Category Archives: Jesus

posts inspired by God speaking to me through a message, book, podcast, or just directly

Single: the Rules, the Wait, & Reckless Love

Today, I write this article as an eligible Christian bachelorette dating  joyfully and faithfully – but that wasn’t always the case.  In 2014, I dated, believing that I was ready for marriage and thinking that it was the men who I dated who were the ones responsible for the failed relationships.  I came to realize, however, that I was the common denominator and responsible party when they went on to get married and engaged…lol. Life-Coaching And so, 2015 was all about working on myself in the context of relationships: learning how to be open-minded, empathetic, patient, gentle, slow-to-anger – ideally never-to-anger, and learning, simply, that the world does not revolve around Jeanette and everyone has a valid point-of-view that deserves consideration.  I learned how to be a better counterpart in all of my relationships and I grew by light years.  I owe this progress to my life coach, Patty – I call her my Patty in my pocket – she gave me new eyes and a new life. The Rules The_rulesAnd with those new eyes, I re-entered the dating pool.   I now knew how to be a good girlfriend – a gracious girlfriend.  I was excited.  And I achieved some success, but I still felt somewhat out of control – some guys worked out and some didn’t and I didn’t know why one way or the other.  I needed a game plan – and I was introduced to and read: the Rules.  Or rather, I inhaled the Rules.  I read every edition available, typically over 1-2 days each. I had hour-long discussions about it w/ my girlfriend who introduced them to me and we agreed to be “Rules friends,” reaching out to each other for “Rules support.” I marveled at how differently and wrongly I had been dating.  My entire approach to dating changed.  Time-wasters weeded themselves out as only those who were available, interested, and ready rose to the top.  And for the first time, I was enjoying dating.  I was having a blast, meeting great men, and enjoying fun dates.  Then, I finally met a guy who really rose to the top, making it to date 13.  He was treating me right, taking me out, respecting me, adoring me, and just being a wonderful man that I loved spending my time with.  But…he didn’t love the Lord.  He may have identified with Christianity, but he didn’t live for God – not the way I knew I wanted my future husband to.  What had happened? Reckless Love Reckless-Promo-Slide-01-1032x590In the midst of this dilemma, a friend of mine introduced me to a sermon series called Reckless Love that answered that question for me: I was idolizing marriage.  I was making finding the one more important than being content in God.  As a result, I was casting too wide of a net.  I was casting a net that would capture men who were ready, available, and interested, yes, but not necessarily men of God.  I was making having a relationship more important than having a Godly relationship! My friend divulged to me the difficulties of an unequally yoked relationship and I suddenly saw yield signs that forced me to slow down and pay attention.  After watching the Reckless Love sermon series, I re-prioritized my source of love to be God’s love over a man’s love.  Additionally, I gained a peace with and even an excitement over my singleness.  I saw the opportunity  in my single hood.  I put on the peace of God and the faith that He would bring my man to me in His best timing.  I decided to serve God in my single hood and trust Him with my future mate. And once again, I re-entered the dating scene with new eyes:  I dramatically changed my dating profile to reflect how important God was in my life and my future mate.  Personally, I vetted men with the criteria that they be, yes, ready, available, and interested, but alsomen of God.  As a result, my dating pool shrank dramatically in quantity and rose in quality. The Wait 51h0nPrNVzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_During this time, I picked up Devon Franklin and Megan Good’s book: the Wait.  In them, I saw a couple who was hot and Hollywood and Christian and had found one another and written a book about waiting on sex and waiting in God and I wanted to hear what they had to say.  Reading that book affirmed everything that I had learned from Reckless Love – that our single hood is a wonderful time and we should maximize it to become incredible men and women of God and incredible partners for our future spouses.  The Wait affirmed believing in God’s provision of a mate and honoring God with our single, dating, engaged, and married lives.  Devon and Megan affirmed waiting until after marriage for sex and living together.  They affirmed the importance of a short engagement, getting to marriage, employing pre-marriage counseling, and a host of principles that I believe in.  And most importantly, they affirmed the beauty, joy, and fullness of doing it God’s way, as they believe that they are living God’s Plan A lives for them today as a result of their obedience and faith. With all of these tools, I am more open, more ready, more patient, more joyful, and more sure of what I’m looking for and able to offer than ever.  I marvel at what a journey it has been.  I’ve become an entirely different woman in this game of love and it’s been an evolution like none other.  I’m so grateful for all of these tools – they have all played a part in teaching me and I use parts of all of them as I navigate this adventure we call love. IdRatherChooseGodsBest If you’re struggling, scratching your head, or have even given up in love or life, the best advice that I can give is: keep the faith and don’t give up.  It’s in trying different tools, books, talks that we all aggregate what becomes our approach.  I do recommend all of the above that I mentioned, but it may not be the perfect fit or the full fit for you.  Regardless, keep trying, keep seeking, keep praying…keep the faith…and you’ll find your way! GodsBest

The Planting of the Lord: Are you Getting Enough Son?

