What if I Fail?

Have you ever made up your mind that you were going to do something, only to get halfway there and lose all motivation? I would guess we’ve all been there. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been there MANY times.  So, what in the world should we do with that sense of failure?

Get up! Dust yourself off. And try again.

Here’s what I mean. At the beginning of January, I made 2 goals for myself. Both goals related to my word of the year INTENTIONAL. I wrote down the goals, asked friends to help me stay accountable to them. Then, two weeks into the month, life happened and I fell off the wagon. I allowed myself to take a day off from the goals. Then, one day turned into two. Two days turned into a week. The next thing I knew, it was the end of January and I had failed.

But guess what…my friends didn’t fail me. My God didn’t fail me. I failed. I can’t blame anyone else. Sure, I want to blame it on the 2 year molars causing my son to wake super early several mornings, throwing me off my routine. Or on the fact that the exercises HURT and I was in pain and needed a break. Or on all those names in the geneological listings of the Old Testament…those are hard to read! But the blame doesn’t fall on any of those things. The blame falls on me.

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to get up, dust myself off, and try again! Tomorrow is a new day. It is a new opportunity to be intentional with my time. And God promises me in His word that every morning, His mercies are renewed.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)

Every day, no matter what yesterday held, His mercies are new. No. Matter. What. He is faithful, even when I am not. He loves me, even when I am unlovely. He is merciful, even when I am undeserving of His mercy.

If you’ve failed at your January goals, don’t give up on your 2015 goals. Remember, tomorrow is a new day. You have a fresh, new slate to start over, to try again. Grab hold of that chance, and embrace it. Pray for wisdom, ask your friends to help you, and start anew. Will you fail again? Probably. I will too. And that’s OK. Every time we fail, we have a chance to try again, to learn something, to grow. The only time we truly fail is when we give up.

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Thankfulness

Photo by Cindi Albright (Creative Commons)

Are you thankful? I mean really, truly thankful? Merriam-Webster defines “Thankful” as:

1. conscious of benefit received

2. expressive of thanks

3. well-pleased : glad

This month, our church is doing a series through the book of Psalms. This morning, we focused on Psalm 71. While the Psalm does not necessarily say “Thank You” to God, the psalmist does list many of the things the Lord has done for him. It is evident through the words that this man is thankful.

At the end of today’s sermon a question was asked that resonated with my soul, and was actually quite convicting.

Are you a thankful person? Do you compliment more than you complain? Is the cry of your heart one of thanksgiving to God?

Ouch. Personally, I know that I try to live my life in a way that shows my thankfulness…but I know that I have days where I complain a lot. I pray that those days are few and far between, because when I look at my life, I have so much for which to be thankful. Here are just a few of my many blessings:

My salvation through Christ

My amazing family and friends

My handsome husband

My beautiful daughter

My home

Food to eat and clothes to wear

My church families – from all of the churches I have been privileged to be a part

The list could go on.

What are 3 things for which you are thankful today?

Challenge for the week: Let’s try to compliment more than we complain.

You Can Do It!

I had an AMAZING weekend! It was full of encouragement, friends, business ideas, and so much more. Friday night and Saturday, I went to my first ever Mary Kay Career Conference in Knoxville.  I am SO glad that I decided to go!

The theme of the weekend was “You Can Do It”, which is exactly what I need to be my focus. As I’ve shared in my posts on Doubt, I so often allow the fears in my heart (fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of saying the wrong thing) to stop me in my business. What I heard this weekend was that these fears are common, almost everyone has them, or has dealt with them! Sales Directors and National Sales Directors (the top women in Mary Kay) talked about how they dealt with these fears, and what they did to overcome them. One of them even talked about many of the mistakes she had made in her career, and followed each one with “you, too, can be a National Sales Director.”

Here are some of the main points that I brought home this weekend:

  • Get out of your own way – STOP making excuses! Excuses are lies only you believe.
  • Do something TODAY that will move you forward
  • Step out of your comfort zone, do what others are unwilling to do
  • You’ll never get anywhere if you wait for all the lights to turn green before you leave.
  • I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking the next step
  • Make the choice that your dream is bigger than your challenges
  • You don’t have the right to give up on the dream that God has put in your heart
  • Never give up on your dream
  • Enjoy the journey you are on
  • Do the work!

