Fearless Faith

With the doors of my SUV wide open and the radio blaring I danced with total abandon.

I twirled in the high grass overlooking the majestic Montana countryside.

(Call me crazy, but that was my way of escaping the pressures of life.)

Lost in the moment, I wandered off until I found a magnificent boulder with a panoramic view of the valley below.

All dancing ceased as I sat transfixed by the splendor of God’s creation.

The peaceful moment was soon interrupted by an uncomfortable feeling.

You know, the uneasiness you feel when someone is watching you?

I toppled off the rock and scrambled back towards my vehicle.

My mind whirling with fears that I hadn’t experienced on this hill before.

They were fueled a few feet from the open door of my vehicle,

lying in the path between paw prints was fresh animal excrement that had obviously been left since I wandered off.

Much to the dismay of my family, we learned later in the week about a mountain lion that had been spotted locally.

Slain deer were soon found not far from our house.

There is a vice that grips your heart when you come face to face with a moment of potential danger in your life.

Your mind is bombarded with all the “what if’s”.

1 Peter 5:8 ” Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” suddenly became a reality to me.

Except the lion wasn’t roaring.

That is day to day reality!

The lion IS NOT roaring.

We would be alert – totally aware of all our surroundings if that were true.

Broken relationships, lost jobs and health scares may not topple us off our solid foundation.

So, how do we face life – the daily trepidations that seem to sneak up on us with silent footfalls crossing our path?

Fear  of the future in an unstable economy,

Security for our families  and multitudes of  health concerns.

Fear of being unable to find the right person to share your future?

A fearless faith can only be found in knowing where your faith is established.

If your faith is in the economy, or people, or even a long healthy life here on earth

your life will be shaken.

There will always be “mean girls”, another guy will break your heart, jobs will come and go,

Tumors and chest pains may suddenly appear,

But with fearless faith we can meet them head on.

I wish I  could promise they would never come, but my own life disproves that.

I recently had the privilege of hearing Taya Kyle (Widow of Chris Kyle, American Sniper) speak.

She talked about how their family placed their faith in God, first and foremost.

Was their life easy? Not even close!

Did she get her Happily Ever After? Not by our Fairy Tale standards.

However her poise and faith were enviable.

I want to live like that, how about you?

“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!”

Unshakable faith!

I hope you dance with fearless abandon whatever life may bring!

We can strive for our Happily Ever After with the awareness that there is a lion prowling around.

Some days we will escape unscathed,

The other days we will face with

Fearless Faith!

www.ihopeyoudance.org

Living Fearlessly

I have a confession to make; buried within the depths of my soul is a yearning desire to be a super-hero.

Don’t laugh.

I believe that desire makes its home within most of us, if we are honest enough to admit it.

It is the connection we have to the leading characters in movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent.

The feeling that makes us walk away from the theater standing taller and nurturing a desire to learn to shoot a bow.

An insatiable curiosity that makes us secretly wonder

how it would feel to save a life,

save a nation,

save the world?

And then the next morning rolls around with it’s mundane tasks and ordinary life sinks in.

But what if  you knew the connection was real?

What if I told you your super-hero self was about to be set free?

The secret is in learning how to live your life fearlessly.

That is what separates the heroes from the passers-by.

I don’t want to spend my entire life as an unnoticed observer, do you?

It’s ok to be an unknown. It’s not about getting the credit, it’s about making a difference.

Living a life that you actually participated in.

So what does living fearlessly look like?

Maybe it is simply smiling at someone having a rough day as you pass in the grocery store.

That isn’t too hard, is it? But it may change a life.

Believe it or not, it takes bravery to step out of your comfort zone and act on what seems like a “simple”, random act of kindness.

How about being vulnerable? If that doesn’t require super-human heroic abilities, I don’t know what does!

I sat with a group of females recently that all had the same  global crisis to contend with – they needed a friend.

We all do. But it takes courage to even admit it, and even more to step out and bravely make the first move in being that friend.

Some days just stepping outside takes a little super hero strength.

What are you facing this week that requires your inner super hero?

Let’s lace our boots up and live this life fearlessly together!

Carolina

www.ihopeyoudance.org

Up Against the Wall

In the midst of our quest for the life we were created to live, we will eventually  come up against obstacles.

One of the most deceiving hindrances I am going to label “The Brick Wall”.

This comes from an eye-opening illustration I read about several years ago in an allegory.

In the story, a man on task to be a hero stays trapped in his village due to the barricading wall surrounding the town, preventing a way out.

Although he knew the fate of many rested on him, he was paralyzed by the wall.

Eventually, it was made clear to him (and fortunately the readers), that the wall had holes big enough for him to easily pass through at any time.

