A Beginning and an End

I once wrote about Goodbye being hello in disguise…

And, that’s what I’m here to share today. A goodbye that is really a hello in disguise.

First the AMAZING news: I’m going to be a mom!

That’s right! In a little over 6 months, my husband & I will be greeting our little bundle. not sure yet if it’s a boy or a girl, but we are extremely excited and blessed by this surprise, either way.

So, the last 3 months, I have been MIA due to a tough first trimester, which will soon be coming to a close. I have been focus what attention and energy I do have on somethings I have in store, and things my husband and I have coming up in the future.

For the last 8 years though, this blog has been a safe haven for me. This blog has been so much: an outlet, a way to share what God has shared with me, allowing me to share poetry & stories.

That brings me to the goodbye: it’s time to shift my focus over to TinyNephesh. It’s so very hard to say goodbye. Don’t worry, the content will stay available, and I will link to it from time to time over at TinyNephesh. I just know that it is time for me to focus on the areas God has placed on my heart: my family, my TinyNephesh project, writing, & future church planting.

If you have enjoyed the writing here, and what I have shared, you will find more of it over at TinyNephesh, and I would like to encourage you to follow me there. There we will be talking: tiny living, motherhood, marriage, ministry, and life. I would like to keep you on the journey with you, and that is where the journey continues…

Thank you for the past 8 years.

♥ Candice Jeneé

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3 Ways to Boost Productivity + What I’ve Been Up To

Hello, my lovely online friends! So much has been going on lately, I don’t even know where to begin!

I’ll start with what I’ve been up to and then we’ll go into those 3 ways to boost productivity (after all, that’s why you’re here. That’s the good stuff).

So, Tiny Nephesh Coaching & Ministry has officially launched! I am focused and passionate about empowering women to overcome stress/anxiety/overwhelm/sheer exhaustion , and trade them for clarity/control/peace of mind in/productivity order to love their life again. If this sounds like something you’d be interested, I have 3 ways you can see if we would be a good fit:

  • I am booking FREE 20 minute coaching calls with me for potential clients. Just email me at contact@tinynephesh.org or click over to my contact page and put in a request.
  • I am doing a FREE live webinar Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 1pm CDT: Love Your Life: Design a Life You Love & Begin to Live It Today. During this webinar, I will be giving you my signature Love Your Life approach; and we will design that dream life, kick start your action plan, & I’ll share y biggest secret for loving life again. If that sounds like something you’d like, click here.
  • I am running a FREE 5-Day Self-Care Challenge. Those of you who have been around for a while know I am super passionate about self-care, especially practical self-care. During the Live challenge, you’ll get daily emails from me, and I will be active in the facebook support community. We go live tomorrow! Want to join us & become a Self-Care Warrior? 

During each of these, you can begin to see if we’d be a good fit. I’d love to spend time with you and learn how I can serve you!

Now, for that boosting productivity stuff you came here for:

3 Ways to Boost Productivity Starting Today

On Saturday, I shared a video on Facebook & YouTube, during which I shared 3 ways to start to boost productivity today. I’ll share them briefly, and then let you watch the video for the full effect.

If you are looking to boost productivity starting right now, today, 3 things you can start doing right away (you don’t even have to wait):

  • Kick fear to the curb: for real. Lose it. It just gets in your way.
  • Take action: just do at least one thing. Just, take action.
  • Develop a practical self-care plan: remember that first email you got from me? Make sure each of those are a apart of your daily life.

Just by doing these 3 simple things, you’ll begin to build momentum and see your productivity increase. (Watch the Video)

Thank you for spending part of your day with me.

Let me know below how these productivity tips work for you, and share any other productivity tips with me and your fellow readers. Let’s encourage and support each other as we try to design our dream lives and really start living them today!

How to Lose Potential Customers – 5 Easy Steps

I know, if you’re in the business world, you are all about gaining those customers. But, I’m here to share some tips as a customer from some experiences I recently had.

Let me give you some background: my husband & I live tiny. We live in less than 200 square feet in the trailer I bought before we ever met. It’s crowded at times, but we’re actually surviving quite nicely.

