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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Planning for 2015 with a God Plan

Artist - Rosalie Garde, 2014


God's word teaches us that he plans the best path for our life.  It doesn't teach that life will be easy or straightforward, though.  God often tests us.  He uses challenges to develop us.  Often, the test is a test of our belief in him.  The test is to prove whether or not we will trust him in the difficulties and in the desert.

God created us for his pleasure and he derives pleasure from seeing us enjoy life.  He gives us skills and abilities to use and enjoys watching us use them.

We may have ideas of what should happen as we develop our skills and abilities.  When things don't happen as we've imagined, doubt sinks in.  At those times, it may be helpful to fall back on our face before him to ask for clarity.  Drawing toward him is a much better choice than giving up our dreams and running away.

How to Run Toward God for Clarity

Especially as one year closes and a new one is about to open, many women evaluate their lives.  They constantly crave for that something more and want God to reveal it.  When our calling feels dead-ended or boring, we crave new revelation from God. Especially as 2015 unfolds, we want a plan.  How do we get it?

First, pray the communication between you and God is clear, repenting of sins that may be in the way.

Second, invite God into the questions you want answered.  Let him know what you need clarity on.

Third, go on a "plan hunt."  40 days is a popular biblical time frame.  During that time do daily Bible and Christian book studies and make notes in a journal. Mediate on the themes. Trust God will speak through those times.

Fourth, fast something--TV time, Facebooking, computer, coffee, food.  Doing so helps set your mind in a "zone" where you will be more spiritually sensitive.

Last, listen for common themes.  Watch what happens next and take it seriously.  If new people show up in your life, consider them sent by God.  Watch for invitations to events or to join groups.  Pay attention to what calls to you and investigate it. Spend time on developing your passions and hobbies.

If nothing new seems to be revealed, keep doing what God has you already doing!  Remember, if God has the best plan for your life, the plan you're on is THE BEST one!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's Your Life Story?




Don’t worry if you aren’t quite sure of your life message.  God knows, and as long as you abide with him, he will work out every detail and bring his purposes to fruition.
The story of your life is written on your heart at conception and develops through time.  Seeing the bigger picture of it always comes through progressive revelation.  Ideas or themes emerge as you progressively make choices and live through experiences.
Though your purpose has been written on your heart from the beginning, it may not be fully revealed or understood until much later.
Life coach Tony Stolztfus suggests there are several methods of uncovering your life message. One may be as simple as examining the why behind your actions—asking what the task is supposed to accomplish. There is always a motive behind what we do. I believe stopping to ask why ahead of time will help you clarify if it is something on par with your perceived calling or if you could spend your time better elsewhere. 
Here is Stolztfus’ list of questions to ask about any activity:
§   “Why do you want to do this task? What is the purpose of doing it?”
§  “Why is this important? Why does God care about this?”
§  “What part of Christ’s heart is this task meant to convey to your audience?”
§  “If the total of your impact was that people ‘got’ something that Christ built into your own life, what would you most want that something to be?”
§  “If you strip away all the externals—the actual acts of service, the organization, the planning, the finances—and all that was left was the message you want to convey, what would it be in one sentence?”

I find this last question very helpful recently.  As women, we are very task-oriented.  Last night I hosted our small group.  Of course, I spent time cleaning, shopping, and preparing to receive guests.  I thought of the story of Mary and Martha as I worked, and I felt conflicted in how much “fluffing” I really needed to do.  But this last question gives me relief.  

When I strip away the shopping, organizing, any money spent, I can examine the message I wanted to convey through it all.  Would the message be that I wanted to impress people?  Would the message be that I wanted to outdo anyone? Was it one of self-importance?

No, my message is and most always has been, to bless those who come to my home—to provide an experience—an inviting environment where my guests can relax, open up, and exchange God’s truths. 

I don't like housework, cooking or baking, but as an artist, I can’t resist decorating and fluffing now and then—it’s who I am—a very visual person.  I don’t do it for show, I do it for personal pleasure and always with a goal to delight others.  It’s the way I express myself.   


Try this list for yourself.  Apply it to a variety of actions you take this week. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Advice for Living as a Christian Woman


"Dramatic Beauty" - acrylic on Paper by Rosalie Garde
prints available at Fine Art America 


I'm going to write here some advice for Christian women in search of direction.  Call it, offering a new perspective.  Much is based on my personal experience and research.  Your path may benefit from this advice but, as always, I recognize your path or way of processing life may be far different.

Here are some tips I believe following will help Christian women:

Invite God into everything you do.  Commit your way to him and listen for his instruction.  Ask him to give you faith so you will be confident to take steps on what you hear.

Keep a journal.  In it write you feelings and thoughts, heart's desires, prayers, helpful Bible verses and writings of other believers.