Because he had grown so accustomed to having the wall there his entire life, he was oblivious to the new escape routes.

This reminds me of conversations I have had with friends during the past couple of years on limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs deceive us subconsciously that there are barriers preventing us from moving forward, or into a different area of life.

Some limiting beliefs are grown with us from childhood, like the man in the story. Just because something once was (or our family believed it to be so) it must always be.

It could be as simple as “no one from our side of town ever graduates from college”, or ” a woman’s place is in the kitchen”.

More subtle could be internal messages of not being good enough, smart enough or brave enough to try and tackle this new adventure.

I find myself coming face to face with these crazy limiting beliefs almost weekly. Crazy is the ideal word if you catch me trying to argue myself out of one.

I am so thankful I have been made aware of the existence of limiting beliefs. It has helped me to identify those holes in the brick wall when I thought there was no way out.

I would like to encourage you to try an experiment; as you set out on your journey and you identify an obstacle that resembles a limiting belief write it out on an index card.

Then, on the back of the card write a truth that dispels the belief.

For example “I need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy.” versus “I am happy on my own and enjoying life with my friends.”

“I am not smart enough to do this.” versus ” I am capable of researching and learning new skills.”

That is just a small sampling, but if this intrigues you like it does me, there are so many books or articles online for you to find out more.

My biggest wish for you is that you don’t find yourself up against a wall and quit like the man in the story.

You have a great adventure ahead of you, so identify those obstacles that are simply limiting beliefs & get back on the road.

This is only the beginning, we will learn how to combat other obstacles along the way.

But for now, grab some index cards &  prepare your escape route!

Who are You?

Letter to my younger self is an actual chapter in a book I am currently reading. If you wrote that chapter what advice would you give – you?

What are your likes and dislikes? What makes your heart sing, or brings a smile to your face? What drives your sense of style? What are your gifts? What are your strengths and personality type? (There are many books and online tests to give you an idea. Gary Smalley’s and Strengthsfinder 2.0 are a couple of my favorites.)

Now have five friends and/or family members give input on your gifts and strengths.

As you review these lists, what would your future self have to say?

Would she echo Colbie Caillat saying “You don’t have to try so hard”?

Or maybe, like me, you are pleasantly surprised at the girl all your friends see you as.

As you begin to recognize your natural gifts and strengths (and those that aren’t) you begin to understand why some things come easy and others are harder to navigate. This will help to chart your course in the flow of what you were created to do and the areas that you may need to adjust or work on.

Realize that there is a distinction between gifts and skills.

I cannot sing (at all, not even a little) so if my dream was to win the next American vocal talent show, that would probably need reevaluating.

I happen to be very creative, however, I can’t crochet. But if my dream was to crochet blankets for orphan babies, I could learn!

Lastly, as your future self (the destination, dream version) creates this letter of advice I pray she speaks honestly and truthfully.

I often ask young women wailing over the fact they cannot attract their “handsome prince”, if they are aspiring to be the lady their dream guy would be seeking? The same could be said of our dream career.

My aspirations of being a fit and healthy role model for teen girls could easily be sabotaged by a bad habit of binging on sweets and junk food.

I believe each one of us was created to fulfill a unique purpose. I believe you are drawn to that dream and have the abilities and strengths to achieve it. (Even if you don’t believe it yet.) So let’s begin the process to see where that might lead!

Where are YOU?

Charting out a course for the unknown usually brings a sense of adventure coupled with a dash of hesitancy.

The excitement of traveling beyond the norm (our comfort zone) into a new realm of possibilities is sometimes stifled by the “What if’s?” and “What now’s?”.

But once the intrigue of what life holds beyond prevails, the planning can continue.

The mapping out begins!

Once upon a time that would mean, laying out charted routes marked out on folded  papers and highlighting the course with a colored pen.

As time went on, we were able to search the internet for the most suitable way and print out our intended route.

Today, we simply have to access our preferred mode of GPS, and we are vocally guided by a canned version of the Stepford Wives.

Whichever method you prefer, whatever technology brings to the process, no matter your mode of transportation or where you are going,

One thing remains the same ~

Once you determine your destination the next question is always “Where are you coming from?”

Every “To” needs a “From”.

FROM

PREPOSITION

  1. indicating the point in space at which a journey, motion, or action starts:

    “she began to walk away from him”

    • indicating the distance between a particular place and another place used as a point of reference:

      “the ambush occurred 50 yards from a checkpoint”

  2. indicating the point in time at which a particular process, event, or activity starts:

    “the show will run from 10 to 2”

  3. indicating the source or provenance of someone or something:

    “I’m from Hartford”

    Before you start your journey into your dream life, you need to first determine

Where ARE you starting from?

Where are you now?

