Get your mind off your problems and on the good things happening in your life with these gratitude journal prompts.
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Gratitude can totally change your perspective on life. Being mindful about the good things in your life help you focus on happier things instead of problems. The truth is everyone has problems and we face one problem after another. If you’re waiting for your problems to go away before you can be happy, you’ll be waiting your whole life.
Bipolar is a very misunderstood illness. It’s comes with a stigma. But here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.
Mental illness. It’s almost a dirty word. Okay, so it’s two words. But these days there is a lot of misinformation surrounding bipolar disorder.
So let’s start with the basics. First bipolar is a mood disorder. It creates high (mania) and low moods (depression) in a patient. Psychosis (being out of touch with reality) can also occur during severe episodes. It also affects circadian rhymes, thereby disrupting sleep and furthering the symptoms. The episodes can last weeks or months. It is not uncommon to rapidly cycle between them at the same time. It is created by an imbalance in neurochemicals. Lots of scientific studies suggest it is both hereditary and genetic. However, situational and environmental issues can increase or affect episodes. There are several types of bipolar but two are most prevalent. Type I patients who spend a great majority of time in manic moods and Type II patients who spend most of their time in a depressive state.
Depression can be characterized by hopelessness, specifically a lack of joy or the inability to enjoy things. You can be plagued with thoughts of suicide or self-harm. You can feel excessively guilty, have difficulty concentrating, and may gain or lose weight. In extreme episodes, it includes psychosis which manifests as delusions or hallucinations (both auditory and visual). It’s common for untreated patients to self-medicate through substance abuse.
Mania / Hypomania
Mania is odd because it can be like a euphoric “high” or it can be excessive anxiety. It can include obsessive, racing thoughts. It makes you impulsive and extremely irritable. You can become a thrill-seeker and even sexually promiscuous. It makes you have poor judgement and can result in spending excessive amounts of money. It can cause you to lash out at others and creates long bouts of insomnia.
Okay, now that we are through the scientific and more sterile descriptions, let me say, I was diagnosed with bipolar as a preteen after first being misdiagnosed as a child with major depression. That’s very common at that age.
Lastly, this post isn’t designed to scold anyone. It’s about educating people about an illness that is grossly misunderstood. Here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.
Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know
We Don’t Like Being Called Crazy
This should be a given. But I’m still shocked at how many times people use the word “crazy” to describe someone who has bipolar. It’s really hurtful. We aren’t “crazy.” You wouldn’t call an amputee “stumpy.” See? We feel the same being called “crazy.” We have an illness. It’s a physical illness that affects us mentally. It’s caused by the brain not producing neurochemicals like serotonin. Similarly, we don’t like being asked mockingly if we are “off our meds.”
We Aren’t Bipolar
Allow me to explain. There is such a huge stigma surrounding mental illness, but in particular bipolar and schizophrenia. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve heard people say, “she’s bipolar.” We aren’t bipolar. We HAVE bipolar. You’d never say, “she’s cancer.” It dehumanizes us. We’re aren’t our illness. It doesn’t define us and therefore not our identity. It’s just one aspect of our life.
You Don’t Need to Be Afraid of Us
Contrary to what the media and non-medical professionals would have you believe we aren’t going on a rampage. And no, psychotropic drugs don’t turn us all into mass shooters. Those people have all kinds of contributing factors, including circumstances completely unrelated to mental illness.
Not all bipolar patients are violent. In fact, that’s not as nearly common as you might think. For example, with Type II patients we are far more likely to hurt ourselves.
We Don’t Want to Disappoint You
We hate when we have to cancel on you because we’re sick. We’re just as disappointed. It’s embarrassing – especially if our caregiver (a spouse, parent, etc.) also has to cancel to take care of us. And please, don’t say we should “plan better.” No one plans to be sick. We have no way of predicting when our mood will change and no way of gauging how bad it will be. I don’t even have words to describe how hurtful and abhorrent that is.
Can you imagine saying that to someone who has cancer? Seriously. Imagine someone has cancer and is going through chemotherapy. They have an important function and can’t go to the event after a chemo treatment because they feel horrible. You would never say things like, “well you should have planned better. After all, you knew you had cancer. You knew you were going to have chemo. You should have planned better.” Yeah, it’s that disgusting and insensitive.
We Say Things We Don’t Mean
They say bipolar is the great melting pot of mental illness. It has anxiety, depression, irritability, OCD tendencies, hallucinations, insomnia, and sometimes what looks like ADHD. When we are in a manic stage, we are often impulsive and irritable.
Being impulsive can cause us to not think through the consequences of our actions. When you combine that with irritability, it makes for lots of unkind words. Oh we regret it afterwards, believe me. But in the moment, there is little self-control. We damage and lose relationships over it. It hurts us as much as it hurts you. When those feelings pass, we are embarrassed by the destruction we caused.
Suicide Is Always Knocking On Our Door
This is a really sensitive issue, but it needs to be discussed. We might seem okay. We might even seem thick-skinned. But we are always resisting the urge to kill ourselves. We have a hard time coping even with the simplest of life situations. If something upsets us deeply, we can despair very quickly.
Then there are times when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s exhausting to fight this everyday. We just want it to stop. We want peace. Suicide is a very tempting option.
We Pretend to Be Okay
Most people have heard the old adage, “fake it ‘til you make it.” However, for us, it’s really true. I don’t want to make it seem like we are lying to you everyday. But the truth is we’re always trying to make it through the day. Similarly, it never goes away totally. I’d say we are either better or worse. Medications don’t cure it. They only make it more manageable. Bipolar is a chronic illness and therefore we live with it everyday. We just don’t always talk about it. We deal with it on our own as much as we can.
