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Entries in Stress (13)

Thursday
Mar212019

Are You a Perfectionist? 3 Ways to Know

Marcia Ramsland is an organizer extraordinaire! With that accolade, you might expect her to be a perfectionist, but the good news is, she knows what to do with that tendency. In this Wisdom UPGRADE, she not only pinpoints the characteristics of perfectionism, she offers helpful insight to recover from it.

"Are you a Perfectionist? I have to confess I am," Marcia said. "Sometimes I’m proud of it, and other times I have to sheepishly say 'guilty.' I bet you might be a perfectionist, too, in at least one area of your life.

I (Dawn) am right there with you, Marcia.

It's taken me almost a lifetime to learn how to deal with perfectionism, so I know what you say is true!

Marcia continues . . .

3 Ways to Know You’re a Perfectionist  

One of the ways to discover you’re a perfectionist is to listen to what you say.

Have you ever said:

  1. “I’m just about done. Give me another minute.” (And it stretches into 20 minutes.)

  2. “I would have done a better job, but I had to turn it in.” (Blaming others is old school.)

  3. “I don’t really plan to be perfect, I just want to do it right!” (Is that a problem?)

Yes, perfectionists want to do it “right” in the areas that are important to them, but have trouble recognizing when “enough is enough” on a task. 

This can be satisfying to our perfectionist tendencies, but irritating to those who have to wait for us to finish.

Another Way to Know You’re a Perfectionist

Being a Selective Messie!

Another way I can tell when a client is a perfectionist is to look at what’s NOT organized in their life. For example, their home might be immaculate, but their desk is a mess!

The reason a perfectionist’s lifestyle is so black and white is because perfectionists tend to not start a project until they know how to do it perfectly! Hence the cluttered desk, man cave, garage, or kitchen.

The 3 R’s of Perfectionism Recovery

Can we stop the dark side of our perfectionism and turn it around for good? Yes, of course! 

1. Recognize where perfectionism shows up in your life.

It could be in a small area like picking up everything at home before going out the door and arriving late to appointments.

2. Recognize what it’s costing you and how it affects others.

Check your family and friends displeasure and that could be a clue where your perfectionism lies.

3. Resolve to Make a Change in One Area at a Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will our tendency that took years to develop go away in a moment of insight. Be persistent to overcome the habit.

If you have trouble stopping your perfectionism—whether it’s responding to every last email or social media comment—it’s time to look at how this habit is impacting you and those around you. It may be time to “fess up” and drop a tendency that could be holding you back.

Why give up perfectionism? Because there’s so much God has for us to do to benefit ourselves and others.

The verse that motivates me personally to give perfectionism up is:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Here's a Tip:

Learn the difference between striving for excellence and insisting on perfection.

Pursuing perfection zaps our energy, while striving for excellence brings joy in passing milestones toward our desired result.

Are you addicted to perfectionism? Do you want to recover? Which of the 3 R's for Perfectionism Recovery would help you most today?

Marcia Ramsland is well known as the “Organizing Pro” and author of the Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way book series, which has sold over 100,000 copies. Marcia regularly teaches online courses and coaches individuals to be highly productive personally and professionally. She believes anyone can become more organized and live with ease - even YOU! For courses and personal coaching, visit www.organizingpro.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Geralt at Pixabay.

Thursday
Feb152018

Strength for a Mama's Heart

Fighting pneumonia, Wendy Hamilton still wrote this UPLIFT post. She is leaning hard on God's strength, and she wants us to do the same.

"'Strength.' This word has been on echo for weeks," Wendy says. "As the holidays blurred and company came and went, 'Strength' was the word God whispered."

I (Dawn) know what Wendy means. Sometimes, weary and frazzled, strength drains from my lives. It's a good thing I know the source for new strength. As does Wendy. Though nothing may change outwardly, operating in God's strength makes our burdens seem lighter.

Wendy continues . . .

As a new school year began and our kids entered the last semester before high school, switched schools for a more personalized and creative approach to schooling or returned to college many states away, God spoke: “Strength”.