Take on the armor of God.  Watch for the temptation to slip into gossip, worry, anxiety, despair, self-harm.  At the first instance of sensing any of these temptations, ask Jesus to intervene.  Then change your thoughts, actions, and so on so that you will be busy doing helpful things while the battle is fought.

Don't entertain negative self-talk.  Always focus on what is working in your life.

Live as though life isn't paid in earthly commodity, but kingdom commodity.  That is, do what God wants you to do whether it includes earning pay or not.  Build up your treasure in heaven instead.  Trust God to provide.

View life as a journey not a destination.  In any given moment, things can change.  Walk through each day doing what you discern God wants you to do.  Then walk through the next.  Carry on while maturing and growing.

Those are but a few tips.  I'd be happy to walk alongside your journey further by email or telephone coaching.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

An Organizing Tip for Life's Schedule

Whether you work from home or out of your house, chances are your agenda carries with it multiple responsibilities.  Us women tend to be organizers of many things, yet feel distressed when met with too many options to use our time for.

The result is, we default to the most fun thing, like say, Facebook, or television.  Or we muddle through with piles of stuff around us we'd rather not look at.

I don't know about you, but I have a feeling of a heavy weight on me if my home, office, and schedule are disorganized.

TIP FOR PROGRESS

Here is a tip you might want to implement if you are looking for a way to cut through the myriad of choices in your day.

Today I did this with home care responsibilities because my paid work tends to fit in between it all.  The more I'm on top of my personal responsibilities, the more time I have to write, paint and coach.


  1. I took a pad of sticky notes and marker with me to my basement storage area where I had to take meat out of the freezer anyhow.
  2. I asked for God's help, and then wrote on each sticky note the things I needed to attend to.  One by one, as I wrote each, I felt the burden shift.  The surface of the storage cabinets was perfect to hold the notes. Here's a photo of what it looked like.





From the dozen plus of sticky notes, I chose the top five or six that really needed attention.  Those I took upstairs where I placed them on a kitchen cabinet. 


Then I began to work through them.  I had no other errands to run, but I forced myself to put my shoes and sweater on and drive to the vet's office to get the cat pills I needed to pick up just so I could move that sticky to the next section.

After completing each task, I moved the stickies to the next cupboard door pictured.  When my husband comes home I'll say, "This is what I did today."

When finished all the tasks it's tempting to go pick up more.  That's how we become overwhelmed though.  Instead, I'll go do the fun stuff or the business-building stuff with the remaining time.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prayer for Grief and Loneliness

Prayer for Grief and Loneliness

I occasionally have down days, do you?  I just read this prayer by Joyce Meyer Ministries and thought it was very appropriate for women who are feeling pain.


Prayer for Grief and Loneliness: 

"Lord, I am crying out to You right now. I need You, my heart is 

broken, and I am overcome with sadness. You have sent Your Holy Spirit to comfort me, so at this 

very moment I open myself up to Your presence, Your peace and Your love. 

Thank You, Lord for 

filling me 

with Your overwhelming comfort, holding me in Your arms 

and surrounding me with Your healing  love. 

Father God, the Bible says that because I am Your child, that You suffer when I suffer. Your Word is 

true, and so are You. With You by my side, I am never alone, and I have strength to face each day 

ahead. 

Thank You for holding me in the hollow of Your hand and for wiping away my tears. You are 

always here for me, and You will never leave me. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Going Nowhere Fast? Stuck in a Personal Jam?

Driving around a bustling new part of the city earlier today I became lost.  There were many people in cars all around me though.  I had never ventured to this certain area of town before and was impressed by just how many retail establishments, homes and people there were.

This experience reminded me of just how many nooks and crannies women are found in, which is important for a life coach to women to remember.  The possible clientele are many.

Women are everywhere, but not all are finding their way.  Just as my GPS led me astray today, things in life can lead women off their paths.

All through life we need guidance for finding our way.  We never really arrive. It's just too easy to turn to the latest trend, philosophy, theory, instructions, and so on, but they can move us in the wrong direction if we're not careful.


Even though I finally found the Tim Hortons I'd been looking for after shopping, I couldn't find the way into the parking lot since it was dark and rainy.  I had to drive out of my way and do a U-turn to get around a median and into the driveway.

I'd never been to this particular Tim Hortons.  In the dark of the misty night, it was very hard to tell where the drive-thru entrance was.  It took patience and careful driving not to hit someone or mount a curb.

This reminds me of life.  We can have a plan, but while carrying it out, we sometimes find ourselves in a dark and awkward place.  Sometimes we need extra patience.  Sometimes a better GPS, or a little help from a friend.

CLARITY AND WISDOM NEEDED

We know God wants us on a certain path.  The Scripture says that often.  But it is sometimes hard to see the entrance to the next step. It is hard to gain clarity through the fog.

