Friday, January 23, 2015

5 practical things to do when you feel like giving up (on life)

"It's always something."

That's what my mom would say when she finally solved what at the time was the biggest problem in her life, only to be faced with an even bigger biggest problem in her life. One thing after another. It's always something.

Then of course if you have 7 children, all of their problems are your problems too. But you don't have to be a mom to feel like your whole life is crashing down into a little pitiful pile of dust.

Whether you're a student, you work full-time, you're in ministry, a stay at home mom, an athlete, working part-time or any overwhelming combination of these, you have probably at some point felt like giving up.

So here are 5 practical things to do when you feel like giving up...on life.

1. Unplug.

When I think about all of the time I've lost that I could've spent growing, learning or sleeping, I can't help but notice that I spent most of that time on my phone or on my laptop.

Example. When I first get in the house after a long day,  I apparently like to reward myself by "unwinding" or scrolling down one all of my social media news feeds.

Time seems to move at a mysteriously quick pace when you're staring down at your phone. And if I know I need to get started on an assignment, I'll just convince myself I'll get started at the next hour
on the hour.

"Ok its 8:42, I'll start this paper at 9:00."
Next thing I know it is 11:15 and I am looking over at my sister Rachel like-

Sometimes we're stressed out because we are not seeing the results we want to see. We aren't getting that 4.0, we aren't even getting that 3.0, we aren't even getting get it. We keep failing at work, a promotion isn't even an option, we can't get or keep a good job. We can't get in shape, we can't make the changes we wanted to make, we just can't EVER WIN.

Unplugging isn't limited to social media. Television and movies included.
There is always going to be a show people swear you have to watch because it's just The. Best. Show. Ever.

There is always going to be something new to try, listen to or buy. Sometimes you just have to unplug and miss out on a few.

Besides, you could be missing out on precious sleep.

2. Pray

And I am sure you have heard it before. But it's true! Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we have shared what we are going through with everyone BUT God.

And then most people's advice is not even that good anyway and it just sends you running full speed back to Jesus.

Like when you're really broke and getting hungry and the super spiritual person tells you, you can just not eat, like Jesus (instead of actually giving you any food.)

Or the person who literally gives you the worst advice ever, like "just go on a shopping spree, you'll feel better."


Like I seriously can't even believe you just said that.

3. Go outside

Be active. Relieve some stress. Play a game. Chill out.

Remember how happy we were as kids when all we did was play outside?

Take a walk, shoot a basketball (if you're me, miss,) play catch, do something. There are a few games I love to play, actually I love to play pretty much all games, who am I kidding? But I know which ones really get me going.

Example. Ping pong. One does not simply walk past a ping pong table without playing.

4. Give.

Sometimes we are extremely busy with work and school or parenting or just life in general and we feel like we are in way over our heads.

Work and school don't feel rewarding. They feel draining. Volunteering locally or serving at church on the weekends is a great way to make you feel like you have accomplished something. To make you feel like not everything in your life is meaningless.

5. Give up on life.

Wait. Give me a chance.

I know.
The bible says

We can get so caught up in living our lives that we forget everything we are doing is supposed to be for Christ anyway. It's not really about us. God wants us to surrender our life to Him. Not a part of it and not just our Sunday mornings.

So don't feel bad if you need to repent and tell God that you are sorry you tried to do everything on your own, that you need him and you're...well you're giving up on life.

Now you're cooking with peanut oil.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

7 easy steps to help you find what you are good at (and help you be good at it)

I don't understand why the things I am naturally good at can't also be the things that are formally recognized as useful skills. For example: sleeping in.

Yeah, whatever!
Hitting 'snooze' on my alarm clock, rolling over and falling back into the deepest of slumbers is hands down one of my best skills.

This is an area where I thrive. I didn't need lessons or an instructor or even a mentor to perfect my ability to stay asleep for hours after I am expected to get up. But noooo, sleeping too much is frowned upon. I hate to say it. But hey, I didn't make the rules, I just follow them.

Tell me about it!
So I am forced to find deep within myself, a talent I actually possess, that is at the same time...good? I remember my mom always used to say she hated this quote about choosing a career, "Find what you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life."

"But I love watching TV!" she would say.

Mom. Relax.
You're taking this whole love thing entirely too literal. They don't really mean what you love to do.

They mean, out of the things that you can actually stand to do some of the time, do any of those happen to produce some sort of revenue? Yeah? Ok, that's it. That's the one.

You got it, ma. Now go for it.
So if you have a friend group, or you at least have a couple of people you follow on Instagram, who you would love to someday hang out with, you have probably experienced the feeling that you have to be good at something.

So look no further friends (and Instagram people dying to meet me) (just kidding.) Here are 7 easy steps to help you find what you are good at and help you be at good at it.
• • •

1. Broaden your list of possible skills.

Classic, man.
But seriously. There are other things to do besides being a:
  • photographer
  • singer
  • musician
  • dancer
  • make-up artist
  • hair stylist
  • graphic designer
  • model
  • actor
  • minister
  • business owner
  • rapper
  • Youtuber
  • blogger
  • digital media-er
  • clothing designer
  • a finger nail designer
  • writer
  • skateboarder
  • or a painter.
I can't think of any right now because that list was extremely long, all-encompassing and exhausted just about every skill I've ever heard of ever.

But don't be fooled. There ARE others.

Ok. Here we go. I got one. 

A babysitter.

2. Don't overlook your gifts.

Don't even think for a second that being good with kids comes easy to everyone. Uh-uh. YOU are ridiculously good with children for a reason. Some people are terrified at the thought of changing a diaper. You think it's all cute, you baby sitter, you.

