2022 Mood: Sleeping in the Boat

Much like these followers in Mark, we tend to ask the Lord: “God, don’t you care about us!? We’re going down!” All while it seems like God is sleeping…

That day, at evening, Jesus said to his followers, “Come with me across the lake.” 36 So they left the crowd behind and went with Jesus in the boat he was already in. There were also other boats that went with them. 37 A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides and into the boat, and it was almost full of water. 38 Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The followers went and woke him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!”

39 Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm.40 He said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Mark 4:36-40

This passage is so interesting. Jesus asks his followers to come with him across the lake and then a storm comes. Let’s pause there.

When we follow Jesus, it isn’t unexpected that we may encounter “bad winds”. Much like these followers in Mark, we tend to ask the Lord: “God, don’t you care about us!? We’re going down!” All while it seems like our Savior is sleeping…

So, for those of us who want to be more like Jesus, are we also called to sleep in the midst of bad winds? That would be a great mood for 2022!

We don’t know what 2022 has to offer, but we do know we can sleep despite the storm. How do we sleep?

Here are 3 mindset shifts that can help us sleep in 2022.

Understand that answers are unnecessary.

While it may seem like knowing what’s going to happen next would be required, the answers actually aren’t all that important. Sometimes, the more we know… the less we understand.

The key to sleeping in the midst of storms is to develop a relationship with the one who does know ( and actually decides) the answers: The Lord. As we grow deeper and more connected with the Lord, we come to know his gracious, kind, gentle, loving nature. This relational knowing is crucial – as storms come, we aren’t swayed because we can rest in the understanding that we are loved and protected, and nothing can ever change that.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. | Matthew 11:28-29

Keep an eye on the next right step.

Do the next right thing! This is a mindset I try to remind myself of often. Managing the big picture is exciting, but it can be quite overwhelming when lots of things are happening at once.

A simple way to sleep in storms is to just do what’s next. Often, the next right thing to say a quick prayer, take a deep breath, or shed a few tears.

In this passage, Jesus’ followers took the next right step for them and asked for help. Consider taking a moment now to do the same.

Remember how far you’ve already come.

Come on. We can do hard things! We’ve been through storms like this before.

Yes, those are things I say to myself quite often when I’m tempted to quit. I highly recommend reminding yourself of how far you’ve already come. When we remember all that we’ve been through, we become encouraged to pursue another win. We can do this. We’ve done it before.

More importantly: God can see us through this. He’s done it before.

Okay, I’d like to hear from you! What helps you sleep in the boat?

Sit Down Somewhere: Discerning what is Yours To Do

Say it with me: Every problem I see is not mine to address.

Whew! That is a hard fact to accept for those of us that feel called to literally change the world. And even if you aren’t compelled to change the whole entire world, I’d be willing to bet that there are some situations or even (and especially) people in your life that you would be thrilled to change.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman in my neighborhood. As I was inquiring about lessons he’s learned over the years, he said a common phrase that I heard growing up when myself, my sisters, and cousins were getting a bit rowdy: “sit down somewhere!”

Who knew those three words could be such a powerful motto? Sit. Down.

How can we determine when we need to have a seat?

We can figure this out by looking at the opposite of sitting down: getting up, running around – simply doing too much. Doing too much could also be known as over-extending.

According to good-old Google and Oxford Languages, to “overextend” is to impose an excessive burden of work or commitments. When we over-extend ourselves, we take on an excessive burden.

Here are a few signs of over-extension:

  1. Getting less quality sleep – The key word here is quality. We know we’re getting quality sleep when we wake up feeling rested and ready for the day ahead. On the contrary, waking up feeling drained and still tired is an indication that the sleep isn’t quality.
  2. Lying to yourself and others – This could look like promising yourself that you’ll get to an item on your to-do list or make time for self-care and then continually not doing it. It could also look like agreeing to deadlines that just don’t work.
  3. Yes is your favorite word (ever – like in the whole entire English language). But seriously – When is the last time you said no?

Alright, so now that we can see the some of the ways we may overextend, let’s revisit our definition: to overextend is to impose an excessive burden of work or commitments. This gets especially dangerous when we start taking on work that is not even ours to do.