Often, God will use a network of others to support or speak to us.  I try to stay in a few networks myself either in person or online.  When someone on Facebook offers a course, I might just sign up.  When I need advice, I might just ask a friend.  When I need prayer I might just enter it into my church's prayer wall.Still, it's important to listen to the inner rumbling of our hearts.

I suggest you always weigh any advice you're given.  Consider the source.  The best advice God sends me is more of a coincident type, not as a result of my asking people. When I come across a helpful message, I know it's for me if I feel a sense of peace and clarity.

I'm not a put-together woman, but I have been through a lot. That means I see many things in hindsight now.  It seems I've been called to write words through blogs and articles with the goal that my words will nudge women toward their best path.

I despair when I hearing a woman struggling to find her way.  I've been there often.  As a woman's path seems cloaked in mystery and sometimes pain, I want her to feel encouraged. I want her to find God's truth about her situation.  I want her to find his peace.

My ultimate wish for you is to find the path God wants you to walk, even if it involves a few winding turns.  My desire is that you stay close enough to God to discern what he wants for you.

My goal in writing is to prompt you to take bold steps to change habits and make investigations so that you get God's work done. My desire is that you will find contentment, peace, and a sense of fulfilment, while saying goodbye to worry.

CHALLENGING QUESTIONS
  • Is there something you feel God is asking you to do, but you need more direction?  Do you need God's GPS system to reveal your path more clearly?     Solution:  Ask him.  Don't make changes until he reveals something.  Follow the lead he whispers in your ear.
  • Is there an area of your life you wish would change, but you aren't sure of the timing or how to implement the change?   Solution: Ask God for clarity and to send you the people you need to help you make that change.
  • Is your personal life working for you so that the other things God has on your plate are doable? What part of your life needs better balance? Solution:  Take steps for self-care and to bring balance into your life.
These are but a few questions to consider.  I hope answering them helps you get unstuck from the traffic jam you might feel you're in.  When making changes of any kind, call for wisdom, and then pace yourself.  Trust in God and wait for his message to you.


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Time for a Fresh Start?

Parable of the Sower, R. Garde 2014


September signals renewal for many.  It is when students return to school.  It is when parents get into a normal routine again.  It is when the weather begins to change. It is when favourite programs re-start.

Fresh starts can be good at re-motivating people.  

Are you ready to renew your life this fall?  Here are a few cues to get you started:


  1. Let go.  Entrust your children to God's care.  Let go of what was to make room for the new. 
  2. Create some new routines.  Perhaps you'll include regular Bible reading, meditation, a personalized yoga routine, or a morning walk around a nearby park.  New routines shouldn't be bothersome.  They should help ignite your passion.
  3. Choose optimism.  When reading the news or even a Facebook page, stick with the positive and don't be tempted to bog yourself down with evil, negative stories.  Avoid the idol worship of what's popular.  Think of others how you'd like them to think of you.
  4. Look for treasures.  All things work together for good for those that love God.  Even in negative situations there can be a treasure.  Ask God to show you it.  Enjoy the blessings he puts in front of you.
  5. Stay alert.  We all have callings.  Once you know yours, focus on it. When things come across your path that fall in line with your calling, take steps on them.


    My Personal Steps:

    I have a routine of waking, taking my thyroid pill with a full glass of water, then taking the cat and dog outside to walk around our large yard.  My cat really does follow me.  This isn't a fall routine, but one that gets my day started.

    Something new I'm doing this fall is uploading my art to a website where it will be presented for sale.  For many years, I intended to get back into art.  I kept putting it off though.  When asked the question, if there is one thing you could do and not fail what would it be, in the back of my mind was always "be an artist."  I didn't know if it was just a romantic notion or more.  

    I'll tell more of my art story later, but for now I want to say that I've realized art is so subjective my work doesn't have to measure up to another person's for it to have value.  There is a website I can sell prints on that will be no cost to me.  I've got no reason to not move forward on a long-held dream.  

    Do you have any long-held dreams you could re-investigate now? 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How to Have a Loving Family Relationship

Do you want a loving relationship with your husband, children, friends, and other relatives?  Then follow the edicts of this verse:  

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres"  (1 Cor. 13:4) (NIV).

Now which one of those have you fallen short on recently?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Life Coaching a Depressed Client


Some life coaches begin working with women they've screened and later, during the life coaching process, it becomes apparent depression is involved.  Life coaches are not to cross the line of counselor, so refer clients when necessary.

Nevertheless, life coaches do work with clients' mindsets, so it is important they have knowledge and tools for this.  One of my favourite tools is by Joseph L. Luciani.