I remember I used to really want to write, but I was ashamed to be a writer because "everyone can write," I thought. My sister was like

No "they" can't.
She said I only think writing is so easy because it comes naturally to me. She was basically like- "Holly, you're all like...

And we're all like-

3. Stop comparing yourself to the best of the best.

Do you think I'm as good of a dancer as Michael Jackson?

Of course you look up to the experts in your field, but do you honestly expect to just come out the womb thriving like they thrive?

All together now!
I would know. In that same conversation with my sister, I told her that I am no where near as good as other writers. And because she knew what shows I watched at the time and was already familiar with what impressed me, she asked, "Who are you comparing yourself to? Mindy Kaling?"

"Of course not," she said. "Look how much experience she has." She reminded me that I can't put a limit on what God wants to use me for. And more importantly, I can't put a limit on God.

Thanks Joy.
4. Remember the reason you have great skills in the first place.

God gave us gifts so that He may be glorified.

 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
[1 Peter 4:10-11]

If something you want to be great at feels like a burden, maybe you're not doing it for the right reasons. 

I heard someone say (and this is probs in the bible, but I'm too lazy to look it up) once you boast about something, God cannot reward you publicly, because you already received you reward when people said, "Wow, you're so good at that."

Spare us.

God's desire is for us to bring honor to Him, not ourselves. He desires this because He is much better at rewarding than we are.

5. Don't copy anyone else.

Last night at bible study my pastor was talking about how, when you get in someone else's lane you are automatically working under an insufficient amount of grace. God gives you supernatural, appropriated grace to do just what he called you to do, not for you to complete someone else's assignment.

Besides, people will notice if your new skill is an exact replica of that other person's skill, who y'all both know.

Especially if your thing just randomly pops up right when they were doing their thing.

Just stay in your lane, ok?

6. Stay away from pyramid schemes or tying to sell something you didn't create.

I'm not sure why but I have a feeling that your thing is not tricking people into paying $99 for a protein shake so that you can earn back a portion of the $99 you lost when you bought the dream.

God has more for you, seriously.

7. Be obedient.

I never write a blog post, without consulting God first. I don't want to just pull something random out of my hat and release it into cyberspace then all of y'all are doomed. Lol.

Sometimes God will even tell me to wait before I post something, because there is more He wants to reveal to me before I try to just piece things together as they make sense to me. This can even be hard at times because I feel like I could post something everyday if I wanted. But I have to remember to be obedient and ask God what he wants me to do.

Well I hope you feel motivated to channel your unique, especially designed for you, one-of-a-kind skills. If you have any questions, just ask. You can probably guess what I'll be doing...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

3 Obvious Signs that God is in it

1. It aligns with His word. I remember when I first gave my life to Christ, I went through a period of wholeheartedly seeking God. It was awesome because I found promised (Jeremiah 29:13.) It wasn't long after that I realized He held all the answers to my future. Naturally I had questions about my future and I wanted the answers. So I would regularly ask God two types of questions.

  1. Specific questions about my future. 
  • What should my major be? 
  • At what age will I get married? 
  • Who will my husband be? (Can you just show me him for now...I don't want him yet.)
  • What will my career be?

     2. Questions about whether He approved of my lifestyle.
  • Should I be doing this? 
  • Is this in Your will? 

And if I didn't think God answered the question I would just keep asking and asking. As I mentioned, I was coming from a season of spending hours in prayer, so I would literally spend hours asking all of these questions? Eventually God answered me. He answered my specific questions about my future by saying that I was still concerned with who I thought I should be, opposed to who HE thought I should be. And until I could fully surrender myself to Him, knowing the answers to those questions wouldn't necessarily help me. 

I'm not saying it is bad to ask God specific questions and I'm not saying He is incapable of giving a specific answer, but that is not what He did for me at that time. He told me that I just need to trust Him and His plans for me. If I really trusted Him I wouldn't be so determined to figure it all out now. I didn't have faith in God's timing and I wasn't familiar with trusting anyone else with my future. I wanted to see it with my own eyes.  

He also said the answer to any question I have can be found in His word. So any question about my lifestyle was addressed somewhere in His word, it was my responsibility to look it up and seek guidance. Honestly, I used to ask God questions I knew the answer to. In fact, any time I said, "God should I be doing this?" it was a pretty good indication that I shouldn't be. It's kind of like my rule with the way I dress, if I have to ask, "Is this too tight? Too short? Or too low?" I just don't buy it. Besides, I wouldn't want to walk around feeling uncomfortable all day.

2. I can't believe I'm only on 2. If you can tell (legit) people about it. The bible says: 
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 
[1 John 1:7]
God wants us to live in the light. Before I got saved, I did a lot of stuff in the dark, I didn't tell anyone what I was doing so I became a very private person. Before I got saved, I could've never had a blog lol. At least not about anything legit. Now that I abide in Christ, I don't do things that I am ashamed of, so I can tell people about what I am doing. 

I don't have to hide my relationships. I don't have to hide my hobbies. I don't have to tell little lies about where I was at or where I am going. If you don't feel comfortable fellow-shipping with other Christians about it, that might be a clear sign that God is not in it.

3. It forces you to grow. God does not desire for us to stay the same (Ephesians 4:15.) If we were supposed to stay the same, we wouldn't need God. We all fall short of His glory and our walk with Christ is just that, a walk. We're not just standing here, recognizing that God is real, but not allowing Him to mold us into His image. 

When God is a part of your relationship, your business, your career, your plan, your life, He is going to challenge you to grow in it. He desires to take us to new depths, from glory to glory, so we can't get too comfortable at any one place.