6 Action Steps to Partnership with God

6 Action Steps to Partnership with God

In the early morning hours, I get up to spend alone time with God. My premise is I desire to partner with God.  However, before you say, “isn’t that nice” or “I could never do that.” or think I am some kind of amazing person, let me tell you how messy it is.

Some mornings I am headachey, tired or worried or  not ready to be focused..  What do I do?  I get on Facebook or check emails. Suddenly, 30-45 minutes have disappeared and I am no wiser or more satisfied with life.

Earlier in my life, when I had a short amount of time to meet with God, I would set a timer. I didn’t want to be watching the clock.  I knew I had 30 minutes before I had to get out the door. I became more focused on reading, writing in my journal, praying and listening to what God wanted to say to me.  Now that I am in semi-retirement and working for myself, I am not nearly as disciplined or focused on how we can be working together in partnership.

Lately, I have been encouraged to pray for my business and how I am to serve women well.  I have been challenged to make God an active partner in my business.  What could that look like?  How can I pray specifically for  His partnership?.  The following steps may work for you in whateverrole fills your day – either as a full-time mom or grandmother or out in the work world.  This six-step process has got me back on track to realizing God as my business partner. He wants to be with me in partnership moment by moment throughout the day.

6 ACTION Steps to Partnership with God

  1. A dore Him– Choose a Bible passage (like in Psalms) to read 3 times and let it wash over you.  What words shimmer?  This is a lectio divina practice.
  2. C onfess– Ask God for one word or phrase He wants you to realize to confess and turn back to Him.
  3. T hank Him– Write down three things you are grateful for and why.  What are even little things to be thankful for, like the sunshine?
  4. I nquire of Him –Determine specific prayer requests for your family/friends (5) and for your business/work/service (5)
  5. O xygenize  Breathe and pray– Take time to breathe and listen –   10-20   minutes of focusing on one word or a phrase, like “Jesus, have mercy” or “peace” to let God sink into your soul.  This is a centering prayer practice.
  6. N ext Steps – Ask God for the next steps in the day ahead. Watch for His partnership throughout the day.

I don’t get these steps perfect and I’m not there yet in getting all these pieces into my habits.  However, I am feeling more freedom and seeing more of God in partnership with me in my business and my day-to-day work. (As an aside, I took the photo above.  It’s my journal and Bible on the chair in my room.  I randomly laid my pen across my journal.  I didn’t see that it formed a cross until after I looked at the picture.  I felt His encouragement to say, “I’m here with you, Nancy.  I’m your partner.”) 

I’ll keep you posted on how I progress with this discipline.  I would love to know what you try and how you see God at work in your life.  We are all on a journey to know and love God more and more.  I would love to join you in your journey.

 

 

Out of the Darkness into the Light

Out of the Darkness into the Light

A water well is such a necessity.  Those of us who live in cities and turn on the faucet take for granted how easy it is to access water and bring it up from wherever the water comes from, an underground aquifer or spring, river or even man-made reservoir.  I happen to live in the country away from the water districts and have “drilled” well that reaches down into the ground to the underlying aquifer of clean water and brings me access to water each day.

When I think about wells, though, I think about the well we had on our farm property growing up. We had a big top on it and when Dad periodically took the top off, I could peer down into the darkness to see if I could see the bottom or see the water.  I couldn’t and it always was scary to me to peer down into the well and think about all the creepy crawly things that might be down there (there weren’t because he kept the lid on) but my imagination in the dark could run wild.

I have been thinking about the darkness in the well of my own soul.  I take it for granted that I will get clean, loving thoughts and emotions from it.  I can just get up in the morning, start my day and out comes goodness, kindness, peace, love and joy.  NOT!

I am surprised by the dark, creepy crawly creatures that linger right under the surface when I am not drawing the fresh clean water from the well of my soul and letting God bring light into my whole being.  These last weeks have been filled with family outings, family health crisis (my 93 year old father-in-law had a  pacemaker put in – he’s doing well – amazing modern medicine!) extra people in my home, and my own distractions.  I haven’t been sitting and doing my regular time with God or having the solitude I usually get.

The result is I begin to control everyone in sight!  I get snippy, cranky, and of course, know how everyone should be living their lives.  I become the wicked witch of the West.  Not pretty!!!  I realized that when I get so outwardly critical and controlling that the darkness is calling me to come into His light.

He gently reminded me yesterday that for 10 days straight, I have been running and not taking care of myself.  The martyr in me rises up quite quickly!  How do I get back on track and throw those creepy, crawly things out of my well and come into the light?

