Sunday, October 19, 2014

Worship {Day 18.0}

Praising God brings freedom and healing. I wanted to share this playlist with you because I know the freedom that getting alone with God can bring. 
So, I have a dare! I dare you to find some quiet time alone either today or sometime this week, turn on this playlist, let the lyrics settle on your heart and watch the Holy Spirit fill you up! Bring your heart before God and let him dance over you! Worship Him with abandon! 

(I want you to know that I wish this was a common practice for me, I have challenged you but I am challenging me too!) 

**The playlist is like an hour long, but just pick a song maybe one or two (at least the first two) and focus on what God has for you through that**

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Recognizing Your Strengths & Believing Those in Your Corner {Day 19.0 & 20.0}

Day 19.0
For so long I saw some of my strengths as weakness... Sometimes I still do. But I have realized that sometimes what we see as flaws are really assests that have brought us to where we are. And some weakness can be used as strengths.
One of my biggest struggles to accept is my quietness. I was reminded of this recently as I sat feeling mostly alone in a room full of people that I did not know very well, that do not know me very well, in surroundings I was unfamiliar with. So I sat quietly, painfully aware of how quietness comes across. These are the moments when I need reminded that being quiet is a strength I can use... I am still learning how to do that. But even this is progress. For my whole life I thought there was something WRONG with me because I was more quiet than most others. But as I begin to understand that part of me better, the more of an asset it becomes and the more confident I become. And in the moments I succomb to the old lies I remind myself that what matters most is what is on the inside, not what others see from the outside. 
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4 NIV) 
 It's hard for me to talk about my strengths. I struggle to sit here and type out the things I have recognized as strengths either by myself or through someone else. But I think it is important for us to be able to point out our strengths especially for the sake of ourselves. So I want to list some of my strengths I have recognized overtime and through the help of others. Won't you do the same? 
Ready? Go!

Go with the flow
Always seeking growth
Quick learner 
Solution based

(Once I got going, it became easier to think of more strengths) 

Day 20.0

 I love this quote because it reminds me that I must believe the things, those who love me, say about me. Sometimes it just so hard to believe good things that others say about me. I tend to be incredibly hard on myself... That's likely and understatement. So when someone who loves me says they see a greatness in me, I don't believe them. 
The key to thriving in this area, is belief! 
Believe the people who are in your corner. And for those who aren't? In the epically epic words of Sugar Brown "ain't nobody got time for dat"  
So listen to the people who are in you corner, and believe them! Let them speak truth, encouragement and life into you. 
I am most certainly preaching to myself here too. 

As always, thank you for following along
~jimmie lee 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Self Care : Learning What I Need {Day 17}

Self care is very important as a mom and even just as a human being. It took me quite some time to realize this and to practice it without guilt! I have been a momma for almost 14 years! Okay, let's just say 14 because seriously folks, next week my first born will be 14. Yes you can all pray for me. I actually do not know what it is like to make decisions just for me. I had to start making decisions for another person when I could barely make decisions for myself. Then I went and chose a serving field for my profession. So, basically my whole life revolves around taking care of other people and making sure their needs are met. It can be really easy to forget about yourself when you are taking care of others.
I read something a while back that made perfect sense to me and changed my whole perspective on self care. The idea I came across was 'mothering ourselves'. I mean Whoa! Makes complete sense right? As women we spend so much time mothering others, who is mothering us? Or more clearly, we treat our children (and others we care for) with care why would we not treat our selves with care? This concept of being my own mother was so eye opening to me, it took away my mom guilt when it comes to caring for myself. 
So I started paying attention to those things I need that give me a little breath of life. There are things I need that keep me going, things I actually crave. I need to have alone time, like really alone with no one else around. If I am not getting enough time by myself (and truly I don't need too much) then I start doing things like zoning out on Facebook :( So I know if I want to care for my people well, I need to be alone sometimes and I don't feel guilty about it. Please understand that this does not mean I don't want to be around my people it just means I need time to be with me, just like I need to be alone with my husband sometimes to keep our marriage healthy. 
I also need to spend time with women. I need to have time to connect with other life giving women. I struggled in the past to connect with other women. Over the last few years, God has really put some good, life giving, encouraging women in my life.  If I am not spending enough time connecting with these women, I start to get grumpy :/ 
One of my most favorite things to do is sit in a cozy little coffee shop, sip coffee, nibble a scone, people watch, listen to music and write or draw. I don't get to do this often enough but man oh man does it refresh my soul. 
Some other little things that make me feel cool and confident are:
nail polish
wearing makeup 
getting some highlights in my hair every once in a while
showers, long hot showers! 
wearing a flower in my hair
cute and fun notebooks
colorful sharpies
sparkles, glitter and lace
oh, and pretty coffee mugs!