No, I did not misspell Son 😉 As offspring of the Lord, we can never stop growing and I’m [hopefully] about to blow you away with this analogy [between us and plants] that our pastor Jim Laffoon blew me away with several Sundays ago.  I took and will relay my notes verbatim, so some of this will read as if Jim is speaking directly to you. YOUR ROOT “Cursed is the one who trusts in man.  Blessed is the one whose confidence is in Him.”  Jeremiah 17:5,7 In order to grow from seedlings to oak trees, our root must be not just in the people of God but in God Himself.  Many of you have a withering because you are looking to the people to give you what God should be giving you. Then there are things that people can do that God can’t…you need both. What I got from this is that many Christians become very dependent on the church for their spiritual walk, but that begins with your relationship with God and the church remains vital to provide community and apparently, the things that even God needs His people to provide for one another! ARE YOU GETTING SONLIGHT? Just like plants need sunlight we need sonlight – the darker your workplace is the more light you need.  Malachi 4:2 SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) applies to spirituality.  Sometimes, you have to just sit in the light.  You can train your soul to experience His presence everywhere. I absolutely adore this analogy.  I imagine that in prayer, we are essentially basking in the Sunlight (sidenote: my auto-correct won’t leave that word alone lol).  Literally with faces upturned and hands open, receiving this essential nourishment to our spirit.  I feel like I can actually feel His Sonlight and I love to bask in it! ARE YOU DRINKING? Jesus is the Living Water. Drinking from the Living Water.  I don’t have any notes for this, but the Living Water ties in very well with the plant analogy and I appreciate this perfect parallel.  To me, this emphasizes the need to bask in the Sonlight and spend time wth Jesus. The SATURATION Rain, river, reservoir – Living Water needs to be drunken once a week. ARE YOU FEEDING? Sustenance: Speaking the Word, listening to the Word – we are in God’s body.  We can feed on God through each other.  “The cool thing about Christian friends, you share gifts with one another.”  -Jim Laffoon Plants need food and we need food and Jesus said, “take my body and partake of it”  The Word of God is also referred to as food.  Give us this day our daily bread, with bread being the Word of God.  And so this emphasizes the importance, to me, of staying in God’s Word. And so, in conclusion, we can think of ourselves as plants.  And as plants of the Lord, we must be rooted in God and His People, we must be receiving Sonlight, we must be drinking Living Water weekly, and we must be feeding on the Word.  Amazing!  God’s messages are everywhere, if we will just have eyes to see His stories, lessons, and miracles!  Thank you Jim, for your incredible gift of speaking God’s Word, through your messages and prophecies.  You are one incredible contribution to our community, this world, and the Kingdom. Let’s go, my fellow seedlings, let’s gooo and Grooow!

WHEN GOD LETS YOU “SKIP THE LINE”

