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Hope is a Choice

If you know me you probably know that I believe everything we do, where we find ourselves in life, the people who are in our lives . . . all are the result of choices we made.  It took me a long time to accept this truth (because I’ve made some colossally unhealthy choices in my life) and now I “preach” it often. 

Our choices lead us to people, places and situations in life, and they are almost always choices we have consciously made.  Furthermore, we are responsible for choosing our responses to people, events and circumstances.  Accepting that our choices are ours alone, and taking responsibility for the harmful ones as well as the healthy ones, is vital to our growth.

Recently, I gave a talk to a group of women about choices – taking responsibility for them and making healthy ones.  A couple of days later God used my own words to snap me out of a very dark place I was [choosing to be] stuck in.  I had been going through a major season of struggle and felt like I was losing.  I finally came completely untethered in my prayer time one morning and was railing at God through my tears of hurt and anger, and yelled out to Him that I was tired of hoping and being disappointed, and “why should I bother to keep hoping anyway?!” And you know what He graciously said? 

God’s response: “Hope is a choice.”

That pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks. 

I made the healthy choice.  The circumstances haven’t changed.  The answers haven’t come.  The waiting continues.  But choosing hope – sometimes multiple times a day – has made it easier to be where I am, in the uncertainty and the often uneasy stillness.  Choosing hope gives me the courage to dare to look forward to whatever God has in store for me and to rest in the knowledge that it will be good because He is good.

Of course, I can’t post something about choices or about hope without saying that we can also choose whether or not we respond to God’s call on our life, be it to salvation, a career, a geographical location, or whatever.  If you want to talk to me about that choice, and about the ultimate Source of hope, please message me and I’d be honored to talk to you about this.

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My Buoy in the Storm

For those who are where I am (that is, in a terribly awkward state of transition), or have been, or will be – and you’re most certainly one of the three – here is part of an uncomfortable story with a happy ending, though the author doesn’t yet know what it is.

Who am I now?  Now that I’m no longer a student, and I have no traditionally “meaningful” way to fill my days in this season of waiting? Waiting, readers, is not passive as many of you know. Waiting can take everything out of a person.

God, “my soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me (Psalm 63:8).” I wait for You.  Not as gracefully or patiently as I would like, but I wait.  For You.

What I know for sure is that there is no cure for it.  I must ride out these stormy seas and stay afloat by hanging on for dear life to the buoy I know to be trustworthy – Jesus the Christ.  I know he is trustworthy because I recently made myself, in a moment of doubt and despair, write a list of times I know God has shown up for me (I highly recommend this exercise!).  And thus I know this season will not last forever, as none ever do, and that Jesus will be my shelter in the storm, if I let him.

I may endure the storm spluttering, gasping for breath.  I may emerge bruised and bedraggled.  I know I’m not doing it the way I tell myself I should – surfing flawlessly atop the waves with a broad smile on my face, mascara intact – and I have no idea how others think I should weather this storm (and frankly, I have no energy left for that).  Possibly – probably – if I were at some heightened level of spirituality, I would endure this season with more grace.  But I will endure it, with God’s grace.  And when I come to dry land, and Jesus helps me to my feet, my legs will be stronger, my spirit more solid, and the light within me not put out – but burning brighter, so that someday, God willing, I can help someone else find the shoreline.

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Practical Steps to Finding Your Purpose

Trying to figure out who you are, what you’re meant to be, and do? I believe the below exercises from my personal experience can help you!

Take a moment at the end of each day to ask yourself what during the day made you feel most alive, closest to God.  This next bit is important: write it down

Then take a few moments at the end of the week – I usually do this on Saturday before my weekend sweeps me away – and see if you can remember what those moments were.

What moments during the week stand out to you the most as you consider what left you feeling energized and connected to God?  They probably spring to mind fairly easily. 

Now look at your notes from the end of each day.  Which ones did you remember before you looked? Those are important, so make a special note of those on a separate sheet, or highlight them. 

Which moments slipped your mind?  How energized do they make you feel now, looking back on them?  If they don’t really spark anything, maybe you can let them go a bit, or save them for future contemplation.  If they merely slipped your mind but now that you see them you can’t understand how they escaped your memory, highlight them. 

Over time, continue to check this list and see what types of activities and situations continually feel fulfilling, energizing and leave you feeling closer and more intimately connected with God.

These may give you important guidance toward your “calling”!

I’d love to hear/read about any insights you gain from this exercise (which will, of course, take a bit of time, so be patient)!

If you need further help with this, or other help navigating your spiritual development, I’d be honored to help.  Just contact me at AngelaGlickLifeCoach@gmail.com!

Photo credit: ID 74060492 © Marek Uliasz | Dreamstime.com

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Gauge Your Goals!

