POWER OVER THE PANIC ATTACK

Panic

Two nights ago my left arm started feeling funny.  I was up late watching T.V. and figured I was laying in a weird position and that made my arm uncomfortable.  I got up to get a drink of water and felt a cramp like feeling in my chest.  It was strange.  I got back in the bed and felt the feeling in my chest again.

I linked the odd crampy feeling in my chest to the strange feeling in my left arm and BOOM!  The trigger was pulled.

“Am I having a heart attack? Your left arm feels funny when you’re having a heart attack.  Is this what a heart attack feels like? Oh my gosh!  Do I need to go to the doctor?  Oh! I don’t want another doctor bill to pay.  Everyone is sleeping and we’ll have to call the in-laws to watch the kids while Tony and I head over to the hospital.”

Then the physical sensations kick in – tight chest, shortness of breath, tingles all over my body, sick to my stomach.

In the middle of all that I just stopped, took a step back, and thought about the reality.  “I have been laying here for a few hours watching T.V. and I was fine.  I was fine all day long. I am a healthy individual.  What did I eat recently?  Ah ha! I had chips and salsa late this evening.  I’m having heartburn.  I need to go to sleep, I’m not going to a hospital, and if I was having a heart attack I would KNOW and I would go to the hospital. This is NOT a heart attack.  This is heart burn.”

I prayed and went to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning I couldn’t believe how easy it was to fall asleep after being on the verge of a panic attack. I got up and felt a heaviness over me.  I was taking my son to daycare when I felt like I couldn’t get a good breath.  I kept calm and thought about the panic attacks I used to have daily.  I have not had a panic attack in 4 years!  I’ve felt overwhelmed at times and that I could have a panic attack but they never come.  I was on the verge of one the other day and actually got excited.  I know that’s crazy but I figured I would drop my son off at daycare and then park the car and just sit and have a panic attack.  I haven’t had one in 4 years and I really wanted to experience one again so I could come home and write about it!  No panic attack though.  You see, when you don’t fear the panic attack anymore it has no power.  The reason why panic attacks are so drawn out and dramatic is because we spend our time resisting them.  They are so dreadful and scary but when you’re not afraid of a panic attack anymore it has no power.

I was bummed.  I was driving back home and bummed that I didn’t have a panic attack.  I laughed and talked to God about how crazy I am.  ha!  I then thanked God for allowing me to experience such bondage for a year of my life in 2011.  I was a slave to anxiety and depression.  Something so awful wound up being the very thing that set me free (through Jesus of course).

The rest of my day was wonderful.  It was around dinner time when I realized what a great day I was having and that I had forgotten all about the morning when I thought I was going to have a panic attack.  In 2011 a shaky morning would have thrown the whole day off.  I would have resisted the dreaded panic attack all morning.  My thoughts would have been torturing me.  I would have tip toed around all day long to avoid a panic attack and then have one trigger over the stupidest thing.  After the panic attack I would be so annoyed and tired that I would be mean to everyone around me and veg around on the couch for the rest of the day because I would not have the energy to hold my head up.

So what was the difference between 2011 and the other day? I’m not afraid because I know God holds my next breath and I trust Him to do whatever He needs to do with it.  This doesn’t mean I don’t experience fear.  This doesn’t mean I don’t get startled.  This means when I  DO get startled, I open my mouth and speak against the lies of the enemy and choose to trust God regardless of how I feel.

Being a believer doesn’t always feel good.  This should be no surprise to us because the Bible tells us often that we will face some hard stuff in life.  But just because we don’t feel good or things aren’t going our way doesn’t make God any less of God.

The difference between 2011 and the other day is that I didn’t let the feelings stop me.  My husband took off work to spend the day with me and we had plans.  I was going to have a good time with my husband.  I didn’t shut down because I felt overwhelmed or on the verge of a panic attack.  Those silly feelings were just going to have to come along with me because I was going to hang out with my husband.  You know what happened?  Those silly feelings went away.  I prayed for them to go away but I didn’t dwell on them.  Whether they stayed or left me – I was still going to have a good time with my hubs.  You have the power to do that too!  The problem is we get so panicked over the feelings that we shut down.  We get so startled and burdened that we don’t open our mouths and speak against the lies of the enemy.  Don’t dwell so hard on the feelings that you forget to open your mouth and speak truth over your situation.