One of the best ways to chart out the elusive course to your destiny is to identify where you are coming from.

What does your life look like now?

What do you like to do?

What makes your heart sing?

What are you lacking?

What in your life is ideal?

I hope you have a page full of scrawled thoughts before you. Now take those thoughts and journal of your dream life.

Remember, that hesitancy (it’s not really fear) is normal. It wants to cling to the comfort zone. (We will deal with that soon enough.)

Today we are only focused on determining our “To” and “From”, because tomorrow we will find out “Why”.

Where you are coming from plays a huge part in where you are going and who you are meant to be!

If I Could Turn Back Time…

Regret

Defined as:

  1. feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity):

A powerful word – only if you let it into your life.

The greatest hindrance to your greatest future life is dwelling on all the missed opportunities in your past life.

We all have things we have done (or failed to do) and things that have been done to us that we may regret.

If there is something in your life that you just can’t move past, this may be a good time to look for an opportunity to find healing.

Sometimes a plant needs pruning so it can flourish.

What is holding you back from pursuing the next step to reaching your dream?

It took me years to identify some things in my life that were subconsciously holding me back.

Once they were identified I was able to address them and find healing for all of my past hurts.

Then I identified how I was using these as excuses to remain where I was, because it was safe. (Or at least it felt that way.)

Once they were identified, my excuses were gone & the only thing preventing me from moving forward was me!

Once you have balanced on the precipice of regret for a long time, it may seem difficult to take the leap into hope again.

But, I promise, the risk is worth it.

No one has ever achieved their life long dreams being frozen in fear or paralyzed by regret.

Now instead of letting the regrets of my past mistakes or missed opportunities keep me immobile, I use them as fuel to spur me on to action.

I wish I could say that I am right on schedule with living my dream life – but that would be an exaggeration (even in my world).

I am moving slower than I would like most days & I usually find myself running a little behind on everything

(that book, my running goal, not to mention my sewing & craft projects)

BUT, I am moving!

I am making progress little by little.

And that is saying a lot when I lost so many years with my feet cemented to the ground.

What about you?

Are you frozen in time?

The crazy thing about regret is how we live that moment over & over like we could magically go back & change it.

BUT WE CAN’T

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to find healing and move forward, even if it is a baby step.

How can I help you move past regret?

If I could turn back time I would.

But I can join you in jumping off that precipice into an amazing hope-filled future!

Where Do You Stand?

Like a spooky, Friday night thriller, the path looms eerily ahead in darkness.

Life is a journey into the unknown.

Treacherous trails holding the possibility of new adventures and painful pitfalls.

Is it worth the risk? Do we play it safe or do we even have a choice?

This journey is All about choices.

Do we happen in life, or let life happen to us?

Even when chaos comes out of nowhere like a meteor from outer space, we still have the choice of how to respond to the crisis.

During a recent “meteor shower” in my life, I imagined myself sinking into a never-ending pit.

Slowly falling into the “nothingness” I felt helpless.

When I paused to evaluate my surroundings – my pit- I was aware that I had stopped falling.

I gazed around, and then down.

To my amazement, I was standing on a solid surface.

The gratitude of such stability begin to catapult the rock beneath me up and out of the sinkhole I had resigned to moments earlier.

“On Christ the Solid ROCK I stand” echoed through my soul.

In one decisive moment I realized I was not alone. We are never alone!

Where do you choose to stand?

When life begins to pull you under look beneath your feet and evaluate your surroundings.

Some stretches of the journey may be more taxing,

Tiring,

Harder to navigate through.

I have hiked a few trails over the years and many times I have had to pause

to catch my breath, re-group and re-energize.

Always encouraged to find I was resting upon that Rock!

Once, I was overwhelmed with anguish as I ran with everything within me on the beach.

I wanted so desperately to just give in and quit –

Soon I spied a huge boulder not far ahead. I determined (my choice) to at least run to the rock.

I finally stumbled to my goal, tears forming into choking sobs.

I raised my eyes to the sky, to inform God of the situation He was obviously missing,

And was awed to realize I was standing at the foot of the cross .

Of course I was, where else would I be???

 There was a huge cross mounted at the top of the cliff that bordered the beach I was running on.

What if I would have chosen to quit?

If I would have chosen the sand instead of the rock?

I could have missed that life-altering moment.

It is ok on the journey to pause, to breathe, to re-evaluate and rest!

The most important thing to realize is that you are not alone!

Some days you are climbing to the top of the mountain,

Some days you are resting at the foot of the cross.

But most importantly, you have the choice to have the strong foundation of the solid Rock

giving you the stability you need throughout.

Where do  you Stand?

“On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand,

All other ground is Sinking Sand”.

www.ihopeyoudance.org