My love is also a big, tall, strong man…probably desiring a little more space to sprawl and not have the ceiling mere inches from his head.

I need more convincing. So, I told him I would kind of, sort of, possibly, maybe consider a wider/larger park model RV, but I’d need to see them and decide if it’s tiny enough to match my life & personality.

I also decided looking at bigger spaces might be a good thing, too, just to get an idea of what’s out there in mobile and modular homes…so I found places in the area I could go look and talk to…

Let me tell you, two of the places will never have my business (nor did they have any customers there when I arrived)…a third place was fantastic. And, as my husband and I move forward with going bigger-tiny (399 square feet or less), that third company will definitely have our interest and will be our first call (and maybe a few more) along the way.

So, how did these other places lose a potential customer? Let’s take a look at the 5 easy steps to losing a potential customer (though, any one of them on their own would be reason enough!)

  1. Presume to know their worth: I’m not talking their value here, but what you think they have to pay right there, what they can spend in the moment. If you want to lose a potential customer, decide for yourself what they’re worth/willing to spend, and work the rest of the meeting from there (this will come up again later). I was honest with all three locations that we hadn’t decided what to spend. Now, I was dressed casual, but nice. The first and third locations either wouldn’t even talk money with me or wouldn’t try to up-sell me. Now, look, I get a lot of our impact on others happens in the first moments, but if your potential customer says they haven’t decided on a price they are willing to pay yet, don’t assume it’s because they have nothing. You never know, they could have money coming in they don’t know what to do with, or they could be arguing if $200,000 is too little. I know a lot of business people are trained to notice someone’s worth right off the bat, but just stop it. You. Don’t. Know. And, it could cost you a customer.
  2. Don’t spend any time with them: This one & the next one really go hand in hand, but if you want to lose a potential customer, just don’t spend any time with them. A good business person spends time with the customer in front of them, not worried about the one who just walked in the door. If you have only one customer in your establishment, even if they aren’t ready to buy today, they may be ready to buy tomorrow. Don’t brush them off, especially if you have no other customers & your phone isn’t ringing (which was the case at both places where I had a negative experience. I was the only customer there. The.Only.One.) The last guy I talked to spent about 2 minutes with me before releasing me to look at inventory myself with no one to answer my questions. If you want to make that big commission, you have to nurture the relationship, even with potential customers. Which leads to my next point.
  3. Don’t get to know them/their needs: So, at the first location I went, the guy was out of the building to greet me before I even got to the steps. He led me inside, asked me very few questions, the value questions, and then showed me their smallest model before hurrying me out the door (still with no other customers to be found), telling me he would email me more information. This is a great way to lose customers. I even gave this guy a wide open lane to up-sell me, by saying “my husband would probably go a lot larger, I need to see more to be sure and be convinced”. But, he spent all of about 7 minutes with me before hurrying me out the door. Do this to lose potential customers. How do you keep customers in this case, then? The second guy I talked to spent time with me, asked me about my husband, our current situation, our future needs, and styles we like. Then, he showed me examples, talked me through some options, really talked price with me, and sent me home with floor-plans to show my husband. Only do things this way if you want to keep customers coming back.
  4. Don’t take them seriously: I honestly, genuinely believe this is what kept the two locations with poor customer service from giving me quality service. They didn’t take me seriously. But, I’m nearly 30 and married. Gone are the days of going to look at open houses just to dream. I was there with legitimate questions and desire to learn. I need some convincing to go much bigger, I need to see the space, know what’s out there. Otherwise, we can’t begin to move forward, whether the process starts next week or next year. Only one company took my needs seriously. Only one realized the value of fostering the client relationship in front of him, even if the payout wouldn’t happen until 9 months- a year later. And, by the way, this was the only lot with customers other than me when I arrived and left. I can see that’s for good reason.
  5. Don’t follow up: That’s right, if you wan’t to lose potential customers, don’t follow up with them or send them information you say you’re going to. Remember that first guy who hurried me out the door saying he’d email me more information? Yeah, still hasn’t happened. If you want to keep your potential customers, follow up – 48 hours at the most. One of my favorite things about the place where I bought my RV is the sales staff followed up with me every step of the process, and even after. Your customers make up your business, don’t alienate them.

