Category Archives: Moving Forward

Journal Prompt – Guilt vs Shame

It’s a hard distinction, so many times I feel they overlap. However, the truth is that there is a significant difference between guilt and shame.

Guilt says I did something wrong.

Shame says I am bad because I did something wrong.

Guilt refers to the action, shame to the person. As I stated at the beginning, sometimes I feel they overlap. It is easy to let the volume of negative self-talk rise in the blame game.

I must take a step back and remind myself of the difference.

  • I am not bad; I made a bad choice.
  • I made a mistake; that doesn’t mean I am a mistake.

How do you respond to guilt and shame? How do you separate the two?

If you are comfortable doing so, share your thoughts below.

Journal Prompt – I will

I have heard the phrase in so many ways.

  • Do or or not, there is no try
  • Action over Intent
  • You are what you do, not what you say you will do
  • A goal without a plan is just a wish

Each time I see or hear one of these phrases I am spurred to move forward. I am reminded that I have to get it out of my head, and into action.

Oh, but sometimes getting started is so hard. Why????

I don’t know about you, but for myself, I feel like I am drowning in F*E*A*R. Fear – False Evidence Appearing Real. While the plan looks good, Fear shows me it will fail. Fear even shows me if I succeed, I will do something to make it fail. And I stay in the ‘I want to’ mode.

Yes, I may fail. Failure is not fatal. It is something that did not work. So I learn what did work, and use it to move forward again.

Walt Disney was fired from Hallmark for not being creative enough, then went bankrupt with his own design company before he became the famous creator we know today.

Oprah Winfrey was released from her first TV job because she was “unfit for television”.

There are so many more similar stories. Financial guru Dave Ramsey tells how he became ‘an overnight success after 20 years of trying’.

The one thing each of these people did that I find myself not doing. Each one learned from their experience, applied their new-found wisdom, and continued to move forward.

What is holding you back? What will it take to move from “I want to” to “I will” and “I did”? Where will you go?

Journal Prompt – I Will Face My Fear

I love the song “Fear is a Liar” by Zack Williams. (Click to see the official youtube video)

I love saying the words “FEAR is a LIAR!!!” Oh, the emotion I put into that phrase.

I started focusing on calling out and facing fears one by one a couple of years ago. As I made a list of lies I was believing I focused on one at a time.

As one would go away and I would step past it I would move to the next one. Slowly they started melting away. Over time it became easier to notice the lies.

I would love to say I am strong and harbor no lies at this time. But I can’t. I don’t know if I ever will.

But I do know this. For every lie I face down, I am strengthened. Slowly, I find myself noticing the lie before it becomes a belief.

How about you?

What fears are holding you back?
What are they preventing you from doing?

Call one out this week. Declare it a LIE. Face it down. How will you move forward?

Journal Prompt – Peace in Stress

Suffering anxiety and stress, I have learned if I have a plan of action, I can sometimes avoid the immediate reaction by having a plan in place.

It’s like planning ahead to get out of the house if there were a fire, making the reaction to seek safety an instinct. If I plan ahead for ‘a way out’ or ‘a response plan’ to a possible stress trigger, I have found I respond instead of react.

Reacting in the moment caused stress and anxiety levels to increase. I cannot think clearly. I often escalate the situation.

If I can remain calm, taking control of the reaction, I can:

  • think clearly
  • see more sides than tunnel vision allows
  • consider the responses and affect on others
  • make better decisions

Realizing the need to plan for stress and anxiety I try looking ahead.

  • STOP! Catch myself.
  • Take a deep breath, don’t say anything.
  • If possible, step away for a few moments.
  • Pray for peace and clarity.

How do you keep ‘peace for the moment’ when stress and anxiety are triggered? What is your plan of action in preparation?

Renew My Thoughts

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. – Ephesians 4:23NLT

I stand in front of the mirror and face my biggest critic. I see all of her faults. I am reminded of her failures. I struggle as I hear her words grow louder in my head.

  • You are no good.
  • You are ugly
  • Another day, another screw-up.

Ephesians 4:23 tells us to ‘Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” I have to drown out those negative voices with the truth. I must change my thoughts, my attitudes. I need to let the Spirit renew them.

To do so I must find other thoughts to dwell on. Philippians 4:8 guides us in this by telling us to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute.

Both verses show this is not a magic pill or an immediate flip of the switch. It also shows this is something I have control over. Once I accept I do have control over this, I must choose to dwell on what is right and let the Spirit work within me.

I can and am able to take control of my negative self-talk.

One way I have chosen to do this is by using the acronym LIES. I must look at, evaluate, and replace the negativity, the lies that I use against myself and replace them with the truth.

James Allen, in his book “As A Man Thinketh” writes

All that you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your life is the direct result of your thoughts. You are today where your thoughts have brought you;’ you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.

Getting to this point of negative self-talk took time to develop and it will take time to move away from it. It will take work and dedication. I will fail along the way, but that won’t be the end of it. I will capture the wrong thinking, discard it, remind myself of the truth, and move forward.

I am a member of a local Toastmasters Club and recently presented a 7-minute speech titled “Don’t Lie To Me”. In it, I explore the LIES that plague me daily and struggle to face them down. You can watch the presentation here.