I’ve heard many variations of the assurance uttered: “All in God’s timing.  God’s timing is perfect.  When God annoints it, it will make up for lost time.  God’s favor is a multiplier.”  Various phrases designed to offer the same assurance: that it’s ok if you’re still waiting on something.  Have peace and know that He will work it all out. I never quite understood, however, how exactly that was going to play out in real life – until just recently.  And here’s how it works.  You don’t worry about the timing.  You stay faithful and diligent.  You keep working on your craft and you keep walking with God.  These two principles practiced concurrently ensure that you are happy and at peace no matter where and no matter what.  Years may pass in between dreams that may seem like “lost time” in the natural way of thinking.  However, in the supernatural, God moves mountains for you, essentially “making up” for the lost time – lettin’ you “skip da line!”  At least that’s exactly how it happened for me, clear as day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Several years, ago, I got the comedy itch.  I knew I was funny and I knew I loved standup comedy – so why not do it?!  I took a standup class, performed at a few open mics, performed as part of a paid show, earned  street cred in the comedy circle, and altogether had a great run as a standup comic under my belt! This time also taught me, however, that making it in this world was brutal: hours spent on the open mic circuit night after night, exploiting friends and mailing lists to bring enough guests to “earn” your time on stage, and of course, the tens of hours of constant generating, writing, & perfecting jokes 24/7.  I knew that I was done.  I had scratched the itch and was not about to begin a comedy career.  Sure, I could do it…I just didn’t want to put in all that time.  And so I happily returned to acting and spin instructing, now legitimately adding “comedienne” to my resume! Fast forward 3 years and I’m at church one Sunday hearing that our church is sponsoring a Christian Comedy Show!  I immediately meet the producer and chat with her, leaving her with our shared comedy background because I did it for two months several years ago!  I emailed her the link to said performance, bought tickets to the show, and set out to support the cause!  The day of the show, she calls me and asks that I perform.  I was completely caught off guard – I don’t know if I’ve ever been more surprised, actually – and stammered that I was in absolutely no position to perform.  She proceeded to insist, saying that it was “ordained by God” and lo and behold, I performed that night and HERE is what God did for me!
  • I had an incredible performance, surprising my church (pastors included), when I appeared on stage.
  • A producer of another comedy show scouted me at that show.
  • The headliner’s manager sought me out after the show as well.
  • I was invited to join the the Christmas show lineup for Artistic New Directions, winning over the whole room.
  • I performed and hosted with the same Christian Comedy Show two months later (both times at Comic Strip Live).
  • I performed in the 6th annual Gospel Comedy Show at Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre the day after Christmas, with my sister, niece, & brother-in-law in the audience.
Here is the miracle:  I received 10 minutes of stage time at 3 paid shows at reputable venues without ever having to pound the comedy circuit!  The average comedian starting out gets 5 minutes at an open mic where he has to wait for his turn to perform and then only performs for a lackluster audience comprised of other comedians waiting for their turn.  This average comedian eventually, by working this circuit long enough, gains enough traction, reputation, and networking to begin performing at bringer shows: paid shows with real audiences that you are required to bring a certain number of people to.  Think of those people who “bark” at you on the street: “free comedy!” “do you want to laugh tonight?” – those are bringers.  Then, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally just perform.  Again, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally get paid to perform.  In this industry, like any other, dues must be paid and you should enjoy your craft enough to tough it out for what can be years or decades of working the circuit. Well, if you can tell, I skipped over all the dues-paying as God connected me with the perfect people at the perfect time so that I could simply work on my craft and then showcase my craft – how efficient of God, huh?!  I think I dig God’s style! When it dawned on me, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and encouraged beyond measure.  In that moment, I understood that God saved me time!  I am the same comedian that I would have been had I put in all those years, except that I didn’tInstead, I spent that time working on my acting, my modeling, my hosting, my nonprofit, my spin instructing, and all of the other things I was busy doing.  And most importantly, I spent that time growing in God, walking with God, and becoming more steadfast, more righteous, and more of the woman of God that I am now. And the ultimate take-away here, the biggest encouragement – is that this is how God works.  Trust the process – just like any other process – and see it work for you.  I pray to never again be plagued by anxiety, comparison, and worry.
I pray to rest in peace and assurance that my job is to simply work hard and walk hard [with the Lord] and my path can never be wrong.
My path will be intact, my steps will be ordered, and I will always be OK! I want this to encourage you to do the same.  God’s promise in the Bible is that He has good and prosperous plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11).  Living like this means that you live without worry or anxiety, just like all of God’s other creatures, knowing that worry will not add a single hour to your life. (Matthew 6:25-34).  Living like this means that your priority is putting God first, knowing that this most critical step paves the way for all other things to take care of themselves…ie: all other things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).  You will get your dream(s)…and instead of battling for them, they will be gifted to you!  You will get the dream career, the dream man, the dream apartment, the dream french bulldog, the dream body.  You should insert your own dreams here 😉 Here’s the funny way in which it works sometimes: by walking with God, you have insurance that things will work out, that He will work things out for our good  (Romans 8:28).  God will either realize this through granting us our very wish as we envision it or by adjusting our vision so that our wish is closer to where we already are.  The beauty of this?  Contentment, either way.  It’s the only way to live in true contentment and thus, the only way to live for me. Follow God’s lead and believe that there is no better way!

God is still providing us with Daily Manna

Hi guys! This podcast from Michael Hyatt, which I was listening while running on Tuesday, took on new meaning while I was speaking with a friend last night at dinner. In the podcast, Michelle is being interviewed by Michael (which is a role reversal!) about her life’s huge curveballs in the form of cancer and adopting three children! The huge takeaway from this for me, which only took on meaning for me two days later, was that God provides enough manna for the day…and that’s all we need. While Michelle was struggling with her cancer diagnosis, she realized that God got her through it day by day for four years and will continue to do so.  Naturally, she wanted more than just one day’s worth of provision. She wanted to see the light at the end of the tunnel already. She wanted complete healing already. She wanted victory over it already. But just like in the Bible, when the Israelites greedily attempted to collect more than what God intended for them to collect for the day (just a day’s worth of sustenance), the rest of it would rot. They needed to trust that God would sustain them the following day all over again. And He did. I realized yesterday that I am in a rush for certain things in my life. But God is growing and preparing me. My foundation is being solidified so that when I expand, I won’t collapse. My friend asked me, “Do you want to grow too fast and then collapse or not be able to handle the growth?” He gave me the example of the Freedom Towers’ construction and how long the laying of the foundation took compared to the building of the rest of the towers. I realized that a slow steady construction is preferable because the subsequent growth will be lasting and sustainable. And so, I will stop looking for the final result to happen today. I will trust that whatever God provides for me today is what I’m supposed to consume and that bit by bit, day by day, promise by promise, I will get to the Promised Land! Can you be grateful to God for giving you manna to conduct your business today, execute your exercise and diet today, pay for things today, extend grace, patience, and joy today? Can you be at peace with one day’s worth of provision rather than attempting to collect for the future? It’s terrifyingly freeing! Amen! PS: Listen and subscribe to the podcast if you want!

