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How to Conquer Monsters

When I decided that I was going to follow through with this little idea I had, I didn’t realize that I would need to put on my warrior armor and get my sword ready to slay monsters, but that is exactly what happened. When we have an idea that we feel passionate about and we decide to follow through on that idea, we don’t realize it, but we set off a set of alarms, bells and whistles. These alarms go out and wake up these awful monsters that are named “fear”, “doubt” and “anxiety”. These are horrible monsters that always know when to pounce. They lie waiting for whom they can devour. Hmm, I have heard that before (1 Peter 5:8).

It isn’t by accident that you start feeling overwhelmed by those feelings of fear, doubt and anxiety. These monsters are master liars and they are LOUD! They try to drown out any sense of logic or truth. Their only job is to stop you from moving forward with the plans that you have made to grow, become a better person and do something good for the world. The best way to do that is for them to tell you these lies. Lies like, “you are not good enough”; “you will fail”; “no-one will take you seriously”; “you don’t know how to do that”; “no-one will want to hear what you have to say”; “you will never amount to anything”, etc. Do any of these sound familiar? ALL of these are lies that I have heard at one time and sometimes I hear them ALL IN ONE DAY. These monsters don’t just pick men or women, they target both genders. I am finding though that women tend to give in to these monsters more than men do. It manifests itself different into another monster called guilt. Especially if you have children. These monsters make you feel like you are not a good mom. That you are “neglecting your children” if you follow these dreams or calling.

While on this journey that I am on, I have found that these monsters have been even bigger and louder than usual. They almost won. They almost paralyzed me. I decided that I was not going to let them win. So I came up with a battle plan. A plan to fight these monsters BEFORE They start and then how to dig in and FIGHT when they feel like they are taking over. After I came up with this plan and then realized that I cannot be the only person that deals with these issues. There has to be others out there that feel the pressure of these monsters hovering over them. So it’s time we stand up, stick together and remember that there is strength in numbers.

GET THE FLASHLIGHT OUT

The first thing you need to do when these monsters start attacking is to get your flashlight out. What? What does that mean? It means to call out those fears. Bring them out of the shadows. Monsters hide in the shadows. We give them more power when we tried to ignore them or hide the fact that the fears are there. That never works. So when you feel those fears, doubts and anxiety coming at you, write them down. List them out. Shining a light on them takes power away from them. You are acknowledging that, yes, this is a fear but it will not stop me! So make those lists! Look those fears, anxiety and doubts in the face and then tell them they are not true. Tell them that they have no power over you. That brings me to the next step.

CALL EACH LIE OUT

After you have pulled each monster out, it’s time to face each one with truth. After I wrote out each lie, I had to remind myself of the truth. Make the truth bigger. So there are two ways you can do this. The first thing that I did was remember how God has proven that those fears where lies. I am a Christian so the Bible is very important to me. It brings me comfort, guidance and truth. So as I read off the fear, I immediately remembered scripture that told me truth. That reminded me of God’s promises. It reminded me that fear does not come from God, 2 Timothy 1:7. Just that verse alone help me to identify that these monsters are out to keep me from moving forward. That they are up to no good. So I am able to call them out as liars. Then I remembered verses like, Psalm 23 and Jeremiah 29:11.

The second thing I did was write down beside each lie how circumstances and situation from the past and present refuted those lies. Examples of things I have done that show I do have what it takes to follow through, etc. So for example, if the lie is, “You don’t know how to ______”.  The truth: “I also didn’t know how to be a mom but I learned”, etc. You get the picture?

Once you have written these out, keep them out where you can go back through them regularly. You WILL need to be reminded of these daily. You will need to be reminded that they have NO power over you and they are lies. You will need to remind yourself of the truth.

GET OUT YOUR MONSTER REPELLENT

Once you have identified the lies, taken the power away from them by proving them wrong, you need to surround yourself with constant protection to keep the monsters away. I do this by reading books that help encourage me and keep me aware. I also talk about it with a community who can help encourage me and whom I can help encourage. The Bible is the number one place I try to go daily to help keep me aware. I also have read Alli Worthington’s book, Fierce Faith: A Women’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry and Overcoming Anxiety. This is an amazing book that made me feel like I was normal and helps me stay on guard to recognize when the monsters start creeping in and reminds me to start fighting. Another gem that I recently read is a book by Rachel Hollis called, Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Are Meant to Be.  This is a well written book that had me calling out those lies and ready to get down to the business at hand.

Both of these books I listened to through Audible and I will confess I listened to both of them more than once. I listen to them in my car on my way to work and on my way home from work. I also listen to them in my office. I found if I read things that helped me identify those lies quicker and surrounded myself with positive influences, it becomes easier to do what you are meant to do without giving in to those monsters who are out to harm you and paralyze you.

I have found that if the lies are getting louder in my head then that must mean I have something that is going to make a difference and the enemy does NOT like that and will do whatever it takes to keep me from moving forward. I am not willing to give in to that. I am not willing to let the monsters win. It’s time we stand up and fight. So be very intentional about your plan to fight these off. You can’t go to battle without a plan. God has some great things planned for me and I will not allow those monsters to steal that joy from me and I don’t want you to allow them to steal that joy from you either.

I hope that some of this has been helpful for you. I hope some of these tips will help you shine a light on some of your monsters and take the power back and start working on that dream or calling that you have felt. You can do this! WE can do this! I would love to hear from some of you. I would love to hear what fears you will call out and take the power away from. It’s time for you to take control and follow through with that dream, calling or goal that you have felt you should start. It’s GO time!

