Day 30: Mindset

How did it go?

Here we are. Day 30. The end of my 30-day positivity challenge.

You’ll probably notice I didn’t post yesterday either. My mom, Belle, and I left for a weekend getaway to a beach town in Delaware. We got out of town later than expected (I had to drop the cats off at my Nana’s for babysitting), so we didn’t get to our destination until about 9:30 at night. Since it’s a new place for Belle, and it was a 3-hour car ride, we spent an hour before bed letting her explore a bit and getting some energy out.

I was excited, though, that my Week 3 wrap up was published this week. Can you pick out any of the themes I’ve discussed in my posts?

Other than that, the day itself was simply uneventful.

I’m beginning to think maybe most of my days are. (And that’s okay.)

What did I learn?

I’m definitely the type of person that decisions affect my mind, which affect my mood. (Your mind affects your mouth, and your mouth affects your mind.)

I’ve noticed that since I’ve made a decision, the “don’t care attitude” I feel I have is actually coming across as positive and strong-willed to others. Who would have thought? Making a decision, even in my head, and adopting a different attitude has actually changed my environment because it’s changed the way I interact with my environment.

Mindset is everything, it seems.

And I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from this whole thing: it’s all about your mindset.

If you’re willing to fight and “dig in” for what you want or what you believe, then don’t let the actions or thoughts of others deter you. Keep persevering, keep pushing forward. (God rewards the committed.)

My decisions won’t change; I will remain committed to not only having small faith, but also what I am called to do.

I will keep my mindset because my mindset will help to determine the outcome (or at least how I see it).

Days 28 & 29: Figuring Out the Next Goal

How did it go?

As you’ve probably noticed, I did not post yesterday. I don’t know if I’m still struggling through a depressive haze or if I just don’t feel there’s enough to write about.

My days seem pretty boring. I get up much too early, I get ready for work, I take Belle to daycamp, I have an hour and a half commute, I work all day, I commute home to pick up Belle…by the time I get home, I feel emotionally and physically exhausted (sometimes without really knowing why), and I just want to relax with Belle.

I’m beginning to feel I don’t lead an exciting enough life to write. I guess I have to create the excitement to inspire myself.

My creativity feels stifled.

What did I learn?

There was a long period of time I didn’t write as often as I’d like, and I’ve spent the time thinking I wasn’t meant to write, that I was no longer a creatively-driven person.

These past few days I’ve realized that isn’t true.

What drives me is writing. It’s what I want to do when I get home from work. Heck, it’s what I want to do for work. It’s what I want to focus on, spend energy on.

God only provides us so much time in a day, and it is up to us to use that time wisely. It is our job to use the time He has given us for His purpose. I want to use my time better.

I think I know my next challenge (or at least my next goal).

Day 27: Commitment

How did it go?

Let’s admit it: commitment can be tough. It doesn’t matter what you are committing to; there’s going to be a time it gets rough. There’s going to come a time you just want to give up. But it’s when we don’t give up, when we continue to commit even when times are tough, that God can move in our lives.

I was listening to my Christian podcast this morning on my commute, and the message was on staying committed. It was quite a powerful message, and it really spoke to me.

It made me think about the things I am committed to in my life.

What did I learn?

I thought about the message all day, which seemed to make my day go by faster. (So there’s one positive.) It reminded me that it doesn’t matter if we feel something deserves commitment; if God has placed us there, then we must remain committed.

Only when we commit can God bless us.

It did force me to mentally evaluate commitments, though. What is the line between committing to honor God and committing out of our own stubbornness? In other words, how do we know commitment to something is what God wants versus when it’s something we want?

I have been beating myself up over a choice that was made months ago. I felt that I had to commit to that because it’s what brought on pain. And if I brought it upon myself, then I need to make myself pay for it.

I can’t commit to something simply because I feel I have to make myself pay for making a mistake.

It inspired me to make a commitment to myself: I will not continue to make myself pay for past mistakes, and I will not see making much-needed changes as breaking a commitment.

Another interesting thing I noticed as I was listening: I realized what my commitments were. I think this was one more step into deeper knowledge of who I am and growing in my faith.

When the episode ended, I was more spiritually convicted and more positive than I had been in a few days. And that’s when I know God is working in me.

 

 

Day 26: Spiritual Growth

How did it go?

I went to church for the first time in 6 months today. I’ve decided to look into churches in the area, so today was a visit to one of them. I don’t like saying I’m “church hopping.” I am just trying to find a church where I am comfortable.

My biggest problem is that I really liked our church in Arizona, and I miss it—the community, the people…It took time to get to that point, and I feel like I threw it all away. Of course, when I get to that thinking, the guilt starts to creep in.

Comparison is the thief of joy. I think that works for not only everyday life, but also our faith life. If I continue to compare my previous church with any one I attend, I won’t ever be comfortable, and I won’t ever be willing to give another place a chance. People and places are never the same, so it’s unfair to compare.

I forgot, though, how emotionally tiring church can be.

What did I learn?

The sermon was on spiritual growth and how we can work toward it. It was a good sermon and enlightening. I walked away more determined to grow spiritually and to grow my prayer life.

But when I left, I felt drained.

I can’t remember what exactly made me feel that way, but I remember that certain pieces of the sermon almost had me in tears. Most of the songs, even, had me close to tears.

I remember having a similar feeling at our church in Arizona, and it would happen when I was dealing with something I was so lost about.

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s God asking me to lay it down and give it to Him. It’s Him making me see that I am trying so badly to hold on to something that I need to lay at His feet.