So.  How are those New Year’s resolutions going, now that we’re a few weeks into the new year?  Are you scoring 100% success on the goals you set?  If so, huge congrats to you!  Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back and give yourself a gold star (really – I do this sometimes)!  But this post may not interest you – yet, anyway.  Come back in a month or two if you need to.

For the rest of us – the ones who are coming close but not quite nailing it the way we want to, or those of us who are really struggling to meet our goals, or even those who don’t remember what their goals were – I have a couple of reassuring thoughts to share.  They’re ideas you are probably already aware of, but sometimes we need someone to remind us . . .

  • Reevaluate.  Consistently and frequently re-evaluate your goals.  I do this every couple of weeks anyway, and again at the end of the month, to keep myself from getting too far off track.  If you’re really frustrated and your goals are so overwhelming at this point that you don’t even want to review them, it’s likely that you have overestimated your time and capacity for meeting your goals.  Take a deep breath and remember that it’s okay!  This is totally fixable!  Tell your ego to hush and let you think . . .  
  • Reclaim.  Make sure the goals you set are your goals, not goals you think you should set because of outside influences.  Be careful that you set goals that you can take full ownership of, that you are motivated to work toward; and know your “why” behind each goal or set of goals. 
  • Resize.  Consider downscaling the goal.  Breathe.  It’s okay!  Downscaling takes courage for some of us!  It’s easy to be caught up in the “new year, new you” mindset and be overly ambitious right out of the gate, then look at our goals and think we must have been crazy for setting them or feel completely overwhelmed and want to throw in the towel.  Don’t give up!  It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. 
    For exampl
    e, if I set out to read one book per month but school is taking more time than I anticipated this semester, or work has gotten crazy busy and looks like it’ll stay that way for a while, I might need to set a goal of one book every two months.  Or maybe I simply need to let myself off the hook for that January book, read what I can, and try again next month.  This is not the same as quitting!
  • Reset.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, set your chin, square your shoulders, and start working toward your shiny new/newly revised and more achievable goals!  (Andpat yourself on the back for adulting like a boss!)
  • Reflect.  Set a reminder on your calendar or your to-do list (or both!) to come back and review your goals regularly, as it works best for you.  Maybe it’s monthly, maybe quarterly, or more often if you need to (and can do so without slipping into perfectionism).  It’s easier to make tiny adjustments than huge ones, so don’t go too long without checking in with your goals for making your hopes and dreams become reality!  And you may even want to bookmark this post or save it somewhere for future reference.
  • Reach out.  If you’re struggling with goal-setting and/or maintaining your goals and you want some help, contact me for a bit of coaching to set you on the right track for your unique needs!

Remember:  there is no shame, only wisdom, in recognizing you’ve overestimated your time and/or capacity for the goals you’ve set, or that life has changed and so must your goals.  By doing this, you can set yourself up for a happy year-end review that enables you to congratulate yourself for learning to set achievable goals, learning to be flexible without breaking (quitting), and making trackable progress toward your long-term goals, rather than having that twinge in your gut when you have to chalk up another year of not effectively moving in the direction in which you want to take your life.

Image Credit: ShortStatusQuotes

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You are not a wimp.

Have you ever found yourself in a season of life when it feels like the universe has just crapped in your Cheerios?  I sure have.  I have been known to rail at the powers that be – God, the universe, my cat – because life just wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to.

Then I grew up a bit.

I realized that wherever I find myself in life, I am the one who put me there. 

Okay, we can get into a lengthy and ultimately unresolved debate about predestination vs. foreknowledge of God and free will, but this isn’t that post.

Also, let’s go ahead and get past the obvious: life throws us curve balls.  Someone we love dies, we fall ill through no direct action of our own, the cat swipes the Lego off the table onto the floor right before we put our foot down . . . sometimes things do just happen without our consent.  Those are not the situations I’m talking about.

So what am I talking about?  I’m talking about when my pants don’t fit “like they used to.”  When I’m broke.  When I feel like someone is sucking the energy out of me every time I find myself within the sound of their voice.  Or when I hate my job – and have for the last six years.

Can we all just take a moment and stop blaming everyone and everything except ourselves and take ownership?  TRUST ME, THIS HAS A HUGE “UP” SIDE!

You may be thinking I’m just being mean, but I promise I’m not.  As always, I have your (and my) best interests at heart!  So, how does that look?

Once we reckon with the fact that we are where we are in life due to a series of our own choices, we recognize that we are empowered to make better choices.

Are you suffering at your job because you’re late to work every day?  Your co-workers are bitter, your boss is annoyed, AND you feel stress and shame every time you walk in late?  Sunshine, you need to suck it up and get out of bed earlier.  It’s a choice.