I have felt fine ever since the other day. Inconveniences are going to show up to try to trip us up. That’s okay.  That’s life. The power of hell has no hold on us because Jesus paid it all!  By His stripes we are healed.   Whom shall we fear? Greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world.  The enemy is crushed under our feet.  The only power the enemy has over you is that which you give him. Isn’t that wild?  He cannot control your thoughts, he cannot possess you if you are a child of God because you are sealed.  The only thing he can do is scare you.  He can shoot fiery darts at you but you have the power through Jesus to shut him down.

Open up the Bible and read the scriptures.  Equip yourself with the power of God’s word.  Pray! Open your mouth and speak out.

Press forward. You got this, friend!

April

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Let’s Be Real

Mask

If we can’t talk about it with other believers then who can we talk to?  If we can’t discuss it at church then where can we discuss it?

What is it?  Oh, you know …  the REAL problems in life.  The ugly, messy, filthy, dirty stuff that we dare not share with the people we worship next to every Sunday.

Oh!  Come on!!!

I remember a few years ago right before I entered the anxiety and depression chamber, I was struggling with my faith.  It’s like I woke up one morning and I didn’t know if I believed anymore.  I went from burning hot to lukewarm to frigid.  I was going through the motions of being a believer and I could speak the language around other believers but my heart was locked.

I sat in a small group and broke down.  I mean – I ugly, snot cried (you know where you don’t know if you’re wiping tears or snot at this point) at the end when we were closing in prayer.  I shared with the group what was going on and do you know that they just hugged me and then gathered in the kitchen for snacks and conversation.

Say what?!?! It’s like my REAL, UGLY problem was such an inconvenience and no fun that they didn’t even pray with me.  I’m not going to lie.  I was a hot mess back then … but still!  It’s one thing to set appropriate boundaries with a person who is emotionally dangerous but this wasn’t me playing the victim or looking for an oppressor to blame for the problems in my life.  This was a broken Jesus follower questioning the whole “Jesus” thing.

We say we “do life together” but we don’t.  I don’t think I’ve ever really done life with anyone except my husband.  If by “do life together” we mean meet up for a coffee date every once in a while and talk about our kid’s cute quirks or how our husbands can’t load the dishwasher correctly (it’s like tetris!!!!  Come on!  You’re good a tetris! Ugh.  But that is for another blog post), or how laundry never seems to end.  Oh… and sometimes we may go as deep as sharing that we’re going to start eating better and living a healthier lifestyle.  That’s cool ‘get to know you’ conversation but that is not doing life together.

Now of course you don’t hit someone with the deep rooted nasty of your heart over your first coffee date either. Nothing screams “RUN” like meeting someone for a “let’s get to know each other” date and they hammer you with the heaviness of all their burdens when you don’t even have a relationship yet.  Y’all get what I’m saying though.  We’re not doing life together if we’re not ever going past the surface.

I had someone reach out to me recently to share with me some ugly details in her life.  This girl has her own Christian friends and attends her own spirit filled church – but she turned to me to share the ugly because she felt she couldn’t discuss it with her people.  What?!!

I had another chick reach out to me to share a struggle that she has with wanting attention from other men.  She’s married and loves her husband but is easily tempted by attention from other men.  We dug deep into the ugliness of the situation and just got real about it.  This chick has her own friends and own Christian circles but didn’t feel she could talk to them about this.  I told her the funny thing (not really funny) is that they are probably dealing with something similar and feel like they can’t share.

What would happen if we got real?  I’ve learned that whenever I’m being real and transparent it gives others permission to be real and transparent.  All of a sudden you don’t feel alone.  All of a sudden you don’t feel guilty and shameful anymore.  The enemy loves for you to feel isolated and alone in your situation.  If he can shut you down and isolate you, he can fill your head with ridiculous thoughts and there is no one around to expose those lies.

This is by no means throwing a punch at the church.  I love the church.  I actually get really annoyed when people are so shocked that the church makes mistakes.  Wherever there are people – there will be mistakes.  This is why we need Jesus. Duh.  Moving on.