Those are the things I want people to know about bipolar. I hope I’ve provided some insight on bipolar. If you suffer from bipolar, I’d love for you to leave a comment below about what you would want people to know. If you’re looking for other wellness topics, check out Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage.
Every mom has rough patches. You aren’t alone. I have some words of encouragement to the mama who’s struggling.
Dear Mama who’s struggling,
I know how bad, your day, week…heck, your year is going. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. I know you’re struggling. I see you. Yeah, you in that pile of diapers, tantrums and tears. I see you! With that tween who is discovering boys or that teen who is pushing you away. You may be pretending you’re okay, but that smile doesn’t fool me. I know the days feel long and endless. Hell, this whole stage feels endless.
I know that sounds awful, but you know it has nothing to do with how much we love our kids. Love isn’t the problem, right? We love them, there’s no question. Love is what gets us through the sleepless nights and the days of runny noses and stomach bugs. It’s what makes us sit down to a make believe tea party when we’ve got dishes stacked on every kitchen surface. Love is why we play “dinosaurs” for the tenth time today when we’ve got mounds of laundry piled up like a trash heap. Love isn’t the problem.
I get it. Most days it feels pointless. I mean does anyone else really care if the microwave gets clean or the furniture gets dusted? It sometimes feels like we’re the only ones stressing over the state of the house. And for what? We know as soon as we get it clean – as soon as every last goldfish crumb has been swept up and every last Minion, Dory and PJ Mask figurine has been put in its place, it will all be back on the floor tomorrow. I know it feels pointless.
But I promise you girlfriend, it isn’t pointless. I promise you it matters. You matter! You aren’t invisible. Even if no one praises you, even if there are no accolades. Hell, even if you think you are failing miserably, it matters. YOU MATTER. You matter to those little babies. You’re their whole world. They love you no matter what. I don’t care if you totally phoned dinner in tonight. Even if they are on their last pair of clean underwear, they love you and they’re proud of you.
It’s not endless either. That’s the saddest part. Over the years, your kids will slip away from you to live their own lives. In fact, the older they get, the less time there is to teach and shower them with that obsessive love you feel. Motherhood is the only career where you work yourself out of a job. If you’ve done a good job, they won’t need you. These are the good old days you’ll miss. You won’t ever regret loving your kids instead of doing chores or errands.
This motherhood thing is no joke. It ain’t for the weak! It ain’t for the fearless. The truth is – Motherhood can suck. It can also be amazingly wonderful and everything in between. That’s because it’s a journey. It’s a process. And once you’re a mother, you’ll always be one. I don’t care if you never even saw your baby. If you lost your baby in the womb or at the moment he or she should have taken their first breath. You’re a mama. Motherhood is hard…even on it’s best days.
And by the way, I don’t care if you give your kids Vegan snacks or candy for dinner. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool like me or if they are in public school. You’ve got my respect. Your version of motherhood doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Seriously, if there is anything moms do wrong, it’s judging other mamas. Let’s not do that. We’re all just winging it. We’re all just trying to survive. Trying to make it through this tough season. Mother Theresa said, “If you’re busy judging people, you have no time to love them.” Truth. Just love each other – we’re all learning this mom thing at different speeds, in different ways. There is no one “right” way to mom.
I know you feel guilty. You snapped at them yesterday. Thank God no one saw that. It’s amazing how quickly you can bottle that up if you’ve got a play date or someone you know unexpectedly drops in. I know. I’ve done it too. And if you think the women in your mom’s circle haven’t done the same at some point – they’re lying. Because here is what no one tells you: all moms lose their shit at some point. There…I said it. It’s true.
Even if you are an awesome mom, we’ve all locked ourselves in a room, or a car, or some quiet place alone and sobbed into our hands. Raise your hand if you’ve cried to a husband that doesn’t understand. We’ve all wondered if we’re completely failing at this. We wonder if anyone sees that our life is a mess.
Let me tell you something I’ve learned: motherhood is a lot of work and a lot of second guessing. You might think the moms you know have it all together. They don’t! They just use perfectionism as a masquerade. Trust me, I invented that! My life is a mess. Everyone’s is. They’re very own hot, lovely, perfect, beautiful mess.
Before motherhood, I just assumed that Postpartum Depression was simply feeling down after giving birth. I had no idea just what it caused you to think, feel, and believe about yourself and your child. Today, I want to share with you what no one tells you about postpartum depression.
I’ve suffered depression my entire life. As a bi-polar patient, I was at special risk for postpartum depression. When I was pregnant, doctors talked to me about weepiness and sadness after giving birth. But I never realized just what postpartum depression caused me to think and feel. Early in my motherhood journey, I was surprised to learn what no one tells you about postpartum depression… that it rears it’s head in feelings of irritation, frustration, inadequacy, futility, and loneliness.
You May Not Feel Love or Bond With Your Child
When I was pregnant with my first son, I spent hours daydreaming of his little face. I couldn’t wait to hold him, kiss him and love on him. I’m sure there are women who instantly bond with their child. But I didn’t and post partum depression had a lot to do with that. About 3 weeks after giving birth, I felt like I was holding a stranger. I didn’t know what his cries meant.
I just assumed everything was instinctual – that you just magically know and understand your newborn as soon as they come out. Maybe I was naive. However, I never expected to feel completely overwhelmed, flustered, and frustrated. Who knew depression would increase those feelings exponentially?
