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Become an Architect – Step 3

j0432878“. . .if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face.  But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”  Luke 14

An architect looks at the condition of the soil, what things need to be removed, and what underground restrictions need to be considered in creating a design.

In our personal life, we might need to work through an ongoing anger problem that keeps us from achieving what we want.  Just as an architect analyzes the conditions he is working with, so we too need to analyze what we are working with. What things need to be dealt with, acknowledged or addressed?

 

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Garden analysis to life project

Just as an architect wants to know everything that could potentially impact the design he is creating, so we too want to gather as much information as possible.

What things are your ignoring or are unconscious liabilities that could compromise a new plan of action? For example, if you don’t believe you can, you won’t be able to.

Continue to gather as much information as possible.

In a real gravel pit, before a design is worked out, you will want to know the kind of soil you are working with.  Is it clay, porous, sandy or loam. How stable are the edges. Is there an underground spring that could erode your work or alter your vision? Can it be used as a source for a small pond? Where would you like walkways or paths to be placed?

In using this same analysis for a life project, you might want to ask questions such as:

  • What is the condition of my life right now?
  • How stable am I emotionally and in my relationships?
  • What preliminary work on knowing myself is needed before I can go further?
  • What resources do I have to work with? This includes support as well as finances.
  • What difficulty can be turned into an asset? Example: You may have difficulties in your relationship: what can you learn about yourself that could turn things around? Maybe it is working with that child or teen who is struggling and together finding solutions. Maybe it is simply acceptance of where you are at this moment and moving up from there.

Gathering information

Continuing from Step Two, you now want to identify those things that are complicating your life currently, such as ongoing relationship or marriage problems, ongoing self esteem issues, being in constant defend/attack mode unable to articulate your wants and needs. Perhaps it is discontentment with your job, difficulty communicating, always thinking the worst without balancing it with the possible.

What we bring to our lives today from our past can be like underground springs or hidden deep rocks in the soil. We need to find a way to resolve them before creating that new design.

Laying in the leavesHere are some things that can sabotage your efforts to accomplishment.

  • What labels do you continue to use that were put in place growing up and are not true?

 

  • What do you say to yourself whenever anything isn’t working? Are these negative thoughts from your past? Can you challenge them?

 

  • What do you say to yourself when things are working? Do you sabotage your efforts by downplaying your abilities and accomplishments? An honest appraisal is not bragging. When we brag, it is because we are uncertain of ourselves and have the need to be better than someone else.

 

  • What does your internal critic say to you about you? Operating from the past, we look at problems today from what happened in the past. If our analysis of problems today is based on the facts in the present, we will be able to find solutions.

 

  • What resentments and grievances do we continue to revisit keeping us from thinking in more positive constructive ways?

 

Not addressing these things can result in a landscape design for your life that will be less than what you want.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Exploring the Pit – Step 2

MP900387715“Make insight your priority. . .  Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. . .  if you make insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer. . . God gives out wisdom free.”  Proverbs 2

What is in your gravel pit?

Last week we reflected on who we believe we are.  Now we will take a look at what is happening in your life right now.  Changes cannot be made until we are aware of what is working and what isn’t working and why.

Step 2 – Exploring your gravel pit

Within our gravel pits we will find many things of no value and things that hinder us and keep us from taking more purposeful steps.

Within the rocks and deep pits we can also find the potential for something of value and promise.

Be honest in your exploration. Take ownership. You can’t run away from mistakes or bad choices. Neither can we run away from the harm others may have inflicted on you. There are no quick fixes. Acceptance of where we are is the precursor of making new choices. If we get stuck in anger, hatred, retribution or refusing to let go of what had been, we will be unable to move forward.

 

00437341Each person’s gravel pit will be different.  What life has handed us will require different ways to create peace, hope, and contentment and the motivation to move forward.

 

In your journal titled, My Beautiful Garden, start a new page and Put at the top, Exploring my Gravel Pit.  Put in this section all the things that trip you up and keep you from achieving your potential.

 

Go over the following questions and put together a list of things you want to consider.