 

I’m Up and Running….sort of.

In February, the place where I work challenged us to participate in the St. Jude’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Nashville races. We could be in the cheering section, run the 5K, half marathon or the full marathon. I completed the half marathon last year. (Now let me clarify something on this. I only “trained” up to 4 miles and that race just about killed me, BUT I completed it.) I decided I would run but just could not decide if I wanted to go through the training AND going through all it took to complete the half again. The week before the race, I finally registered for the 5K. (I also signed up my family….SURPRISE!!) We had over 500 team members and their family members to sign up to participate. IMG_4707.jpg

I decided to do this as the first step of this journey I am on. It was time that I quit holding back and take a step to DO something to better my health. This 5K was it. This was going to initiate me taking control of my health. Now I want to fill you in on a few things. First of all, I am NOT a runner. Meaning I do not run, did not run to train for this and did not intend to start on this 5K. (I walked the entire thing). Secondly, I am NOT a morning person. I LOVE my Saturdays, especially because I can sleep in. So early morning Saturday races do not get me excited. For this race we had to be up by 4:30 and out the door by 5:00 am. The sun isn’t even up at this ungodly hour, but we were. I tell you this because I want you to know how much of an inner struggle I had to actually go through with this and to show you that if I can do it, so can YOU!

We arrived at 5:30 am and started walking across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and that is when things started to change. I love that bridge and while walking    5k.jpg

over the Cumberland River with the beautiful downtown Nashville view, along with all of these other “runners”, I find it is quite intoxicating. I can see how people are enamored with running these races. There tens of thousands of people there to run either the 5K, half marathon or full marathon. Everyone was there to cheer each other on. The weather was beautiful and I was with my family. Life was good. (even at that early in the morning)

The race started and we walked the entire 3.1 miles. We enjoyed walking around different parts of Nashville and just talking and taking in the beauty of Nashville. I love this city. Being able to experience it without the cars normal hustle and bustle of everyday downtown Nashville sites was awesome. (My hips also remembered how many hills downtown Nashville has!)

58 minutes later we crossed the finish line and we all four received our medal. Now I want to confess something. I caught myself telling others, “I ONLY did the 5K this year”. It was like I had to explain why I didn’t measure up to everyone else’s half marathon successes. That night I realized that I had nothing to be ashamed of or needed to justify to others. I got out and did something. I wasn’t at home sitting on the couch watching television. I was also able to spend a few hours of quality time with my family and I will never regret that.

This journey is all about realizing what true joy and purpose is about. It’s about being intentional with what you do with your life. It’s about creating moments that mean something. Saturday, I was able to do something that was good for my health. I was able to contribute towards helping St.Jude’s hospital. I was able to spend some quality time with my family. None of that was wasted. We made memories. We made a difference.  That is what I want you to do. I want you to take control of your life, one memory making opportunity at a time. It doesn’t have to be a big, grand gesture. It can start with something smaller and you can gradually take bigger steps and try bigger things. So this year it was the 5k for me that started off my journey. What is something you can do to start your journey?

I’m thinking I might actually start training for a half marathon. I hear there is one in Dublin, Ireland or maybe Madrid, Spain. Now that is a half marathon I would LOVE to make a memory at! I would love to hear how some of you are going to be more intentional about your Joy Journey. Comment below. IMG_4711.jpg

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Melissa’s Joy Project

It is so easy for us to get lost in things that steal our joy. We can get caught up in the day to day of life and before we know it, we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore, much less know what our “interest” or hobbies are. I always hated the question, “what are your hobbies?”. HOBBIES…..what is that?

I have decided to take back the joy in my life. It’s easy for me to point out the negative things that happen each day but it is harder for me to focus on and point out the things that have brought me joy throughout each day. Why is that? Why do I always seem to go to the negative things first? So I am going on a journey to create joy and to find the joy in realizing and fulfilling my purpose. I am going to spend 2018 on this intentional, joy seeking and purpose driven adventure.

I am going to blog my way through experiments of embarking on different experiences that will help me in my quest of bringing joy back. Some of those things will include the journey of  experimenting with different types of exercise. This could be hilarious in and of itself! I want to travel more. I want to eat better and try cooking dishes I have never tried to cook before. I want to try different types of foods I have never tried before. I want to get together with different types of people and experience different cultures. I want to volunteer more.

You will get to laugh with me and probably AT me. You will get to experience my victories as well as those times that I might fail. You will see me when I am loving what I am doing and when I try something that I find out does NOT bring me joy. You will probably see my at my best and definitely at my worst but that doesn’t bother me. I am not just doing this for me. I am also doing this for YOU!  I am hoping to create some wonderful joy filled experiences. I am hoping to find some things that I can become passionate about that I had no idea I would love so much. I am hoping to find a joy in creating and fulfilling my purpose in life. That calling that God has created for me. I am also hoping that I might gain some new friends who might want to go on this journey with me. I am hoping that this may motivate and encourage many of you to go on this journey to find your joy and purpose in life.

So I want you to follow along with this entertaining adventure that I am going to embark on as I become more intentional in creating joy in my life. I hope you will participate in this experiment and we can all share our adventures together and the things we are learning through this process.  You can also follow along with me as I vlog my experiences. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel (link coming soon) so you don’t miss anything! Are you ready? Let’s do this!

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