Are you annoyed with that one friend who always marginalizes her time with you and reschedules 5 out of every 6 times you try to meet up with her?  To borrow one of my favorite lines form Eat, Pray, Love, wish her love and light – and then let her go.  It’s a choice.  (And if you struggle with healthy boundaries, let’s talk!  Seriously.  Contact me.)

Are you so so so so tired of being 8 pounds overweight – and you don’t have a legitimate medical issue, but you just plowed through half a box of Krispy Kreme donut holes?  Sweetheart, math is math.  Stop taking in more calories than you burn – this one is NOT Krispy Kreme’s fault.  I know, the force is strong with Krispy Kreme, y’all, but y’all got this!  It’s a choice.

If you hate the work you do, and every time you bring it up your friends scatter like cockroaches when the lights come on because you’ve been griping about work for the last three years . . . or 6 . . . or 26, it may be time to dust off your resume and go find something else.  Or maybe it’s time to take a step in a new direction by taking a class or two.  Stop making excuses – if you watch more than 30 minutes of television a day you won’t have to give up much here.  (And if you need help managing your time, I’m here for you – contact me!).  Ask your friends what you’re good at besides griping about your job; trust me, they’ll be more than happy to help if it means they get to enjoy your sunny smile again!  It’s a choice.

One I hear often is that folks want to have a better spiritual life, but they’re just too busy.  Honey, you can’t build a meaningful relationship with anyone, let alone the Creator of the universe, if you only make time for drive-through relationships.  Come on in and sit a spell.  Be with Him and He will be with you.  There won’t be fireworks every time, but that’s true in any relationship.  If you spend less time on Facebook or watching television or playing games on your phone, you can probably squeeze out an extra half hour a day for your spiritual life.  At the risk of offending you, the fact is that we make time for what we truly care about.  Ouch!  But it’s true.  And, yes.  It’s a choice.

Detecting a pattern here?

Life isn’t happening to you without your consent.  You are not some wimp being beat up by everything and everyone in your life.  You are not a doormat (unless you choose to be).  You weren’t created that way!

Doesn’t it feel good, though, to know that you can make choices that change how you feel about your life?  Learn to say, “no” to the things that don’t move you in the direction of where you want to be in six months, a year, three years . . . and say “yes” to making time and space for the things that do!

Go ahead.  Start with one good choice today and then look back on it tomorrow and again in a week and see if you don’t feel better!  And feel free to share with me your victories, big and small, related to changing your life in healthy ways!

If you need help with time management, motivation or developing your spiritual life, please feel free to contact me!

Photo Credit: Graphics and More

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2019, Week 1: Nailed It!

As we begin this first full week of the new year, I’m happy to report that so far I’ve met my weekly goals!  Okay, so we’re only one week in, but I’m still calling it a win!  Let me explain why that matters . . .

We all know that many times people make resolutions that don’t stick, in part because they’re unrealistic to start with.  But what about those goals we make that really should be attainable, and we really want to meet them, but somehow we get a month or two into the year and find that we’ve lost motivation or we feel we’re too far off the mark already to be successful?

Here’s why I’m excited to have met my weekly goals; they are designed to move me toward successfully meeting my goals for the year!  If I break down my yearly goals into smaller parts, I can be consistently moving in the right direction, staying on target and seeing that target get closer and closer – which is inspiring and motivating!

Visualize your goal.  Really set it in your mind.  Then work backward.  In order to meet your goal, where will you need to be in September? June? March?  Then break those quarters down into months.  What action can you be taking by the end of each month to move you closer to your goal?  Then break the months into weekly, consistent habits that help you stay motivated.  These weekly goals should set me up for success, so that I feel motivated and excited, because I’m seeing progress.

An example: If I want to read 12 books by the end of the year, I will plan to read a book every month. Since I don’t want to get to the end of the month and be only 10 pages into my 200-page book, I’ll set a weekly goal of reading one fourth of the book, and then a daily goal of a certain number of pages. I may find it helpful to spend 30 minutes or less per day on social media (which happens to check off another goal on my list for 2019) so I have more time available for reading. Important note: I am actually doing this, and while it may sound rigid, it’s the only realistic way for me to meet this particular goal (especially as a grad student who already reads volumes!). That said, I give myself Saturdays as a “catch up day” because, you know, life sometimes gets in the way. Remember, the goal is to set ourselves up for success!

Evaluate the goal.  Check in at the end of each week to see how you did that week.  The same with each month, and then the quarters.  Pay attention to those weekly goals, though!  They set the direction and enable you to make minor tweaks before you’re too far off course.  What’s working? What isn’t? What do you need to do more of/less of to get those weekly goals back in focus?