Depression maybe a mental condition, but it distresses the heart. It directly interfered with my ability to fall in love with my little boy. It took a while for me to truly feel that loving warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for him. Logically, I loved him, but I didn’t feel the crazy, obsessive kind of love I feel now. If you’re struggling to dote and love your newborn, you may have postpartum depression. The cure? The more you hug and hold your baby the closer you’ll feel…sooner.
You’ll Cry Over Nothing and Everything
With my first son, I was determined to breastfeed. My son was born prematurely and it took 6-7 days for my colostrum to come in. I was so sad that my little guy was having to take a bottle until my boobies got their act together. My weak little boy was burning too many calories trying to nurse and was quickly losing weight. Therefore, doctors suggested I pump for the first month and supplement with formula. I was heartbroken.
There is a saying, “there is no use crying over spilt milk.” I don’t know what the etymology is, but I’m willing to wager it had to do with breastmilk. This stuff is liquid gold! At about two weeks postpartum, I had spent the entire day pumping frequently. I squeezed out 2 oz making a total of 5 oz for the day. While I was taking the flanges off the pump, I accidentally hit and spilt all the milk. Every. Last. Drop.
I shrieked so loudly, my husband came racing down the stairs. My mother came running in. “No! No!” I wailed in a blood curdling cry, like when someone gets word someone has died. That’s what my husband thought had happened. That someone had died. My whole body shook as I sobbed and clutched that pathetic empty bottle to my chest. When I finally calmed down, I explained to them what had happened. They didn’t understand. They stared in confusion, surprised by my dramatics.
No one told me postpartum depression would cause every set back or failure to seem futile. Small problems yielded big reactions. You might think depression makes you quiet and despondent, but depression actually unbalances all your emotions. My reactions were excessive, dramatic, and desperate. In those long eight months of depression, I cried over anything, everything, and nothing.
You May Wish You’d Never Become A Mom
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to admit. It makes me cringe just knowing I had these kind of thoughts. It’s surprising to learn other moms have this thought too. As a new mom, you can feel so inadequate. The first night I brought my son home from the hospital, I had this thought. He cried for three strait hours and when I couldn’t comfort him, I felt as if I’d made a huge mistake. Maybe, I’m not cut out for this. He deserved someone better. Someone who knew what she was doing.
Learning your newborn can be incredibly frustrating. Don’t listen to the hype. Food, sleep, burping, or a clean diaper are just a few things your child wants. They can cry for thousands of reasons and when you can’t soothe them, you can feel like you have no business being a mom. I was very grateful to have my mom after delivery. But when she’d swoop in and take over, it left me feeling even more useless and incompetent.
Depression can make you have all kinds of hopeless thoughts. I had a few miscarriages before I gave birth to my oldest son. So when this thought crept in, it made me feel even more guilty. After all, I wanted this. Now I know, depression causes these thoughts.
You May Feel Isolated and Lonely
Having a child changes your life. A child ties you down. If you’re a new mom, you may even feel anxious about leaving the house with your baby. Routine can be helpful, but monotony can add to depression. Be aware of how much you shut yourself inside.
I remember posting pictures of my first son on social media. You would’ve never guessed how sad and isolated I felt. I was so lonely. The days seemed long waiting for my husband to return home. If you are not returning to work, you may even feel more alone. Work friends move on and suddenly your spouse becomes the sole provider for your social life. That’s not healthy!
Challenge yourself to get out of the house. The more cooped up you are at home, the more isolated you’ll feel. I share the things that helped me in the post How To Stay Sane As A Stay At Home Mom.
You May Feel Anxious or Angry
Postpartum depression includes anxiety. Who knew? Well, technically it would be postpartum anxiety, but doctors don’t really discuss it and most moms I know, experienced it alongside depression. Anxiety often includes unrealistic fears. One mom I know said she was terrified to be left alone with her baby – like her baby was safe with anyone except her. There is a “what if something happens I can’t handle” sort of sensation.
But here is the real shocker: irritability, anger, frustration are components of anxiety. I couldn’t believe I had feelings of anger when my baby cried. I was short with my husband and my other child. Furthermore, I snapped at friends and made snarky comments over the stupidest things. I was irritated all the time and it actually took me losing a friend to grasp how badly out of control I was.
You May Need Therapy or Medication
Postpartum depression is both chemical and situational. It’s a fact, chemical and hormonal changes occur in the body after childbirth. Your body undergoes amazing, but drastic changes to give life to another person. If you choose to nurse, your body suddenly belongs to another person to sustain their life. You may need medication to help supplement or balance those changes. THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATION. You’ll be shocked to learn just how many women take them and it’s a shame they feel they must do it in secret.
Your situation changes after childbirth. You don’t have time for yourself. You don’t sleep. The weight of the responsibility may burden you. Your sex life becomes non-existent. You may be staying home by yourself with baby. Lastly, expectation versus reality may be shocking to you once baby arrives. There are lot of life changes and you have little time to process what that means. Therapy can help you work through those changes. If you are struggling, seek medical attention. Seriously – babies get shaken when you don’t seek help.
You May Struggle To Do Basic Tasks
I was unprepared for this. To clarify, I didn’t realize this was happening for while. I remember when my son was three months and he had a blow out in the middle of Target. It suddenly became a monumental task to change his diaper in a public place. I struggled to work a coffee pot and to get chores done. I felt confusion and perpetually overwhelmed, even clumsy.
Some women refer to it as “mom brain” but honestly, I think it has to do with postpartum depression. Difficulty functioning or being overwhelmed by small tasks might be a sign you are struggling with postpartum depression. No one told me that. Don’t feel ashamed asking for help – ever.