Taking care of yourself is so important and I know it can sometimes seem difficult to keep up or self care gets a back seat, but think about some little ways you can start taking care of yourself today. 
How can you be your own mother today? 

~jimmie lee 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Who You Were Created to Be, Knowing Your Purpose {Day 15 & 16}

In order to get caught up and back on track, this is day 15 and 16 of 31 days of Thriving…

{Day 15.0} Purpose
I want to take a moment to talk about knowing who God made you to be and knowing your purpose. I could write for days about this subject! So I will try to keep this plain and simple. 
I struggled for years wondering if I would ever know my purpose. I would get agitated and irritated when preachers would talk about purpose. That super popular book from a few years back, "Purpose Driven Life", I didn't want to have anything to do with it. I thought I might know what my purpose was but I was never really sure and I was kind of upset that God wouldn't just reveal MY purpose. So I shut down, hide away from it and stuffed it all down inside. 
I'll be honest its still difficult for me to pinpoint just one purpose God has for me. I have had many different purposes in many different seasons of my life. Right now, I have about 5 different roles or purposes I could talk about. I used to think you could only have one. What I want you to know today is, your ultimate purpose is to worship God, to serve Him, to love and be loved by Him and to bring His kingdom here to earth. This will look different for each one of us. So if you are struggling with finding your purpose, remember this, God said to love Him, love your neighbor and spread the gospel. Amen? 
Once this is revealed to you and you see this, your whole world will change. Once you understand this truth you will walk out each purpose God has given you with confidence and grace.
One last thing about purpose, it is a process, just like thriving is a process. Your purpose may shift and change, morph and mold into many things over time. Just walk it out with the Holy Spirit, He guides and directs our steps. 

{Day 16.0} Who You Were Created To Be
I asked God to show me who he created me to be. He answered, and is still answering. Its funny how I thought that I was one way but listened to so many lies, its not who I was at all. Listening to voices that didn't matter, that had no weight or bearing on my identity certainly confused me. That on top of being in an unhealthy relationship and becoming a mom at such a young age had me searching for my identity and coming up mostly empty handed. I made decisions based off of what I thought everyone else wanted. I based my plans off of what I thought I had to do instead of truly doing what was best. I guess we all pretty much do that. We do what we think is best at the time. But through this process I lost myself. I needed God to bring me back to myself, to the person he created me to be. 
I am still learning how to walk that out. I am learning little by little how to walk out who I am in confidence. The latest revelation is learning to dance without apologizing. Yep, thats what I am working on right now;) 
I am so thankful to God for the people He has placed around me in this season. I have never had so many people surrounding me who recognize my strengths, appreciate my gifts and encourage me to keep doing me. Ahh, its like a dream! When I count my blessings, that is one of them. 

I can't talk about discovering who God created you to be with out talking about this book, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldrege. This book was like a volcano erupting inside me. Captivating helped to really propel me forward in walking out who God created me to be. And I believe it will do the same for you. This is a book I will keep going back to for sure. You should check it out. (No they are not paying me anything to say that, I just truly love this book and want to share it with you!) 

Thanks for following along on day 15 & 16!

~jimmie lee 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Count Your Blessings / Be More Intentional {Day 13.0 & 14.0}

I fell behind a little so this is day 13 and 14 in the same post. Thanks for sticking with me. 