Self Coaching, by Joseph L. Luciani isn't a Christian book per se, but offers important information on anxiety and depression.

He warns the reader to be aware of certain thinking traps.  He suggests unless we are aware of the traps and their potential harm, they can become habits leading to difficulty (pg 71).

When I read the list of thinking traps Luciani set out, I immediately became aware that they could be considered STRONGHOLDS.  Spiritual strongholds are problems rooted in a person's personality that cause ongoing struggle.

The motive of strongholds as authored by Satan is to interfere with a person's ability to accomplish Godly assignments.  A stronghold can be a lie a person unknowingly believes.

“Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful 
for the destruction of fortresses [strongholds]” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4, NASB). 


Reading the traps or strongholds listed in Luciani's book was eye-opening.  He listed these:

  • black and white thinking
  • what ifs
  • should
  • labelling
  • have-tos
  • mind reading
  • tunnel vision
  • rehearsing troubles
  • fear of the future
  • defensiveness

Black and white thinking shows up in statements that are strongly pointed in one direction, negative or positive.  They leave little room for "grey".  But life really is rarely one or the other.  Thoughts and feelings aren't facts and it's easy to become duped by them.  The need to be right is another symptom of black and white thinking.  But this compelling character trait can cause a person great grief.

Have a look through this list and ask yourself if you might be caught in any of these strongholds.

(For blogs especially geared for
midlife women visit:  The Midlife Christian Woman)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Get That Monkey Off Your Back By Working With a Life Coach

As I laid upon my bed resting, I thought about a blog to write about the unique purposes of using a life coach.  I'm NOT writing this to solicit business because right now I'm not taking clients.  I am writing this for those of you who feel all alone in a struggle and may need a nudge to look for a coach of your own.

A PERSONAL STRUGGLE 

I've been knocked out with a leg injury from nowhere!  Well, that's what I like to think.  All I did was two weeks of heavy garage cleaning, lawn mowing, and gardening to set an old knee injury off.

My garage looks great, but after all the work, my knee began to hurt and my calf and Achilles muscle have become so tight I can't walk.  I've been nursing this injury a full two months now with the aid of therapy!


I feel as though I'm being robbed of my favourite season.  I love to garden and right now I can't if I want to get better.

While I'm in physical therapy, the emotions are affected too.  I find myself looking for God's purpose in this.  It's so disappointing.  I am always open to his new path, but this isn't quite what I had in mind.  So right now I'm testing a lot of principles I teach.

THE NEED FOR EMOTIONAL RELIEF 

I've used life coaches before for a variety of purposes--not just identifying my life direction--but often for venting.  That's right, venting.  Why?  Well, in one case, I was not allowed to discuss certain details of an event due to confidentiality.  But I needed a relief valve.  In another case, I had pent up anger about something and I needed a safe place to get the monkey off my back.  

Us women can carry that monkey around for a long time until the monkey grows so big it weighs us down stalling forward movement.

Right now the monkey is hanging onto my leg and causing me frustration.  My husband is getting tired of hearing me complain about my sore leg.  He's pitching in like a trouper though.

Recently, I was so discouraged my mood was low and I knew my husband didn't want to hear about it.  Men like to fix things and this he could not fix.  This was one time I could have used the services of a life coach--someone safe to vent to.

So as I sat in my bed, I wanted to share this thought because I know so many of you have problems that crop up too that you wish you could talk about with someone without looking like a negative Nelly.  If you have an issue you think will be helped through having someone safe to talk to, look up Christian life coaches and send an inquiry email outlining the specific purpose you want to address.  If it's a one-time call you want, mention that.

Life coaching is different from counselling or therapy and this is a good example.  You probably wouldn't go to a therapist for a struggle over a temporarily frustrating condition.     You might go for healing of unhealed wounds or to deal with depression, but if it's merely a monkey you want to release, life coaching is a great tool.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Moodiness and Happiness Coexist Just as Rose Blooms Co-exist with Thorns.

A rose bush is both beautiful and full of thorns. - Photo Rosalie Garde 2014

Today's women are smart and savvy.  They want to be on top of their game.  They want to have meaningful work, a healthy marriage, to be able to manage their moods, and so on. So how can they be the person they want to be?

Just as the rose bush pictured above, beautiful blooms and thorns can co-exist.
When you get your skin too close to a thorn, it can shred your skin and draw blood. It hurts and requires first aid.

Any wise gardener puts on gloves.  But there are differences in gloves too.  The thin and flimsy ones only partially protect.  Good leather gloves, on the other hand, insulate the skin.  They allow a gardener to care for the blooms and successfully avoid the damage of the thorns.

If we compare thorns to moods--whether your spouse's mood, your co-worker's mood, or your own--it makes sense you should insulate yourself.  Being moody isn't a sign of weakness, it's part of life.