The post, What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression, first appeared on The Unsanity Blog
I’m really proud to welcome guest blogger Koral Dawn. Koral is the captivating writer at The Unsanity Blog, where she shares real-life stories of people surviving and thriving with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Please take a moment to read her blog and follow her on social media after reading Classic Rock Mornings – Your Sunday Playlist. I promise you’ll love her! Give her a warm welcome, y’all!
Hello everyone! I’m Koral Dawn, a social media manager and marketing professional from Washington, USA. No, not Washington, DC; the other Washington on the west coast by California! You can find my blog here. But if you prefer to find me elsewhere, my Instagram is where I spend most of my time: @koral_dawn.
I’ve been recently going through some rough times with depression and anxiety after being laid off from my job that I moved 2800 miles away from home for. I had less than 24 hours’ notice that I didn’t have a job, and my manager didn’t even know until I did, about 10 minutes before. I think you’d be a little off if you were in my situation as well. Things could be worse… we all say that.
To make this story even more unfortunate, the following day, we were supposed to have our inspection of our new home that we had put an offer in on and actually won. We had to back out of everything. No more house, no more mortgage approval, almost lost our earnest money we had put down because we really wanted that home… nothing. Everything was gone, and we had to make a decision to stop the home buying because we didn’t know where we were going to be in a week, let alone 3 months.
Most days we spent it in bed after this happened. Laying there. Tired, unable to move. No motivation to really get up and do anything for a good solid 2 weeks. We didn’t know what to do. We had a planned vacation back home to PA coming up in 3 weeks, and no one was going to want to hire us if we were leaving for almost 2 weeks to spend with family. We were going to have to wait until we came back from that to really start the hunt for jobs. At that point, I was the most miserable person of myself that I have ever been.
Fast forward to now, I have not landed a job yet with an employer, however, my fiancé has. He finally got a call for a job interview and is now selling cars at the Ford dealer a few towns over and is so far winning at it. So the good news is we can stay in WA for now… and hopefully buy a home next year instead. It’s a little more complicated since we’ll be married by then but that’s okay – we’ll work it out!
So, what I’ve done is compiled a playlist that helps me wake up on Sunday mornings when I’ve had a rough week or even just a rough day: Classic Rock all the way! Now, I wasn’t born in the 70’s or 80’s but my mom lived through it, and this is the music I grew up listening to day in and day out and it reminds me of the good old days with no worries, no responsibilities and no problems to care about except what to wear to school the next day. (Don’t we all wish that could be the main problem in our lives now? Adulting sucks.) I hope you enjoy it and can find some relaxation/good memories in the songs as well.
For those of you that have Apple Music – I’ve made my playlist shareable so you can download to your iPhone and listen along with me Sunday Mornings. Find it here: Sunday Morning Classic Rock
Travelin’ Man – Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Slow Ride – Foghat
Riders on The Storm – The Doors
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Crazy Love – Van Morrison
Peaceful Easy Feeling – The Eagles
My Home Town – Bruce Springsteen
Jack and Diane – John Mellancamp
Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh
Lay Down Sally – Eric Clapton
I’m Alright – Kenny Loggins
You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
This Is the Day – The The
Paradise by The Dashboard Light – Meatloaf
Here Comes My Girl – Tom Petty
Long May You Run – The Stills-Young Band
For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
The post, Classic Rock Mornings – Your Sunday Playlist first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.
The post 50 Journal Prompts, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the link I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog.
How Journaling Can Help
Journaling can be a wonderful way to discover yourself. Journaling is a record of your feelings and perceptions at a certain point and time. You can learn a lot about yourself when you pose questions that challenge you to be truthful about life events. Some people don’t know where to begin, so I’m providing 50 journal prompts.
Years ago, my psychologist encouraged me to write in a journal. I was surprised at my emotional arch while writing. It was awkward at first. It makes your feelings real and tangible. Putting it down on paper challenges you to face how you really feel about something. Subsequently, it brings hidden and undiscovered feelings to the surface. In short, writing helps you to process those emotions.
To clarify, you can start journaling by simply writing about your day. However, there may be times when you may have an uneventful day or simply don’t need to write about it. That is where journal prompts can be valuable. Here are 50 journal prompts to get started!
How to Get Started
You don’t need anything fancy. Ordinarily, some people like myself, love using a beautiful notebook in which to write. However, you certainly don’t need that. A simple spiral notebook is all you need! That said, maybe you don’t care for actual writing. No problem! These days, there are lot of digital options. For example, the iTunes app store has great digital journals like Momento, Daylio, and Day One Journal.
50 Journal Prompts
Describe your earliest childhood memory
What do you want your children to remember most about you?
Who do you want to be in five years
What are three things you would do if you weren’t afraid?
What is the one thing you can’t forgive yourself for?
A moment you wish you could change
What do you love most about your hometown?
How do you picture retirement?
Something that still hurts you.
What were you doing ten years ago?
When were you most proud of yourself?
Write a list of 25 things that make you feel good.
Describe a time you learned from a mistake.
What was your first impression of your significant?
Who do you look up to right now?
What scares you most about dying?
Write about your first kiss.
Describe your best memory of your maternal grandmother.
Give your younger self advice.
Recount a time you were falsely accused of something.
Describe a time you had to make a difficult decision.
How do you picture retirement?
Something you wish people knew about you.
Write about your greatest childhood fear.
What would be used against you if you ran for political office?
Write a letter to your future self.
What were you doing ten years ago?
Explain how you’ve changed in the last year.