Have some accountability.  This is a good idea, even if you don’t need prodding.  Accountability partners are those folks we have to confess to when we’re not doing what we want to be doing to reach our goals.  But guess what?  They’re also those people who we get to celebrate with when we do well!  Okay, we’re not supposed to be boastful, but hey – we all like to tell someone about our victories, and that’s the happier side of having an accountability partner!

Be kind to yourself. So, you slipped. It happens! Recognize it, then remind yourself why the goal was important enough to make in the first place. Refocus, dust yourself off, square your shoulders, and . . . begin again! Don’t waste precious time beating yourself up. It just gets you further behind, and puts you in a negative mindset to begin again or, worse, give up on something that matters to you. We all have days and weeks that are less than what we’d hoped they’d be. Accept it and move on! (As you’ll see below, I actually budget my time to allow for those “off” days.)

Reward yourself for meeting your goals.  Use a gold star, smiley face or checklist – something you can see, something you can look back at and note your success when things get a little tricky along the way.  This helps thwart discouragement before it really takes hold.

Your turn! Have you set a goal/goals for 2019? What are you planning to do through the year to move yourself toward the goal(s) you’ve set?  I’d love to hear about it!

Help is available. If you find goal-setting (or, more specifically, goal-achieving) to be daunting and want a little coaching to get you on the right track, contact me at AngelaGlickLifeCoach@gmail.com and let me help you set yourself up for success!

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Give Yourself a Break!

After just finishing up a challenging semester in grad school (and aren’t they all challenging, really?), I’m giving myself this week off!  I worked really hard to make time for some much-needed rest and relaxation, and this time I’m really, really going to do it.  Stop laughing, I’m serious!

See, usually, I *say* I’m going to take the week off and then I book every single day with as much as I can fit in.  I call it the “funnel effect,” and I’m betting you’re familiar with it.  It happens when I have so many things on my “to do” list that I can’t possibly get them done in a day, so they accumulate until I can’t get them done in a week, and on it goes (until I “declutter” my “to do” list, but I’ve already blogged about that).

So when I stop to take a break from school, all the miscellaneous stuff that hasn’t gotten done over the semester funnels right into the space I’ve created in my schedule, until I’m completely overwhelmed again!  So, maybe it’s household stuff, and sure, that needs to get done.  Maybe it’s time with friends, and absolutely, I love spending time with my friends!  Maybe it’s working on my blog, which I enjoy, or tending to some marketing matters for my small business(es) I’d like to grow, and that’s legitimate and helpful to our household.  I’m betting you can relate to the funnel effect, am I right?

But wait . . .

If all that stuff has waited for the last sixteen or seventeen weeks, I’m left wondering . . . why do I try to squeeze it all into the time off that I’ve worked so hard to carve out?!  Maybe it’s important, but it’s obviously not urgent or it would probably not still be on my “to do” list, right?  Some things have been put off during the school term BECAUSE THEY CAN BE PUT OFF.  So that means they don’t all have to get done on my break, either.

I’ve capped off the funnel this time!  I set a small amount of time aside to visit with a couple of friends, I have a work-related project I really do want to accomplish this week, and I’m going to dust our apartment and clean one particular window that’s driving me nuts.  Otherwise, I have a novel I’ve been trying to read for over a year (did I mention that I’m in grad school?) and I *will* finish it on my break, on our balcony, with a cup of tea, possibly in my bathrobe.

I will spend precious time in my studio making beautiful things – some for sale, but much will be for our home and for gifting – because that makes my heart happy, and because engaging the creative part of my brain is an excellent way to de-stress (studies prove it!).  I’ll practice yoga, spend some extra time in prayer and meditation, and do whatever else rejuvenates me, but I’m *not* adding anything new to my calendar or my “to do” list.  In fact, I intentionally scheduled one day with absolutely NOTHING on the calendar or the to-do list, and I may turn it into a prayer and meditation day (super rejuvenating!)

I’m determined to feel like I took a break.  I can do it.  But since I already know this, the reason I’m posting it publicly is to remind you that you can, too!  Someone recently mentioned that every weekend leaves her feeling like she needs another weekend to recover from it.  We’ve all said that, probably.

Busyness is largely a choice, and often is a symptom of weak boundaries.  I know, I know, that sounds harsh.  And it hurts when I have to say it to myself, too.  But it’s the raw truth.  So, go ahead and give yourself a break – all the cool kids are doing it!

So to that end, my faithful followers, I am wrapping up this post and I’m going to head to the studio!  Shalom!

If you need help with life strategies such as stress management, spiritual development, and women’s concerns including painting a victorious new future after overcoming emotional, sexual and physical abuse, please contact me!  We can set something up for next week.  😉