God – the Magnificent Orchestrator

I’ve heard and retold many a story of how “God’s timing is perfect.”  Of these, there are countless.  From how my pastor’s wife waited until forty for marriage to how she miscarried several times to how now, she is the mother of two adopted newborn twin girls with the man of her dreams is one very real example.  There is an often-cited anecdote that people use to demonstrate how God may often be “saving you” from something when seemingly causing a delay in your life.  ie: that traffic jam that you’re in could be saving you from that accident up ahead.  The final idea is-which is something that I’ve really clung to recently-is the idea that you don’t “define God based on  your circumstances; you define your circumstances based on God.”  One you’ve decided that “God is good all the time; all the time, God is good,” your circumstances are simply an exercise in faith. This is all easy to say, but I know it’s hard and I’ve been through the bleak moments when I’ve wondered myself.  But the breakthroughs will come and when they do, you go ahead and record them and blog about them and keep them around because breakthroughs are testimonies.  And now I’mma share mine! I just got out of a very bleak time where I felt, in the most scientific of terms, in a schlump.  On the heels of heartbreak, my feelings began to snowball to include loneliness, depression, and an overall absence of joy, energy, and purpose.  It was bad, ya’ll.  I would put on a happy face and happy energy for just long enough to get through teaching a class or completing an audition – and then I would default to sad clown face.  Through this time, I prayed, I read, and I learned a lot.  But I was still there, in the winter, emotionally.  I started to question my career, city of living – everything went under the microscope for examination during this time of unhappiness as I tried to “get to the root.” Some important pieces of background information:
  • I’ve always been a commercial actor with no intention of pursuing tv or film acting.
  • I’ve always taught fitness classes as a “side hustle” to my commercial acting.
  • After my heartbreak, I was shaken enough to receive a friend’s referral  to her therapist and have been working with her  since.
From the book "time in a bottle" - this passage is on "perfecting the past"
From the book “time in a bottle” – this passage is on “perfecting the past”
Here is the turnaround in my story – where the winter gives way to spring – where the score crescendos – where all the pieces of God’s magnificent plan seamlessly and perfectly align for the good of you – get ready! I text my therapist in the midst of my emptiness – desperate to shake this state.  She gets on the phone with me for 30 minutes, during which I’m crying silent throughout.  At the end of that call, I feel empowered to call my Dad and make plans for Christmas and as I look at all the other areas of my life I was questioning, I suddenly feel contentment in them again.  My energy and motivation to be a contribution to this world return and I get busy doing things for others again. During this time, I was also being asked to act in a dramatic scene and despite the fact that this was not my “acting lane” as a commercial actress, I said “yes.”  As I was studying movie clips to pull from, I felt compelled to write my own scene, inspired by my heartbreak.  And right then and there, I penned my first scene as a writer!  And it was good, ya’ll!  Suddenly, the idea of being an actress – a legit actress – in tv and film – became desirable to me. I wrote the scene in under an hour and later on that day, had a conversation with an old college friend that solidified for me this decision to become a full-time actress.  By the end of that day, I was busting at the seams with excitement over my promising acting career!  The desire, placed within me for the first time, was suddenly so magnetic and so attractive, that it felt like I was going from 0 – 60mph!  Over the next two days I decided who my muse was going to be, made a vision board for my acting career, applied to an acting school, studied a monologue for that audition, started studying movies, and fully saw myself and my life through this lens of acting. And I used to say that I didn’t want to act, just do commercials and host.  And I used to specifically correct people when they called me an actress, clarifying that I was only a commercial actress.  And I had never taken one acting class. Also, at this time, it seemed like my fitness instructing career was crumbling.  My class attendance was dwindling and my gyms were actually taking me OFF the schedule.  I knew that it wasn’t me because I would get great feedback that let me know that the style that used to pack my class was the same style that suddenly was bringing in less then ten people at times.  I fought the temptation of offense and forced myself to stay still to see what God had in store in this circumstance.  And now, I see – He was freeing me to act!  Without the hours spent preparing, traveling, and teaching a class, I really would gain so much more time to pour into acting! Here’s what I believe:  God wasn’t going to let me be an actress and make it big and have the fame and fortune and platform that a successful actor has until I fixed some things.  There were some things that were in dire need of address in my way of being in relationships.  I needed to be humbled and broken – there was no way around it.  It took two consecutive heartbreaks in the same year to shake me to the point of looking outside of myself for help.  And then it was like the scales were removed from my eyes and I started to choose another way to think and behave that God finally saw as good and appropriate and fitting.  And once that started happening, God wasted no time in planting the desire and the resources around me to allow me to pursue this career at warp speed.  I believe that these years of commercial acting have prepared me with knowledge and resources to make up for this later start in my acting career.  And I believe that He loves me, has never stopped loving me, and has been guiding me all this time, even during the winters when I was too numb to feel His presence. God is good and I’m going to be a movie star! And if you don’t believe me, hear it from Oprah – her message: “there are no mistakes,” and I add to that an “Amen, because God’s plan is perfect.  He will work it out for you.”