Many things affect our moods:  For instance, our mood can fluctuate based on our energy level, or our expectations of our spouse or children who seem to leave most of the chores for us.

Our moods can change after receiving scathing words from a co-worker, friend or relative.  Our moods can change due to hormonal cycles.  Those with chronic pain have a huge challenge regarding their moods.

When a husband comes home from work stressed, he might take his frustration out on the woman he loves because he believes he's in a safe place to do so.  But if a woman isn't equipped, she can take his frustration personally and division occurs.

Many women use venting  as a way to decompress.  But a husband may not enjoy being at the tail end of her vents.  He may not understand the therapeutic nature of venting and he may take it personally.  As a result, there can be division.

To keep life in balance, most women need a few good tools that will help them navigate issues such as managing their moods.  Using these tools is similar to putting on good leather gloves prior to gardening.

Choose Your Tools

Having a life coach to call or email may be helpful for a woman in need of decompression.  She can vent to her life coach all she wants.

Having a good friend to vent to might be equally helpful.  But it's hard to know how trustworthy your friend may be.  Would she leak information?  Would she get tired of hearing your rants?

Hiring a long distance life coach may be a good answer.  You'll have someone not too close to your life to vent to.  She will keep things confidential.  You will decompress and hopefully move forward with a new outlook after your session.

While I'm not taking phone clients right now, you can ask to be on a waiting list.  email or leave a comment for information.  What I hope to give you in the meantime is a tool or two.

Today's tools:  Separate your husband's vent so you don't take it personally.  Let him vent without it becoming an argument.  Validate him.  Do what you can to be his safe place to fall.  If his words seem abusive and targeted at you, leave the room.  Don't engage until he has time to settle down.

Separate your own issues from your relationship.  Ask yourself why you feel as you do?  Is it really that he doesn't pitch in or is it that you want to be a control freak?  How important is your issue in the bigger picture?  Ask yourself what the worst is that can happen if things don't go your way?

Consider writing your thoughts in a journal and employing self-care until you find the calm you crave.

If this is helpful to you, please leave a comment below.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Are you in Midlife and Feeling a Sense of Crisis? Help for the Christian Woman

(Revision of post Written in 2011)

I found myself awake at 3 or 4 am, unable to sleep and feeling troubled. It led me to do a web search on Midlife Crisis.



I've discovered that countless midlife women have similar insomnia issues. Alongside them may be feelings of midlife crisis that might be described as a bit of grieving or melancholy combined with an urgency to know what lies ahead on the road--to hope there is something meaningful yet to come.

Midlife crisis feelings are as prevalent in Christian women as they are in women of other faiths. Women everywhere tend to experience similar feelings--some as early as in their 30s, but more often in the mid- to late 40s and beyond.

Even when a woman thinks she's over the hump of uncomfortable "lost" type feelings, the feelings may creep back. She may be triggered hormonally, but there are probably several other causes at play.

It can be helpful for a midlife woman to understand the causes for her feelings so she can put coping strategies into place.

POSSIBLE REASONS FOR A MIDLIFE CRISIS

Here are but a few reasons a woman may have a midlife crisis:

  • grieving the growth stages of her children and grieving her own role changing
  • grieving not having had children
  • entering the empty nest or fearing an impending empty nest
  • recognizing that many goals have been achieved--education, career, marriage, children, home ownership...and experiencing a plateau (almost bored) feeling
  • experiencing marriage difficulties or disappointments
  • ongoing singleness
  • dealing with recent separation or divorce
  • experiencing job loss or inability to find work
  • trying to restore a sputtering business and having financial fears
  • parenting but having trouble with teens
  • experiencing pain, illness and general body aging issues
  • dealing with unwanted weight gain
  • coping with chronic stiff and sore muscles
  • working through perimenopause; menopause and other hormonal imbalances that cause hot flashes, headaches and more
  • feeling unhappy with her life evaluation
  • feeling disappointed with life or people
  • failing to have reached goals by a certain age
  • facing ongoing fatigue

Here are but a few reasons Christian women have a crisis:
  • All the above, plus...
  • Disappointment with God for not granting desires
  • Difficulty hearing from God
  • Difficulty accepting what God seems to allow
  • Feelings they have some how spiritually failed their family
  • Unanswered prayers, especially concerning spouse or children, hopes or dreams
  • Lack of financial prosperity they expected from God
  • Unfulfilled ministry dreams
  • Unanswered prayers regarding personal fulfillment
  • Disillusionment with the church or other believers
  • Spiritual attack--the devil's temptations of dissatisfaction and "greener grass" syndrome

WOMEN'S MID-LIFE CRISIS: The Good and the Bad

It may help a woman to talk with another woman about her struggles--preferably with one who can relate. (It's tough, though, to fess up to a woman who has no clue what you're talking about.)