Recount at time you most proud of yourself.
Describe a time you learned from a mistake.
Detail a nightmare that still disturbs you.
If you were president of the United States, what would you change?
Write about someone who is difficult to get a long with in your family.
What was your first impression of your significant other?
Who do you look up to right now?
If you could speak to someone you’ve lost in death, what would you tell them?
Describe a time you had to end a toxic friendship.
Write about your worst habit.
How do you feel about your marriage / relationship?
What advice would you give your younger self?
Write a “letter” to someone with whom you are angry. What would you say?
When was the last time you were angry?
What needs forgiving in your heart?
Recount the first time you defied your parents.
Describe what it was like to be a child of your decade (60’s, 70’s, 80s, 90s)
Are you struggling with self-esteem and confidence? Maybe you are disappointed in yourself or struggling to forgive yourself. In those moments, it helps to remember who God says you are.This year, I’ll be offering a monthly scripture reading plan. Join me for the January Scripture Reading Plan: Identity In Christ
Today, I’m sharing something close to my heart – our identity in Christ. I wish I could say that 2018 had been kind to me, but honestly it was a hard year. First, I had a complicated pregnancy, followed by a hard birth and my son’s club foot treatments. Secondly, I’ve had severe postpartum depression. Lastly, I experienced a toxic friendship which ultimately left me without friends or my beloved mom’s support group.
Harsh words were exchanged and sadly, the situation made me question every aspect of my personality, my qualities, and my identity. In those moments, we can believe the enemy’s lies or we can choose to remember our identity in Christ.
Losing Our Identity
It is very easy to get caught up in what the world thinks about you. Our image and reputation becomes important to us starting as children. It’s formed by assumptions, accusations, criticism, popularity, and rejection. Soon, it becomes our inner voice and how we see ourselves. It’s the ground work for insecurity, negative self-talk, and low self-esteem.
Maybe a parent or teacher didn’t think much of us. Those words have a way of haunting us even years afterwards. But here is the good news. Our non-Christian identity is not our true identity.
The world is quick to label us. For example, the world says I’m a woman. I’m a minority. I’m middle class. The world has called me a “know-it-all,” fat, an overachiever, and condescending. According to the world, I’m not normal because I have bi-polar. The world will say I don’t measure up and that I’m unworthy of love and acceptance. Maybe you have heard similar things. But your identity in Christ is far from what the world thinks.
God’s Unstoppable Love For Us
The beauty about our identity in Christ is that it is not dependent upon our accomplishments or failures. The love and acceptance we have in Christ is not dependent upon us or our deeds. It is freely given by a loving and perfect God.
It’s hard to remember, especially when we don’t have the love of the world. After all, if people can’t love us as we are, how can a perfect God? He sees everything I do. He watches me when I’m haughty and self-righteous. He knows when my tongue goes from surly to downright venomous.
Thankfully, God does not love as people love. His love is unconditional. He loves us even when fail to measure up. Mankind revokes grace and mercy when we repeatedly fail. But His grace is new every day (Lam 3:22-23).
Certainly, I have asked if God truly loves me at my worst. Isn’t that what we all want to know? How much does God love us and does He love us when we fail at everything we touch? When Paul asks, “can anything separate us from the love of Christ,” haven’t we all wondered that?
The apostle Paul professes in Romans 8:38-39 (NLT):
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Enemy’s Voice
People are going to say mean, hate-filled things to us and over us. We will never be able to stop people from doing that, but the enemy will try use it against us. He knows how insecure we can be and therefore, he will remind us of every fault, mistake and flaw to keep us trapped in a web of self-loathing. He wants us paralyzed, convinced we are unloved.
It’s almost embarrassing to say, but I was there. Over the last several months those words haunted me every day. I truly felt hated – like I was the worst person alive and I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. That’s just what the devil is hoping for too.
The enemy wants to steal your joy, kill your confidence and destroy your spirit. He wants you broken, confused, defeated, desperate and exhausted. Christ however, wants to give you goodness and give it in abundance. If you doubt that for one second, read John 10:10:
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest.
God has good plans for us (Jer 29:11). To clarify, this does not mean we never experience hardships or cruelty from others. It means those things no longer have power over us.
Remember this – no matter what someone calls you, no matter what someone says you are – God says different!
Who God Says You Are
Finding these scriptures was a fun exercise, because honestly, I could have done this for a year! The more I read, the more excited I get.
God says you are:
Anointed (1 John 2:27)
His child (1 John 3:1-2)
Accepted (Rm 15:7)
Included (Eph 1:13)
Forgiven (1 John 1:9)
Justified (Rm 3:24)
Adopted (Eph 1:5)
Blessed when you come and go (Deut 28:6)
An oak of righteousness (Is 61:3)
Marked with His Seal (Eph 1:13)
Chosen (1 Pet 2:9)
Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13)
Worth dying for (Rm 5:8)
A conqueror (Rm 8:37)
A soldier in the army of Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4)
Ordained and Sanctified (Jeremiah1:5)
A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
Appointed (John 15:16)
His heir (Eph 1:11)
Free (Heb 9:15)
A priest (or Priestess) (1 Pet 2:5)
Redeemed (Is 44:22 / Ps 111:9)
Precious (Is 43:4)
A Saint (Eph 2:19)
An Ambassador (2 Cor 5:18-30
Without blemish (Col 1:22)
A temple of the Holy Spirit (1 For 6:19-20)
Reconciled (Eph 2:8-9)
Feel better? Me too.
Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10)
The post January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ first appeared on My Beautiful Mess
Join me in February for Love and KindnessScripture Reading. In the meantime, learn more about making wellness a priority in the post 30 Day Wellness Challenge
Learn how to avoid failed resolutions and get goal setting ideas with the help of a free printable and 100 Goal Ideas for the New Year
(Photo Courtesy of Unsplash)
Goalsetting. It can be a daunting task. Some people avoid making resolutions altogether because they didn’t accomplish them in the past. If you’re looking to set goals, but don’t know where to start, I’m going to give you some hints on how to achieve them and 100 Goal Ideas for the New Year.
Deciding to Change
First let’s be honest. January 1 is not a magical day. Neither is Monday, for that matter. The truth is, you can begin where you are right now. I think humans are innately inspired by organically occurring changes, like seasons or the new year. Certainly, there is something about the newness of Spring coming and the desire to become clean and organized.
Once fall starts, it seems like we are perpetually busy – even more than the rest of the year. It’s a constant stream of obligations, parties and events. Therefore, finding time to create habits in an already frenzied season, is extra challenging. Many people are discouraged by that and consequently choose to wait until the New Year to begin.
Changing Your Mindset
Our brain is a recorder. It remembers how we handled commitments and resolutions in the past. If you never buckle down and finish anything, your brain remembers that and it prepares to be flaky. If you have failed at goals in the past it might be because your drive is based on motivation rather than commitment. Motivation is temporary. It fizzles out. It’s based on feelings. Commitment is different. Commitment means that you do something regardless of how you feel. It isn’t dependent upon inspiration.
That’s why keeping small commitments to yourself is so important. You may not realize it, but you are creating a habit. Following through on obligations not only builds integrity, it builds character and it creates the habit of accomplishing things. If you habitually flake out, you’re programming yourself to be a quitter. I used to have this problem. To be clear…I was lazy. I put as little effort as possible into things and I constantly backed out of obligations.
People who know me now, might find that hard to believe because I’m the exact opposite today. These days, I’m often called an “overachiever!” But that is because at the age of 23, I decided to change that deeply rooted flaw.
How To Set Goals
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate setting, you’ll often hear about the acronym S.M.A.R.T. Initially, I rolled my eyes at another corporate buzz word. But over time, I have found it to be incredibly helpful when it comes to setting goals. S.M.A.R.T. Basically asks the questions: Who? What? How? When?
Goals should be specific. Being specific helps you map out exactly how you plan to get to the desired result. For example, instead of saying, “I want to be healthy,” break down exactly what that means to you. Does it involve losing weight? If so, how much? Does it mean cutting out carbs or replacing soda for water? Maybe it means you work out 3-4 times per week. Be specific about what it is you actually want.
When I decided I wanted to be a cleaner person, I made a list of what that meant. Where was I habitually messy or lazy? For me, it meant putting things away immediately after I used it. It meant doing the dishes every night. No excuses! It meant putting my clothes strait into the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor or draped over something. What specifically do you want to change?
Goals should be measurable. You should know when you’ve reached the end. You should also know if you are making progress. I have found the best way to do this is by writing goals down and finding someway to track progress.
First, if you have a large goal in front of you, I suggest breaking them down into smaller milestones. Secondly, consider there may be many ways to measure your progress. For example, if your goal is weight loss consider tracking inches and dress sizes as a way of measuring your progress. Some weeks the scale may not move, but your tape measure will!
This should go without saying, but your goal should be attainable. No, I’m not trying to be a dream killer. I want you to dream big! Seriously, set your sights high! But lets be clear. Dreaming and goal-setting are not the same thing. Goal setting is about mapping out a realistic way to attain that big dream!
To clarify, let me get personal for a minute. My dream, my big dream is to grow this blog you’re reading. I want it to become my full time job! That’s good, but first I need to set some attainable goals. Subsequently, my goals should be to grow readership and commit to an editorial schedule. Goals should stretch you, but should also be within reach.
Lastly, consider obstacles. What stands in the way of obtaining your goal? Perhaps you tried before in the past. What caused you to fail before? If it’s time management, think about how you will prioritize your schedule. Create a “plan B” or give yourself options for when you get stymied. In other words, if you are prepared for obstacles beforehand, you’ll be less likely to give up when they stand in your way.
Relevant simply means that it is germane to your overall business or life outlook. For example, if you want to live a long, active, healthy life, then fitness goals and nutrition goals are going to be a part of reaching that life aspiration. If you want a greater income, then that promotion goal is going to be necessary. In other words, look at the big picture and decide why these goals will help you create the life you want. If you don’t have a strong “why,” you are less likely to follow through to the end.
Finally, your goal should be bound by time. In other words, you need to give yourself a deadline. That doesn’t mean a random date. It should be carefully calculated. For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 50 pounds. To set a deadline carefully consider how many pounds you can reasonably expect to lose each week, then calculate how many weeks it will take to get to that goal.
On the other hand, you may be doing a goal only for a certain amount of time. For instance, maybe you decide to drink only water for 30 days as a detox. Similarly, you may commit to a 90-day exercise challenge. Either way, your goal should have some sort of time boundary. Even if your goal is a lifestyle change, set a time frame and once you reach it, reset the time again.
100 Goal Ideas for the New Year
Here are goal ideas. You should consider how to specificially tailor them to you. I’ve broken them into ten life categories.
