No Shame November

Everyone has heard of No Shave November and while us girls would love to take part (and I am sure some even do), I know I couldn’t do it. My girlfriend and I were talking this weekend – not about No Shave November – but about us as women – loving ourselves, believing in ourselves and respecting ourselves. Married, single, divorced, young, old, in between – all females can relate to this topic. A lot is put on our shoulders. We have to be fit but not too skinny, pretty but not intimidating, successful, raise good kids, keep houses together while working, live in a constant guilt circle, come last and many times sacrifice our own needs…the list goes on. Not that there is not a lot expected out of men because there most definitely is. We tend to be harder on ourselves and maybe just a bit more emotional, however.

Our conversation led to both of us saying one word: enough. Enough of the worry, enough of the guilt, enough of the insecurity…enough of the shame. Since it is the beginning of November and forming habits and true life changes takes at least 30 days, we decided to have our own month of change called NO SHAME NOVEMBER. What does No Shame November look like?

• Consciously pick your thoughts like you pick your clothes (positive self-talk vs. negative self-talk)

• Let go of anything you know you truly need to stop hanging onto

• Stop accepting behavior/treatment from anyone that you should never accept

• Speak up for yourself

• Believe in yourself – and not just say you do – but really believe

• Put yourself first and do not feel guilty about it

• Get out of your own way – wait on God and he will act on your behalf

• See your true worth

• Give absolutely zero F’s

• Get rid of things you don’t need

• Give generously to others that are in need

• Fast/cleanse and exercise

• No more body shaming

• Treasure who you are right now

• Stop chasing anything or anyone – be done – what is for you will not pass you by

• Pamper and take care of yourself

• No more doubt, insecurity, guilt, comparison, worry, fear

• Do not hold back from being your true self and say what you think and feel without regret

• Write down everything you are thankful for

• Make time for your true priorities

• Learn something new

• Live in the moment

This list could go on and on. But it truly is whatever each one of us individually needs to not live in shame, guilt, regret or unhappiness. As women, it is so easy to go down the shame rabbit holes. This month, let’s all get together and say ENOUGH. Let’s start a movement. Who’s with us?!?!

Please share your No Shame November stories!

What to do When Your World Comes Crashing Down on You

World crashing down – Day 3.

Well. I didn’t think I would be writing this post but here I am. On Monday morning I found out that I was being laid off from where I had been for over a decade.

I am actually thankful to be unemployed right now. I need situations that I’ve never been in before to make me stronger and better. I know that when I get to the end, I most definitely will be both. It doesn’t make it any easier or less scary, but it does give me motivation and hope for the future. I looked for other opportunities a few times over my tenure, but never did anything that took much effort because I never knew if I could actually pull the trigger and leave or not. I also wanted to stay. I loved what I did. I loved my team.

I do not have a choice now. It is like God was trying to get me to open my eyes for a long time and I wasn’t budging. So, he had to force me down a different path. I am trying to figure out what that path looks like, but I do have faith even though I cannot see. I started reaching out to my network and sending resumes on Monday at probably 10:00 am because I couldn’t sit around and do nothing, even if for a day or a week. Not when I have my kids’ wellbeing on the line and too much to figure out for our future. Being divorced, I do not have anyone to come home to that I can lean on in terms of a spouse, so it’s all on me. I already had a phone screen on Monday, I have coffee with a recruiter tomorrow morning and another phone interview tomorrow, as well. I will do my part. And, it could still take 90 days or more to land a new position, I know. I am fully preparing myself for that possibility. It scares me, but I do know it will all be ok. I have actually been through worse and it was all ok then. That’s how I know it will all be ok this time.