Try joining a Facebook group with women in a similar phase, or join a Christian chat such as Power to Change. Buy and read books that will help walk you through your struggles.

The good is, midlife crisis feelings can cause a woman to draw closer to God.  The feelings drive her on a quest for answers. The bad is if a woman gets stuck in thought patterns that lead her to spiral downward into depression. The bad is also when those thoughts lead a woman to make drastic life changes she may regret later.

It is important to wage constant war on your moods and thoughts. Check out everything, and count the cost before taking drastic steps.

A woman can battle troubling thoughts and feelings by gaining professional help and/or by challenging her thoughts on a regular basis. Categorizing thoughts correctly as to what is true and what is irrelevant is vitally helpful.


How to categorize your thoughts or moods:

Sometimes thoughts are driven by overwhelm, tiredness, or pain. You may not have the energy you used to have, and sometimes chronic health issues cause problems. What you need to do in these instances is to nurture yourself. Sometimes you do need to just go to bed for a rest. Order-in dinner. Rest until your energy returns.

Sometimes thoughts are associated with a process of grieving. Grieving is a normal part of letting go. Small spurts of grief are healthy. All women face change and grief now and then.

Some feelings are driven by melancholy. This might include focusing on the good daysthe old friends, your children's preschool years...whatever. Sometimes a movie, music or possessions trigger sad feelings. Getting stuck in the past or in melancholy can become a major problem.

Feelings aren't bad.  They're part of the human condition.  It will help a woman to learn how to feel feelings and process her feelings, and then move back into the present quickly. That is, to learn to cherish good memories, but to not cling to them as though that's all life holds (a theory of author Susan Miller).

Sometimes women are bored, not in crisis.

Other times women are lonely.

Other times women fail to meet their own lofty expectations. Dropping high expectations may help a woman not only survive, but enjoy life again.

Assigning the most accurate label to the feelings may help a woman find the right solution.


MIDLIFE AND CHRISTIANITY

Christian woman are often told "all you need is Jesus". But even Jesus needed physical friends. Jesus liked serving people and talking to them. He attended parties, dinners and tea times in homes. He liked fishing and public speaking. He moved around the countryside. He didn't isolate himself.  He was on a mission with a purpose to fulfill.  We are to model Jesus.

Yes, Jesus did go away to pray and spend time in solitude, but not wholly.

We need Jesus, but while on earth, women need a variety of other things included in their lives to give them healthy life balance--events, relationships, activities, ongoing learning, soul work.

THE GOOD IN MIDLIFE CRISIS FEELINGS

The good about midlife crisis feelings is that they can direct a woman to look life squarely in the face and make new positive choices for herself.  They may push her to seek God more intently.


Evaluation is often part of crisis feelings. A woman may evaluate what could be done better, what she'd rather be doing, who she'd like to see, what she needs more of, things she'd like to change, etc. These feelings guide a woman to see what areas of her life might need development.  Once identified, these can be taken to prayer, and steps can be put in place for working on them.  (Over-evaluation, however, can be detrimental to a woman's sense of well-being.)

The good about midlife crisis feelings is that they push a woman to search for answers. They may push her to reach out to new people, to get out of her comfort zone, to search for new interests to become involved in, to look for answers, and ultimately to fulfill her God-given life purpose.

ACTION STEPS - WHAT TO DO when in a Midlife Crisis
  1. Hopefully you have many things about your life you are proud of and enjoy.  Always take time to enjoy your accomplishments. Pat yourself on the back more than look for what is missing.
  2. If your feelings are connected to tiredness, illness or pain, deal with them. See a professional (or two or three), take pain medication, lessen expectations, get rest, quit over-thinking, rest your brain.
  3. If you need a paradigm shift, go shopping, see a movie, take the family out for dinner, visit a poor area of town, help the sick. Basically, get out of the house and go somewhere new or different. Practice seeing the world in a new way. Read a thought-challenging book, listen to a thought-challenging audio, or watch a video.
  4. Capture your underlying thoughts and promise to work on them when you're feeling better.  For instance, if you're lonely, promise you will work on cultivating more relationships. If you're bored, look for a new course to take or an activity to become involved in, and so on.
  5. If your life has become too one-dimensional, plan to shut down the computer and get away from the house more often. If you miss time with your kids and husband, plan more regular outings with your family.
  6. If you're spiritually lacking, purchase a Bible study to work on, or join a study group. 
  7. Call someone and have a talk when you need to.
  8. Keep moving and growing in who you are. Take some personal assessments.
  9. Continue to be available to your children and to celebrate with them. Be available to other people--nieces, nephews, other young people, church members.
  10. If you have time on our hands, it's important to add in helpful things: take courses, apply for jobs (some that may be in completely new areas), volunteer or help others.
  11. Refuse to become discouraged.
  12. Take the leap of braveness and sign up for therapy, counselling, or coaching. 
  13. Start your own business.
  14. Pray and Seek God's input and commit to obeying what you hear him saying.

