Hope Does Not Disappoint (even when we do)

The stomach virus has struck our household this week, both boys down. I hope your week has been much less eventful.

I am posting a video that my friend, Cindy Landham sent me earlier in the week. Cindy is a Heath and Wellness coach and I had the privilege to be a part of one of her classes not too long ago. To learn more about Cindy, click HERE.

To preface this video and how it pertains to our discussion on Boundaries the past couple of weeks, I wanted to share that change is hard. Often, it is the most difficult part of any recovery, even lack of boundaries. It's hard work. Know that you will go two steps forward and one step back. You may even "give up" only to return because there is something inside of you urging you on. So you try again. Each time you try, whether you are dealing with boundary issues, eating issues, or addiction issues, know that you are one step closer to reaching your goal. All steps are progress no matter how slow. The only time you truly fail at something is when you permanently give up, never trying again.

I'll just be transparent here. I struggle with food. To say I struggle with my weight is an understatement. I have and do feel like a failure. I have given up. I have also gone forward. I have definitely taken two (or four) steps back.... however, I am going forward in this journey right now. The reason I like this video is that it is inspiring. My friend Cindy sent it because she believes in inspiration. She believes in me and all her Liberated Eating participants/graduates.

This video speaks of hope. It has empirical research to back it up. It speaks to our conversation surrounding boundaries but it can also speak to any struggle. Toward the end of the video, it also speaks to parents dealing with raising independent kids, a subject I touched on in another post not too long ago. If you want to check it out, click HERE.

Hope is the vital piece of the puzzle that keeps us going when we want to give up. Hope allows us to keep going, even when it is difficult to believe. When we have no hope, we give up. So whatever you are dealing with, my prayer is that you will watch this video and leave with hope and inspiration. I sure did.

 A key line in the video that I don't want you to miss is:

"Hope is not how we feel. It's how we think. And it's 100% teachable". - Brene Brown, PH.D.

...and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 NAS

My prayer for you is that whatever you are struggling in, whether it be learning new boundaries, controlling your temper, adding patience, or struggling with addiction, that you leave this page with hope. THE HOPE that never disappoints. Never lets us down. Amen!


This week we will be talking about boundaries and how that ties in to self-care. Last week we discussed how the mind plays a huge part in how we take care of ourselves. How we think and respond to life around us has a huge impact on our stress level and ability to deal with stress. And life is stressful. Even if things are going well, just dealing with modern technology and the speed at which we live is extremely draining. Add in a few life "bumps" and well, it doesn't take long before our emotional bank has hit empty.

How do having good boundaries help in this area? Why is this even connected to self-care? Later on in the blog I will share Margaret Feinberg's personal experience with learning Boundaries as she shared in her recent book, Wonderstruck.

First, let's define boundaries. I'm going to be using info from primarily two or three books, which I will include a reference to at the end of this blog.

Boundaries is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

 A line that marks the limits of an area. A dividing line.

Other sources define boundaries as a symbolic line in the sand: Something that indicates a border or limit

 Or one of my favorites, is using the symbol of a circle. This is found in the book, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin by Anne Katherine, M.A. In the book, which is primarily used with people who have suffered sexual abuse sometime in their life, they have an exercise at the end of chapter one. You are in the middle of a circle and everything that you love, believe, feel, want, desire, hate, is in that circle. You decide what is in the circle and you decide what is outside the circle. If you do not have good boundaries, then that circle really doesn't exist. If you don't have a strong sense of self, you are going to allow things in that circle that a person with healthy boundaries would not allow in.

This is a specific exercise that I do with people in a session. I have had some people have extreme difficulty completing this exercise. The have almost no sense of self, or who they are. I have had others have no difficulty naming their values, beliefs, what they love and what they hate and what they want in that circle.

 In the book, Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend, they explain in detail how having healthy boundaries are not only biblical,  but necessary. Without appropriate boundaries we can become very angry or bitter. Some of us may have great professional boundaries while our personal boundaries are a wreck, or vice versa. We may be saying "yes" to things we need to say "no" too. We may be avoiding things we need to say "yes" too. In this book, the authors specifically address why we get angry or feel frustrated when we have misplaced boundaries. I highly recommend reading this book, going through the study, or doing the workbook on your own or with a friend or counselor.

I wanted to share with you a great example of learning about boundaries.  In Margaret Feinberg's new book, Wonderstruck.  Margaret spends a chapter on a time in her life when she was essentially, depressed, emotionally drained, exhausted. She had a difficult time getting out of bed. Really had no desire for the things that she had previously. Margaret wisely sought out a christian counselor in her area. Margaret was amazed to find out that she needed help with boundaries. She thought she had a great boundaries, but what she needed was to balance out her life. Over time, and going through Cloud and Townsend's book and videos, she learned that she was saying "yes" to way too many things without considering how this was affecting her personal life.

And if you think you have Boundaries, well, Margaret had read it TWICE. Her counselor called her on her lack of application to anything in the book. And I think that's what happens to a lot of people. Just because you read something once, or even twice, does not mean you have it mastered. You have merely scratched the surface.

This is what Margaret learned about Boundaries, or lack thereof, excerpt from her book, Wonderstruck; chapter 4: A Sanctuary in Time:

"The pace of life became a place of torment. My life was a smoking treadmill I'd been running on at level ten speed at an incline of ten since childhood...freedom wasn't found in tossing the treadmill, but in discovering a maintainable pace".