So, what do you do when your world comes crashing down on you, like mine did this week? Below is my advice and what I am trying to do with every passing hour:

  • Pray and give thanks – for me this is so number one. God does not put us through anything he will not give us the strength to get through. I am strong enough with God to get through this and any other tragedy that will most definitely strike my life. I thanked him right away. I still have so much to be thankful for. And I am constantly praying because I can’t get through this without constantly praying.
  • Only focus on getting through the next 24 hours – this is big for me because I like to get way too far down the road in my thinking and planning. However, I simply cannot do that right now. I can only focus on today. I am not worrying about tomorrow. Today has enough worries of its own.
  • Do not make any rash decisions – my dad told me this right away. Hmmmm do you think that maybe I’ve made some of these in the past? For sure. I was already talking to him about moving on Monday. He was just shaking his head and said verbatim: “Lindy, do not make any rash decisions.” Got it.
  • Spend time with your parents, if you can. I know I am blessed to have my parents so close to me. I went to their house the very next morning because I needed to be “home.”
  • If you don’t want to talk to or see anyone at any point, don’t. I tend to go inward when I am trying to get myself through something. I’ve had a lot of phone calls I haven’t answered because I am just not ready. I am telling myself that is ok because I know that at some point I will be ready.
  • Use your network – I haven’t went into full blown networking mode, but I have reached out to the vital people in my network that can start to move mountains for me in terms of getting my name and resume in front of the right people. When I am ready, I will do this more and with people I don’t even know.
  • Soak in the love – while I haven’t let everyone in quite yet, I do have a close circle of family and friends that have been here for me. It can be difficult to accept help but sometimes you are the one that needs the love and support. This is the time to soak it in and allow it to happen.
  • Don’t lose your sense of humor – I drove to my sister’s house right away after leaving the company. I have a garage door opener to her house and it wasn’t working. I found out it was because the power was temporarily out. I laughed to myself at the time, though, because I was like “I have literally lost access EVERYWHERE!!!” Haha.
  • Allow yourself to be sad, but don’t stay there. I am a person that needs a mental health day every quarter or so. I need to get the tears out and just be depressed. I need to lie around and do nothing and throw myself just a little pity party. I’m sure this will happen a few times during the next few weeks and months. I will just not let myself stay there or pity party too long.
  • Don’t eat too much…or too little. I can go either way. This week it has been more of not having an appetite and who knows next week. I am trying to make myself eat the right amount and healthy foods.
  • Day drink – I haven’t done this yet but I fully plan on it. 🙂
  • Believe in yourself – I talked to my old boss on Monday morning. He was one of the first people I called. I will never forget what he told me. And that was that this is NOT the time to not believe in myself.
  • Go on a long drive and sing at the top of your lungs or cry your eyes out…or both. My dad actually drove to Minnesota with me yesterday because I felt like going on a drive. Not many dads will do that with their 37-year-old daughter, but mine will. And, he will even listen to my Christmas playlist with me on Halloween (and sing along). My mom would, too, she just couldn’t get out of work yesterday. 🙂 I’ve also cried alone in the car a few times this week. One of these times was after I had to clean my office out on Tuesday morning. That was a difficult moment.
  • Give grace and don’t hold grudges – but it is ok to not want to see or talk to some people ever again in your life. Don’t feel bad about that.
  • Clean house – sell all the stuff you haven’t used, touched or worn for a long time. I am kind of digging eBay. Why not make a little extra cash to stash when I need it most?
  • Embrace being an at-home mom (or dad) while you can. My kids and I slept in this morning because I didn’t have to rush to be at work early. I am leaving to pick my daughter up from school in five minutes. I am scheduling my son’s conference for during the day. Because I can!
  • Give back. The best thing I could do right now is help someone else or give money to someone who needs it more than I do. This is what God has called us to do.

Sometimes you have to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side. That is how I am living today and for the near term anyway. I am facing my fear head-on. I know my kids will be ok and I will be ok. I know we will be taken care of. And, that’s all I need to know in the next 24 hours.

I’ll keep you all posted on my journey. Thank you for all of your support.

Lindy

12 Daily Reminders

I saw this today and loved it. It is so true.