A Night Of Hope w/ Joel Osteen

JoelOsteen2This is a long overdue post – a write-up from an event that I attended this past summer – a latergram, if you will…haha!  Over the summer, I attended Joel Osteen’s “Night of Hope” at Yankee Stadium.  My church, Every Nation NYC, is a supporter of Joel, and because of this event, I became familiar with his sermons, books, and message…of hope!  I’m a fan – and took copious notes as he spoke to us that night at Yankee Stadium.  Here is what I managed to capture from the night.  Keep in mind that these are in note-taking format – just phrases and bullet-points, but powerful and straight from God’s mouth to Joel’s ears to these notes!
 JoelOsteen
  • Start each day with faith.  Say, “Thank you for another day, Lord!”  The right perspective sets you up for a positive day.
  • Your tape – many psychologists call it an internal dialogue – if it’s negative, you’ll never get to your potential
  • Start each day fresh.  Forgive people from yesterday, forgive the mistakes from yesterday, forgive yourself.
  • God can use anybody and any situation.  Abraham was old, Moses stuttered, Thomas doubted, Mariam gossiped, Zaccheaus was short, Lazarus was dead.  What’s your excuse?!  (this last one got a good laugh from the audience ;))
  • When Joel’s mom was sick and given only weeks to live, she posted up pictures all over her house of herself – getting married, riding horses, being healthy and happy.  At that time, looking in the mirror gave her a vision of death, so she put up the pictures of life.  So see yourself accomplishing your dreams – use the power of vision.
  • Sometimes, God will take you away from the fire but sometimes, God will make you fireproof and take you through the fire.  His hedge of protection is that he’s made you fireproof.  All that will burn off are your limitations.
  • Quit worrying about what isn’t; it wasn’t meant to be.
  • Praise precedes the victory
  • It’s easy to have a good attitude when you’re on the mountaintop
  • Shout before the walls come down
  • Your darkest hour can be your brightest hour
JoelOsteen5Story of his father passing
  • Joel shared about his father passing and how devastating it was for him to lose his father and for the church to lose their pastor.  Joel never wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he was thrust into the role and found himself carrying out his father’s dreams of expanding the church until they now occupy the Compaq center in Texas!
  • God’s dream for your life is so much bigger
  • Call out the seeds of greatness
  • Re: the Word-I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do
JoelOsteen3 Manure in fertilizer
  • The things that stink in your life, the stinky stuff, works for you.  You can’t get through life without fertilizer.  God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t meant to be used for your advantage.  The more stink, the more fertilizer.  Quit complaining about the fertilizer.  Remember it is fertilizer, it can propel you into your destiny.  There’s promotion in that stink.  Embrace the stink.  If you’ve had a lot of stink, it means God has a huge destiny for you.  Think of the difficult people as fertilizer for you.
  • Why are some victors and others victims?
  • Don’t just go through it, grow through it
  • Winning is in your DNA
  • Ditch to prison all the way to the palace.  You’re destined to live in the palace.  These aren’t the ends-don’t get comfortable in the pit, get your fire back.  Your story ends in the palace.
  • David used the sword of Goliath to defeat Saul, the same exact swords that were meant to defeat you, you will use towards victory.
  • Rummaging through garbage for hours.  God can make music out of trash.  He can take the very thing meant to defeat you and use it to promote you.  The injustice, trash, mistakes, stink, etc will be used.
I do wish that I could elaborate on more of this, but all I’ve got are these notes and pictures of myself at the event 😉  These are all words of life, however, and great reminders for all of us.  I hope you got somethin’ out of it and I’d certainly recommend attending 2015’s Night of Hope!JoelOsteen6