Take Time

The rest of my world will function fine without me for a while.  I need to get away and spend time with and for myself.  I do that and then I fall away.  It is a consistent battle, and yet one I know I need for my soul’s nurturing.

Be Gentle

I was doing a good job of beating up on myself. ” I should do this.  What is going on?  Why am I like this?  Why am I not doing that?  I will never do ….. “The negative self-chatter was going strong.  That was another indicator that I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I would never talk to a friend like that.  God doesn’t talk to me like that and He doesn’t want me to talk to myself like that.  I can use the negative chatter as an indicator that it’s time to refresh my soul and sit down with God.  I am to be gentle on myself.

Get Outside

Especially in Wisconsin, spring is so beautiful.  Outdoors is one of the most healing places to be.  When I get in these dark moods, I know I haven’t been outside much.  Even yesterday, I spent much of the day outside, enjoying God’s beautiful creation and enjoying my husband’s company.  What a difference I felt at being outdoors!

What about you?  How do you bring yourself out of your dark places?  I would love to know.  If you would like someone to accompany you and listen, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

Can A “Prescribed Burn” Bring Growth to Your Life?

Can A “Prescribed Burn” Bring Growth to Your Life?

It is springtime here in Wisconsin and as I travel the countryside, I come across patches of blackened earth here and there.   The contrast is startling as all other growth show bright greens, whites, and pinks, especially on a bright sunny day.   If my timing is right, I may even come across a smoky patch, when fire is actually raging.

These fires and blackened fields are actually “prescribed burns”  for the prairie patches still left in the area, especially on the state’s natural properties.  The burns are used to maintain the health of our natural areas and rid them of invasive species.  These prescribed burns help prairies by:

  • Managing weeds and invasive species
  • Restoring and releasing nutrients
  • Rejuvenating growth

Prairie plants have deep roots and the key growing part of the plant is below ground, where the fire does not penetrate.  Therefore, the fire, by destroying the weeds and invasive plants, allows the prairie plants to flourish.

What About You?

“Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames.” Mark 9:49 The Msg

When was the last time you went through a “prescribed burn”?  A refining fire may or may not have been your choice.  As the verse above reminds us, everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later – a health issue that turns big,  a job loss, the death of a loved one, retirement, even the transition of children leaving home can be a refining fire – whatever transition you may be facing.  A prescribed burn could be a smaller refinement, too – a fight with your family or friend, a problem with your boss or teammates at work, a reoccurring health issue – like a thorn in the side.

Whatever your “prescribed burn” is, think about the how fire helps the prairie plant.  Could fire help…

Manage Invasive Weeds in Your Life

When faced with a fire, all resources and attention are placed on controlling the fire.  For example, my prescribed burn was my depression. When I was fighting my depression, I let go of outside activities and focused on finding what was necessary for regaining my health.  I focused on eating healthy, exercise, meditation, getting outdoors, asking for help from my family, medication, and monitoring my thinking.  I needed to manage those invasive weeds in my life such as saying yes when I meant no, and understanding the difference between reality and expectations as well as giving myself permission to take care of myself.  God lead me to a time of burning away the unhealthy practices so I could begin to see what health could look like.

Restore and Release Nutrients

The “prescribed burn” for the prairie restores and releases nutrients.  The heat of the fire for some plants releases seeds that would not otherwise be released.  It burns away the hard outer core.

It takes heat and fire at times to find our true creative self that God has placed within us.  He has restored my health and released the nutrients of encouragement and love into my life and I am grateful.  This can be true for you as you go through a “prescribed burn”.  I didn’t do it alone.  I walked with my coach, my spiritual director, my own family, and my church family.  The seeds that have been released have been watered and tendered by the community around me.

Rejuvenate Growth

After a “prescribed burn,” new green growth begins to appear.  I love going back to that blackened earth to see the first few sprouts coming up.  It truly represents how I feel as I am coming out of my depression.  I am so enjoying the new sprouts of growth that are occurring – coaching, spiritual direction, writing, relationships.  Without the “prescribed burn” of my depression, I would not be noticing these new sprouts.  All of this noticing is occurring because of this new and closer relationship I have with God.