As illness seemed to invade every corner of our world affecting every friend and their families and all members of our family, God promised, “I am your Strength.”

Through those difficult times, God breathed the word “Strength” over my mama’s heart.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (Psalm 28:7).

As projects went awry and I struggled to be me in my everyday life, God reminded me of who He is, who I am and what I am created to do as His beloved daughter.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).

When life doesn’t always look, feel or seem to be going in a positive way, it’s easy to believe the lies of the enemy that God has forgotten about us, doesn’t hear us or really has nothing good for us.

I know among myself and my friends I saw the weariness creep in. Our struggle was real.

It is easy in those moments to focus on the “My flesh and my heart may fail” feelings and never counter those thoughts with the greater truth that “God is the strength of our heart” and He is all that we need all the time, every time, no matter what.

Think for a moment about what is not going as planned in your life.

Where are you going through difficulty or a situation you would rather avoid or never experience at all?

1. Write out what is going on your world that weighs heavy on your heart.

2. Write beside each item, "God, you are my strength and you are all I need.”

The sum of God’s strength far outweighs all difficulties in our everyday lives.

Strength is who God is. HE IS our strength and HE IS our shield. He helps us.

Because of who He is, we can trust in Him. Our mama’s hearts can leap for joy even in the most difficult of days—days filled with anything from toddler tantrums to adolescent antics to those tight, soul-trying moments where we may believe that we don’t have all that we need.

We can praise God for the songs He gives us, especially for the songs that reveal His strength for us.
[One example is below *]

Where is God telling you that He is your strength?

Wendy Hamilton is the co-gounder of Inspired Life Ministries, a creative arts freedom ministry. She teaches writing to moms and teen girls through Inspired Moms and Inspired Teens.  She is a songwriter/writer for Valley Creek Church and serves with her husband, Mike, and their kids in a variety of ministry areas across multiple campuses within her church family. Her devotional for moms, 30 Verses to Heal a Mama’s Heart, is available on Amazon.com, Amazon Europe and other online and offline bookstores and retailers. You can find out more at 30Verses.com. 

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

* An encouraging song to listen to today, "Everlasting God (Strength Will Rise)" by Chris Tomlin.


Thursday
Oct052017

Getting Needs Met ... or Not

Dianne Barker has a knack for pinpointing issues we all struggle with, and the biblical truth that helps. In this Perspective UPGRADE, she examines a question we may ask in the middle of stressful circumstances.

     

"Overwhelmed, I cried out to the Lord," Dianne said. 'What about my needs?'”

I (Dawn) believe the Lord understands our struggle. Humanly, Jesus had physical needs during His time on earth, and He looked to scriptures for strength. That's exactly where we need to go.

Dianne continues . . .

I went into marriage expecting my wonderful husband to meet all my needs and make me sublimely happy.

Our first few years were pretty much carefree. When I left a successful journalism career to be a stay-at-home mom, I had no regrets. Making a nest for my husband and our two young children brought me great joy. Meeting their needs had highest priority, although I carved out some time to continue writing.

Life has a way of piling stress upon stress.

As our children grew, we enjoyed the normal progression of family life: music lessons and recitals ... Little League and Scouts ... choral concerts and competitions.

We enjoyed our hectic life and managed the good stress.

Then heartbreaking stress caught up with us as our aging parents declined in health. I gladly poured out my life caring for them.

Increasing, daily challenges drained my time and energy, taking an emotional toll, and weariness sent me to the Lord.

“What about my needs? Doesn’t anybody care about my needs?”

He surprised me with an answer.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

I’d always viewed that familiar promise as assurance he would meet my physical, financial, and spiritual needs. A gentle voice in my spirit said, “I will supply your emotional needs. That frees you to meet the needs of your family.”

It was a jaw-dropping moment.

The Lord continued encouraging my heart with these words: “…as your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

My circumstances didn’t change, only my perspective.

When you’re weary and feeling your needs aren’t getting met, consider having a conversation with yourself.