{Day 13.0} Count your Blessings
I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to write for this post. I used the term 'count your blessings' but I feel like this term is a bit cliche. A phrase we overuse as commonplace. So when I use these words what I mean is looking at things with a thankful heart. 
I'll admit it, I was a complainer. In my 'just surviving' days I would focus on everything I thought I didn't have, things I thought would make my life better or easier. Counting your blessings is more about the heart. Am I thankful for all that God has given me? Am I thankful for His love, mercy and grace? Is my heart right before God? Or do I just just grumble and complain all the time.
I still have some work to do for sure, but I try to keep my heart in check with these questions.
The Word says… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
This is not always easy to do but we must try. It reminds me of this image I saw the other morning,

I just love that illustration. You may have been handed a cactus but you don't have to sit on it and you  don't have to stay there. 
Paul charges us to give thanks in all circumstances because he knows the freedom that come from thanksgiving! 
There is always something to be thankful for. 

{Disclaimer: I had to get to a place mentally and spiritually to be able to say these things with faith and belief. If you are in a place where these things are difficult, please don't feel condemned. I write about these things to encourage you so that you know that you won't always be where you are, there is a hope that things will be different, that things can be different} 

{Day 14.0} Being More Intentional
Some of these things that I write about are things that I am still working on. Being intentional is definitely one of those areas. I am an introvert so I tend to spend a lot of time "in my own head". Ask my mom, she can vouch for this. When I was in my 'just surviving' days, I spent an embarrassing amount of time throwing myself pity parties. Another struggle of mine is being passive aggressive. So if I don't want to deal with something, I ignore it, i.e. filling that time with something else and usually less productive. So I was moving through my days just going through the motions, doing what I had to but without purpose or intention. 
I had to make changes. I had to get outside myself and stop being so selfish. I had to start focusing on others rather than myself. As a side note I would like to add that learning how to actually care for myself allowed me to then take care of others better. You know the whole put your oxygen mask on first then your child's. This is smart advice. 
I am learning more and more what being intentional looks like, in my own family and outside my family with friends, at church and at work. It can look different from day to day and from person to person. But what I do know for sure is that being more intentional involves purpose and focus. So I am trying to move through my days with purpose and intention, focusing on the things that matter. 

Thank you so much for following along this journey with me! I hope that you are encouraged to thrive!  
~jimmie lee

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cut The Comparison Trap {Day 11.0}

We all have fallen in to this trap once or twice, or a thousand times. The endless cycle of evaluating our worst parts to our neighbors highlight reel and then feeling sorry for ourselves because we don't measure up. I have believed so many lies about myself because I have let myself fall into the comparison trap one too many times. It's silly really, the things I have let myself feel 'less than' for. 

One important thing I had to do was cut myself off from some things. There were a few bloggers I had to step back from because I just couldn't handle it. I let their posts turn me all shades of green with envy, it's embarrassing really. But that's one of the negatives to living life online, you see into people's lives more so then we ever did in the past. So I had to ask myself a question and I decided it best to just cut it out because then the temptation wasn't there. If I think about it, I still struggle a little with why I had to cut certain blogs out, but really I couldn't STOP comparing so I had to let it go. Obviously, I'm still working this one out. 

I had to unsubscribe from most store emails because well, I really love clothes and I can't afford the habit. Same reason I had to take a step back from spending so much time on Pinterest. 

I also stopped watching TV. I used to watch bad day time television and man was it depressing. But it also messes with head so I had to let it go. I decided to turn it on during the day one time this week and quickly remembered why I stopped watching. It didn't stay on to long after that. I now watch less than a hand full of shows and most of the time I watch them either on demand or online when I get the chance. This change made a big difference in my quality of life and my ability to thrive. 

I remember talking to myself saying things like, 'I wish I was more outgoing like her', 'I wish I had her wardrobe', or "I wish I could be more like him'. I was always wishing I was someone else instead of just being me. Once I made some shifts in my thinking, I was able to start focusing on who I was made to be. I started looking at those things I'd wished I had or could be more like, as that persons strengths. I began to recognize and accept my own strengths. So instead of comparing myself as less than all the time, I began recognizing that we all have a part to play. 

The key was finally realizing what my part was! 
Again this took a lot of work and it was a process to get there. I prayed, sought and found. 

If you need out of the comparison trap today, lay it at the feet of Jesus. He is faithful! 

I am having so much fun on this 31 day journey! 
Thanks for following along with me :)
~jimmie lee