Growing Your Beautiful Life

Take the Best, Leave the Rest!

Take the bestI have been to my share of recovery-related support groups and one thing I’ve always appreciated about the 12-step format is the advice to “Take the best and leave the rest.”  In other words, when you hear some bit of advice or wisdom that applies to you and your situation in a positive way, jot it down…apply it…keep it in your life-tool box for future reference.  And if something does not ring true to you, or does not apply, or seems ill-advised, leave it.  It’s always your choice whether or not to weave some behavior or philosophy into your life going forward.  Hear me:  It is always your choice.

This topic has come up in conversations regarding religion as well.  I have talked with many people who have the attitude that, if they are in a church, they must adhere to and embody everything the leader teaches about the Bible or life or whatever.  So, even if they are agreeable to much of what’s happening and being taught, but disagree with one thing, they’ll leave. Or they’ll say, “I have to see life this way, my pastor said so.”

Sorry. I disagree. If something you are taught – anywhere – rubs you wrong, go home and pray about it. Read up on it. Seek other counsel – then make your decision. Or just leave it be for awhile.

But anyway, this isn’t about churches or Al-anon or religion – this is about YOU!  Our BEYOND RESOLUTIONS group is starting to journal about their goals – and you can too.  Today’s journal prompt (Week 3, Day 3) asks you to look at the past, take the best – and leave the rest:

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 3.3:   In the process of life coaching, we rarely reach into the past. Coaching is all about looking forward, setting goals, making plans and carrying them through to positive change.  Today is our exception.  Today I’m going to ask you to look back for the purpose of grabbing some good ideas – and then leaving the rest behind.

      Hopefully, by now you have chosen a goal and allowed yourself to imagine your life with this goal successfully accomplished.  I sure hope you were able to envision the change and that it was a great experience for you! [If you are following only via blog, you’ve missed a couple of steps which our group received via email. If you’d like to receive those steps, send a request via the form on the “Coaching Packages” page.]
      You will soon set actions steps for this goal, but first, let’s gather up some ideas from past successes.  We so often focus on our past failures. “I resolve to lose weight every year, and every year those donuts win!”  “Sure, I promised myself I’d organize those closets…I’ll probably make the same resolution next year too!”  “I got so tired of my own procrastination that I just gave up on that book idea.”  I wonder why we bond in relationship over failure and our LACK of success.
      No more. Not here. Today, think back on times when you wanted to accomplish something and SUCCEEDED.  Write about your successes. How did you push through temptations to fall away from your goal?  Who supported you as you worked toward your accomplishment?  What tools did you use to stay focused?  What kind of organizational structure was in place?  You get the idea. Write about the most recent success you can think of – or use a few experiences and draw out the best from each. Your goal is to create a list of positive tools which will help you as you move ahead to succeed in 2014.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  Most Holy God, we are your children, created in your image. We are capable of so much more than we dare imagine! Our tendency to focus on failure and limitation is certainly NOT of you. We pray today that you remind us daily of our unlimited potential and fill us with your grace when we begin to fall into the world’s insistence that we see ourselves as lacking. Support our goals. Give us strength and perseverance. And bless our efforts to improve ourselves, our families and our communities. Amen.
VERSE FOR THE DAY:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

 

The Trust Factor

TrustEarly this morning, as I pondered about which aspect of spiritual growth to focus on today, I realized that praying about it would  be a smart thing to do! During my prayer time, what came to me was the importance of trusting God at all times with all that we have, are and do.

Then I thought, “I would love some confirmation on this.”  I picked up my “Jesus Calling,” and turned to the bookmarked page which read:

“Strive to trust me in more and more areas of your life.
Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity.
Instead of running away from these challenges,
embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings I have hidden in the difficulties…”
(Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

That was confirmation enough for me.  And so today’s journal prompt is as follows:

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 2.4:  Do you know that there is a Higher Power watching out for you and guiding you? Is your assurance of this strong enough to relieve your inner turmoil during difficult times? Do you trust God?
Rate your God-Trust level from 1-10 with 1 being “I don’t trust God at all – I might not even believe in a God right now” to 10 being “absolutely, even in the darkest times I know God is with me.”
Journal your thoughts about this topic. (When do you trust God most? Or, why are you hesitant to trust a Higher Power? Do you trust in good times but not so much in difficult ones? Perhaps there is a time when God came through for you in a clear and unexpected way.)