What was I saying? Oh yeah – not a knock at the church.  This is for you.  This is for me.  Let’s be real. Let’s spend time with Jesus and pray that he guides us to opportunities that allow us to share our own experiences.   Let’s pray he sends people into our lives where we can be transparent and not judged. Let’s take the risk of being judged and not liked!  How about that!?  Let’s be people who are not casting stones at our brothers and sisters when they are sharing the ugly.  Let’s allow inconveniences to show up in our lives and not rush to the snack table for light conversation and opportunities to make new surface level BFF’s.

All I’m saying is – let’s be with Jesus and be authentic.  You have no idea how that realness can release others from their prisons.

Love to you!

April

Goodbye Healed Whole New

Goodbye

I’ve been out of work for the past month.  It’s been such a sweet season.  It has been very painful and yet very freeing in regards to MY dream.

In 2012 after conquering a battle with anxiety and depression and kickin’ their butts, I made it my mission to share the hope of Jesus and His healing power with women who were in bondage.  So of course, being April, I always need to DO something BIG so I started a ministry called Healed Whole New.

I have written, held seminars, held conferences, counseled, created jewelry, and promoted the heck out of Healed Whole New.

In January of this year my husband and I fasted and prayed and asked God to give us direction for the ministry.  The few months prior to separation from my corporate job, my dream of ministry was so strong within me that I started looking for how to further the ministry and what to do next.  I started praying and seeking direction from The Lord but I kept hitting walls.

At first I thought it was just the enemy trying to make me quit but then in my prayer time with Jesus, I could clearly hear Him asking me to surrender all that I had built up.

I gave it a few days and let those words sit in my soul.  I knew He was right.  I had to let it go.  So I agreed.  The past few weeks I have been on my face asking God what do I need to do next and He answered so clear yesterday.  “Let it go.”

I don’t want what I want.  I want what God wants. I’m surrounded by a generation of believers that are sharing the hope of Christ and promoting themselves constantly.  We seem to be making ourselves more famous than Jesus.  We post something with scripture to encourage others and it spreads like wild fire how amazing WE are for sharing the truth.  I’m not saying every person sharing the Gospel is like this but it’s out there and I don’t want to be one of ’em.  If God gives me a platform someday – great!  But I’m not going to make it for myself anymore.

So back to yesterday…  As I’m on my face, ugly crying in prayer yesterday – I stuck my hands out  without hesitation and said, “Here.  You can have it.  Because me holding on to this dream is me saying that you’re not capable of fulfilling the desires of my heart so I just need to take care of it myself. ….  so here.  It’s yours.” I feel so free.  I feel like the pressure is off.  I can just ‘be’ now.

Why would I give up Healed Whole New?

  • Because God told me to, duh.  :o)  But also because I just realized that if I call myself “Founder” or tell you I have a ministry, it makes ME feel important.  It makes me feel accomplished and deep down I truly hope that you’ll like me more if I tell you what I’ve got going on.  Yuck. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.  So I’m stripping that away. I need to spend time soaking up the word of God.  I need to make sure the Truth I’m filling up on is coming from me + time with the Lord and not just from reading scriptures posted on Facebook statuses.  I need to worship God myself and not watch Youtube videos of worship leaders worshiping.  These are great things but cannot substitute for my own time with God. I can get so busy doing that I forget to BE.  That I forget to just rest in His presence.  I can get so busy promoting myself and what I’m doing that God gets the leftovers.  I spend just enough time to get a quick fill up so I can be inspired for my next blog posting and then the cycle repeats itself.  Not cool.
  •  Because my family needs me. I can get so busy planning and doing that I completely forget about my husband and these little people in my home.  I want to help people so bad and yet I have a daughter who is 7 who is filled with fear and I have a son that is almost 2 and still doesn’t eat table food or self feed … most likely due to the fact that he has Sensory Processing Disorder and he is completely anxious and overwhelmed when it comes to eating and other activities.  Wow.  I was so leveled when this hit my heart. My husband also has dreams! I think it’s time I take the backseat and accommodate him instead of everything always being about me and what I want.
  • Because I need a job. You know, one that pays with money.  It’s just the reality of our season in life.
  • Because I need to serve. Whether it be family, friends, my church family, or whoever is in my sphere of influence.  My pastor said the other day, “If you want to change the world start with your home. Start with your sphere of influence.”  I’m so busy trying to reach people on the other side of the world that I’m missing those right in front of me. If God wants to take this to the other side of the world that’s awesome!  But I’ma let Him do it, in His time, in His way.
  • Because I need to write. I’m a writer.  I always have been and always will be.  My heart is tied to sharing through writing.  I speak of course – but that’s because it’s easier.  I need to really spend my time writing and working with the gift God gave me. I want to blog, I want to write books, I want to create resources and tools for people to be able to use to help them know Jesus more and equip them with knowledge, truth, and encouragement.
  • Because it’s crazy.  It’s humbling to shut down something you created and made flourish.  It’s hard to walk away from this front of success.  It makes me vulnerable to say, “well, that didn’t work out.”  Most of all – it’s just crazy and I know that in my heart of hearts I don’t want something I created with my own effort and energy.  It can only go so far with me.  So here –  take it, Lord.