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  1.  What losses, hurts or tragedies have scarred your life’s landscape? Perhaps it was a tough childhood, ongoing unresolved family issues, or a deep wounding to your spirit and sense of self.

 

2.  What things from your past continue to create obstacles in your life today? Example: resentment, anger from your childhood, lack of nurturing and care growing up.

 

We are not our past, nor our pain.  Things may have happened to us, but they do not define us unless we allow them.

 

3.  What things from your past are you running away from, resisting, denying, or ignoring? We don’t like to deal with pain, but the only way out of pain is honest acceptance of what has happened and what is happening. What labels, negative self talk or childhood criticisms do you continue to use?

While we need to accept our past, we do not need to accept what was harmful or damaging to our self worth.

4.  What do you need in order to accept? For example: if you continue to hold resentment it will continue to cloud everything you see. It limits you from exploring new ways of doing things and feeling differently about yourself and your potential. Is forgiveness an option? Remember, forgiveness is for you.

 

5.  What current situations are you simply putting band-aids on the problem? Identify your current quick fixes: alcohol, drugs, pain pills, sex, porn, TV, food, etc. Quick fixes are like band aids. They may stop the bleeding for a short while and cover up a wound.  But it doesn’t resolve anything. Band aids only last for a short time and constantly need more and more replacements until we have addressed the problem.

When we look honestly at our problems, we can find ways to make things work for us instead of against us.

 

6.  How would you identify your personal stumbling blocks? For example, not following through, listening to your internal critic, difficulty communicating, not trusting your own judgment or believing in yourself, difficulty making decisions, etc.

 

7.  What is your personal belief about what you can and cannot do? Why do you believe this? What keeps you from believing that you can make a difference, you can turn your life into something more positive, pleasant and rewarding?

 

MP900444381This is just a quick preview of how you currently see your life. What we are looking for are those things that continue to cloud the future, keeps you stressed and feeling stuck. You want to identify whatever is happening that continues to keep you stuck and in an on-going struggle. Until you aware you will not be able to make corrections.

 

Before we can create a design, it is necessary to be honest in our evaluation of what we are working with, what is currently happening and how you are dealing with it.

 

This is not to discourage you. Instead, if we can accept both the positive and negatives of who we are and how we are currently engaging with life, these things can’t sneak up and sabotage our efforts to create a new design for life.

 

Marlene Anderson

 

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Step 1 – Start Where You Are

Woman on Beach Looking at Ocean“God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him; when I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start….”Psalm 18:20 – The Message

 

If I asked you to tell me about yourself and who you are, what would you say?

Typically, our first responses would be to talk about the roles we have in life such as teacher, Mom, CEO, factory worker, mechanic, librarian, physician, etc.

Who am I?

But that is only a small part of our life story. That is merely the outside surface layer. How do you describe yourself outside of those roles?

  • What do you value and believe?
  • What do you think about?
  • What do you like to do and why?
  • What do you hate and why?
  • How would you describe life in general?
  • What creates problems for you?
  • Do you consider them faults and failings that have more power over your life than the unrecognized assets and strong points that are waiting to be applied?

Say Hello to Yourself

Take a sheet of paper and draw a round circle in the center. Add a smiley face and put your name in the middle. Draw spokes leading outward like a sun. Each of these spokes radiating outward is a part of how you describe or define who you are.

As you consider the following questions, write on each of the spokes a descriptive word about you.  Be sure you have a balance.  We are an amalgam of positive traits and those we might see as not so positive.  We are not either/or.  We are a wonderful combination. We have strengths and we have weaknesses.  We benefit from all of them.

 

  1. What traits or strengths would you assign to yourself? For example: Do you see yourself as strong, determined, or hesitating and thoughtful, etc.
  2. Describe some of your social skills. For example: do you consider yourself friendly, shy and aloof or engaging, talkative, social, etc.
  3. What are your predominant attitudes or ways of thinking? (Dependable, trusting, independent, reliable, loyal, positive, etc.)
  4. How would you describe your typical emotional state? (happy, anxious, angry, contented, cheerful, compassionate, etc)
  5. What talents and abilities do you have? (Artistic, computer savvy, athletic, good planner, etc.)

We are a composite of DNA, personality, childhood experiences and the core beliefs we put in place while growing up. We are a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Be as honest as you can and add as many spokes as you need.  You are a wonderful child of God.  Take this image with you as you move forward to constructing a beautiful life.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

Where we Begin

img_0274“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1

 

Last week, we explored building a house and then designing a landscaping plan for your yard.

Landscaping can be more or less a challenge depending on the ground, the soil, what was left after construction and what you do with it. What can be left? What needs to be removed? What can be incorporated into the design itself?

 

Where do we begin?

 

Tatters of our life can often resemble a gravel pit. How do we get from there to a beautiful garden? Where do you begin such a daunting project?

The same place Mrs. Butchart did.

She didn’t just cover up the hole; she used it as her spring board.

If she had just filled the large expansive gravel pit that remained after quarrying ended, it would not be the beautiful gardens it is today.

 

img_0322In examining the steps involved in landscaping, we find some commonalities we need to design a landscaping plan for our lives.

First, what do you have to work with. This requires an honest appraisal of where you are at this moment in time. That means acceptance of the good, bad and ugly without denial, cover ups or excuses. If you do not take this first step, hidden obstacles will slow down you progress or alter your plans.

Second, a desire to make some changes. What aren’t you satisfied with right now and why? What would be different if you made some changes?

Third, with that desire a vision can be created of what you want to do and would you want to have happen.

Fourth, what things are needed to make your plan work.  This includes among other things a cost analysis of time, finances, and support. We may do most of the work, but we need others to assist and support our efforts if only to encourage.

And fifth, become the architect that will lay out the plan that is needed; recognize obstacles and ways to overcome or bypass them.  And then seal it with a signed commitment by you as to why this is important to you. This will stay help keep you motivated.

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In my program, I designed seven steps to complete this project.  Each gives you a brief inventory of what is needed and things for you to consider as you develop your own personal landscape design.

Your Special Journal

Get a beautiful journal and entitle it “My Beautiful Garden”.  As you work through the steps I outline in the upcoming blogs, capture your thoughts on paper.  This is your architectural workbook.  It is an evolving project.

I have been involved in the construction of several homes.  Each design and lot created its own challenges. At first it could be intimidating when looking at a pile of rubble and trying to figure out how you can turn it into something satisfying and inviting.  But it got more and more exciting as you began to see possibilities that your vision grew.  You knew that your landscaping design would not only enhance your newly built home,but serve as an ongoing sense of pleasure and contentment.

The same is true when we stop and look at the rubble in our lives.  But as you step out in creating a life that is both exciting and deeply satisfying, the work ahead of you becomes more and more exciting.

Next week, we will start the 7 step process.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

 

Landscaping Design for Your Life

DSC00360I have a Golden chain tree in my yard that has beautiful hanging yellow flowers every spring. A neighbor told me how much they enjoyed the tree and hoped I would never get rid of it. I assured them I wouldn’t. It was one of my first choices for trees in my landscaping design after building my home.

 

To build a home we need a set of plans. After the house is finished, the next step is taking the pile of rubble and dirt remaining and create a landscaping plan for trees, shrubs, flower beds and pathways.

 

Years ago I put together a program entitled, “Turn your gravel Pit into a Beautiful Garden”, the inspiration coming from Butchart Gardens, in British Columbia, Canada, an internationally renowned garden.

 

Just as you and I can design and build our homes, we can do the same with our lives.  I was inspired by this concept when I researched the beginning of this beautiful place.

 

It began as a quarry owned by Mr. Butchart to extract limestone. When all the elements had been removed, what remained was a huge, expansive hole in the ground – a huge gravel pit. Since the quarry had been on the outskirts of the owner’s property, it was an eyesore to the owner’s wife. Surveying this ugly extensive hole in her back yard, she decided to do something about it.

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With the help of architects and landscapers, she brought in top soil, designed and created what is known today as Butchart Gardens where people from around the world come to see its breathtaking display.

DSC00753What was once a repulsive and desolate pit in the ground had now been turned into a beautiful sunken garden whose paths wind around beautiful ponds of water with ducks and swans floating between lily pads.

Tree branches gently caress the water’s edge and flowers, shrubs and trees artfully placed throughout the gardens draw you into a world of beauty.

When viewed at night the gardens become a fairyland with the trees, paths and flowers lit by thousands of strategically placed lights.

 

Mrs. Butchart took an uninviting and inhospitable place and turned it into a showcase, a place of beauty that fed her soul and continues to touch the lives of everyone who comes to see this marvelous place of spellbinding serenity and beauty.

 

We all have gravel pits in our lives

img_3391– huge, ugly holes created by death or divorce, acts of violence, tragic and lonely childhoods, or simply careless living; and we are left with scared landscapes of indifference, bad choices, losses, isolation, and rejection leaving us feeling desolate, forlorn, abandoned, lost and lonely.

And in our attempts to reconstruct the pieces of our lives, we often get overwhelmed, give up or accept that life will forever be an ugly gravel pit.

 

DSC00758But just as Mrs. Butchart created a world-renown garden from a gravel pit, we can take our lives full of pain and broken dreams and turn them into places of beauty where we are comfortable residing and others want to visit.

We can turn un-attractive and hopeless situations into satisfying, productive and pleasing futures. We don’t scrap it – we use it.

It becomes the backbone for our beautiful garden – positive gardens of hope, light, joy, energy and strength.

 

Next week I will give you some steps to take in creating your personal landscaping plan for your life.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

A New Dialogue

portrait of a young woman standing with arms akimbo in a parkWhat you say to yourself and others has long term consequences.  Words said in anger cut deep.  Words that devalue who you are, your worth and esteem put you in a self-imposed prison.

Communication begins with you to you.  When we esteem ourselves we can esteem others.

As you learn to appreciate who you are, you can assist your next steps forward with positive statements made in the first person “I” that affirm your significance and usefulness.  These confirm your positive intentions for life.

 

I affirm that I have choices and abilities

I  affirm I have worth and value

I affirm that I can accomplish any goals I choose when

I put my heart, mind and hard work to the task

Creating positive affirmations

Discouraging, hopeless and dispiriting messages tear us down. Affirmations reflect our values and principles.  They motivate and encourage us to be the best we can be.

Repeated daily they draw us towards the goals we have established.  They become a new self-fulfilling prophecy.

They also become a new automatic response to adversity and life in general.  They re-train our brain and our thought processes from a negative point of view to one that is positive and affirming.

Here are some possibilities for your consideration:

  • I am intelligent, capable and responsible for all my actions
  • I choose to expand my point of view and focus on what is positive in my life
  • I can become more than any hurtful events in my past
  • I forgive because hanging onto grievances will hurt me
  • I work for excellence instead of perfection
  • I am methodical and careful in everything I do
  • I focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t do
  • I let go of the hurts of the past so I can work on my future
  • I can say “no” and respect my decisions

Take some time and create your own affirmations.  Or use the ones above and modify them to address your special concerns, needs and wants.

Then act them and live them.  Let them guide you to positive new goals.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Wounded People

j0433113I lost a brother last week – sudden – unexpected.

In honor of his death and life, and for anyone who has lost a loved one, I post a poem I wrote in 2008 when I was working with people going through grief – wounded people.

You may have struggled going through a major loss in your life. Or you may be helping a friend who is grieving.  This is for anyone who has been in that position.

Wounded People

 

Need a hand for support as they learn to walk again

Need friends who will be there

Need to know they can honor their journey

Need to have their feelings and experience validated

Need assistance – not fixing

Need someone who is willing to listen

Need acceptance, grace, understanding, compassion

Do not need pity, trite words, or lectures about the future

Need to know they are okay – when someone who has leg surgery they want to know,

“Will I be able to walk again?”

Wounded people need to know “Will I be able to live again?”

Need encouragement

Need to know they are still needed

Need time to recover, sort things through and restructure their life

Need to know they will enjoy life again

Need to know that life is worth living – there is a purpose and meaning

Healing occurs when we allow ourselves to go through the pain,

Are willing to reach out for support when we need it,

To gain the strength and courage to create a new beginning

Marlene Anderson

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Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

Why, What and How

regensberg-10-16We can usually identify what it is we don’t want, but often struggle to put into words exactly what we do want. Until we do, we will be unable to design a plan and stay focused to accomplish it.

Why, What, and How

What have you wanted to do but for whatever reason never got around to doing it.  Maybe you thought about getting more education, or starting your own business or putting time and energy into creating crafts that others would want to buy.

Perhaps you wished you could work for a worthwhile cause that pulls your heart. But life seems so hectic.

These three little words, why, what and how, along with the questions they pose may help you rethink those wishes and wants.  Use them to re-examine them and their importance to you.

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Why:

 

  • Why do I want to do this or make this a goal?
  • Why have I hesitated in the past?
  • Why is it important now?
  • Why do I procrastinate if I say I want it?
  • Why do other things take precedence and seem more important than reaching this goal? (Example: would have to give up free time, become more disciplined and self regulated, continue working towards even when I don’t feel like it in the moment, etc.)

 

Woman filling in a form

What:

 

  • What specifically do I want to do, to have, to attain?
  • What keeps me from doing it? (past attempts, past failures, lack of commitment, etc.)
  • What obstacles, restrictions, setbacks do I face (financial, age, lack of support, determination, fear, unsure, insecurity, etc.)
  • What interferences are there? (Demanding job, family concerns, over committed in other areas, home to maintain, etc.)
  • What would happen if I didn’t make a decision and get started?
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How:

 

  • How will I maintain my other important and necessary commitments (job, family, church, rest, important relationships, etc.)
  • How will I get past those discouraging moments?
  • How will I keep myself motivated when I am tired and alternative diversions become more compelling?
  • How will I define my goal specifically enough so I know exactly how to structure my plan of action?
  • How will I know when I have reached my goal and am ready for the next one?

 

As you think through some of the reasons why you haven’t started on some of those meaningful goals, consider the following.

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Reasons we fail

  • We lack long term commitment
  • We give up
  • We have an initial spurt of energy but not a plan to take us all the way
  • We haven’t taken an honest look at our strengths and weaknesses, accepting all of ourselves as being okay, looking at the past with only the intention to identify repeated errors without analyzing and constructing a way to counter them, etc
  • We haven’t addressed diversions that occur every day
  • We haven’t identified why we haven’t succeeded in the past and put in place ways to counter that
  • We allow old messages to keep surfacing and we begin to pay more attention to them than our new goal: Ex: Do I really want to put this much effort into this program? What if it doesn’t go anywhere and I get nothing from my efforts?
  • We haven’t established our values and have written a mission statement for ourselves.

portrait of a young woman standing with arms akimbo in a parkTrying and failing is never a reason not to try.  If it is important to you, it is worth the effort to try.  You can succeed.

Marlene Anderson

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To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Adjust Your Focus

thumbnailCAOVZJY2Those of you who love to take pictures do more than point and shoot. You are constantly adjusting the lens to take in more of the landscape or to narrow the scope to pinpoint a particular point of interest.

You continue to adjust your focus until you can capture exactly what you want.

You care about the lighting, the angle, the depth perception, and the nuances that give some pictures a timeless quality.

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We adjust the lens of our cameras –

but do we adjust the lens of our camera of life?

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Sometimes our focus needs to be needle sharp, pinpointing a particular problem that requires immediate attention.

At such times we narrow our scope to attend to it, completely obliterating anything else that is happening; such times as when our child is sick, someone is having a heart attack or we find ourselves in a dangerous situation.

At such moments we don’t care if the sun is shining, the birds are singing or the daffodils are blooming. What we care about is the emergency in front of us that takes center stage and requires our full attention.

 

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Other times our focus is broadened and we stop to smell the roses, see the beauty of nature around us and relax in the comfort of knowing God loves us and so do others.

 

Every day when we get up we can adjust our focus.

When we have problems we can adjust our lens to look for those things that will give us the necessary information to work with,pinpointing the cause of the problem and then look for solutions.

Or we can allow our lens to get stuck on what isn’t working and

remain fixed on the problem instead of a solution.

 

DSC00764When our lens is stuck in only one position, we miss the beauty of life that surrounds us, the things that can make our heart sing, the people who enrich our lives, the work of nature that continues to keep things growing and moving from season to season.

We miss the opportunities to try new things, to experiment, to find new experiences and ways to build a positive life. We get stuck on hate instead of love, anger instead of compassion.

You are the camera of your life. You adjust the focus every day.

 

Each moment in time offers us something new to experience – a depth of understanding, a new perspective, a desire to accomplish, a passion to help and share. Within each moment in time we have opportunities that are gone in a second if we don’t focus on them. What amazing things we could accomplish if we allowed ourselves to think of the possibilities and act on them.

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When I get up in the morning I have a choice as to what I will focus on.

I can focus on my vulnerabilities or I can focus on my strengths.

I can feel depressed about what I don’t have or I can rejoice with God about all the possibilities that lay before me.

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I determine what pictures of life I will take. I determine the focus of my life camera.

Marlene Anderson

If you enjoyed this blog post, share with your friends.

Sign up today to receive the entire series:  http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To Receive a Free Consultation for putting together a Personal Plan of Action for yourself,  fill out the contact form beside this blog or send me an e-mail.  I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs or women’s groups on a variety of topics that affect our lives.

 

 

Free to be Me

Young Woman Standing with Arms Stretched OutWhen we feel there are no solutions to our problems, we strike out, hang on to resentment and blame others for our difficulties or distress.  Or we condemn ourselves.

Remaining in that mindset, however, takes away our personal power and keeps us locked in a never ending cycle of bitterness and anger.

Our focus remains on what we can’t do and not on what we can do.

We are a combination of many things: DNA, personality, childhood experiences and the fundamental beliefs we put in place while growing up. We form perceptions of who we think we are based on how we interpret our experiences.

Everyone will be affected differently by life events. While one thing may be an irritant to one person, it can be a positive experience to another.

Completing the stories from our past give us the opportunity to take a more measured look at what happened in our growing up years and how that continues to influence our present day life. Some things made us feel little and insignificant while others motivated us to become the best we can.

As we challenge and speak to those things that made us feel inferior and worthless, we have the opportunity to heal old wounds and put to rest the intense emotions associated with them. Our view of ourselves, the world and who we can become is expanded. We can remember the good times as well as the bad and those that helped and encouraged us. Choosing to let go of our pain and grievances allows us to create a new and positive chapter for our life story.

We are not our past. Our past does not define who we are unless we allow it to. Completing our stories help build a more positive bridge from the past to the present.   It enables us to take charge.

Young Woman Standing Over a Car Engine Bay Checking An Oil DipstickLife can be hard. It is easy to fall into the trap that we are entitled to a happy life and that somehow others are responsible for that. But when we buy into that belief system, we relinquish our personal power and freedom. We are no longer in charge of our lives – someone or something else is.

We are free to choose how we respond to whatever is happening. During the tough times, we can learn how to be resilient, flexible and compassionate. We have the opportunity to think in more positive and productive ways. It is where we accept our vulnerabilities and work with them instead of hiding or denying them. In those moments we recognize our need for God and reach out to Him for strength, hope and courage.

It is during the tough times, when everything is going wrong, that we have the opportunity to become more of who we are than we could at any other time. It is where we stretch and reach higher and grow.

A Letter of Affirmation

Take a piece of paper and write a letter to yourself. Write about all the things you have accomplished and all the people who have helped you. Include the talents and abilities you have. Write about the ways you want to improve and grow. Complete your letter with a faith statement of how you want to live your life and use the wonderful gifts you have been given. Read this letter every day as an affirmation of all the things you can achieve and become.

Marlene Anderson

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