He has restored me and released me to a new way of living with Him.  For me, I have found a new career, a new calling, a new way of serving and loving on women as well as my own true identity.  That is what “prescribed burns” can do.  Get rid of the unimportant and invasive weeds in your life and help you focus on how He wants to delight in you and restore new growth. Grow a Perfect Day

What wall are you hitting?  What invasive weeds need to be burned out of your life so those beautiful prairie plants can grow?   I would love to accompany you to make sure that prairie fire doesn’t burn out of control.  Or if you’re coming out of a fire, that you begin to notice the new growth that is occurring.  Contact me for a free consultation.  Let’s see how you can begin to flourish more today.

 

 

 

 

Save the Date!   June 25!

Rejuvenate Your Soul- A Woman’s Day Retreat

Come away for a day to turn down the world’s volume and hear your heart! 

More information coming soon!

 

 

 

Three Ways To Connect To God When You Feel Far Away

Three Ways To Connect To God When You Feel Far Away

In the busyness of life, I sometimes look up and wonder, “Where did God go?”  In reality, He didn’t go anywhere, I am just not paying attention.  I remember author Priscilla Schirer writing about that concept in that it was the TV antenna not getting good reception- me.  There was nothing wrong with the sending station- God!

How, then, do I go about getting reconnected with God when I feel I can get nothing more in my day, or even in my brain?

1 – Rekindle Your Desire

God says when we come looking for Him we will find Him.

  “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.  Jeremiah 29:13-14a The Message

What is it you are longing for in a relationship with God? How do you see Him?  Father, Healer, Savior, Friend, Mentor, King, Helper, Protector… Begin to dream about what a relationship with God could look like, sound like, feel like.  Imagine God sitting in the chair across from you, waiting to hear your heart.  He delights in you and wants to know what on your heart and mind.

2-Set Up a Listening Time

In building a relationship with a friend, you spend time with that friend, you ask questions, you want to know more about what they are thinking, how they see the world, what they like, what they don’t like, what they like about you.  God is no different.  He wants to spend time with you, letting you know what is on His heart for your life, how He sees you, what He loves about you, how He has created you.

In order to find out those things, you need to set up a listening time.  How do you listen best?  Is it with music and audio devotions ? Is it writing and journaling?  Is it reading Scriptures and devotionals?  Experiment with a variety of ways that work for you in order to best tune in to God’s voice.  He speaks to us in a variety of ways and methods.

One of my favorite ways is Lectio Divina which is a contemplative way to read Scripture.

 First one goes to a quiet place and recalls that one is about to listen to the Word of God. Then one reads the scripture passage aloud to let oneself hear with his or her own ears the words. When one finishes reading, pause and recall if some word or phrase stood out or something touched one’s heart. If so, pause and savor the insight, feeling, or understanding. Then go back and read the passage again because it will have a fuller meaning. Pause again and note what happened. If one wants to dialogue with God or Jesus in response to the word, one should follow the prompting of one’s heart. This kind of reflective listening allows the Holy Spirit to deepen awareness of God’s taking the initiative to speak with us. –

3- Lay Everything At His Feet

Remember that when you look for Him, He sees you as His beautiful child. He’s given you Jesus to believe in, therefore you receive God’s love and forgiveness and grace.  With grace – unmerited favor- you have everything you need to move forward in that love relationship with God.  He longs to have you close to Him.

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 The Message

You can move closer to God.  It does take carving out some time and some intention on your part.  Yet that longing in your heart is real and He’s calling you out of love.  He has created you as a beautiful masterpiece and is waiting to hear your heart.

Sometimes it takes a partner to walk the journey with you.  That partner can be a friend to talk to about what you are hearing God say to you or a spiritual director.  A spiritual director is someone who facilitates a monologue with yourself and listens to the activity of God in your life.  I would love to come alongside you and encourage your walk with God.  I am setting up several new appointments now.  Contact me for your free consultation to explore what a journey could look like.  See how God is calling to you.


Daughters Journeying with Jesus

A Special Offering Coming Up For May Starting next week, another way to come closer to God is to join a group of women on a journey to come closer to Jesus.  For five weeks, we’ll come together on line, via Zoom, and discover what it means to hear Jesus voice call to us as we seek Him in our lives.  You can expect:

  • To Connect to Jesus in a new way
  • To Connect to other women in community
  • To Learn to discern His voice in your life
  • To Discover ways to walk more consistently with Him daily

Sign up today.  Cost is $50 for 5 weeks.

 

 

A Special Invitation for You!

A Special Invitation for You!

 

I have a special invitation for you.  My friend Rayna Neises and I are hosting a Facebook Book Chat starting  next week,May 9th!  Don’ miss the opportunity to be a part of the community of believers growing in our walk with the Jesus.  You will discover more about who you are in Jesus.