The serenity prayer is an excellent compass.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

If we break this down, we can get a sense of what’s actually ours to do and when we need to have several seats.

OURS TO DO: Accept the things we cannot change. This includes people (their minds, thoughts, behaviors, desires, goals, etc.) You can, of course, share your perspective and walk alongside others.

NOT OURS TO DO: Change things I cannot – do the work for others.

OURS TO DO: Ask God for courage to change the things you can. This is all YOU! You can change your own mind, thoughts, behaviors, goals, etc.

NOT OURS TO DO: Go through life without seeking the wisdom to know the difference.

Try this: The next time you encounter a problem, challenge, or request that you feel responsible to address, pray the serenity prayer. Get clear on what is yours to address and what simply needs to be accepted. Do your part, and then have a seat.

What are your thoughts on over-extension? What to do you to ensure you’re in your own lane?

surrender: the freedom of not knowing

If nothing else has shown us our lack of control, 2020 has. We do the best we can, but there’ll always come a point when there’s not much else to do. There will always come a time when the only option is to surrender.

Breathe. Stretch. Shake. LET IT GO!

Y’all know that song? Well, that line is one of my mottos for 2021.

If nothing else has shown us our lack of control, 2020 has. We do the best we can, but there’ll always come a point when there’s not much else to do. There will always come a time when the only option is to surrender.

What is surrender?

For the longest time, I thought surrender meant giving up – losing. And losing voluntarily isn’t really my style, so naturally, surrender wasn’t a concept that I embraced. But – through time, trials, and some research, I see the beauty of it.

Eckhart Tolle describes it perfectly. Allow me to share his words from his book, Stillness Speaks:

When you fully accept that you don’t know, you give up struggling to find answers with the limited thinking mind, and that is when a greater intelligence can operate through you. Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.

To surrender is to admit we don’t know. That admission prompts us to ask questions. In the process of asking, we learn.

compare these scenarios:

Scenario A: It’s the first day of class. Howard enters with the assumption that he has nothing to learn. He figures he already knows exactly what the teacher is going to say, so he tunes out the lectures and his classmates. Howard leaves the class with the same mindset, beliefs, and level of knowledge he came with.

Scenario B: It’s the first day of class. Howard is excited to meet his teacher and dive into the material. He is curious and open to expansion. Because Howard knows he’s in class to learn, he pays attention to the lecture and the questions being asked. Howard take notes and adjusts his life, based on the information he learns.

WHICH SCENario will work out best for howard?

Yes, Scenario B! Howard is much better off with an attitude of surrender, or allowing himself (his mind and his life) to be transformed by the class.

The unspoken agreement on the first day of class is that students walk in expecting to learn something new. That process would be seriously interrupted if folks walked in thinking they already knew everything.

I see life a lot like class, and it’s easy to slip into autopilot and approach life like Scenario A. We, human beings, often forget [or refuse] to pay attention, learn, and adjust as necessary. No wonder we get stuck!

Good news: It’s okay to get stuck. There is another way.

Life becomes a lot less stressful WHEN we understand our position as students.


Surrendering is about getting a clear view of ourselves and of God. We are students, expecting to be shaped by the Lead Teacher, God, and the loving lessons He has for us. A willingness to humbly apply what we learn is the key to moving forward.

Let’s face it: Learning and growing sounds nice, but facing our lack of control is a real challenge.

Here are 3 tips to practice waving your white flag:

  • Understand your identity as a Beloved, Child of An Almighty God. Yes, those are a lot of adjectives, and each of them is important. Let’s take a closer look.
    • Beloved: dearly loved
    • Child: below an age of maturity
    • Almighty: having complete power
    • God: Love; creator and ruler of the universe; the Supreme being

Sometimes, it’s hard to surrender because we don’t quite understand how much God loves us. In this life, we are adults with adult responsibilities. So – it makes sense to forget we’re still God’s children, in the process maturing. Understanding that (1) we have a lot to learn and (2) we are dearly loved by an all powerful God empowers us to gladly surrender our desires.