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  God, it can be hard to put our troubles in your hands when we cannot see you standing in front of us or talk face-to-face over coffee!  In this world, it takes a true leap of faith to trust when we cannot see and touch. So we ask your help. Please show up for us in ways that are undeniable. Forgive our doubt and help us to remember – day to day and minute by minute – that you truly hold us in the palm of your hands – warm, gentle, loving hands. Thank you for being a Power we can trust. Amen.

VERSE FOR THE DAY:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

 

It Is Well with My Soul…

Friends and Readers,

Coach Em

Michelle Hill

 

Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you my friend and colleague, Coach Michelle Hill.  Please enjoy her special message, below, on the topic of Spiritual Wellness.  For more, visit her regularly at Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries.  Read on…

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Two Key Principles of Spiritual Wellness

 My name is Michelle Hill, and I am the original pushy prophet girl—owner, certified life coach, and certified human behavior consultant at Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries. My goal at Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries is to help you become fearlessly fulfilled—a lifelong process that means stepping boldly into the identity God has given you while becoming emotionally intelligent, physically fit, and spiritually healthy.

hands heartEmotional health, physical health, and spiritual health are intricately linked.  In his book “Emotionally Healthy Church,” Peter Scazzero says that we cannot be spiritually healthy without being emotionally healthy. In other words, if we do not know how to control our emotions, how to handle pain, and how to deal with our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, then we cannot walk in spiritual health as God intended. As a former addict, I can assure you that emotional intelligence is the starting point to becoming healthy in all areas of your life. And once we have started to become emotionally intelligent, we can move forward in our spiritual health.

In Mark 12:30-31, someone asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, and Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” From these verses come two important principles of spiritual health:

  1. Understanding who God is through relationship with Him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…mind and…strength.” In a healthy relationship with other people, we spend time with them, we learn about them, we do as much as we can to know them—not just know about them, but to know them intimately with every part of ourselves. It’s the same with God: in order to be spiritually well, we must spend time with Him: in prayer one-on-one with Him (heart), in His presence with other believers in worship and community (soul), in His Word (mind), and in using the gifts He’s given us to serve others (strength). Jesus’ prayer for the believers in John 17 was that followers would know God and Jesus Himself, because to love Him, you must obey Him—and to obey Him, you must know Him and His desires for you. You cannot be spiritually healthy without an intimate relationship with the Creator of your spirit!
  2. Understanding who God has made you to be through your unique gifts. “You’re your neighbor as yourself.” Too many people will spend the majority of their lives never knowing who they are or who God made them to be. For nearly 33 years, I was one of those people. My entire life I had been told that I was too loud, too bold, too honest, too pushy for a girl, ESPECIALLY a church girl. For years, I believed these lies and would often cry because I wanted to be different. However, after Celebrate Recovery, a friend introduced me to my motivational spiritual gift of prophet, and my entire life was changed. I began understanding and believing that God had intentionally made this pushy prophet girl and had given me personality and purpose. Knowing my motivational spiritual gift changed how I dealt with others, how I served God and others, and how God wanted to use my talents and gifts to further His kingdom. God made you to love others—and to truly love others, you must know and love yourself!

Are you ready to get started in these two areas of spiritual health? Start expanding your love for God—get connected in a small group in your own church or through Community Bible Study. Begin a Bible reading plan using YouVersion on your computer, phone, or tablet—I use this for a daily reading plan and love it. Find out more about how God has gifted you: check out this free, brief assessment on your motivational spiritual gifts. Or if you would like a more comprehensive assessment, please feel free contact me at Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries regarding personal coaching using the DISC/Spiritual Gifts Assessment.

Whatever avenue you choose, choose to pursue spiritual health! As you begin to understand more about God and your identity in Christ, you will begin to make a larger impact in your own world and in others’!

Going with the Flow

connie koprowicz

Images of the Holy Spirit always denote an active, living energy and movement: Fire, River, Wind, Rain…  There is a natural flow to our spiritual lives and to any type of growth we experience.  But sometimes we get stuck. Sometimes our lives feel more like the Dead Sea than free-flowing waters!