  • God placed me here—in this family, in these circumstances—on purpose. He thought I had something to contribute. He surely has a lot of confidence to entrust me with such a complicated assignment.
  • I feel inadequate, but I’ll never be stronger than I am right now because God is my strength. And he won’t be stronger tomorrow.
  • The One who engraved me on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16) is fully able to supply all my needs. Knowing that, I needn’t depend on anyone else for this impossible provision.

Many years have passed since the Lord interrupted my pity party with an amazing promise. He met my needs and renewed my strength day by day, enabling me to pour out my life with joy, serving my precious family.

Circumstances are temporary. Our parents are in heaven and our children have left the nest. I look back on those challenging times with gratitude for the faithfulness of God.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

I’ve never regretted the decision to trust him to supply my needs. He’s surpassed my expectations. 

Who are you depending on to meet your needs?

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned. This post is adapted from I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.)

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jul112017

Your Life Makeover: Are You Ready?

Wildfire survivor Elizabeth Van Tassel garners encouraging real-life stories and creates fantasy for kids with one goal in mind—helping tweens, teens, and adults find RESILIENCE amidst the most challenging times in life.

     

In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she encourages us to be open to life makeovers, so God’s touch will be evident in our lives.

“I didn’t ask for this season of great change, but I knew there was a whisper of something more packed into the move," Elizabeth said. "There’s a moment when you decide to either live a life of calling or of complacency. I didn’t want any regrets."

I (Dawn) think we can identify with seasons of change—expected and unexpected. But how we approach those changes makes a huge difference.

Elizabeth continues . . .

My husband looked stunned at the out-of-town, unsolicited job offer he’d received. It was an amazing opportunity for him, but I hesitated at first.

Our infant son’s third word was “box,” because our family had moved six times in two years.

Those were awful, unplanned and emergency-tinged after losing everything we owned in a massive wildfire years ago.

So, the word “move” provided a real challenge for me.

But the experience of giving everything to the Lord, and watching Him build a life for us again also freed me to invest in hope.

I said yes, and jumped.

Right now, we’re living in boxes in temporary housing, and breathing in the moment of trust daily.

  • Where will we live? Not sure yet.
  • Where will my grocery store be? Must remain flexible.

It’s like the TV show where they show up and dump your old clothes and take you on a shopping spree for a whole new look.

Are you open to His leading when this happens? Where does your life need transformation?

What if you’re cruising along, pretty content with life in general, and then a great change arrives?

Are you ready to be receptive to that ‘still, quiet voice’ prompting you to be open to something new? What could you miss if you’re not listening? Can dark times of loss and recovery actually make you MORE resilient?

Here’s what David had to say in Psalm 36:7-9:

“The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.”

Your ability to be RESILIENT, or flexible enough to bend rather than break when pressures rise and life brings more stress, is to be able to UPGRADE as you do three things.

1. Nestle in closer, even when you don’t feel safe.

It’s all right to realize you’re a bit fragile. Ironically, those brittle moments are when we can uncover a new relationship with Christ.

Share your dreams and feelings. Give yourself time and permission to hang out in the Word and in conversational prayer. It can bring connection and healing. Perhaps those moments when you need “refuge” will bring you even closer to Him.

2. Look for abundance in unexpected places.

When your life situations shift dramatically, there will be losses. Friends, or homes, or even jobs may change.

But in that season, what new doors are being opened?

Is it a caring friend who unexpectedly shows up to help?

Are you developing a new skill?

You never know how God can use your situation.

Be open to new lessons.

Where there’s growth, there’s a chance for Him to retool something; because He LOVES makeovers—those of the heart—the most.

3. Search for a river of delights.

So many people, perhaps hundreds, have asked me how we stayed positive, our marriage survived, and our children have coped with so much change. We found a way to be intentional with our time and our activities, and even planned more fun into our priorities—thanks to our kids’ perspective!

Time slows when there’s loss or death or depleted resources. Eventually, after some healing, you’re ready for significant questions in uncovering how to live a life of calling rather than just getting by.