I went in to each of these places asking questions based on where we are now and where we are headed, but if God changes that, and our needs change, we need a company that will be part of that. Two of these companies clearly wouldn’t, and one clearly would. Which one do you think I’m going to call if our needs/plans/desires change?

And, a little bonus tip, if your client gives you an in to a possible up-sell, take it. You never know what they will like/dislike in the next model/package/offer up, but at least present it to them. The gentleman who actually spent time with me did just that without realizing he was up-selling me, putting ideas in my head, and I’d be much more willing to go with their product and service, because of his willingness to show me examples and answer questions.

I can’t emphasize enough here, the only company that had any customers while I was there was the company that was willing to give me their time. And, he wasn’t worried about what other sale might be waiting for him, he took his time with me.

Now, look, I’m sure you have this business & customer thing figured out, but do yourself a favor. Don’t sacrifice a potential, upsellable client because you judge them to be a waste of your time. Especially if your phone isn’t ringing and you have no other customers in front of you.

In light of all this, next week, I’m thinking car shopping, just to see how I’m treated…


Have you ever had a bad experience shopping for a big item like home, car, appliance, where the salesman lost your sale? What are some ways that happened? Share below.

Also, since we’re talking sales, my newest mini-ebook Customizing Your Self-Care Plan is now available. Click the link in the side bar for your pdf copy. Prefer to read it on Kindle? It’s also available in the Amazon store.

Reflecting Him

I missed a day already…

It’s ok, though, I press on.

It’s been kind of a rough week, but it has given me a chance to strengthen relationships with others around me.

When God created people in the garden long ago & said we weren’t meant to be alone, it wasn’t just about romantic relationships.

He created us to be as He was: in communion with Himself. And, he created us for Him and for others.

Parents. Friends. Coworkers. Spouses. Children. Siblings.

The list could go on, but you get the picture.

When God said man should not be alone, He certainly had those special relationships in mind (and I’m so glad He did; but more on that later), but it was also about all of our other connections.

Chances to connect with each other and connect with Him. Our interactions able to reflect Him to the world around us.

So, how can you reflect Him to the world around you? Let me know your favorite ways!

A Rose by Any Other Name…

I’ve read several articles about “functional” anxiety and depression…though, by definition, anxiety and depression impair functioning…

However, in today’s world, we recognize we still have to somehow live our lives…

When people picture anxiety and depression, they often imagine the extremes.
We picture that commercial where depression is the robe that never leaves us. Or we imagine someone who just cannot get out of bed. Someone who is always crying or always isolated and wallowing in their sadness.

Truth be told, though, often depression can look very different, and be hard for those around us to identify…For instance:

  • Perhaps depression looks more like someone who comes home from work and watches Netflix for 6 straight hours, ignoring everything else for the 4th day in a row.
  • Perhaps it looks like dishes piled in the sink, half done laundry, and half eaten meals.
  • Perhaps it looks like going to work, doing your tasks, and not interacting with co-workers.
  • Perhaps it looks like pure and utter exhaustion, and an inability to engage in activities you once found life in.
  • Perhaps it looks like fewer hugs or kisses from your loved one.
  • Perhaps it looks like more sleep or less sleep, and harder mornings, but getting up because of expectations.
  • Perhaps it looks like someone who is irritable all the time, who easily and quickly reaches the end of their fuse.
  • Perhaps it looks like a worn body with tired eyes.
  • Perhaps it looks like someone who doesn’t have the energy to take care of themselves physically: ignoring dietary demands, exercise, even sex/physical intimacy.
  • Perhaps it just looks like someone who is just worn out: body, soul, and spirit.

I know we have these exaggerated ideas of depression,
but often, these people still manage in “the real world”. We don’t always see them, because we think they are just busy, tired, or movie/tv fans.