Rinse Immediately After Soiled – your blender and your heart

Do you juice?  Do you make smoothies?  In today’s hyper-aware health and fitness culture, I would imagine this question would land amidst a familiar audience.  If this is the case, as I hope so, then you must have experienced the difference between washing your juicer/blender immediately after using it as opposed to even an hour later?  Astounding, no?!  I make these thick chocolate breakfast shakes  (Shakeology, to be specific – I recommend it – you get the veggie requirement for the day right there!)
mymorningshake
seriously, this is what I drink every morning…the.whole.damn.thing. nom!
But anyways, where was I?  Oh yes, so when my smoothie is finished, the blender has a chocolate film all along the inside.  It looks properly used and soiled and one might be tempted to put off the task of washing it or deem this a job for the dishwasher.  Yet, thrusting it under the faucet just for a moment will reveal just how quickly the film will rinse clear off the glass surface, revealing nothing but sparkling glass once again!  If I discipline myself to do this rinse within a five minute window of having used the blender, I’ll never even have to reach for soap or a scrub.  And with minimal water and effort, my blender can be used daily, just like that, without ever having to see the dishwasher.  What does this require?  1) I have to know that this is possible 2) I have to discipline myself, even with this knowledge, to get in action during the window of opportunity 3) I have to rinse and repeat. “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” -1John 1:9 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” -Matthew 3:8true_repentance Offenses and sin weigh us down and soil us.  But here’s the good news: Forgiveness is guaranteed and immediate.  In the midst of sin, turn away immediately, and repent.  I have found myself in moments where I am consciously plucking myself out of sin, simultaneously repenting and removing myself – physically and spiritually, from the sin.  At times, there is a blur between what comes first: the discipline, the repentance, or the renewal – they simply work in harmony to save you. So the morale of the story?  Rinse daily before you have to take out the big guns and do the heavy washing or break out the dishwasher for the weekly wash.  Just a gentle rinse will cleanse if done immediately and daily.  And before long, it will become reflexive.  Your communion with God will remain clear and open, without debris clogging your heart and walk. Rock on, loves!  muah xoxo

Do you know your Love Language?

 
Are you speaking the same love language as your loved one?
Are you speaking the same love language as your loved one?
COULD YOU BE MISCOMMUNICATING YOUR LOVE? Isn’t it hard to communicate effectively with someone who speaks a different language?  The effectiveness of people communicating in two different languages to each other is not much.  Additionally, it’s usual laborious at best and excruciating at worst.  Now imagine if this was characteristic of the communication between you and your loved one!  It’s true – you may be communicating your love to your partner in a way that he/she is not receiving it and vice versa!  Your love language is the form through which you give and receive love.
the 5 love languages - which is yours?
the 5 love languages – which is yours?
LEARN YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE Gary Chapman has created the concept of there being 5 categories of love languages:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
You may have a hunch as to what your love language is.  Some clues into your love language are what you find yourself doing most often for people as well as what you find yourself most often complaining for not having gotten.  (i.e.: If you’re always thinking about souvenirs for loved ones at some point in your trip or asking loved ones why they didn’t get you anything from their trip, your love language might be “gifts!”)  Take a guess as to what your primary and secondary love languages and take this 30-question  quiz to learn this valuable information about yourself! http://5lovelanguages.com  
the 5 Love Languages Book
the 5 Love Languages Book
REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES FROM THE BOOK: I would recommend picking up a copy of his book as well because there are just stunning examples after real-life staggering examples of the power of the love languages in action.  For example, Chapman worked with a couple who never fought, who didn’t have financial problems, but who simply “did not feel the love anymore.”  In actuality, the man and woman still loved each other, they just had been expressing it on their own languages rather than each other’s and so, they had essentially gone on for years without feeling loved! The husband’s love language was “Acts of Service,” and so, he was working hard at work, then coming home and fixing dinner and washing the dishes and doing the household chores.  The wife’s love language was “Quality Time,” and so while he was busy working, she was just waiting to be shown some attention and catch some quality time with him.  The effect of this was that the husband didn’t feel like his love was being appreciated and the wife like she wasn’t being loved at all! Once they learned each other’s love languages, the husband was free to do less chores and sit down with his wife and voila!, she felt loved and in turn started to show more affection for him and they filled each other’s love tanks and were happy and humming along again! PLAY THE LOVE-TANK GAME: Gary Chapman may have coined the phrase “the love tank,” but regardless, it’s a fantastic visual of how loved we feel.  The relationships in which both parties feel loved are more durable and fulfilling.  It is when love tanks are running on or close to empty that we are prone to bickering and fighting.  We are already in a state of resentment and bitterness and waiting to be set off.  We don’t have the confidence in our partner’s love to stave of the urge to lash out at one another.  Thus lies the importance of keeping each other’s love tanks full.  Don’t assume that simple saying “I love you,” is enough.  You must discover your loved ones love language in order to ensure that they are receiving what you’re expressing. Playing the game means simply asking one another, “How full is your love tank, on a scale from 1-10?”  Any answer less than 10 should then be followed up with the question, “How can I fill it?”  And everything given in response is information for you to implement and start filling your partner’s love tank with! holding-handsMY CHALLENGE TO YOU: So, I challenge you to take a moment to speculate about your love language and your partner’s love language.  Then go ahead and take the quiz.  This is information about yourself that will open your eyes about yourself and allow you to have more power in your relationships from here on out.  I’d love for you to pick up the book, of course, because in no way have I covered the breadth of it in this blog.  There is a love language book for: children, singles, etc…so there is no excuse to not get one!  But if nothing else, simply after knowing your love language, play the love tank game with your loved one on a weekly or at least regular basis.  It’s housekeeping on your relationship and the more often you do it, the less often you’ll have to do it.  And one day, you and your partner will simply being running around with love tanks on 10 everyday!