1. The past cannot be changed
2. Opinions don’t define your reality
3. Everyone’s journey is different
4. Things always get better with time
5. Judgments are a confession of character
6. Overthinking will lead to sadness
7. Happiness is found within
8. Positive thoughts create positive things
9. Smiles are contagious
10. Kindness is free
11. You only fail if you quit
12. What goes around comes around

Here’s my take on the above:

Stop running back to what hurt you. Don’t look back, you are not going that way. Yesterday is over, tomorrow is not promised so live for today – moment by moment. Always remember that you have no idea what someone else is going through. Time IS the ultimate healer. I read recently that if you wait on God, he will act on your behalf. I will probably write that hundreds of times because it is so simple, yet so profound. Be patient. Give time its proper time. Overthinking is a tough one. But if you can get past it at least some of the time, you will not worry about 99% of the things you worry about that never actually happen. We can choose to be happy or not. But, I believe that it is ok to let yourself feel the full spectrum of emotions. Have a sad day. Just don’t stay there. If you think you can or cannot, you are right. You can never go wrong with being nice. Laughter is essential to living a well-balanced and fulfilling life. Surround yourself with those who can make you laugh. Don’t give up – slow and steady wins the race. The tide always turns.

Daily Devotion: Sunday Night Anxiety

Scripture: Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Does anyone else have Sunday night anxiety? It’s something I’ve had off and on since I was in high school or college. I’ve had it a lot more lately – to the point of some physical anxiety symptoms that I simply cannot control. From feeling my heart beating outside of my chest to being light headed to shortness of breath, it can really be one of the worst feelings. Most of the time I have no idea where it is coming from and there isn’t even something specific on my mind that would cause anxiety. Other times, I might be dreading a certain meeting, project or unknown at work.

I’ve been digging into scripture to help me get through the worst of my Sunday night anxiety. Once Monday comes and goes, it seems it was never really as bad as my mind made it out to be. I worry about things and waste precious time and energy doing so, when most of the time what I worry about doesn’t even happen. This is where God looks down on me, shaking His head, telling me to trust Him, to wait on Him and to look only to Him for strength and guidance.

The scripture that spoke to me best about my Sunday nights is Philippians 4:6-7. It tells us to not be anxious about anything. And to present all of our requests to God through prayer and with thanksgiving. In return for our faith and obedience, God will guard our hearts and minds. THIS. This is what I strive for in my faith. If God’s hand isn’t in something, I don’t want it anyway, no matter what that means.

Another thing about Sunday night in particular is that it is the Sabbath Day – what God intends for us as our day of rest. In today’s world, do we really observe this day of rest? I do know with 100% certainty that anxiety about tomorrow is not what our Lord wants for us. When worry and anxiety, including physical symptoms, start to creep up on you on Sunday (or any day for that matter), open your Bible. Read what God wants to put on your heart. Then, sit in silence and simply listen. Let the voices calm your mind. Take deep breaths to calm your heart beat and mind. Envision the week to come and get excited about all of the surprises God has in store, if you let things simply be. This is my new Sunday night routine. I’ll continue to keep you posted on how it is going and what I’ve been surprised with along the way.

Below is a Sunday night prayer to help with this. Say this every Sunday night – say it aloud – and if you need it again on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, just keep praying.

Dear Lord, thank you for this day of rest. Please forgive me if I haven’t fully utilized this day as you intended for me – to rest and worship. My heart is thankful. Thankful for a new day, thankful for answered prayers and unanswered prayers that I might not understand until much later, but I know you have a plan and purpose for everything. I know that every good and perfect gift comes from you and I know I take so many for granted. I am sorry. I fail you with every breath I take, I fall short of your glory each and every day. Yet you love me and choose me every single second no matter how many times I turn my back on you or think I can do something on my own. Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. I am feeling anxious tonight for the week to come. Please take this anxiety from me, as I cannot carry it. Instead, I place my trust in you, even when I cannot see. I pray for your presence with me tomorrow morning as I start the week. I pray for wisdom and strength to open my eyes to what you are trying to show me. Show me opportunities to show others your love. Use me in your will for others. Be the thoughts in my head and words out of my mouth. Help me to only live in the moment. I can only do this with You. I will wait on you. Surprise me. In tough times, hold me up and wipe away my tears. Please be with all of those who are broken hearted and hurting. Thank you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.

10 Lessons from a 10-Year Old

This post is actually three years old. But, it still provides some valuable lessons from the happenings of a 10-year-old.

I got a call from my daughter’s school nurse last week. My mind went to sore throat, upset stomach – all the bugs that go around this time of the year. Instead, I heard that she fell off the high bar at recess. “And we think she broke her right arm.” Oh boy.

Here were the stats at the end of the day:

  • 4 hours waiting
  • 3 broken bones
  • 2 casts (one on each arm)
  • 1 scratched up face

And … 10 lessons learned from my 10-year-old over the last week. Even though each one is pretty simple, you might benefit from the refreshers both personally and professionally. I know I did.

  1. Smile.
    She was wearing a smile in every picture I took of her. The doctor said she was one tough cookie. Sometimes the ability to keep smiling is very difficult. But when we smile, we can make someone’s day without even knowing it and it makes staying positive much easier.
  2. Improvise.
    Her Halloween costume would no longer work with the casts. So, she decided to let her injury work in her favor and opted to be an “injured person” instead. When Plan A doesn’t work, move quickly to the next solution and you might find it better than your original plan.
  3. A lesson that doesn’t kill you is a lesson learned.
    When I pointed this out, I knew I had officially become my mother. But it’s so true. I was at a marketing conference a few years ago and one of the speakers said he would frequently tell his team that “no one is going to die” if they didn’t do something exactly right. As long as you are continually learning and then adjusting, you will get it right.
  4. Don’t be a show-off.
    Speaks for itself. Don’t do it. Ever.
  5. Let rumors roll off your back.
    Her biggest concern was rumors would spread about the accident. What if someone said she did it on purpose? What if someone said she got pushed off? As I listened to the simplicity of her concerns, I thought about how easy it is to get wrapped up in the worry of what others think, no matter how big/small/positive/negative/neutral it is.
  6. Allow others to help you.
    I have become very good at getting just about any shirt or coat over two arm casts. There are other things she can still do on her own. Recognize where you need help and ask for it. It is ok!
  7. Take a month off from busy-ness.
    You can’t really play sports or practice the clarinet with two arm casts. So, she gets a month off from the normal, busy weekly schedule. We are all enjoying this break! Sometimes taking time to slow down and smell the roses is absolutely necessary.
  8. Always sport your flair.
    The best part about two casts? Picking out two different colors! She opted for neon green and rainbow tie-dye. What color is your flair? Make sure you sport it as much as possible.
  9. Do not use casts – or any other item for that matter – to harm others.
    It has been very tempting for her to use her casts as weapons on her five-year-old brother. But we learned in kindergarten that it’s not nice to hit others. That’s still true.
  10. Being famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
    After her first day back at school, I asked her if she got a lot of attention and was tired of telling the same story over and over again. She rolled her eyes and said, “Yes. I definitely never want to be famous.” After hitting it big, you might long to be just an ordinary person after all. (Casts might come in handy for the paparazzi, though!) Just kidding.

Don’t forget to live

We get so busy in life that we sometimes forget to live. We spend time capturing or recording a memory instead of just living in it. I read this last week and it was too good not to share on this topic.

Here is Bob Moorehead about the importance of the little things:

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person might not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.”

Let’s live this life. We only have one.

Discerning God’s Will

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I am always trying to discern God’s will. I have found that this is not an easy thing to do – at all – and as humans we tend to find what we’re looking for. We justify things, telling ourselves it must be God’s will. I cannot sit here and write this with a definitive answer. I don’t have one. If I did, I wouldn’t continue to take wrong turns in my life.

One thing I know is that God’s will is perfect, which is why it’s truly all I want. My problem is that I cannot get out of my own way. I know He must get so frustrated with me because I screw things up by trying to take over and control in an attempt to keep my expectations at bay and limit disappointments. Yet, I still worry. I still get scared. And I still feel disappointment. My very own subconscious strategy is working against me.

Something I read recently opened my eyes about this topic. It said that the mature Christian does not need to know what’s in it for him or herself. He or she asks for God’s will and says I am willing to do anything without even knowing what it means for me. This was really a different perspective for me to soak in. We are all inherently self-centered so of course when thinking of God’s will for MY life, I think about ME. Right? I mean, I also think about those that are most important to me, like my children and the rest of my family. What is really crazy are the stories in the Bible where parents left their children to follow God’s will. And God blessed them for it. We cannot even imagine that in the world we live in today. I can’t even come close to imagining that.

God dwells in each of us – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is also such a big concept for me to grasp. There are voices in our head and if we listen, all three will talk to us. I’ve been working really hard at this. We don’t have to speak or think to pray. We can just listen. The toughest part is deciphering God’s three voices versus the other two voices in our head – our own and Satan’s. Satan isn’t always dressed up in a red suit and horns. He has a way of telling you what you want to hear and how to make all of your earthly dreams come true. It can be the voice of laziness, self despair or greed, telling you it is ok. And the downward spiral begins when your own voice begins to believe it and then begins to tell yourself that is must be God’s will. I have listened to these voices go back and forth and it is still hard for me to know which one to listen to. But, as I pray and allow this quiet time to stop and listen, there are things that have become a lot more clear to me.

Discerning God’s will also becomes easier when you think about life only in 24-hour chunks. He gave us 24 hours in a day for a reason. I tend to get way too far ahead of myself, which is when I totally get in the way. Yesterday is over. Tomorrow is not promised. So, all we have in this moment is right now, today. We can forgive in a day. We can forget in a day. We can love in a day. We can give in a day. We can be sad in a day. We can be hopeful in a day. There are good days, bad days and better days. But it is always a new day. We can’t dwell in the bad days for longer than 24 hours. God gives us hope for tomorrow and we only have enough in us to successfully get through one day.

Come what may. As I started focusing only on the next 24 hours, I also tried to stopped forcing or chasing anything. I will do my best and do my part if I feel I need to take action (again, sometimes I do this and I absolutely shouldn’t), but otherwise I know that God’s will will be done. Because I pray for it to be. That means that I get to take the back seat and let him drive. I pray a lot on my way to work in the morning for God to surprise me today. This is HUGE for me because I’ve never liked surprises in my life. It’s why I can’t watch Iowa football without covering my eyes for at least three quarters of the game and for sure during every 3rd down no matter what side the ball is on. It is why I don’t care if someone tells me what happens at the end of a movie, why I read a few of the last pages before I get to the end of a book and why I tend to sometimes make impulsive decisions so it is definitive and done and I no longer have to wonder. I’ve realized over the past few months, however, that this is no way to live. God certainly does not intend for me to live this way. He wants me to walk in His path and delight in His will. There will be horrible times and times full of pain, but He promises to give us strength to get through these times. So, embracing the day, being surprised with what God has in store because I am walking by faith and not by sight and sitting back to let life come to me is my ultimate focus. What I do not wait for, however, is God’s calling to help others. I pray for him to open my eyes and see where He needs my help and if there is a heart that He can touch through me. This has seriously been as small as a smile, giving grace to someone, listening with love, talking about my story, or paying for a soda in the break room for someone because the machine wasn’t taking cash.

I am certainly not perfect and I am a big, huge sinner like all of us who fall short of the Glory of God. However, I am trying to get better and meet the person God created me to be – 24 hours at a time.