Yet, as Shakespeare once said, “A rose by any other name…”

Maybe it’s time we started paying attention to ourselves and those around us. Noticing if something in them/ourselves have changed. Recognizing if anything should be done to share the burden, carry the load. Offer care, compassion, hope, and sometimes even quiet.

And, definitely some understanding and validation.


It has been a while since I’ve written regularly. There has been a lot going on, and honestly, today’s post has a lot to do with it.
I plan to continue my hiatus after this post – but fear not. I will once again be participating in
Write 31 Days in October. This will be my 4th year participating. I will be writing (in contrast to last year) about Relationships. So, until the end of September, I appreciate the understanding for this period of time I’ve had to take away from regular posting. 

If you need someone to pray with you, if you recognize a need in yourself or someone else, or depression is at your door, let me know how I can pray with you. No one should go through this life and struggles alone. That’s why we were commanded to “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

It’s a Process

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In the field I work in, it is estimated that up to 67% of us experience high levels of burnout…something we can experience at any time in our careers, not just the later years.

Combine my drive with perfection and my world-view that tells me to put everyone else above myself:

I am a prime candidate for this. And, tonight, I’m right there.

The weight of it all bearing down on my shoulders.
Feeling like I am supposed to be all things for all people.
And, frustrated, embarrassed, and ashamed that I cannot be.

Because, I am not supposed to be.
I am supposed to take care of myself, like the airplane mask. I have to “put mine on before I help anyone else with theirs”

Yet, I have not been doing that all the time.

I go back to that early message that if I am to live a Godly life, I am to sacrifice for others – and Christ did so even to the point of death.

But, I am not meant to do that. At least, right now, I have not been called to die for the sake of the world. Jesus already had that covered.

And, before & after that point, there are places in the Bible where self-care is evident:

  • Elijah in the cave & on the mountain (1 Kings 19)
  • Jesus himself did this (Luke 5:19; and in His time in the Garden before his death)
  • Ephesians 5:29-30 remind us we are to take care of our bodies
  • And, Matthew 22:37-39 reminds me that I am to love God with my whole being, and then others as I love myself…

But, if I’m not taking care of myself, how can I expect to show love to anyone else…And, if I am a being created by God, how am I to love God with my whole being if my being is not whole? And, if I show no respect for His creation, namely, me?

It’s honestly a process.
And, when you are in the profession I am, with the background I have, it can get messy and sticky.

I have the desire to put up a wall of perfection even when I’m falling apart, because that is what people think of me;

The very words meant for encouragement are twisted in my head to give me an impossible standard to live up to rather than being a celebration of things I’ve already done.

Most days, lately, I am not good at this self-care thing. I am too busy trying to be all things to all people, fitting in where I can, feeling like I’m dropping balls everywhere, discouraged when I have to say “no” to someone, and
ashamed at how drained I am inside.

Because, I am supposed to know better…
I am supposed to do better…
I am supposed to be better…

At least, that’s what my head keeps telling me, giving no grace for myself to be human, leaving no room for me to breathe, calm, or relax.

Tonight, I’ve actually spent the evening doing just that…after a panic attack.
The tale-tell sign that I have been taking on too much.
I don’t control when they hit; and I hate when they do. But, when one happens (which hasn’t been in a while) – it is a screaming siren: something is amiss, you have taken on too much, you are putting too much pressure on yourself, you need to take corrective action.

So, I did that. And, in that, I made myself good food – food that I’m allowed to eat, rather than defaulting to gluten-filled food that may be part of the issue with all of this. (And, tomorrow, I will be sharing more about that…)

But, for tonight, I’m focusing on self-care:

  • Leaving work at work (I only checked my email once and only answered one work-related text…it’s actually an improvement)
  • Nourishing food & water. I’m usually driven by cravings, but I knew tonight I needed to be respectful of how my body is wired.
  • Allowing myself to finally cry. It’s been building up. The release was necessary. Sometimes, we have to be allowed to feel all of the feelings.
  • Read a book. That’s right, a whole book. It it was a needed book at this exact moment in my life.
  • Writing. This blog, future posts. Thoughts. Quotes. Just pen to paper. I forget sometimes how alive that action actually makes me feel, how connected to me, and how human.
  • Sketching. I’m not the best, but creating an image is incredibly cathartic.
  • Bible reading & prayer time. I cannot be sustained if my spirit is not sustained. If my spirit is crushed and I do not tap into it’s hope, I will not survive
  • Sleep – well, at least, that’s my plan. An earlier bed time. I hope it works out.