For Women Only: 7 revelations about your man that will change. the. game.

for-women-onlyThis book by Shaunti Feldhahn is A-Ma-Zing.  You will learn everything that you need to know to hack your relationship, demystify your man, and get what you want out of love.  I believe it.  I can’t say that I’m living proof.  Yet.  But I’m excited enough to share this with you because this book literally brought tears to my eyes as I learned everything that I had done wrong and everything I can do right to make it all work.  This book speaks truths, is Biblical, and hits the nail on the head so many times in such a conversational, page-turner voice that I truly recommend it to any woman.  Whether you are in a relationship, in between relationships, or something else, this book is a beautiful insight into these creatures that we seemingly can’t live with or without…men!  I’m sharing the first chapter with you because it was the most profound for me, and then I want you to buy it right here for less than $3.50…and that includes shipping and handling! Men Are Hired-Wired to need Respect and Affirmation When asked whether they would rather be “alone and unloved” or “inadequate and disrespected,” 74% of men chose the former.  This is how important respect is to them.  To men, respect and love are the same thing; they don’t differentiate between the two.  So, if a man feels disrespected, he feels unloved.  And if you want to love your man in the way he needs to be loved, then you need to ensure that he feels your respect above all else.

Women need love.  Men need respect.  The Bible says “Men, love your wives; women, respect your husbands.” (Eph 5)  Is that not amazing?!

In response to feeling unloved, women break down and cry.  In response to feeling disrespected, men get angry.  He won’t necessarily spell out “You’re disrespecting me!” but you can be pretty sure that if he’s angry at something and you don’t understand the cause, there’s a good chance that he is feeling the pain or humiliation of your disrespect. Unconditional Respectcouplesshot10 Just as you want the man in your life to give you unconditional love, your man needs you to demonstrate your respect for him regardless of whether he’s meeting your expectations at the moment.  It does tremendous things for your man to know that you are choosing to trust and honor him. It’s a Choice! Just as our men can choose to demonstrate love toward us even if they don’t feel it at the moment, we can and should choose to demonstrate respect. It has to be Shown! Feeling respect for our men, but not showing it is the same as their feeling love for us but not showing it.  It’s like that awful joke: “Why do I have to tell my wife I love her?  I told her that when we got married!” Now comes the million-dollar question: How do we demonstrate this respect?! Respect His Judgement Many men wished their mate wouldn’t question their decisions all the time; there’s a need for us to defer to them sometimes…yes, even in these liberated days!  Imagine your man feeling that his opinions and decisions were valued everywhere else but the home?!  Women run the risk of making their men feel stupid!  You don’t want that problem! couplesshot13Respect His Abilities Men want, and maybe even need to figure things out for themselves.  Let him fiddle with it for hours; they’ll feel like they’ve conquered something and are affirmed as men.  Sometimes, interfering because we really don’t  trust them demonstrates that distrust and will come back to bite us.  The lesson: let him drive around without asking for directions; choose to trust that he knows what he’s doing and will figure it out; it’s more important to have him feel trusted than get to that party on time. Respect in Communication Women hold an incredible power in the way we communicate with our men to build them up or tear them down, to encourage or to exasperate.  Some things just push a man’s buttons – even how we say it and where we say it. Example of hearing disrespect: A wife tells her husband, who wants to take a crack at fixing something, “Well, you’re not really the fix-it-type” and he feels so insulted.   Example or hearing disappointment: A wife reminds her husband that the kitchen wall still needed to be fixed.  The man sees it as nagging or an accusation of laziness or mistrust. Example of hearing attacks:  A woman asks “Do you know how to put together a romantic event…” and then switches it to “Suppose you had to plan an anniversary event…Do you know how…?”  Softening the approach changes everything! Let us make every effort to put on a “disrespect meter”  before letting words pass through our lips. couplesshot9Respect in Public Dozens of men confessed as to how painful it is when their wives criticize them in public, put them down, or even question their judgement in front of others.  Teasing can be torture.  Many of us have wondered why our men – normally so good natured – get so upset by a little public joking.  The only time a guy’s guard is completely down is with the woman he loves.  So she can pierce his heart like no one else. Be Respectful even when he’s Absent Complaining about your man to others, which perpetuates a dissatisfaction that affects him – we must kill this terrible habit! Showing Public Respect goes a long way Taking those little opportunities to honestly praise him or ask his opinion in front of others will build him up and he’ll think you’re the most wonderful woman in the world. “She has to make me feel respected so that I can command respect out there in the world.  If she defeats me emotionally, I can’t win the race and bring home the prize for her.” couplesshot2In Conclusion We as women hold incredible power – and responsibility – in our hands.  We have the ability to either build up or tear down our men.  We can either strengthen or hobble them in ways that go far beyond our relationship.  From now on, choose to demonstrate respect and choose not to demonstrate disrespect, starting with never humiliating them in public.  Take every opportunity, in private and in public, to demonstrate – through words and actions – how proud we are of our men and how much we trust them. Behind every man is a great woman  If a man’s wife is supportive and believes in him, he can conquer the world – or at least his corner of it.  He will do better at work, at home, everywhere.  By contrast, men can do well at work or at home if their wives make them feel inadequate. This concludes the first chapter of this book and only the first of seven incredible revelations about men.  You deserve to get this book!  I’ve learned so much and you will too.  Go on and git it!  Thank you Shaunti Feldhahn, for your gift to the world.