  • Start the day with giving it away. This one is quite simple. Giving away the day could look like saying, “God, take this day. Have your way. I trust you.” Of course, change up the words to fit you and your personal relationship. In whatever way works best for you, make the decision to let go before anything happens. When situations come up throughout the day, remind yourself of your decision.
  • Look for the lesson. Remember that everything is for your good – that is your growth and development. Literally everything. When times are tough and it seems like there’s nothing you can do, remember your position as a student. Ask yourself, “what is this here to teach me?” And take notes!

What does surrender look like for you?

For My Fellow Introverts: How Spending Time Alone Makes Us Better Friends

Have you ever agreed to going out after a super long day? If you’re like me, that doesn’t go well. The key to handling introversion is to prioritize time to re-charge, even if that means skipping out on an outing with friends.

Have you ever agreed to going out after a super long day? If you’re like me, that doesn’t go well. The key to handling introversion is to prioritize time to re-charge, even if that means skipping out on outings with friends.

I know, I know. It’s hard to say no! Considering the current circumstances around COVID-19, many of us don’t have a choice. So here are a few ways this time alone can help you be a better friend.

1. Spending time alone gives you energy

Being introverted doesn’t automatically mean you hate being around people. It means that you need alone time to recharge. Has your social battery ever died while you were out? Not a good feeling.

When we don’t have enough time to recharge, we’re burnt out, and we aren’t able to contribute in meaningful ways. And if my word isn’t doing it for you, here’s a professional opinion: Psychologists agree that you’re better off staying in every once in a while, because going against your natural inclination to be alone isn’t what’s best for you or the group.

I often feel pressured to say yes to plans when my heart wants to be solo. And in these cases, my attitude isn’t great. I’m thinking I’m doing my loved ones a favor, instead of enjoying the gift of their company. That isn’t fair.

2. Spending time alone gives you an opportunity to think about what you want

I tend to go along with what other people want. They want to eat at Zaxby’s, so I go along for the ride. I need to process my thoughts and feelings alone. It’s hard for me to process how I feel and endure the feelings of my friends and family. That’s a lot!

When I prioritize my alone time, I give myself a chance to reflect on what I need.

When I know what I need, I can make clear requests. Remember: clear is kind. Making my requests clear to the people in my life is easier for me and them. They know how to show up for me and can trust me to communicate authentically. Sounds like a recipe for a strong friendship!

3. Spending time alone gives everyone a break.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Take one for the team and create the absence that’s necessary to strengthen your bonds. Spending too much time together can drain everyone. It’s good to take a break, so you can remember why you’re friends with these awesome people in the first place.

And if you’re worried that taking time for yourself might hurt your relationships, you might want to reconsider whom you’ve chosen to be in your life. Just saying.

The more in touch you are with yourself and the more aware you are of your needs, the better you are at being a friend. There will be another event. Trust me.

What’s been your experience with taking time for yourself in relationships? Do you know when you need a break?

How Cheering for Other People Actually Helps You

What are you giving? Good vibes or icky ones? Don’t get me wrong. Jealousy is a normal, very human reaction – but it doesn’t feel very good. It feels a lot better to be inspired by victories than to be intimidated.

I was a cheerleader in high school. I’ll be honest, the cute uniforms and movie-based stereotypes inspired my decision to try-out. But as time went on, I actually got a thrill out of cheering on my school’s teams and encouraging fans to do the same.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much I still enjoy rooting for other people. For instance, the last time I cried was due to an American Idol singing audition. I watch videos like these in my spare time because I get a kick out of seeing people meet and even exceed their life goals.

Usually, we (humans) do things that benefit us, so I began thinking: what is it about cheering people on, that I love so much? Why do I enjoy seeing other people win? I knew there had to be a reason, so I did some digging. By “digging”, I mean I took a minute (or two) to think about my patterns of rooting for others and what it does for me.

When I witness other people receiving more, I take it as a sign that there must be more for me too.

In previous posts, I’ve written about the importance of perspective – this ties in perfectly.