ULTIMATELY: FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Ultimately, God has many purposes for you to fulfill: fellowship, discipleship, service, evangelism, worship, relationship with God, study, etc.  He also has more specific purposes that you're design for. These specific purposes are the "bloom where you're planted type".  They are made up of your skills put to good use.

If you find no new doors opening to help you move forward, look at all the things on your to-do list right where you are.  God has you there for reasons!

Bloom where you're planted.  That means do your best at whatever assignments are before you.  Use your imagination and creativity. Complete all things well until new doors open. Accept where you are as what is God's best for you right now, but do dabble in a variety of interests.

There is a Bible verse that suggests the importance of scattering a lot of seeds along various riverbanks for when the river rises the right seeds will be watered and bloom.  This can be a good way to look at life too.  Scatter the seeds of your God-given abilities here and there.  Investigate.  Plant seeds of possibility and love every where you go.  God will bloom the right ones.

for more on midlife issues in Christian women, visit www.MidlifeChristianWoman.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Change these 3 Bad Habits and Become a Better You


We all think we're unselfish, loving and generous.  That's because that's what we think is right and noble--it's what the Bible teaches. Yet a deeper examination reveals more.  On deeper examination, many women are self-focused, out for themselves, and greedy.

If you don't think you fall into this category, start by examining your conversations with others, with your family,, and with your online connections.

Put your conversations through this filter:


  • How many times do you talk about yourself?  
  • How many times in a day do you complain about some hardship you have to endure?  
  • How many times do you become annoyed when others choose for you or direct activities you're involved in? 
  • How many times do you say no to things because you are too busy living your own life?  
  • How many times do you try to dominate circumstances?


Habits to Change:

These selfish traits creep up on us all, yet they aren't God's design.

Luke 6:38 (NIV) says this:


Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, 
pressed down, shaken together and running over, 
will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, 
it will be measured to you."


Here are some ways to change your way of living: 

1. Change the habit of self-focus by refusing to complain about your life.  Try it for a day, then another, then another.  

2. Change putting yourself first by putting others in your life first.  Make a nice atmosphere for your spouse and children.  Let them spend the day doing what they want.  Be supportive.  

3. Change your generosity level by looking for ways to give.  Give of your money or possessions to a family in need.  Give your time when it's needed.  Let someone else have the last piece of cake.  Let someone else go first to the buffet table.  Hang someone else's coat before hanging your own. Offer a free business service now and then.

Small changes can be made when you become aware of your interactions.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Transformation is Always Available



Tonight I watched TV show "Style by Jury."  I'm a little jealous of the transformations I've seen on that show. 

Some shows feature a life coach.  The coach on the show I watched got down to the truth with the client.  He called her up for not taking responsibility for her life.  He called her up on living like a child when she indeed was a woman.  He challenged her to grow up.

She felt uncomfortable.  It hurts to be criticized.  But as a fellow coach, I know he did it for her own good.  She needed to hear what he had to say.  She needed to go away and question how she'd been doing life. 

Transformation is always available.  We can blame others and fail to take responsibility, but we will stay where we are.  Nothing will change.  We'll still repel people. We'll still cry out for more and better.

Or we can become humble, admit where we're wrong, admit our sins to God, admit our faults to ourselves, seek to correct our behaviour, and so on.  

Read these verses to hear from God for yourself:

"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land" 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT).

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor" James 4:10 (NLT).

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

What Life Coaching is Like

I'm sharing this for you more than me.  Actually, I'm not taking telephone clients right now, so this is not a solicitation.  

I want to tell you about the coaching process and why you might want to consider it.  Some have heard of life coaching, others barely know what it is.  Coaching doesn't mean some woman will dissect your life and tell you what to do. A coach becomes your cheerleader.  She is not a therapist.  She is a trained listener who tries to choose the best questions to ask that will help you make some sense of your life. 

I have found, as others have, that being fortunate to have another person devote a good hour to listening to your life story is rare.  Not only does a coach listen unlike any other friend, a coach hears what you say.  A coach encourages you.  A coach chooses to stand by your side. 

There are some coaches that talk too much, and I probably have too.  I had one client I'll call Erica, who was so quiet, I had to initiate questions to draw her out.  That made it difficult for me not to talk more than she did.

When you get comfortable with your coach, you'll more easily decide what to talk about and what to leave out.  Having a trusted friend to hear all about your life is a vital and healthy asset.   I recommend you try it if you haven't already.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Great Little Devotional - Jesus Calling


REPOST OF BLOG FROM 2010 - I still read this almost daily!