Learn more about this great book and what a Book Chat is like below.
Blessings,
Nancy Booth and Rayna Neises, CPLC

What you can expect when you sign up?

Read through the new release – Come With Me and walk with other women while growing deeper daily.  Listen to Suzanne Eller’s heart for us in the video below.  You will know you’re in the right group!
When you sign up for this book chat you will receive FREE:

  • a daily email to accompany your daily reading
  • building a community of friends through with other women in a Facebook Private Group
  • an additional opportunity to join a group to go deeper and grow more in your faith through group coaching ($50)  (If you join with a friend, you receive a different free book)
4 Steps to Fight Chaos

4 Steps to Fight Chaos

Chaos pops up in our lives when we least expect it.  A major accident occurs and your life is totally disrupted to help your loved one get well. Or you suddenly find yourself laid off from work and don’t know which way to turn.  In my case, someone in my extended family needed to get out of a difficult living arrangement.  She had one day to pack up and empty a three-bedroom house!

My first instinct, unfortunately, was anxiety.  What to do to help? How can we do this? When can we do this? Who can help? the questions stated racing through my head.

Then God gently reminded me He is able. He sees the whole situation.  He has my family members covered.  I do have a supportive role to play.  However, worrying was not one of those roles.

As I prayed over the next few days, I realized God had several steps that I could do to fight the chaos.

Focus on Him

My eyes were to be on Him, His strength, His power and His direction, not on the drama and emotion swirling around me.  In Psalm 102:27, I was reminded:

But you are always the same; you will live forever. The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence.”

The words of being always the same were so encouraging as well as the security and thriving of my children and children’s children.  I could move forward in confidence that He knew the path were were to take and He had everything covered.

Ask for Help

In order to accomplish this task of packing and emptying the house in one day, we needed to ask for help.  My daughter asked her friends, I asked church friends and our family members pitched in the day of the move.  On the actual day of the move, we had ten people at the house, packing boxes and moving furniture.

Get Prayer Coverage

In addition to my own prayers, I asked other people to be praying for the day of the move.  I was still feeling edgy the day before the move.  However, the morning of the move, I felt peaceful, confident and strengthened- lifted by the prayers of friends and the love of God.  It was like “Let’s go get this done.” with His hand and direction..

Attack the Issue

By noon, we had all gathered at the house.  In three and a half hours, we packed boxes and loaded the moving van.  By 4:30 pm we had transported the furniture to storage, unloaded it and were sitting down to a picnic supper together.  It was a feat that only God and His helpers could accomplish!

I realized that day, in the midst of chaos, the importance of my focus on Him, asking for help, valuing of community, praying and being lifted up by others, and moving forward with His help.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people and pieces that had fallen together.

My prayer for you is that when you find yourself in chaos, that you will take time to focus on Him and see what help He longs to bring to your chaos.  I would love to be part of those who are lifting you up in prayer as you wade through the waters of chaos.  It is a relief to get to the other side of one chaotic event, knowing He’ll be there for the next one!  Let me know how I can be praying for you and/or accompanying you on your journey – nancy@nancyboothcoaching.com

 

 

Me? Loved by God? When? How?

Me? Loved by God? When? How?

Nothing can separate us from the love of God – Romans 8:38-38

As I walked into the room, my daughter  looked up from the chair. She had just finished nursing her son and he was sound asleep. They both looked so contented.

FB_IMG_1425734713160God has used that picture of nourishment and love to remind me of how He wants to love me and encircle me with His love.  The bond of mother and child provides love, nurture, safety, security, protection, warmth, and a feeling of well-being.  If I think about God’s love encircling me, I can bury myself in His love and feel how much He loves and cares for me.  When I am focused on Him, my emotions settle down and circumstances are less important.

He reminds me that “Daughter, I know your name.”  With that kind of grounding, I can move forward to what He has called me to do.  My calling is to facilitate a monologue with a woman so she can hear her own heart and discover the creative masterpiece that God has placed within her. It is such a privilege to come along side women as they get to know themselves, know God’s love and connect with other women through retreats, group coaching and spiritual direction.

Come to Me

How do we get to know our own souls?  First by coming to Him.  Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.  A time of retreat gives you a chance to retreat and rest, like a baby on it’s mothers chest.  You can take time to find contentment in His arms.  It takes getting alone to hear Him.