Consider a conversation I had with a friend. Let’s call her Sharon (not her actual name). Sharon was telling me about a new employee at her job. Apparently, most people in her office were upset that this newbie was coming in and making more money than people who had been in their position for almost 7 years longer. The fact that people responded with anger wasn’t what surprised me. What surprised me was this: some suggested that this new person be paid less rather than asking for more for themselves.

We get what we give.

What are you giving? Good vibes or icky ones? Don’t get me wrong. Jealousy is a normal, very human reaction – but it doesn’t feel very good. It feels a lot better to be inspired by victories than to be intimidated. Usually, feeling better about something is a sign that it actually is better for you. In other words, being happy for someone else boosts your own confidence and inspires to you to chase similar results.

Need some cheerleading practice? Try these simple actions below and observe the effects.

  1. Give someone a compliment – It’s so easy to notice a cute shirt, but not say anything to the person wearing it. Try expressing your positive energy!
  2. Help someone out – Is the new guy at work having a hard time finding the supply closet? How long would it take you to give some quick directions?
  3. Shout someone out – Did your colleague do an excellent job on a presentation? Send out a quick email recognizing her for her hard work! You never know how this simple deed could inspire others to recognize you in the future.

Discovering Gratitude: Have you said, “Thank You” today?

When all is well, it’s pretty easy to be in a space of thanksgiving. I mean, it’s a natural response to experiencing the highs of life. But what about when it seems like life isn’t handing out any lemons for you to make lemonade with?

“You can choose to become the source of attitudes such as gratitude and responsibility (rather than waiting for the events of life to inspire you to adopt them).” l

Gay Hendricks, A Year of Living Consciously

When all is well, it’s pretty easy to be in a space of thanksgiving. I mean, it’s a natural response to experiencing the highs of life. But what about when it seems like life isn’t handing out any lemons for you to make lemonade with?

If you’re like me, you may find that you become super distressed and anxious when life doesn’t go exactly as planned. I found that being thankful actually helps me navigate the ebbs and flows of life.

A little over a year ago, I started my practice of gratitude. It’s pretty simple: Every day, I list 5 things I’m thankful for.

Thinking of a 5-item list of what I’m thankful for is pretty easy to do when I’ve had an awesome day. On not so great days, I get really creative about what I have to be thankful for. I come up with things like my eyesight, my ability to blink, and the fact that my brain is functioning well enough to even write my list.

In a short amount of time, I’ve experienced these benefits of practicing gratitude:

  • I notice the little things.

This is the biggest change I’ve seen in my life. For example, have you ever noticed how beautiful a tree is? I think trees are breathtaking. I’ve been walking past trees all my life, but it took me about 22 years to actually see them. Before I started being intentional about writing down what I was thankful for, I was so consumed with my “stuff” that I failed to see the beauty of life’s simplicity. When I got creative about all the abundance that exists in my life, I saw things in a new way. For you, it might not be trees. I challenge you to start this practice and re-experience what’s already around you!

  • I express my appreciation to others.

It can be pretty hard for me to tell others how much they mean to me. That’s a pretty vulnerable act for a hardcore scorpio like me (LOL). However, as I began to take note of what I love about my life, it became easier for me to communicate that same gratitude to the important people in my life. And as you may know, expressing your appreciation for others can help strengthen and deepen your relationships.

  • I pay less attention to my problems.

I won’t lie to you and say that I never get bogged down about life. I will say that consistently training myself to switch over to an attitude of gratitude has helped me to focus on the good (and there’s a lot of good). What we focus on grows, right?

Today’s Challenge: Write down 5 things you’re grateful for.

Try it again tomorrow!

5 Practical Ways to Build Confidence

We all know confidence is important, but how many of us were taught how to get there?

Trigger Warning: the first sentence of this post is a blanket statement.

We all know confidence is important, but how many of us were taught how to get there? In my post, “What are you made of?” I talked about how our level of confidence affects the way we respond to life. Now, let’s discover how to actually build that confidence.

Maybe many of us really are confident. However, I’d be willing to bet that some of us are faking it until we make it. Look – this is a judgement free zone – we all fake it sometimes (ha).