Tomorrow, I will wake up and do it all over again:
I will go to work and do my best to be supportive and helpful to my colleagues and our clients.
I will go to work and be called names & treated unkindly by our kiddos, who have not yet developed any other frames of reference for their little worlds; and I will work my hardest at not taking it personally & showing compassion and patience to their painful little worlds.
I will go to work and do my best to remember my own “calm down skills” and doing my best to offer a real-time example of calming, compassion, patience, self-care, and communication.
I will go to work and do my best to the extent that is humanly possible, and likely will still come home feeling like it was not enough.

But, I will wake up & do it all over again, because this is what I am called to at this time.
And, as He has called me, He will also strengthen me and walk with me daily.

Remembering all of this, and taking care of myself in the meantime, is a process, though.
And, addressing my self-care is the only way I will truly be able to get into the messiness with others.
And, it’s the only way I will be able to love God with my whole self & love others as I love myself.
But, it’s a process…


Have you ever found yourself nearing burnout or compassion fatigue?vDo you have any suggestions for self-care, for me or anyone else in the helping professions or ministry? What ways do you care for yourself? 

A Lenten Challenge

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Ok, I know, Lent is longer than 30 days…but as part of this Lent season, I am doing my very best to give up Soda…for me that means straight up, full sugar, Coca-Cola classic (or, a Dr. Pepper, if Coke isn’t available).

To be honest, for me, a lot of it is the caffeine in it – I don’t do coffee or tea. So, it’s my old reliable.
But, it’s also the comfort. It’s what I turn to when I should be relying on Him, so it’s out.

Only, this year, as opposed to previous years, I hope not to return to reliance on it.

So, I’ve decided (beginning last friday, March 17) to track the next 30 days…because apart from strictly spiritual reasons, we hear so much what Soda does to our bodies – the amount of sugar and the empty calories. I want to know if that’s true.

Changing nothing else in my life, just cutting out soda, what will the difference be in 30 days?

I’ve replaced soda with water (and once a day: Lemon/Peppermint water (or just Lemon, or just Peppermint, or Lime/Peppermint) using my lovely Young Living oils):

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This is an example – love my lemon/peppermint mix. Typically, I use a metal cup. If using citrus continually, don’t use a plastic cup like this, as the citrus will corrode plastic over time (I poured the water from the bottle into my cup).

So, no extra exercise (which, for me pretty much is only whatever happens for work & house keeping, and, recently, downsizing/packing…), no change in diet. Just eliminating soda.

Now, I am not doing this to look better or live a healthier lifestyle, though, I do plan to continue moving that direction once I get this no soda thing down.

It’s one thing to be able to look down and love the body you have (which is where I am); it’s another thing entirely to be treating that body with respect & care (which is what I am working towards).

So, there is no end “goal” for me in this, except to cut out soda. No final weight or measurements, though I have taken starting weight and measurements (which I am not comfortable sharing, but will share the differences at the end).
I simply want to be able to eliminate my reliance on something that threatens God’s place in my life, and be at a healthier place than when I started.

Two caveat’s to this:

  1. Last september, I was diagnosed gluten free…since then, I have already made some changes to diet, namely: no wheat products. However, I still don’t eat the healthiest…I eat a lot of snack foods for meals, eat processed food, and a lot of dairy. So, though gluten is out, it hasn’t changed my weight much – being sick often has left me several pounds lighter over the past several months, but that has leveled off in the past month.
  2. Recently (for the past month or so) I have been drinking Zeal by Zurvita once a day to get my vitamins, as I am unable to take multi-vitamins. I will continue this as I go forward. Once a day, a serving of Zeal, which does give a natural caffeine boost & may skew results slightly:
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Zeal is actually a great addition to my life, since I cannot process most multi-vitamins…I don’t think any skew it may have will be enough to be much difference.