So what now?

I don’t know. I have no clue and that feels amazing!!!!  I’m going to do the things listed above.  I’m still going to write and blog and post.  I’m taking away the name Healed Whole New.  I’m no longer a ministry leader, founder, speaker, etc.  I’m just April.  I’m just a chick trying to figure out how to make it through the next day honorably.  I’m trying to figure out how to have patience with a 7 year old that wants every ounce of my attention (and not in a healthy way for all of you who want to tell me to not take a moment for granted).  I’m trying to learn how to accommodate a child with delays and ‘disorders’.   I’m trying to learn not to be so darn selfish and to be a better listener and better wife, mom, friend.

If you’re on the HWN mailing list – I’m keeping that!  I can harass you with new blog posts or other fun thoughts that I come up with and want to share with an isolated audience. You’re welcome.  :o)  You’ll probably see some changes in the emails that are sent out but I won’t bombard you with promotional emails anymore.  Yay!

My husband and I are trying to figure out what to do with the website.  I’m thinking we’re going to make it just AprilPoynter.com and keep it super simple and hopefully in the future I’ll have some books on there that I’ve written along with my free blogs.  That would be pretty cool.  (Speaking of books …  my first one is finishing up with editing and then I’ve got a crap ton more work to do on it and then I’ll get it out ONE DAY!) :o)

I’m an advocate for seeing women be set free.  That’s my heart for sure!  That won’t stop.  I call out anxiety and depression.  Those things bow to the feet of Jesus and I won’t keep silent!

Stay tuned!  If God has asked me to give up my dream that I have created and put 3 years of work into … something freakin’ awesome must be in His plan.  I don’t know what that looks like but you already know I’ll tell you about it when I find out!

Thank you for loving me and encouraging me.  It’s just me now.  It’s always been just me hiding behind a title and ministry.  It’s time to strip all the other stuff away.

I’m excited.  If God has more, I don’t want less.

April

The Truth About The Journey

Depressed

Before I experienced anxiety and depression for myself, I was clueless!  It’s extremely hard to relate to a person in the midst of a mental war.  You simply just don’t get it unless you’ve experienced it yourself.

Now that I have walked through a journey of anxiety and depression I can relate to those around me who are in the valley.  Our situations may not be exactly the same but I still get you.  I get what you’re going through.  I get how awful it is and how it sucks your life away from you.

People often look at my life (from the social media glamour) :o) and compliment me on how great my faith is.  They assume that my closeness with God is why God healed me.  God certainly healed me … but not because of me… because of Him.  Because He’s good and He’s faithful.  That healing was not set aside for me alone.  That healing belongs to you as well!

I think it’s easy to look at someone else’s life from the outside, see glimpses of their struggle, and then see their victory. What we don’t see are the super hard days in the valley.  Each minute the claws of fear digging deeper and deeper into you.  Minutes feel like hours when your mind is throwing unreal thoughts at you and your body is reacting with ‘fight or flight’ for no reason at all.  Days last FOREVER and you feel tortured non-stop.  We don’t usually see this part.  We hear about it in hindsight after the victim has overcome and sees everything for how amazing it was and sees God for how good and faithful He is.  There is a very real journey that takes place and that journey is messy and ugly … and that’s okay.