I referred in an earlier post to the concept of Life Shapes taught by 3DM Ministries.  The triangle shape gives us one visual representation of how our spiritual growth can stay alive and flowing:

Triangle GYBL 3

JOURNAL PROMPT, Week 2, Day 2:  The process, then, starts up, flows in, and moves out. If we are always giving to others, but never spending quiet time with God, we are not fed. If we attend to our very close relationships, but don’t extend our lives beyond that, we are not living our fullest life. If we pray and pray and pray but do not connect with others at all, our spiritual growth and experience of love can suffer.
Some of us are stronger in one area or another – we all have different gifts and different comfort zones, and our focus may shift during different periods of our lives. Still, it’s always good to take stock now and then, and to stretch ourselves in order to live a rewarding life.
Take a look at the triangle image attached here – where are you strongest?  Where could you grow?  What are you happiest with in terms of your own spiritual practices?  What, if any, changes would you like to implement over the long term?
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  God, our lives are busy. Sometimes our hearts are heavy. Sometimes we feel loved and sometimes we feel lonely. This life is often a mystery! Thank you for extending your Spirit to us. Thanks that we may trust your plan and know that – even when we are unaware – you are growing us into the fullness of our lives. Amen.
VERSE OF THE DAY:  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)

Where are you now … with God?

city bench picThinking about this topic brought me back to the time when my faith was new and, I thought, unshakably strong. Unshakably.  Well, as the saying goes, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

God is unshakable. I, on the other hand, can be knocked off my feet by life now and then, and during those times my oh-so-strong faith can be – and has been – tested.  Like the time I was assaulted.  My nervous breakdown. When my marriage went under.  Or when one of my children spent a winter on the streets lost in drug addiction.

Faith in God doesn’t make our lives perfect. God perfects us (rather than our circumstances) so that we can endure throughout the whole journey.  And actually – with God we do more than endure – we grow and we flourish over a lifetime!

Right now, I’m in a strong time of life. Despite some circumstances that aren’t yet what I would want them to be, my faith is strong and my focus is on “the Rock that is higher than I.”

Where are you now … with God?

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 2.1:  Take a look at where you are now in relation to your faith by filling in the blanks below and writing your thoughts once you’re done.
  • I would define my spiritual life as …
  • I believe that God is …
  • One thing I don’t understand about God is …
  • The way I prefer to communicate with God is …
  • The last time I truly felt God’s presence was …
  • If I could ask God one question it would be …
  • The way I nurture my own spirituality is …
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  Dearest Lord, you go before us and follow behind us. You prepare a place for us and know all our secrets. You know our needs and you hear our prayers – those spoken and those we have yet to speak. Help us to trust the paths you’ve set before us, the soil you’ve planted us in, and the seeds of our spirits as we grow our beautiful lives. Amen.
VERSE FOR THE DAY:  O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. (Psalm 139:1-5)

Trees, Hills and Mountains Rejoice!

Welcome to Week 2 of BEYOND RESOLUTIONS!

In preparation for this week’s topic of Spiritual Growth, I’ve been searching the internet to see what others have to say on the subject. What I saw was that teachings on spiritual growth, for the most part, are so serious.  We’re advised to pray, to study, to be obedient, to focus, to reject the lies, etc.  There is truth in all of this, and these steps are important but …

Where is the J-O-Y ?  Where is the joy of the Lord?  Where is the celebration?  And where (and to me this is the clincher) … where is the focus on growth being a natural process?

There is a reason my coaching business is named “Growing Your Beautiful Life.”   The name itself grew out of many hours spent in the South Carolina marsh, Brookgreen Gardens, wildlife preserves and state parks.  As I observe the growth and cycles of nature here, God speaks to me, saying: “Growth in Me is natural. It is easy. It is joyous and renewing. Stop trying so hard and let it be. Let me grow you into your beautiful life!”

There certainly is no shortage of Bible verses comparing spiritual concepts to those in nature.  In fact, the verse that underlies my ministry is from Isaiah 55 (vs. 12-13).  I pray that you will consider these words and open your spirit to the natural development of beauty and energy and joy that comes from knowing you were born to grow your beautiful life!

You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.

God bless your week!

It’s a Beautiful Day!

I absolutely love this song by Jamie Grace.  I sincerely hope you all have a BEAUTIFUL DAY!