A very good friend of mine gave me this book as a gift recently.  Have you heard of it?

It has daily messages that are written as though God/Jesus is talking straight to the reader. 

I believe in modern-day "scribes" - those who write God inspired words for the benefit of others.  I think Sarah Young, the author of this book, is one of those.

There are Scripture references with each day's reading.

Each reading speaks to each reader uniquely depending on what's going on in her life that day.  The readings are dated with month and day, but not year.  I'm sure this little treasure can be read over and over, and each time the reader will be at a different place in life and it will speak in a different way.

I recommend this really neat daily devotional. 





Friday, May 16, 2014

How to Shift Your Thought Paradigm



As women riding the waves of moods and emotion, we often need paradigm shifts to our thinking.  It's good to have challenge statements that help us.  Here are a two ideas: 

My diet coach began sessions asking "What's been going well?" She wasn't necessarily asking how many pounds I was down or inches lost, she just wanted me to focus on what great things God had blessed me with during the time between calls.  It was a good way for me to be more aware and thankful. What a great habit to get into, asking yourself what's going well. 

Another question I like to ask is, "What do you need to care about less?"  Especially in light of hearing about world tragedies, IT IS NOT WRONG to insulate yourself.  God wants you to show love and compassion, he does want you to bear one another's burdens, but he doesn't ever expect you to take on someone's burden.  He doesn't want you to fix people.  He doesn't want you stuck in situations you have no control over or that are so far removed from you that there is little you can do.  So what do you need to care less about?

The best thing to do with overwhelming news is to hand it over to Christ. Let him pray, let him help, let him minister.  You CAN close yourself off once you've given it to him--unless he is asking you to take action.

You CAN refuse to read bad news or to watch it on TV.  Give God the keys to the problems.


In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Living Out Passions

In my Midlife Woman blog, I've written about finding your Top 5 Defining Passions.  You can read that article here.

In the meantime, I'm living mine.  Right now I'm living my passion to coach women and to write.  I'm doing that via this blog.  I've also recently completed a wild and crazy challenge that taps into my need to create beauty, otherwise known as creating art.  Here is a picture I just finished for the first challenge offered by the Made Tribe.  

"Picture Perfect"

The challenge was Psalm 139:13-16.  This is what came out of me after reading that Scripture.

Do you know your Top 5 Defining Passions?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tips for Discerning Thoughts

I'm happy to say I feel I've moved beyond my crisis.  I tell a bit about my journey and discoveries in my recently released book 16 Essential Steps to Help You Walk Through Your Midlife Crisis.


See Purchasing Link on the Right Sidebar


I warn, in the eBook, that it is for women in crisis because it is more than just a book on the pleasantries and challenges of midlife.  Nevertheless, I welcome you to have a look regardless of where you're at in your life experience.  

One of the themes outlined in the book is developing the skill to distinguish between God's voice and Satan's.  Here is a list I just came across on a friend's Facebook page.  I thought it would be helpful to share with you:

God 

Stills You
Reassures You
Leads You
Enlightens You
Forgives You
Calms You
Encourages You
Comforts You

Satan


Rushes You

Frightens You

Pushes You

Confuses You

Condemns You

Stresses You

Discourages You
 
Worries You



You'll live a better quality life if you can learn to distinguish between these voices. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Stop Evaluating Everything!



I think it's built into us to evaluate and grade not only ourselves at every stop, but those around us.  Through trying to be successful at school and working at jobs where constant improvement is demanded, it's no wonder we think that way.  

But constant evaluation can be very hard on us.  God may not even want us to do all the evaluating we do.  

I suggest you Stop Evaluating

____________________

If we're to be content with life, we'll need to consider what "success" or "bearing fruit" means. Is it about job promotion, salary, and achievement? Or is it in doing unseen Kingdom work?

Kingdom work is work that which accomplishes spiritual goals.  To do Kingdom work is to do what God suggests you do, where he sends you to do it. 

Kingdom work may be unpaid.  It may involve cost of time, money, or energy.

Kingdom work may be paid in other ways--riches in heaven, or earthly rewards God brings you through a way other than income.  You may earn greater peace, joy, and fulfillment through completing Kingdom assignments 

Kingdom work involves planting seeds and/or watering them.  It involves using our gifts and abilities to help others and to spread God's message of love. 

It involves watering seeds other people have planted, whether we know it or not. It means nurturing the growth of young plants--being there for those who need guidance.  

Focusing on Kingdom work earns you Kingdom commodity.

Kingdom work is hard to measure.  No one around us may see all the work we do.  We may not have tables and charts to present.  Nevertheless, God knows and we know and that's what matters most.