Mental Health / Wellness Goals
Address addictions (smoking, drinking, overeating, pornography, social media, etc)
12. Donate one trash bag of decluttered items per month
13. Create a cleaning schedule
14. Figure out a system for keeping a messy area, clean
15. Create a pantry or freezer inventory
16. Keep obligations and be on time to events
17. Completely reorganize a closet
18. Create an organization system for paperwork
19. Reduce waste and disposable items in your lifestyle
20. Give everything in your home a place
21. Reduce “eating out” budget by $X
22. Create and maintain a budget for 12 months
23. Reduce or pay off one of your debts
24. Save for an emergency fund
25. Track every dollar spent
26. Save for a vacation
27. Create multiple income streams
28. Create a retirement plan
29. Use cash instead of debit and credit cards
30. Reduce your student loan debt
Diet & Fitness Goals
31. Eat less fast food
32. Reduce calories
33. Exercise 3-4 times per week
34. Learn a new sport
35. Do a 30-Day diet challenge
36. Lose one dress size
37. Drink 8 glasses of water per day
38. Reduce / cut out carbohydrates
39. # of Steps per day
40. Participate in a half marathon or full marathon
41. Make a war binder
42. Keep a gratitude journal
43. Commit to going to church every week
44. Read one Bible verse per day
45. Complete an act of kindness or service every week
46. Commit to a ministry for one year
47. Keep a positive attitude
48. Practice and make time for regular meditation or prayer
49. Make friends within the church
50. Read the bible from start to finish.
51. Have better sex / Sex more often
52. Commit to a regular date night
53. Replace couch potato time with engaging time together
54. Complete couples devotional together
55. Practice supporting your partner
56. Travel together
57. Show regular appreciation & squash out complaints
58. Focus on practicing regular forgiveness
59. Volunteer as a couple
60. Pray together
Hobby / Skill Goals
61. Learn to draw
62. Learn one new thing a day
63. Learn a new language
64. Learn woodworking
65. Complete a DIY project
66. Learn how to cook
67. Read more books
68. Learn photography
69. Learn to grow your own veggies and herbs
70. Learn an instrument
Business / Career Goals
71. Update your profile and stay active on LinkedIn
72. Produce more “x”
73. Read one business or career-related book per month
74. Create and organize your paper or digital filing system
75. Go completely paperless
76. Increase social media followers by “x” amount
77. Mentor someone
78. Learn a new aspect of your industry
79. Send thank you notes to people who help you
80. Create a healthy work/life balance
Personal Development / Psychological
81. Become more proactive
82. Stop dwelling on the past
83. Remove false / toxic friendships
84. Practice being more agreeable (getting along with others)
85. Increase confidence / self-esteem
86. Become more generous
87. Accept flaws
88. Overcome anxiety
89. Practice being slow to offend
90. Live with an attitude of forgiveness
91. Learn a new word a day
92. Increase your IQ
93. Learn one history lesson a week
94. Improve geography skills
95. Take online classes
96. Refresh your grammar and spelling skills
97. Read a book a month / join a book club
98. Learn about a subject you’ve previously struggled in (physics, math, etc)
99. Read classic literature for one year
100. Read poetry
I sincerely hope that this post, 100 Goal Ideas for the New Year helps you slay goals. I would love to hear what your goals are for the New Year. Make sure to subscribe via email to receive your FREE Goal Slaying Worksheet to help you obtain your goals for 2019!
Staying home is a big decision for any woman. It’s hard to stay sane as a new stay at home mom. It doesn’t matter your background, although I think the more you’ve invested in your career the harder it is to give it up. Some women can’t stay home. It takes two incomes to make ends meet and there are some mothers who view staying home as giving up their independence. I’ve learned, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. You actually have to be extremely independent to be at home. It can be a very lonely road. There are no awards or commendations. No raises or promotions if you did an extra good job this year. And truly no sick days! I’ve learned it takes a very special person to do this and enjoy it.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I left a 50-hour a week job. It was a very stressful job full of confrontation and lawsuits. Moving from the corporate world to being at home was like shell shock but after lots of trial and error, I’ve learned what works for me. Here are some practical things that helped me stay sane when first started staying home. I hope they help you find your own way.
Create Routines and Schedules
My job was appointment based and so while I was working, I lived by a planner. When I quit my job, I threw it out. Who needs a planner at home, right? My first 6 months at home were awful. Let’s just say, I couldn’t get a handle on anything. I couldn’t keep up with chores. Laundry piled up. Dishes were stacked in the sink. I’d double booked myself or forgot appointments altogether. I felt unaccomplished and overwhelmed.
Then I discovered a Happy Planner. It’s a planner, except you can customize and decorate it. You may not be a planner person and that’s fine, but I will tell you that creating regular routines are good for both you and baby. You choose how stringent or relaxed you want it. Babies and toddlers do well on routines. It’s good for their circadian rythyms. When they know what to expect, it reduces anxiety and tantrums. They feel secure and you can better manage responsibilities without feeling frazzled.
Leave The House Often
I get it. I know how awful it is to leave the house with an infant. You feel like your packing for a 2 month trip across Europe. But the more often you go out, the more confident you’ll get doing it and eventually, it won’t even seem like such a big chore. This is key to staying sane as a stay at home mom. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easier to stay home, but I promise it will do both you and baby a world of good! You’ll feel like a prisoner in your own house if you don’t. I recommend one outing a day.
Meet your husband for lunch, visit parents or in-laws, or have breakfast with a friend. Take a walk with the stroller. It doesn’t even have to be outdoors. Walk a mall or shopping center. Target seems like stay-at-home mom hangout everywhere. You can stop at a coffee shop or schedule a play date with another mom. If you have shopping and errands to do, I recommend spacing them out one per day. You get a break from your house and one outing ensures it won’t be overwhelming. If it’s a very quick outing, make it easier on yourself by just bringing a diaper clutch. It’s scary at first, but over time it will become second nature.