I follow a woman on Facebook who met cancer face to face last year.  She is healed now! Praise The Lord! It’s easy to see her story this way – “Cancer diagnoses.  God is good though and I’m going to get through this.  Today was hard but God is incredibly faithful.  Going for treatment today.  Having a blast with my friends and support group.  Up and at ’em today!  Going on with my everyday life.  Praise God for His nearness! I’m healed!!!!  Give God all the glory and honor!”  …. THE. END.

This is how we often see other people’s struggles so when we get into the trenches of our own ugly messiness and it doesn’t look like that above – it’s easy to feel lost and drifting out to sea by yourself, headed for destruction.  It’s easy to feel there is no hope for you or your situation.

When I think back about my journey, although the healing is very real, what I remember are days of confusion.  I remember lying on my living room floor, bedroom floor, kitchen floor (I seemed to be face to the ground often) and grieving with all my soul.  Some days it was just too much to physically stand up.  I remember days of lying in my bed, cover over my head, and wanting to die.  I remember the frustration of sitting in the car when I really needed to go into the grocery store and buy food for my family but I just couldn’t get myself out of the car because I was terrified.

I remember being snippy with my husband and daughter because when you’re on edge for days on end EVERYONE and EVERYTHING gets on your nerves.  Trinity would be singing in the car and then we would get stuck in traffic and I would snap off on her for singing.  “Just be quiet and sit still!” I’d shout at her.  I remember crying a lot and being so mad at everyone because they couldn’t fix me or take my pain away.  It was a hard season of life.  In fact, it was so hard I didn’t think I would survive it.

But you know what? I did survive it and you’re going to survive too! Even though the journey hurts and the bottom of the bottom is messy- there is hope that sings in the valley low.  The light will always overcome the darkness.  The darkness cannot remain.  It just can’t! Get excited!!!  You have the victory!  You have the healing! You just need to meet yourself over there on the other side and that’s the journey.

You have to wake up each morning and know, even when you’re face to the ground and mad at everyone around you, that you’re already standing on the other side completely healed! That’s faith!  That’s hope.  It’s chasing after something you can’t see.  It’s standing back up and inching forward when there is no end in sight.  It’s dancing in the mirror when you feel like dying!  It’s laughing, belly laughing, through the tears! It’s speaking life over yourself and your situation and proclaiming the faithfulness of God when you feel like you’ve been abandoned.

God is truer than how you feel.  Don’t let those feelings take you under.  Don’t let those feelings control your thoughts and actions.  Feelings are strong.  They create strong thoughts too – but you have a choice whether to listen and believe them or not.  Choose NOT to listen and believe them.  Choose life.  Choose hope.  Choose faith.  Choose love.  Choose Jesus.

No one can make you choose.  You have to do that on your own.

The journey is ugly and messy.  The journey is very real and very hard.  BUT GOD –  God is faithful and He is near … even in the messy, ugly, and real… Especially in the messy, ugly, and real.  Actually, I experienced the love of God in such real ways in the messiness that once I walked out of it all – I longed to go back to being captive because I missed that closeness, that ‘desperate – here, you can have all of me’ closeness that I experienced while I was in the pit. Now that’s crazy, right? But it’s true.

The truth about the journey is that it doesn’t have to fit the pretty Christian bubble of “hardship” that’s been presented to us. The truth about the journey is that most likely it is a hot mess! The truth about the journey is that God doesn’t change just because we’ve hit a rough patch in life. I am so grateful for that.  Let the Spirit of God meet you in your mess and prepare to have your world rocked.

Hang on! It’s a bumpy ride – but it’s so worth it.  Get excited and know that if your world is being shaken this much then the enemy sees you as a real threat.  You were created with a plan and purpose attached to you. We need you.  The world needs you.  Your family needs you.

You got this!

April

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ONE DAY AT A TIME

Image

One Day at a Time

Like most people, I am an instant gratification freak! Experiencing anxiety and depression for a year was really hard.  If I had to walk through a tough time I wanted it to last for 24 hours and then move on.  Spending a year in bondage to anxiety and depression was pure torture for me.