Fitness and Faith: for optimal results, approach as prescribed!

I’ve noticed for some time now, that when I am speaking about God or Christianity, that I can often use exercise as an analogy.  It struck me the other day because I’m on a training regimen with so many components that building them into my lifestyle is the key to it’s existence and success; just like my faith.  I’ll unpack that a bit for you, along with some other correlations that I find helpful. IT’S A LIFESTYLE: To me, there is a 3-Pronged approach to creating a lifestyle: habits, schedule, community.  Neither faith or fitness is something that you can implement part of the time and experience measurable results.  Your faith and your fitness, if you want to be a warrior in either, have to be lifestyles that include daily practices, recurring calendar appointments, and people. for me: this means that I have certain habits that I do daily: I drink [a gallon] of water a day, I cook my own meals, I pray as soon as I wake up, then I eat breakfast.  I also have chosen to be a fitness instructor so that exercise is literally a non-negotiable appointment on my calendar several times a week.  “Church” is also on repeat in my calendar.  It’s the people who have people at the gym and church who are more apt to stick with the program.  Don’t be a loner in a  lifestyle that you want to go after.  There’s still much more to improve upon, but I live fitness and I live in faith.  They are lifestyles. THE PAIN BECOMES GAIN: When you lift weights, you are literally tearing the muscle fibers.  Muscles grow larger and stronger when they repair themselves after being torn; so, the situation has to get worse before it gets better.  Interesting, huh?!  In the same way, God grows our character through trials: periods of loneliness during which we grow closer to Him, temptations that strengthen our character, hopelessness that sends us into intercessory prayer.  On the other side of this: we are physically stronger from pushing those weights, feeling that soreness, and bearing that pain.  And we are spiritually stronger from the trials that we have endured. for me: this means that I am exhausted at the end of a weight-lifting session, but then I get to see and feel the growth in my muscles and I witness progress with the amount of weight I can lift.  I feel accomplished when I move up the weight rack!  In my spiritual life, it means that when I look back at the bleak times in my life, I can appreciate how far I’ve come, and I can see the contrast between that and a life with God’s presence in it. THERE IS A DEVIL TO RESISTshieldsofstrength2 Both faith and fitness require staying on the narrow path in order to achieve the results or the life we want.  These narrow paths are choked by temptations that we must resist.  In fitness, it’s chocolate cake, alcohol, and french fries.  In faith, it’s sex before marriage, gossip, and unforgiveness.  It is in the resisting of these temptations that we can experience the fullness of the body and spirit that we are seeking.  Resisting temptation also becomes easier over time. for me: this means that my home is filled with healthy food and Bible verses.  I don’t bring things into my home that will thwart my goals.  I admire and drink from sources that are respectable leaders in both industries so that my mind stays on track. ACCOUNTABILITY IS KEY Group fitness classes and community worship simply have better success rates than going at these things alone.  Even if we’re talking about one additional person, having someone to go to the gym or go to church with will oftentimes mean the difference between doing it or not.  Announcing that you’re going on a diet or surrendering something to God increases the success rate as well.  Man was not made to go at life alone; hook up with a buddy for the things that are important. for me: this doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a buddy to do everything with, but it does mean that I become related to the people around me: trainers, students, fellow gym rats, pastors, fellow church go-ers, in order to build a community and have accountability. shieldsofstrength3IT TAKES FAITH, TRUST THE PROCESS Anything worth having is worth waiting for, right?!  It’s usually around after one month of compliance with a diet and exercise plan that I begin to notice results.  That’s one month of just eating and moving in faith.  In the same way, we have to take a leap of faith to jump into a life with God and be vulnerable in order to experience His fullness.  We have to move into his calling, sometimes against all logic, without seeing any hope, and just believe that He is for us. for me: this means that I operate on faith and that I gobble up fitness success stories and testimonies from faithful Christians to fuel that faith.  I live my Christian life based on principle, not emotion and I eat for nutrition, not to feed my feelings. These photos are from Shields of Strength, a company that has fused faith and fitness into fantastic jewelry designs.  I love the concept, obviously, and shall be buying one!