Through several counseling sessions and a lot of hard work and homework, Margaret began to take responsibility for her life:

"The pace of my life was my making, and only I could undo it. The grassy meadows and still waters described in the Twenty-third Psalm awaited, but I had to choose to answer the invitation of the Good Shepherd".

Margaret goes on to share how she and her husband "committed to realigning their lives". They changed their work schedule, meal times, added exercise and they found themselves "more rested and fully present". Change doesn't happen over night and Margaret talks about swinging too far into extremes shortly after her new lifestyle change. That is very normal. When learning something new and life changing you can expect mistakes and extremes until you get the flow down. I think this can be applied to many areas of our lives.

 When I came across this chapter in the book I literally cheered. I applaud Margaret's transparency, I mean, it takes a lot to admit that you needed counseling. Hopefully, it will help expel the myth that counseling if only for people who are really "messed up", or just for people who are going through a crisis. Finding a good counselor who can look into your life with neutrality is key. Why not be proactive and go ahead and dig into those issues that you see appearing and reappearing in your life over and over and work on that so that you can be the best that you can be.

 You can rest all you want, have snippets of down time, do things for yourself, but without proper boundaries you will always be emptying your emotional bank before it can get filled. As difficult as it is to learn and implement boundaries, you have to figure out your world, your circle, and what fits in it and what doesn't in order to be the most whole, complete person you can be. THAT is why it is so important in the total art of self-care.

I hope today you can start working on your boundaries...I don't know ANYONE who couldn't benefit from further exploration in this area. And that includes ME!!!!

I am meditating on this passage of scripture this week:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even more fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7-11

The Lord gave laws as boundaries. Boundaries are important to God. He has put them there for our own good. To keep us whole. To keep us healthy. But we have to choose to follow him and his laws. I don't know about you but I want the above!! Doesn't mean everything goes your way, but you take responsibility for what is yours and leave the rest to God. You can trust him. He created boundaries for our good.

Have a blessed week!!!

MInd and Body, It's All Connected....

What do you think of when you read the above title?

Last week I began with an introduction to women taking care of themselves. I don't know any female client that I see that we don't go over self-care and how they keep balance in this insane, sometimes chaotic whirlwind we call LIFE. There is enough research that shows that stress inside the body comes out in various, unhealthy ways if we do not learn how to manage it.

Self-care is the art of nurturing yourself. Taking care of not only your body, but also your mind. It goes way deeper than that, but today I want to talk about the importance of how your mind plays a huge role in how you feel about yourself, how you respond to stress and ways that you can start improving how you look at yourself and how you look at life.

This is why self-care is more than just scheduling time for yourself, or finding an extra-curricular activity you enjoy. It's the total package. And scheduling time for yourself is an important part of taking care of yourself, but it's a whole lot easier to do those things when you truly believe that you are worth it. See how the mind plays a role in that?

If you start with the inside, it will be easier to put into habit the wonderful extraneous stuff that also feeds your soul, such as that regularly scheduled massage. But a lot of good it will do to feed your soul by getting a massage, taking a bubble bath or getting a manicure if you still think negative things about why you are doing them. Or if you feel guilt or shame for carving out time for yourself (which is just another form of negativity) and "stinking thinking", which I will go into in a moment.

First, the mind....

I did a quick search on bible passages (and I mean quick) and found over 37 verses about renewing our mind.. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Romans 12:1-2 ESV  
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV    
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

I don't know about you, but it is very easy for me to get stuck in "stinking thinking". And a healthy person can see that pattern and generally turn it around. Sometimes, life events happen that make it very difficult to pull ourselves out of negative thinking. If you struggle with depression or even anxiety, your mind is often not filled with good things. This is also known as the "critical self".

Oh yeah, we are our own worst enemy.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

Women who know how to nurture themselves generally don't have a habit of negative thinking. She is able to reason within her heart what is good and what is bad (Philippians 4:8). It doesn't mean she doesn't ever have a negative thought or wallow in a bad mood now and then. But overall, a woman who knows how to take care of herself knows what she needs, gets those needs met appropriately, and renews her mind on. good. things.

So how do I renew my mind?

The best place to start is just to be aware of how you think. Don't try and change anything, but maybe keep a journal for a week or two about what you are thinking about each day. For people with severe depression and anxiety, therapists often get them to complete a "mood chart" each day. A client recently informed me that there is actually an app for your smart phone you can add that will track your daily mood. Yep. They have an app for that! HERE is a link for more info on that app, appropriately titled, "Moody Me".
Once we see how we are thinking then we can work on changing it. It is amazing once women start doing this they can see how much "stinking thinking" they have allowed in. Poor communication, making assumptions, all or nothing thinking....all of these types of thinking (and lots more) affect our mood, our stress levels and ultimately, our interactions with others in a negative way.

There is an awesome book by David D. Burns, MD that you can get HERE called The Feeling Good Handbook. It. Is. Amazing. And it can go much further in depth than I can with teaching you how to renew your mind (and improve your mood, communication and interactions with others).

We are not done with talking about the mind, but that is all for today. Your homework this week, if you choose to accept it...is to keep a journal of your thoughts, your moods, and how that played a role in how you interacted with others. Put it all in there, the good , bad and the ugly. You are the only one that is going to be looking at it. If you find a lot of negative stuff in there, then get Dr. Burns book. And tune in here next time as we go further with mindfulness and the role it plays in taking care of YOU!!!

It starts in the mind.

Have a great week!!!