During my journey I struggled not just with anxiety and depression but with the fact that I was a Christian who was suffering from anxiety and depression. I believed in God, I attended church, I loved studying the Word. How did I succumb to such bondage?

I didn’t struggle with depression growing up.  I was the type of kid that didn’t hold a grudge.  If I was wronged, I forgave quickly and moved on. When I would meet people who were depressed I could never figure out why they just didn’t choose to be happy.

My depression began with a single panic attack which was something I had never experienced before.  I have never felt so out of control in my life.  After the first panic attack I immediately had GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). GAD is basically where you’re caught in a loop of anxiety.  You never really feel at ease.

I’m very active and an extrovert but when you’re anxious all the time you don’t want to go anywhere.  I removed myself from gatherings and social fun, I stopped going to the grocery store (I know I’m weird but I LOVE grocery shopping) and I just wanted to sit at home all the time.  After a few months this led to depression.  I felt as though my life would never return to me and if it did what would “normal” look like going forward?

Well, friends, my life did return to me and it is now better than ever because I live in the COMPLETE freedom that Christ has given to me!  Jesus set me free on the cross.  He said, “It is finished.” and it was finished!  So, if Jesus has set us free then why do so many Christ Followers live in bondage?

I know we all have a story but I personally believe the reason we wind up in bondage is not because we’re not “Christian enough” (trust me, I thought this was the reason for my year of bondage) but because we don’t truly believe that we are free.

Now if you’re like me when I was going through anxiety and depression I DID believe in Jesus!  I think that’s what made me feel the most defeated was because I knew God, I walked in relationship with Jesus daily, I read the Word, I taught the Word to women, I attended church.

The truth is I did believe as much as I knew how to believe but deep down in the deepest inner parts of my heart I had fear plaguing me.  Fear of death, fear of people, fear of losing, fear of not being good enough, fear of losing control.  On top of fear I had guilt and shame.  The enemy had me so bound and had been weaving his web of deception for years in my life and one day he decided to pull the rope as tight as he could and my whole world came crashing down.

There are seeds of deception that fall our way daily and when we don’t tend to those seeds they turn into weeds in our flower beds of life.  Those weeds grow deep, strong roots and we can chop them down at the surface but the roots still remain.  It’s not until we get on our knees, down in the mud, and dig those weeds out of our flower bed that we experience the true freedom that Jesus has given us.

God is so gracious and the word that He gave me during my year of “crazy” was, “One day at a time.”  Oh! I wanted it to be over so badly but each morning I would wake up with hope that yesterday was my last day of anxiety/depression and then that sick feeling would hit me in the stomach and I would realize that the “crazy” was still there. I had to choose to get up that morning and go through the motions of my life as though I was normal and press forward.  I overcame one day at a time and because I walked through the darkest year of my life I stand on the other side now in complete freedom because I understand that Jesus paid it all but I have a choice in whether I believe that He paid it all and whether or not I operate in the freedom that He has given me.

I think we make ourselves an exception to the scripture.  I used to make a joke when I was going through anxiety and depression that the fine writing in the side notes of the Bible did not say, “Except April”.  God’s Word applied to me just as much as it did to anyone else.  When God says in Jeremiah 29:11   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is no fine writing beside that verse that says, “Except April”.  This scripture applies to me as well as everyone else.  The scripture applies to you too so don’t give up on reading scripture.

I have had a few conversations with different people over the past few years about their experiences with anxiety/depression and I just don’t want them to give up because tomorrow could be their day of finally walking out in freedom.

Anxiety and depression are very real.  Believers experience it, non believers experience it… it’s very real but it’s not forever! I can only speak from my personal experience and I’m not a doctor but I do know Jesus and He heals, restores, and comforts.  Although He could completely remove the darkness from you, sometimes He needs you to get into the flower bed with Him and dig out those roots so that you don’t return to the darkness.  With each root that I discovered, God helped me deal with grief, shame, guilt, and anger.  There were things from my past that I had not thought about since I was a kid… I didn’t even know it was there but God did and He knew I couldn’t fully operate in freedom with those ugly roots attached to me.  If God would have exposed all of those roots to me in one day I probably would have been admitted to a mental hospital.  He knew what He was doing and He knew we had to take it one root at a time.