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, those points aren’t just great for a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, but they apply to anyone and everyone who has a dream. We are each designed with specific strengths and weaknesses, and God has given each of us a dream. Does that mean that our dream will always be easy? No way! Achieving a dream or goal takes work…and sometimes that work is hard! Sometimes it requires doing things we’re not comfortable doing because we’re not very good at them. Sometimes we have to do things that are scary. However, if we keep making excuses, we’ll never get anywhere! We’ll never reach our goals when we aren’t willing to take the first step toward our goals.

What is a goal or dream you have in your life? Are you allowing fear or doubt to stop you from achieving that goal? Do any of the points above resonate with you? Which one? What are you going to do about it? (OK, I know, that’s a lot of questions. Feel free to answer the first two or three to yourself and the last two in the comments.)

Doubt and Fear

This weekend, my study of Doubt has brought me to the topic of Fear. Why do we doubt ourselves? What, exactly, is it that we fear? Are we afraid people will really get to know us? Afraid they’ll stop loving us because of one tiny (or HUGE) mistake we made yesterday (or even something 5, 10, or 20 years in the past)? Are we afraid that if they see our messy house, they’ll think we’re unworthy of their friendship? Or maybe we’re afraid of the unknown. We think, “If I take this new job, what will happen next? I don’t know, I can’t see the future, so maybe I’ll just stay in this job that I hate because it’s comfortable here.”

There really are a lot of different things that we could be afraid of. I’m not talking about spiders, heights, snakes, public speaking, and that type of thing. I’m talking about those deep down fears, the ones that truly stop us from becoming what God created us to be. These fears are sometimes brought on by the experiences we’ve had in our lives (a “friend” breaks your trust by telling someone else your secret, an abusive relationship with a parent or spouse, another Christian judges you instead of loving you through a period of sin or struggle). Sometimes, these fears are simply brought on by a misunderstanding of who we are in Christ. It can be hard to really find the root of our fears, but I believe that no matter where they come from, God wants us to work through them. He wants us to learn to trust Him, to see ourselves as He sees us, and to move forward from our pasts into the future He has planned.

How do we do that? How do we let go of our fears and hold on to Him? I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have this all figured out yet, myself. I believe that truly knowing what God thinks of me is a good first step. So, what does God see when He looks at me?

  1. He sees His child, whom He loves. 1 John 3:1a “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
  2. He sees that I have been redeemed. Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
  3. He sees the new me, not my old self. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”

This is not a comprehensive list. Not even close. However, I think it’s a good start. When I learn to believe these truths, not just in my head, but also in my heart, my fears begin to subside. I begin to have a willingness to step out of my comfort zone, to be more authentic in my life. I begin to share my struggles with someone – my pastor, my spouse, my Bible study group. Yes, I am picky about with whom I share my inner struggles. I can’t, and won’t share them with just anyone, and I don’t believe God wants us to do that. I do believe though, that by sharing with one person, I begin to release the grip I have on my fears, and begin to hold more tightly to the promises God has for me.

Question: What is one of your fears? What is a truth that you can begin to cling to as you release your fears?

Where is Doubt Taking Me?

When I wrote my last post, I honestly thought that I was just writing to myself. I knew that I was writing on a topic that has come up in conversations through the years, but I wasn’t really expecting much to come of that post. I’ve had quite the opposite experience, though. First, I’ve found that the post has opened the door to an amazing conversation with an old friend (not that she’s old, but I’ve known her since high school). Secondly, in the 72 hours since deciding to write on the topic of doubt, I have started doing the 7 Day Doubt Diet that I linked in the last post (I’ll admit, I’ve only done the intro and days 1 & 2), I have seen a lot of tweets, facebook posts, book clubs and blog posts dealing with the topic; and to top it off, the topic of the training at my Mary Kay meeting this week was emotional management. It’s as if God is telling me that this is a topic He really wants me to grasp.

With that in mind, I truly have no idea where exactly this series on doubt is going to go. I’m going to simply post about the things I’m learning, the questions that I ponder after talking you lovely readers, and the questions that I have for you.

Here are some things I’ve been pondering. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments (you can post anonymously if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your name).

  • Can you look back on your life and find one pivotal moment where your confidence faltered?
  • What do you think hinders you most from consistently living with confidence?
  • Be faithful in the ordinary things of life (i.e. Bloom where you’re planted).
  • You have a choice to either let doubt beat you up or let God’s truth build you up. Which choice did you make today?