I walked away, though, being more motivated to grow in my faith. And I walked away with a bit of an idea on how to do that. Even if I’m not perfect at it, or it isn’t done “correctly” all of the time, what matters is that I am motivated to change my spiritual life.

So, while I felt emotionally exhausted after service, I also felt a bit more hopeful. I guess only church and time with God can really make you feel that way.

Day 25: Like Jesus Does

How did it go?

It took me a little while to get my husband at all interested in any type of country music. When he came around, he decided he liked Eric Church. As our First Dance song at our wedding, we played Eric Church’s “Like Jesus Does.”

Part of the chorus of the song goes like this:

She knows the man I ain’t,
She forgives me when I can’t,
The devil, man, he don’t stand a chance,
‘Cause she loves me like Jesus does.

The last time I heard the song, it was on the radio on a two-hour drive home with my husband. And he turned it up and held my hand, which is something he always does when it came on the radio. I remember smiling and feeling how full my heart was.

The song randomly popped into my head this morning as I was getting ready. I caught myself humming and trying to hold back tears.

I always end up crying when I hear it because I’m reminded of not only how I love him but how God loves us. The name of the song says it all.

What did I learn?

As a Christian, it is my belief that Jesus died for our sins, for all the debt we could never repay. He gave His life so we may have ours.

He knows who we are, even when we are not who we want to be (or who He wants us to be). He will always forgive us, even (and possibly most especially) when we cannot forgive ourselves. Because of Him, the enemy does not stand a chance against us.

I was reminded that we are, above all, called to love.

We must love in all we do, regardless of if we feel someone else deserves love, regardless of how others may judge us for loving that person.

I truly feel that the fact that this song popped into my head this morning was a gentle reminder from God: love, love no matter what, show how I love.

And He loves unconditionally. That’s what it means to love “like Jesus does.”

Because of this reminder, I am going to strive to approach each day with love. Believe me—there are definitely days I don’t feel like the people I am around deserve love. But God doesn’t ask us to love because others deserve it; He asks us to love because they don’t always deserve it. I hope I can wake up in the morning feeling a little more positive simply because of this decision.

I am choosing love.

Day 24: Practice

How did it go? 

Another week, another “Therapy Friday.” For the first time in a few weeks, I didn’t leave wiping away tears. (I’ve noticed I still struggle to make eye contact with my therapist though. Is this normal?) Whatever clicked yesterday (or when I was in California) seems to have stayed.

I feel more confident in my abilities. I have a better idea of what I want. I feel more empowered, more capable, to change my current environment.

I feel a little more at peace with myself.

I’ve also started reading my Bible differently.

What did I learn?

It’s interesting what you can learn from the unlikeliest of places. The Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast reads Harry Potter “as if it is a sacred text.” (Note: as if. It does not treat the novels as a Bible.) The hosts discuss one chapter a week through a specific theme, and they use sacred reading practices to analyze pieces of the text.

Regardless of how you may feel about using sacred reading to read Harry Potter, the podcast has actually taught me new reading practices for reading my Bible. My favorite reading practice they use is lectio divina.

The practice is adjusted for reading the novels—the hosts choose a short passage, discuss what is literally occurring in that moment of the text, discuss what the text could mean allegorically, discuss what that particular passage reminds them of, and then discuss what the passage calls them to do.

Reading my Bible in this way has made me feel closer to God. It has made me feel that certain passages are speaking to me, that I can find meaning in places I didn’t think I could before.

I’ve decided to work through the book of James and start from the beginning. While I am not very far along (since I just started), I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I approach my Bible reading time. I credit this reading to helping me maintain some positivity, even when I don’t know if I can.

Most of all, I’ve learned when we don’t know how we can push on, God will be there to help us to our feet.

Day 23: Guilt

How did it go?

There is a reason the saying is “guilt ridden.” The word ridden means to be full of something bad or unpleasant. When you are guilt ridden, you are full of guilt.

I made some choices based on what I thought I wanted and what I thought would most benefit my family. At some point, those choices ended up not being what I anticipated, in a lot of ways. In fact, they’ve become unhealthy.

An internal battle ensued. I had made this decision, and I was stuck with it. I have to pay for what I did. There’s no backing out. Right? The guilt crept in, hard and fast.

My therapist asked me one week if my guilt was serving me a purpose, and I wasn’t really sure how to respond. Was it? Or was I allowing it to consume me without learning anything from it?

“I guess…it’s not?” I said, utterly confused.

Then she suggested something that changed my outlook: “Maybe it’s helping you see what you want and who you don’t want to be, so you can be better prepared for the future.”

I hadn’t thought guilt could serve any type of purpose. When it becomes a problem, though, is when it becomes all-consuming and we don’t forgive ourselves.

And that’s what I’ve been struggling with, which leads to a whole different set of issues.

What did I learn?

Feeling guilty has made me feel like there’s no way out. Because I felt guilty, I felt I had no right to be unhappy. After all, I had gotten myself into the mess, so I have to pay for it, right?

Not necessarily.

We are the ones that beat ourselves up over guilt, not God. When we get off the path, He will change our direction.

I felt that change today.

Something came over me, and I just felt as if He is moving, trying to teach me something. I’m tired of feeling as if I have no right to try to get out of something that isn’t meant for me, because God has something better in store. For the first time in a while, I felt empowered to do what I need to do.

I have set a goal for myself by the end of this challenge. That means I have 7 days to accomplish that goal. And I finally feel powerful enough to at least try.

Is guilt eating at you? Has it served its purpose and now you’re just wallowing? I encourage you to give it to God. He forgives us for everything we have ever done, and He tells us our slate is wiped clean. Let Him free you.