overwhelming sense of fear. Fear of getting hurt- old fears from my last relationship kicking in that I don't even want to get into - even though it's not fair for a new person today to suffer from an old person of my past. I found myself all week long being driven by these fears though-fighting myself every step of the way. It's been an intense emotional week in my head - wanting to pull back -wanting to walk away while it's still "safe"- questioning if his feelings are the same- is it real- is it worth it- going back to my old self and making excuses for why I want to walk away - making up excuses of whats not working and why, when in reality I know the only thing not working is my head!
Basically im attempting to self destruct and ruin something that is so amazing ... And I've literally been doing it all week long- and I have moments where I totally know I am doing it and can almost see myself going it , yet can't stop myself. Then there are moments where I'm so in my head I don't even realize how strong it has a hold of me. I want this time to be different - I can get hurt - its true - there are no certainties in life - but I want my actions and my heart to hold true to the mindset that the potential to be hurt is worth it - that what we have and what I feel is worth it -even if it's not for a lifetime. Life is filled with risk - and this is one worth taking . I love him... I do ... Wow to write that word out loud...it freaks me out...makes me nervous that it will freak him out too ... I haven't said it out loud... don't know when I will be ready to truly face those emotions head on ... I just know that deep down I know I do deserve an amazing, loving, compassionate, respectful , and lasting relationship, and this very well could be the one or it may not - but I won't know unless I go all in and give it a try. I don't want to be the reason it is not - I don't want to self destruct it before it even has a fair chance. For once, I want to go into it trusting and confident with belief and free of fear!
And as the bible says (in one of my favorite verses):
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG)