The Powerful Things Within

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So, I am sitting in a gorgeous sunroom at the end of quite a physically challenging day and I thought it would be very beneficial to share some thoughts with you :-)

I learned a few new things after branching out (pun intended) and taking up some serious mountain hiking. My family is on vacation in Nashville, TN until tomorrow and we opted for a bit of adventure seeking. Early this morning we set out on what seemed like just a pretty walk. Somebody (guilty!) chose not once, but twice, to take the difficult road. After ending our 3 hour adventure, this is what I noticed:
1. Time really does go by much quicker when you are engaged in the task at hand.
2. God is gracious and gives hikers shade and plenty of breezes!
3. Deer on hiking trails could care less if you see them and do not scare so easily.
4. Water is awesome!
5. Going downhill can be just as hard as going uphill, but you don’t REALLY feel it until you get out of the car upon arriving home.

The sixth thing I learned is in regards to the picture above. Do you know what that is? Well, yes it is a tree smarty pants! But do you know what is wrong with this tree? The large bulge is actually a disease that trees get, similar to cancer.

You see, a bug can burrow into the trunk of the tree and through a series of unfortunate events, the tree is left with a disease. This mass is evidence of the disease. Eventually the tree trunk can weaken and break since the tree is being killed from the inside out. All because something as small as perhaps a hornet wedged its way into the tree.

As I was learning about the plight of this tree, I began to think of my own “trunk”. How many times have I allowed tiny things such as opinions or words penetrate and cause a disease in my soul? Have I allowed guilt or anger to fester and grow into a disease of the heart? Have poor thoughts eaten away at my infrastructure until I am left a shell of what I was supposed to be?

Sadly, these things have happened. I have good news for you though! We are NOT trees! We can be healed and restructured to the people we were born to be. Just as this disease weakens the structure of this tree, the negative thoughts that pierce our minds weakens us. It is all about choosing the thoughts you hang on to and letting go of the ones that do not serve a higher purpose.

If you find yourself feeling unworthy, change those thoughts by discovering your true worth. I’ll even give you a hint: Somebody cared enough to DIE for YOU (John 3:16). If you’re unhappy in your marriage, look into your own thoughts and mind. It is not your spouses job description to make you happy, they are to love you. There is a difference. Feelings of guilt, anxiety, stress, depression; all of these are deep seeded in fear and NOT fostering a stronger trunk for your life to grow.

Make the choice today to begin confronting these thoughts. Dark thoughts cannot grow in the light, but if you hide them they will cause disease.

Learning these things were not all I was blessed with this morning. God also granted me another book idea and I am faithful it will grow, strong as an oak :-)

Word to the wise: after hiking for 3 hours through the mountains, don’t hike for 2 more through gardens and tree houses!

Have a healthy day, in every way.
Michelle

How to SHUSH the Negative Thoughts PT2

Good morning seekers of health and wellness!

Today is a paramount day in your life. Why? Because you are going to choose for it to be so….

I have written and said many times that we are an accumulation of our choices. Today, we are going to take that a step farther and begin to learn how we can start changing our choices to better our lives and the lives of those around us. Sound like a big order? Well, it is, but I assure you I will be right there with you. :)

What is a choice?

Most of us don’t really think of choices all that often. We think it’s the choice to eat out or stay in. Maybe we chose who we married, or when we had kids. Perhaps the biggest choice we think we have ever made refers to a home or vehicle or career move. I am here to tell you that you are free to make much larger choices than those each and every day. Let’s begin to wipe the slate of the mind clean from the fog that tends to settle over daily life. You can choose, right now, to really LIVE. You can choose to be vibrantly happy and contagious to everyone around you. It all begins with feeding the good thoughts and weeding out the bad.

So what are daily choices that we make? Well, I can’t really speak for everyone since I am not in your head, but some of the choices I make before my feet fling over the side of the bed are these:

  • I choose to wake up
  • I choose NOT to hit the snooze (again, hehehe)
  • I choose to treat my husband with love and respect
  • I choose to honor my children with tenderness
  • I choose to be productive
  • I choose to breathe

Now, do I always get these perfect throughout my day? Oh, I wish I could say yes, but the truth is no. I am a flawed human just as all of us. My truth is that I set intentions daily NOT to live as a flawed human, but instead to live within my rightful power as a daughter of the King. This is perhaps the most important choice I make all day. This one choice empowers me to shed light into the dark corners of the mind. These are the corners and alleys where feeling of unworthiness, ugliness, self-pity, depression and anxiety gather together. When light is not allowed to shine into these spaces, darkness spreads.

So, how do I design my day so that I can keep the light shining throughout my being? You see, the more light you let in, the less darkness has a hold. Well, I have a schedule (I ADORE schedules!) that I stick to. At first it was a struggle to keep this schedule, but within weeks I had formed habits. These habits are deeply ingrained within me and I would love to share them with you now.

Ladies (and the few brave men) welcome to Habits of Hope: Daily Habits that Put you in the WILL of God. The first habit is Choosing to Live. Below is how my days start to remind my of this habit:

  1. I get OUT of bed with a little gusto. Stretch, yawn, a couple of lion’s breaths and I’m a whole new person.
  2. I always have a cup of warm water with lemon. This wakes you up and helps rid the body of any toxins, especially in the liver.
  3. I head upstairs to my quiet space and read my Bible.
  4. Following this, I spend time in prayer. I pray for God’s will to be done in and through me and I pray over my family. I pray that He will guard my children’s hearts and the hearts of those they will marry.
  5. I sit quietly for a few minutes. OK, this one was tough for me at first! Some days it still is. Even one minute in complete silence can seem like an eternity when you run on adrenaline, but trust me it will make a difference.

These are all within the first 30-60 minutes upon waking, everyday. I encourage you to pick 1 seed of any of these and start from there. You can spend just a few moments stretching and praying and watch how that impacts your day. After all of this I move. For me personally, moving is when I can really let go of all the pent-up stress and anxiety (uh-huh, darkness at work) that has built up over the night. It gets my mind clear and ready for the day.

I really enjoy yoga as my form of moving, but you can pick any form really. I think yoga and running are natural and pretty pure forms. I like to think that even the great prophets of old settled into a comfortable place on the ground to be with God and listen. Perhaps beforehand they even did a few stretches to prepare and be present, just as I do today :)

Wherever you are in life, whether you feel on top of the world or deep in a pit, you can start to utilize these habits and pour more LIFE into each day. Become vibrant and present in each moment, no longer drifting aimlessly through life. Sister, if you are feeling bored or unhappy in life at this moment I employ you to take control of those thoughts. Let the light shine in the dark spaces because we are assured that the LIGHT will always overcome darkness. Begin today and see where these habits can take you.

I will be praying for you in the Holy Name of Jesus!

Michelle