 

Tonight’s Prayer

Abba:

I’m getting restless.

I’m tired of being in Oklahoma.
I’m ready to be somewhere else.
Pack up my new tiny home & hit the road.

Realistically, I’m not in a place to leave yet.

And, lately, that truth has been wearing on my heart.

I know that for my own well-being & health, I can’t make this place my forever home.

But, it’s not time for me to move yet. So, I’m almost regretting the choice to come here in the first place, though there has been so much good being here.

There is a spirit of oppression on this place that feels like it weakens my spirit.

There is so much pressure from inside & out to be what everyone wants me to be. I almost feel stuck in my situation. Like there’s no way out, no opportunity for change. Making me ready to cut ties & run.

This is a good chance for me to learn – that’s not the way the world works.

Please, show me the good that has been done. Reveal the next step in Your plan for me here in this place. Open the right doors & close the rest of them.

Lift the spirit of oppression over my life, destroy any anxiety or depression that would threaten what You have called me to do; destroy any apathy that has made it’s way into my heart.

Soften me, remove the callouses that are developing on my heart. 

Open up opportunity for me to use the gifts you’ve given me to bring Glory to You.

May I leave every situation with my integrity intact.image

Send me more relationships to sharpen my relationship with You, allowing me to see more hope in the world around me.

Lord, be with this city, this state, and this nation. May any confusion & disillusionment begin to melt away. Soften hearts and turn them towards you.

God, please remove anything that is hindering the purpose you have for me.

And, in this waiting time, may I remember to take care of my soul & refresh my spirit, trusting that what’s on the other side of this waiting is Your best for my life.

I am so thankful for the amazing life I live, a life of beauty even on the hardest days.

Amen

 

 

This. Is. The. Time.

In one of my favorite posts to date, Imagine That, I wrote about what the world would look like if we all began praying like we meant it.

Really, how different would it look?!

But, recently, about the last two months or so, I have been apathetic about, well, everything.
It isn’t until more recently that there has been a change: dreams awoken, faith renewed, heart rested.

And, with last week’s youth revival at our church (I’ll have to do a post about that in the near future), and the series our youth pastor is doing, I’ve been challenged again:
what could my life be if I really got settled into an active prayer life?

I feel as if there are some big things missing from my life (feel free to explore this blog to read about that…it’s all over the place here). And I have been doing so much to stay faithful, but I still find myself in trial & hard time after trial & hard time.

Then I ask God, Why? Haven’t I been faithful? then, I find myself slipping out of faithfulness…

But, the fact is, God never promised we would have hard times. Ever.

“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I have written before about the flip-side of faith; that if we take God at His word for our good times, we Have to respect His word that we will also face trials. If He is untrue in this, then He is not God.

So, as we were going through revival & our service last Wednesday night, I felt God’s pull on my heart to read through the book of Daniel again. And, let me tell you, Daniel was a faithful man who had trouble.

But, right there in chapter one, we see God’s favor with Daniel because of Daniel’s faithfulness to God’s law.

Then, the fact is that because of Daniel’s, Hananiah’s, Mishael’s and Azariah’s faithfulness, they found themselves in huge hard times – trial by fire & thrown in a lion’s den. But, God got them through this & then brought His name greater glory.

See, God does not spare us hard times because of faithfulness; but He gets us through the hard times because of faithfulness (ours and His), bringing Himself more glory.

In fact, it is more a reflection of God’s faithfulness than our own. As we see in Joel, when He restores a broken & unfaithful Israel. His love never left, and His promise to His people was great:

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God promised to restore what had been lost, what had been broken.

So often, I feel lost, broken. As if I am not somewhere important I should have been. I get complacent and apathetic, fearing that God has all but forgotten me & my dreams.

He has yet to do that, though. Even in my times of unfaithfulness, God is always faithful.

And, I fully believe His word. He is restoring what has been lost. He has been doing so for a while now. Some days, I just miss it.
He is bringing restoration I never knew possible, and I trust Him to continue to do so. I believe that as I continue to return to Him in faithfulness, He will continue to make good on His word.