I am who God says I am. Over the next few months, I am going to explore what this means. Will you join me on the journey?

If you want to follow this series, look for the category “LIES” to more easily find the corresponding posts.

2020 First Journal Prompt

And just like that, it is the year 2020.

Last week on New Year’s Eve I remembered back to that night in 1999. I was the computer department for a medium-sized doctor organization with multiple locations. I stayed up all night checking the servers and ready to run to the offices on a moment’s notice if the world were to come to an end when all the computers changed from 1999 to 2000.

Nothing happened, I didn’t have to run out into the night and I slept in the next day.

It is hard to believe that it was 20 years ago. So much has happened in my life in these 20 years.

Each year I set goals for myself. Some I followed through on; others I tossed aside.

Thinking back on this caused me to address this in a journal prompt.

Statistics show that only about 8% of the New Year Resolutions made are completed. Why? There is no commitment, no buy-in.

I want to encourage you this week to carefully consider:

What are your top goals for 2020?

Why is each one important to you?

What will accomplishing these goals give you?

Take some time this week to establish a goal. Make it a smart goal.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

If you would like to talk about these goals one-on-one, send me a message.

Imagine it is now 2021 and you are discussing your accomplishments of the previous year. What will you be celebrating?

Decade-End Journal Prompt

As this year, this decade is coming to a close, I am reminded how far I have come and how I have grown over the past 10 years.

Some steps may be small, but they are steps ahead nonetheless.

I intentionally defied doctor recommendations and fought to quit taking opioid medications even before the big society push to do so. It took over a year, but I did it.

I completed studies at the Professional Christian Coach Institute and obtained my first level of certification, CPLC (Certified Professional Life Coach).

I hosted local workshops on Boundaries using material from Doctors Cloud and Townsend. I also hosted local workshops on Defeating the Lies of Negative Self-Talk with the materials I created.

Journal prompts were posted weekly. I am working on consistency in all areas of online posting.

Other changes were small.

Like making an effort to wear make-up. I don’t usually do more than a foundation so I am like a teenager playing with make-up colors and techniques.

Despite the physical pain, I strive to walk – even a short distance – weekly.

I am working toward a routine of personal time with God.

There is no major life-changing step, yet there is so much to celebrate. Yes, there were failures. I learned from each one and used it as a step toward success.

What are you celebrating as this decade comes to a close? Take a moment to review. Write out your successes, no matter how small. Every step forward is significant.

CELEBRATE IT!!

My Word for 2020 is….

Do you choose a “word of the year”?

I started doing this several years ago.  In 2018 my word was ‘unstoppable’.  It reminded me to keep moving toward my dreams, and that the only one to stop me from pursuing it would be me.  

For 2019 a short phrase was my focus “stay the course”.  I was reminded to keep moving forward on the course God has set me on (Psalm 119:1).  I do not yet know what is at the end of the path, but I know He is with me.

When I look at the year 2020, so many references to vision come to mind.  I argued with myself on the word ‘vision’ because I figure everyone will be using it.

Then I read Romans 12:3 “Be honest in your evaluation of yourself…”  Wow. I have been posting and teaching on stopping the lies of negative self-talk and replacing them with truth. God’s truth.

I am discouraged today, feeling down, telling myself so many lies. Writing this post reminds me I am doing exactly what I teach against.

The word “REFLECTION” came to mind.  I found a picture I use in some of my illustrations of a woman smiling at herself in the mirror.  I added the word REFLECTION at the top and wrote out Romans 12:3.

This is my word for 2020.  REFLECTION.  This year I am reminded to be honest in my evaluation of myself. I will reflect on who God says I am.

It is with this word I will conducting additional “Defeating the Lies of Negative Self-Talk” courses in-person and online.  It is with this word I will begin leading some “Boundaries” courses using material from Doctors Cloud and Townsend.  It is with this word I will be unstoppable, as I stay the course, and reflect honestly on God’s view of me.

I love how I can look back and see the progress God has made in me by reviewing past words.  Each one leads to the next step of my spiritual growth in Him.

What is your word for 2020? Where will it lead you? How can I help you?

Journal Prompt – week 51

I cannot believe it is the middle of December. Today we are experiencing a winter storm here in the Midwest. It truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

As I have been speaking with different people over the past few weeks about the Christmas season.

It made me consider this week’s journal prompt.

What does Christmas mean to me? I have conflicting emotions right now as several close family and friends are going through difficult times. The joy that the season celebrates is not there for them. Today, Christmas means something different for them.

Thus the journal prompt “What does Christmas mean to me?”

How will you answer the question?

Journal Prompt – Celebrate

This week I will celebrate my achievements of 2019.

Look back over the year. In the midst of the obstacles, you will find stepping stones. Among the trials, you will find successes.

Even if you took 3 steps forward and 2 steps back, you are still one step ahead.

CELEBRATE! What successes, no matter how small, will you celebrate today?

One success for me is this journal prompts. Fifty weeks in a row! I am working on being consistent. Sometimes I had to be a few days late, but I continued. A small success, yet a success. I will celebrate. I will congratulate myself.

What successes will you celebrate?