You’ll find that river of delights when you sit quietly and ask Him:

  • For refreshment.
  • For the next breath.
  • For deliverance.
  • And for acceptance.

So, are you ready to take a breath, listen more, and learn from painful moments? Can you pack your own boxes? What’s holding you back?

Elizabeth Van Tassel, resilience expert and fantasy writer, has really lived a life with diamonds, wildfires, and miracles. A wildfire survivor and gemologist who lost every possession and her home in the 2007 Witch Creek Wildfire, she winds tales of wondrous gems and destructive loss into fantastic fantasy for the next generation and beyond. She also speaks, writes nonfiction, and blogs weekly for adults and kids about living a resilient life. Learn more about Elizabeth here.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Ron Porter at Pixabay.

Thursday
Sep292016

Well Done or Burnt Out?

Kathy Carlton Willis knows a lot about living under pressure. I've followed her and her husband during a difficult year, and she focused on the Lord to keep her faith strong. Kathy also knows a lot about the stress of burn-out, and in this Spiritual Life and Self-care UPGRADE, she shares wise counsel.

"Sometimes I wonder if my efforts will lead to me hearing 'Well Done' or being burnt out," Kathy said. "Let's look at the recipe for finding the balance."

I (Dawn) think this is such a vital topic in our busy, busy world. Several years ago, I almost totally lost my ministry because of a health issue related to burn out. Loving friends did question all I was doing at the time, but I wish someone had pulled me aside and asked tough accountability questions about my priorities and why I was doing what I was doing.

Kathy continues …

In most recipes, the difference between making a crispy creation and a delightful dish is in two variables. Time and temperature. (Just like the old phone service you could call for that information!)

Getting the best out of life for God’s BIG glory without burning out requires those same two variables. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Time

  • How long do you spend on the things that require your attention during your waking hours?
  • How long do you sleep and rest between periods of busyness?
  • Do you have time to add something new to your schedule, or do you need to delete something before you add anything else?

2. Temperature

  • How hot does your passion burn for your specific projects?
  • How consistent are your efforts before you need to take a break?
  • Do you get bored easily with the project?

Oftentimes we evaluate the ingredients of a recipe to determine if it will be a success, when the real issue is to make sure we have the time and temperature set correctly.

It’s wise to ask God to lead in adding to or taking away from your workload. Seek Him to reveal what activities tickle your taste buds. And follow His lead when it’s time to take it easy for a bit.

If it’s been a while since you had a day you could label BLESSED REST,  then you probably need a day like that!

Overdo or overdue?

Are you on the verge of burning out? I realized it was time to slow down and relax when I wrote the following paragraph to my mom:

“I want one day to relax and do what I want, when I want.

I haven’t had one of those in a LONG time. Overdo.

Sort of my Merry Christmas present to myself!”

See the problem? I spelled “overdue,” overdo. And that was the problem.

I was overdoing it—rest was overdue!

We rarely will admit we’re burning out until it’s too late. The toast is already burnt. We’ve pushed the time and temperature too long, too hot. 

And you know what happens when you let the toast burn? It stinks! It stinks when we push ourselves too hard, as well. We’re no good for anyone, at that point.

Let the toaster cool off and add more bread. You rest, then decide what God wants you to add or subtract from your life schedule to fuel your passions and feed your purpose without overdoing it!

Burnt Out?

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Well Done?

His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21 AMP) 

When you seek Jesus to be Lord of your life (Master) and are faithful in His instructions, seeking to be effective for the success of the Kingdom and not merely personal success, you will hear Him exclaim about your work, “Well done!”

Where are you headed—to hearing “Well done” or being burnt out?

Kathy Carlton Willis shines for God, reflecting His light as a speaker at writer's conferences and women's retreats, and as an author - contributing to three books and writing hundreds of columns and articles online and in print publications. She wrote Grin with Grace with AMG Publishers and has several books releasing over the next few years. She and her husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston Terrier.