I believe I will see lives around me changed.
I believe I will see my own life changed.
I believe I will see beauty restored in this world & in my relationships.
I believe people around me will realize the power of His faithfulness, and all that I have been through will be for His glory.
I believe I will even see a change begin in my clients & at work.

This week has really reminded me that I can’t wait for others to pray where God is leading me to pray, and I can’t expect 5 minutes a day to be enough.

It’s time for a revival in this country, in this world; and I am on the frontline with many others.

This. Is. The. Time.


Is there something God has placed on your heart to pray for? A situation in your life, a person you know, a dream you have? I encourage you to begin really seeking God’s will in that area, following His prompting to spend time in prayer about that. If you want me to add it to my prayer list, feel free to share below or email me. I’m in prayer for everyone who reads this blog that God would begin a frontline revival in each of our hearts.

Choosing Hope

“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.” – CS Lewis

There have been so many times in my life when things aren’t exactly as I’ve expected….and recently, I find myself in a whirlwind of times like that…

I feel like therapy sometimes lacks/neglects an integral piece – connection on an “I’ve been there” basis.

I love what I do (about 95% of the time) and most of that 5% of time is made up of paperwork no one told me I would have to do & I hate it…but a small portion of that 5% is that piece that I feel is missing:

Our professional decorum often prevents us from getting further down into the muck of people’s lives with them, giving them a glimpse into what we’ve struggled with.

I know my kiddos (the older ones, especially) have a hard time connecting with me at times, because all they see most days is the successful counselor who got a 3.8 GPA in high school, graduated, went to college & grad school, and has lived a great life. They see someone well put together & seemingly without struggle.

What I never get to show anyone – what regulation dictates I keep to myself is:

The success was born out of many sleepless nights, when I did homework, read, or watched TV only because I was not going to sleep anyway.
That many nights are still spent this way – how most of my creativity & studying comes about.
The amount of nights tears stained my journals, all with similar messages: God, why is this my life? Don’t you love me? Why am I so worthless and unlovable?
The work was all about being enough just in who I was, and I could never seem to get that.
The only reason there are no physical scars is because by the time I knew what self-harm was all about, I had one “acceptable” form, along with knowing how to do it without leaving any marks. So the scars only live in my soul.
The amount of days the only reason I made it out of bed was out of anxiety for what people would think if I didn’t…and some days even that wasn’t enough.
That I was so traumatized by my middle school experience I have since never set foot in the school building – and am not sure I ever really want to.
That I cried so many tears in my high school – their high school – and didn’t know if the future would be as bright as I always pretended it would be.
That the only reason I am where I am today is because I refused to quit fighting, even on my darkest days. I chose to believe in hope and then live each day as if that belief were true.
The bullies didn’t stop, the pressure didn’t loosen, and the pain was with me day in & day out, as I made the choice to do something different, hoping one day it just wouldn’t be there any more.
That faith was more of a fight most days than a given…and it is that precise faith & walk with Christ that is the only reason I am where I am today. He didn’t give up on me, even when I was ready to give up on myself (and on Him).

I mean, my clients & my kiddos know a little bit of my story, but professional guides would limit what they have access to; and in the therapy world, that makes sense.
So, I will stick with this, as this is the path I am currently on…

I just don’t know if this is the exact place God will always have me.
As a matter of fact, I know it’s not. I know His call for my life involves so much more.

But, right now, He is teaching me so much where I am. And, for that, I am thankful.

I am also praying for doors to open and opportunities to present themselves for me to walk in others’ mess & share the hope that I’ve always had, but sometimes had to consciously choose. I am praying that, even with the proverbial “hands tied,” I get to be hope in a hopeless world, as I am tapped into the ultimate source of hope.

I wish more of my clients would understand Lewis’ words, and that I would also embrace them…instead of feeling “stuck” in the choices I’ve made that got me here, I’d like to trust that after I’ve mastered this step, lived this dream, God has another one ready & waiting; and the same for those around me…