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

*Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible

Dealing With Doubt

Photo by Shahram Sharif (Creative Commons)

I think that all of us, if we’re truly honest with ourselves, have struggled with doubt in our lives at one point or another. I know that I have struggled with self-doubt for a lot of my life. I’ve doubted I was pretty enough, smart enough, Godly enough, worthy enough; doubted whether I was the right person for the job, the list goes on.

As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with feeling less than confident. I remember starting to worry about what others thought of me as early as fifth or sixth grade. My lack of confidence has affected my friendships. I have a hard time opening up and trusting others, fearing they will reject me or be unwilling to look past my past to see the person I truly am. My worry about how others might perceive me has caused me to have a lot of difficulty in introducing myself to new people. That whole “mingle and ask someone you don’t know these 3 questions” thing…yeah, I hate when that happens! My lack of confidence has kept me from pursuing my dreams. I allow the fear of failure or rejection to sneak in, keeping me from making phone calls or approaching others about helping me with a goal in my Mary Kay business. My doubts have truly impacted every area of my life.

I would love to learn how to be more confident. Not cocky, but to have the confidence that God will equip me to do the things to which He has called me. To know that if He has placed a dream in my heart, He will provide the tools needed to accomplish that dream. In Exodus 3:11, we see Moses question whether he is really the right man for the job to which God has called him. Yet, even in the midst of his doubt, God used Moses to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. I sometimes forget that God uses everyone…the loud, the quiet, the faithful, the adulterer, the rich, the poor. This weekend at church, our pastor said something that really struck me: “It isn’t about what you don’t have, but what you do have.” God knows your unique abilities and talents, and He will use those to bring glory to Himself. He knows my abilities and talents. He also knows my limitations. He knows what He has equipped me to do, and He knows where I would fail miserably. Why do I keep telling Him all the reasons I’m not the right person, instead of seeing what He sees when He looks at me?

In the coming days, I’m planning to explore this topic a little more. I’m using Renee Swope’s 7-Day Doubt Diet as a springboard, but what you’ll read here will be the things the Lord is teaching me through the process.

Words of Affirmation

Tuesday is one of my busiest, yet one of my favorite days of the week.  Tuesday mornings are full of fellowship and encouragement with other moms, as well as a time of digging deeper into Scripture to find how God’s word applies to this most important job of being Mom. Then, every Tuesday night, I rush through dinner, then leave my husband and daughter at home to make cookies while I go to my weekly Mary Kay Girls NIght Out. This is when the unit I’m in gets together to talk about the previous week, pamper our guests, and get some amazing training.

Each Tuesday night, our Sales Director starts the meeting by introducing herself. She doesn’t just say “Welcome to Girls Night Out, I’m Suzy Sales Director”.  Instead, she says “I am the motivated, God-inspired, Kingdom-minded, disciplined, determined, and blessed beyond belief Suzy Sales Director”.  I once asked her how she ever came up with such an introduction.  She told me it was her personal affirmation, one way that she keeps her mind from believing the negative things we all like to think about ourselves.

What we think about becomes what we do or believe.  If I am constantly thinking about how tired I am and how much I wish I were sleeping, my body is going to respond by acting tired, craving naps, and just not being alert.  However, if I start my day thinking about how blessed I am to have woken up, the fun things I get to do that day with my little girl, and the opportunities that await, I am more likely to be excited about the day.  Will it automatically make my eyes stay open before I’ve had my morning coffee?  Maybe not…but it will make it so much easier for me to focus on the important things around me.

I have been thinking about writing my own personal affirmation.  This would be something that I would stand in front of my mirror and recite out loud every day.  Yes, that means I would be talking to myself, but I’ve found it to be so much easier to change my thinking when my ears actually hear the change.  Plus, your mind can’t shout louder than your mouth!  When I asked my Sales Director about her affirmations, she said that she simply used words that describe what she wants to be.  It may not always describe how she feels that day or the way she acted, but it is what she is striving for.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:  I am the confident, organized, motivated, God-inspired Kristal Woods.  Of course, as I grow and change, I may add to or change some of that…but I think I’ve got a pretty good start.

What about you?  What are your personal words of affirmation?