I don’t think pretending to be confident is bad at all. There’s actually evidence that shows that just sounding more confident can improve how others perceive you – makes sense.

But if the goal is to actually be confident, some work has to be done. Here are 5 Practical Ways to Build Confidence:

1. Help someone else.

Volunteer. There’s nothing like experiencing how much you have to offer others. Sharing your gifts is a great way to acknowledge your unique strengths and abilities.

2. Don’t be afraid to say, “party of one.”

Spending time with yourself is a sure way to develop confidence, because you realize how great your company is! The first time I took myself on a date was during my freshman year of college. I saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I absolutely enjoyed the way I talked to the screen, gave unsolicited advice to Katniss, and jumped dramatically during all the intense scenes. If I was with someone else, I’m not sure I would have noticed these quirky and super wonderful things about myself.

When you take some time to enjoy your presence, you begin to develop your interests and find out more about the activities you enjoy.

3. Establish a self-care routine.

The key word here is routine. Regularly meeting your own needs is a great way to make sure your confidence is in-tack. Self-care looks different for everyone, and it’s important to find what’s best for you. If you’re new to this, here are some activities that work well for me:

  • Going for a run
  • Practicing yoga
  • Writing in my journal
  • Lighting candles
  • Dancing to my favorite tunes…solo.

4. Make a mistake, and learn from it.

Perfectionism is tough. Unattainable expectations take a toll on self-esteem. Mistakes are signs of growth. I like the phrase, fail forward.

Reconstructing how you view failure can boost your confidence. Did you see Will Smith’s video on failure? He talked about how the most successful people fail a lot, take the lessons, and consider them added wisdom. Think about the last mistake you made. How are you better now because of it?

5. Say Yes!

It’s an easy word on paper, but putting it into action can be a beast! If we pay attention, we’ll notice how many opportunities come by and how many we pass up because of our fears. Saying yes, even when your comfort zone screams in agony, is the one of the best things you can do to boost your confidence.

What’s your confidence level? What are some things you do to keep it sky high?

What are you made of…?

“Confidence and a made-up mind are the stuff kings and queens are made of.”

(Vanzant, 2018).

I studied Psychology in undergrad, and I learned a lot about perspective. I remember being amazed to learn how two people could experience the exact same event, but interpret it in completely different ways. Usually, how someone interprets something is directly connected to what that person is made of.

Here’s a scenario: Let’s say Confident Cathy and Insecure Isaac walk into a crowded classroom and see people smiling at them.

  • Confident Cathy’s Experience: “Oh, people are smiling at me. They must want me to join their table.”
  • Insecure Isaac’s Experience: “Here we go again. I knew I shouldn’t have worn this shirt. They’re laughing at me.”

Cathy and Isaac witnessed the same smiles, but had completely different experiences of them. Do you sound more like Cathy or Isaac?

The truth is, we don’t know which interpretation was accurate. In fact, it doesn’t matter what the smiles actually meant. We can’t control the actions or intentions of others. We can only control our response.

We respond based on what’s inside us. What would it take to make sure confidence resides in you today?

Not sure? Try the power pose! I’ve tried it before my presentation and interviews, and it actually works. For more on the power pose, click here.

The Beauty of Needing Nothing

Let’s face it. Being needy has a bad rep, rightfully so. Take a second and think about the qualities of a needy person. Are they fun to be around? Chances are, they aren’t. And if we’re being honest here, we’ve all suffered from the “needy syndrome” at least once or twice in our lives. And that’s ok.

We’re here to learn and improve. Admitting we have a problem is the first step, right? So let’s admit it. Say it with me: I am capable of being needy. GREAT JOB!

Now that we’ve admitted this less than desirable characteristic, we can do something about it.

Neediness is about fear.

The more fearful we are, the more we cling to other people, things, and ideas that leave us stuck. And brace yourself for another hard truth: our fear is usually about our insecurity. As much as some of us like to pretend, we aren’t totally secure with ourselves. Think about it. Who are we without that awesome job, impressive degree(s), speedy car, or hot partner?