Find Support With Other Moms
The most shocking thing about being a stay at home mom hit me at about six months. My phone stopped ringing. Maybe you’ll have a different experience than I did, but I was absolutely shocked by this. I was very quickly forgotten by friends and colleagues after a few months away from the workforce. I’m not blaming anyone.
When you have a baby, your life changes. It’s common to stop accepting invitations shortly after giving birth. After all, you’re not sleeping and you’re trying to find your feet. After a while, people stopped inviting me altogether. Severe post-partum depression compounded my loneliness. I didn’t have any friends in the same stage of life as me, but then I’m an older mom. Sadder still was that my poor husband, although supportive and attentive, was suddenly solely responsible for all my social and emotional needs. If you want to strain your marriage, this is a great way to do it. No one person can be your everything.
I needed friends. Not just any kind of friends. Friends who understood why it took me a couple of hours to leave the house and was still late. I needed friends who understood all the doubts and second guessing you do as a mom. Friends who force me to leave the house and have some fun. I needed mom friends. These days, if you don’t have any you know personally, you can find play date groups in Facebook groups, Meetup.com, churches, and local websites. I can’t tell you how my life changed when I made non-judgmental, supportive mom friends. I found out I wasn’t weird, inadequate or a failure.
Only in the last 50 to 60 years have women been in the workforce. Before that, all women were at home and had the support of other women at home. Your mom, sisters and neighbors were all at home too. They’d talk over the fence while they hung laundry on the line or did gardening. Women didn’t have to look far for support. Now women are divided between home and work. Those who choose to stay at home may feel alienated because we no longer have the support system we once did. But some awesome women out there have created mom and play date groups to help, so go join one!
Make Your Wellness a Priority
When my oldest son was about 8 months, I felt miserable. He was sleeping through the night, but I was still perpetually exhausted. If I’m being very honest, I had no joy either. I felt depleted in just about every way you can. That’s when I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself anymore. When you have a child, your focus goes from yourself to another person in an instant. That’s good, but don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself and you have to make it a priority. If you wait for it to happen organically, it won’t. Trust me. Don’t give yourself crumbs either. Make it a priority.
This means being deliberate and purposeful about making time for yourself, even if you have to pencil it in a planner. Talk to your partner and get them on board. Whether it’s exercise, a mom’s night out, or a long bubble bath, do things that bring you peace, restoration and fun. There are lots of ways to take care of yourself and I’ve written another post with a free printable if you need ideas. I used to think that “love thy neighbor as thyself” was just about another person. But it’s actually two commands in one. You can’t give what you don’t have and you can’t teach what you don’t know. Practicing regular self-love is about caring for yourself, so you can care for others.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
Attitude matters. When I was working, I went through a season of joylessness. I was working in insurance and was very unhappy that I wasn’t working in my field of study – psychology. But that’s when God revealed to me that I was using it, just not in the capacity that I had planned. Everyday I helped people recover when their house burned to the ground or was completely flooded. I was there when family members died. I was, in fact, doing the very thing for which I trained. Everything is a for a season, and it’s up to us to embrace the moment. To put it plainly, your happiness is up to you.
Some days you’ll have to dig deep to find it. It’s hard to remember there should be joy in this. It’s hard to remember why you’re doing this when the house is a mess, babies are fussy and toddlers are on the ground in a full blown fit. You’ll find yourself fantasizing about how perfect working was, even though it’s completely untrue. You had bad days there too. There will be days you need to adjust your attitude. Learn more about how to stay sane by Resetting Your Day as a Mom. Our kids grow up fast and these will one day be “the good old days.” The small things you do everyday are our children’s memories. Make it count, because their lives will be spent away from you longer than they were with you. Enjoy this season and bloom where you’re planted.
Give Yourself Grace
I saved this for last on purpose because it’s the last thing I want you to hear (or read, that is). We’re on our own journey. Your life should look like your own – no one else’s. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t homeschool and bake pies. It’s okay if your life isn’t Pinterest worthy. Trust me when I say Facebook, Instagram and other social media are full of moments that only make the highlight reel edit. It’s an illusion of perfection. Comparison will suck all the joy out of life. Don’t do it.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself grace for mistakes and learning. Make forgiving yourself a habit. Allow yourself to be human. Progress is more important than perfection. Just when you think you have the answers, children will change the questions and the learning begins again. Some days are going to be incredibly hard. Keeping little humans alive might be the only thing that gets done and that is perfectly okay.
Recently, I parted ways with Facebook. It was time for a social media detox. I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, but I needed to take a break from it and reclaim my time. Therefore, I decided to quickly amputate myself from the negativity that seemed to fester there. You can read more about my departure and why I left in my post Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook
If you’re not sure if you want to take the plunge, you don’t have to deactivate your profile. You can simply delete the app from your phone and other devices and log out of your account so that you will have to manually sign in. It seriously reduced temptation to check it all the time.
I’ll be very honest, the first few weeks I quit were hard. I wasn’t sure how to replace social media in my life. For that reason, I created a list of activities to help pass the boredom. Whether you want to break up permanently or just have a trial separation, here are 30 ideas you can do instead of logging onto your profile. I did one every day until I finally broke free of the addiction. I’ve included the free printable30 Day Social Media Detox to help you offline. Good luck!
Take the Challenge:
Day 1: Write a letter to a friend
Day 2: Take a walk or hike
Day 3: Exercise
Day 4: Start a journal and share your thoughts there