I’m now experiencing true freedom because I don’t have roots of deception holding me captive anymore.  I pray that you take hold of your freedom by pressing forward one day at a time.

Be free,

April

Sandpaper

Close up of hands holding sandpaper and sanding a wooden board. (Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)

Have you ever had a sandpaper moment?

A sandpaper moment (in April’s dictionary) is when someone says something negative (or seems negative) to you that causes a burn inside of you.  Your first reaction is to become defensive, fall into victim mode, tell all of your other friends so they agree what a jerk that person was to you.

Whenever you have a sandpaper moment you have to evaluate who is calling you out and what their motives are.  If someone from the sidelines of your life, who doesn’t really know you, tries to call you out on something – you can take that, evaluate it if you want, and then flush it down the toilet.  If it’s someone who is close to your heart, who loves you, lifts you up, and wants to see you do well in life- eh, they may be on to something.

Although we do need to be surrounded by people who love us and want to see us succeed, they don’t have to be people who agree with everything we say and do or people who are afraid to challenge us to be better.  The people closest to us see our blind spots.

Most of the time the only reason we get so offended by being called out is because we know what they’re saying is true.  We just couldn’t believe how easily they saw our ‘ugly’ area in our life.  Once the ‘ugly’ is called out we can’t deny it anymore.  We’re forced to face the ‘ugly’ and then decide what we’re going to do with it.

I’m in a season where I’m being sandpapered like CRAZY! I don’t know who opened the flood gates but it seems like every day, multiple times per day, I’m receiving some sort of constructive criticism from people who love me enough to tell me the truth even if it hurts my feelings.

Their motives are good.  They believe in me and they see where I’m hindering myself.

I don’t know about you but I want to be better.  I don’t want to run this race of life on the hamster wheel.  I want to throw off everything that’s holding me back and run this race and actually get somewhere.  I want to grow and learn and complain less!

So look around you.  Do the people you roll with agree with everything you say? Do you do the same for them? Are you mad at someone who you know loves you but you don’t like something they said to you recently?  Did they call out a blind spot?

We can always sit and discuss our feelings and how our friend didn’t have the right approach or timing … or how they came across as judgmental… and this may be true – but come on!  Is there ever really a good time to hear something about yourself that you don’t want to hear?

I walk closely with very few people and they all know that I love them enough to tell them the truth.  I love them enough to hurt their feelings (in love) and I love them enough to risk losing their friendship by disagreeing with them or calling them out on their junk and I expect the same in return.

Obviously there is a huge difference between being sandpapered by a close friend or mentor and being a part of a toxic relationship.  Two totally different things that you don’t want to confuse. Again, “Who is saying it? What are their motives?”

Let’s not be too closed off to learn from the awesome people around us … even if it stings a little.

You are loved!

April

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5.14.15 – Encouragement for Today

women victory

I host a private Facebook group for some pretty rockin’ women who are journeying through mental strongholds.  They are very dear and precious to me and have become a sweet community of women with real hurts and pains but women with faith that can move mountains.

I shared a post with them today but then wanted to post it here because women (and men) need to know this truth.

“You need to know today that you are simply amazing. You are seen and known by the living God. The God who created the universe cares about YOU. He cares about the smallest details in your life that matter to you. You’re not stuck in a moment – you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. If you weren’t supposed to be there – you wouldn’t be there. So when this season is over, guess what? It’s over. You’ll be moved to a new place in a new season. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s never changing. He cannot lie. He’s close and near and loves you – not because you’re deserving … but because he just loves you! Nothing you do or don’t do can change that. You can’t earn His love or more of His love because it’s already a full capacity. God is not a grown up one of us … He’s God. He’s more than we could ever imagine. He meets you right where you are. Your walk with Him may not look like anyone else’s walk with Him … He designed you, just as you are, to experience Him. So don’t get caught in ugly comparison. Comparison just keeps you stuck on yourself, others, and insecurity, and keeps you from experiencing the precious relationship with Jesus. Rest easy. Chill. Take a deep breath. You are right where you’re mean to be.”

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