The purpose of losing in life is to remind us that our identity is not in what we have or the things we lose. I mean if we can lose something, we must not be that thing – right?

Yes, You Need Food and Water

The concept of “needing nothing” can come off as quite odd. Of course we need some things – we need food, water, and shelter.

Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow, the American Psychologist, all humans have basic needs. In short, the most basic of needs are food, water, warmth, and rest. We also have needs for safety, love, and esteem.

This isn’t about attempting to live without food and water, although some people do, which is a post for another time. What’s important is distinguishing our wants from our needs and ultimately understanding that our true identities are not found outside of ourselves. Most importantly, the more content we are with our realities, the more we attract.

Worry comes when we begin thinking about the past or the future.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more for ourselves and our families. But becoming consumed with what we don’t have (our “needs”), produces worry and fear. And worry and fear do not lead to the awesome results we long for.

We’re human, and it’s normal to feel stressed when we go through tough times. The good news is that we don’t have to be confined to a normal life experience! We can change our perspective. In this moment, we have all we need.

Now take a second and imagine what it would feel like to be totally secure and content with who you are — right now, in this moment. Feels good? That, my friend, is the beauty of needing nothing.

Agree or Disagree? I’d love to hear from you!

The People Pleaser’s Guide

Are you a people pleaser? If you can identify with these three traits, you’re probably preoccupied with pleasing others.

Trait 1: You cannot say NO. 

People pleasers tend to avoid saying no at all costs. 

Here’s a scenario: Ann had an incredibly long day at work. For the past 8 hours, She’s been imaging going home, having a hot cup of tea, and relaxing with her pup. As soon as Ann gets off work, her sister calls and asks for her to babysit. Without giving it a second thought, Ann pushes her need for rest to the side and agrees to spend her night caring for whiny, precious babies.

Ann can say no to her sister, and so can you. I know it’s hard, but it’s possible. What keeps people pleasers stuck is putting the needs of others above their own. Does Ann sound familiar? Keep reading.

Trait 2: You don’t know what you want, and if you do, you’d never ask for it.

People pleasers have a hard time identifying what they want. This is usually because they are overwhelmed with the expectations of others.

If you have a hard time expressing or even knowing what you want, you might be a people pleaser. 

Trait 3: You’re super uncomfortable with the idea of someone not liking you.

The key word here is “super”. It’s expected to be uncomfortable with someone not liking you. As humans, we want to accepted. That’s fine. It becomes a problem when the fears not being liked cause you to pretend to be someone else.

If you find yourself worrying about if people like you before you even ask yourself how you feel about them, that’s a PPP (people pleasing problem). 

OK – so you’ve determined you’re a people pleaser. Here are some tips for you!

Tip 1: Take some time to figure out what you want. 

One of the most difficult and confusing aspects of being a people pleaser is not knowing what you want. The key is getting away from the noise and figuring out what you want. In most instances, the noise is the thoughts and opinions of others. 

Homework: The next time you have a decision to make, before running to your friends, family, or therapist about what you should do, take a day or two to write about it. Be still and listen. List out all your options or make a pros and cons list. After you develop your own perspective, ask for input from others. After listening to them, take what you like and leave the rest! The choice is yours. 

Tip 2: Set and express your boundaries.

Boundaries are incredibly difficult for people pleasers. If you’re a people pleaser, it’s likely you haven’t spent much time enforcing your boundaries, if you’ve thought about them at all. 

Master self-respect by setting healthy boundaries.

Once you establish these boundaries, stick to them faithfully. When you are clear about your boundaries, it becomes easier to see who and what works for you. 

Warning: If setting boundaries is new, it’s normal to feel guilty for abiding by them. As you continue to practice, it becomes easier. 

Homework: Work out your boundary muscle by saying no today. Here are some simple and subtle ways to say no:

  • I have other plans.
  • Maybe next time!
  • No thanks. 

Tip 3: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. 

The key to finding your own voice and breaking free of your people pleasing ways is getting around people who love you no matter what. When your circle values you for you, agreeing about everything becomes less important.

Suffering from a PPP? Try the homework from Tip 1 and Tip 2, and tell me how it goes!