As you take the time to come and listen and be still, you then can wonder.  Wonder is that chance to be in awe of the Eternal God who made you.  You are wonderfully made. You are His creative Masterpiece.  He knows you inside and out.  Solitude is a chance to hear and feel the majesty of His love for you.  You have that chance to gaze into His eyes and see the love He has for you.  Gazing includes time in the Scriptures or time in creation as you hear what He speaks to your heart.

Finally, you begin to discover the amazing love He has for you and what the possibilities could be of living fully in His love.  What does it look like to live in His Love?  How can you live day to day in His love?

Sacred Self Discovery

What wholeness could He restore for you during  time of solitude and stillness?  What is your heart’s desire?  Take time for yourself this month by joining me on the retreat, Sacred Self Discovery A Woman’s Day Retreat to feel His love and delight for you.  You will be so glad you did.  There is still time now to sign up!

3 Areas of Real Rest

3 Areas of Real Rest

How would you described your life currently?  As you get up in the morning are you feeling active, busy, driven, tired, exhausted, burned out, anxious and overloaded even before your first cup of coffee?  Or are you feeling “well-rested”?

“Hurry sickness” seems to have become a way of life with our carburetors set on high, and our gears stuck in overdrive.  Our lives tend to run non-stop.  I know I am working hard at changing the bad habits I acquired when teaching daily.  I call it the “scurry” mode.  Most days, I hardly realize I am “scurrying”

Jesus addresses this scurry mode well:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”                                                                                                                                                        Mat 11:28-32 The Msg

How do we being to discover real rest?

 

What does a healthy lifestyle include?

According to Dr. Richard A. Swenson, author of Margin, the healthiest lifestyles come with four gears.

  1. First gear is park for the contemplative, thinking times.  This is for rest, renewal and solitude time.  This gear helps us recharge our batteries.
  2. Second gear is low.  This is for relationships, for family and friends.  This is how we are when we are in the present moment, reading a book to a child or they ask about the death of a pet or God.  No hurry here: just quality.
  3. Third gear is drive.  This is our usual gear for work and play.  This gear uses lots of energy and it makes us feel productive.  We move from place to place quickly
  4. Fourth gear is overdrive.  This gear is reserved for those times that require extra effort, like meeting a deadline, or a doctor with flu season.  Unfortunately our culture has gotten us to expect to not shift down from overdrive.   For some of us to slow down is unthinkable.

What are 3 areas of real rest?

These three areas make up the totality of real rest.  Physical rest is the least important although valuable.  Emotional rest becomes even more important.  Spiritual rest is the most important, albeit widely neglected rest.

I. Physical Rest – “Are you tired? “

For physical rest, sleep is the clearest area that cannot be violated.  For most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 7-9 hours is recommended.  In the research on sleep, less or more sleep was found to profoundly impact cognitive abilities and actually lessen productivity. We also fight the cultural urge to be productive and make progress.  We must look for ways to teach ourselves it is okay to rest physically. 

II. Emotional Rest- “Worn Out?”

Emotional rest comes when we are able to let go of worries,  and expectations and work on accepting our realities. We are to enjoy what we have for the day.  We wear out our brains from thinking, thinking, thinking. like thoughts running around in our minds like a hamster on a flywheel.  If our hearts are full of bitterness or unforgiveness or fighting, we are also worn out.  Finding emotional rest comes from a mind that focuses on the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness that Jesus provides.

III. Spiritual Rest- “Burned Out on Religion?”

I love the fact that Jesus addresses the crowd of people directly about being burned out on religion.  Seeking Jesus and knowing Him personally can help you recover your life as He says.  It’s not about “doing” religion.  It’s about “being” in the presence of Jesus and resting at His feet.  Taking time to be with Him in the quiet or with a spiritual director who listens with you or worshiping with like-minded people help you take a real rest spiritually.

Which area of rest will give you the most bang for your efforts?  Where will you start making changes?  How will you begin to find real rest for yourself?  I hope you can find some rest for your weariness in these areas.

Taking time for spiritual rest, spiritual listening and remembering our roots is amazing refreshment.  He wants us to recover our lives.  Spiritual rest is often the most neglected as well.  I would love to accompany you on your spiritual journey.  Contact me to explore conversations that can transform your heart.  Also by this Sunday, April 10th, early bird registration ends for the retreat, Sacred Self Discovery A Woman’s Day Retreat.  I hope you’ll take time to come connect with God, with other women and your heart.

Spiritual Direction – Journey of the Heart

Spiritual Direction – Journey of the Heart

Taking a journey can be exhilarating, especially in a beautiful, wooded area like the wooded road above.  My husband and I took a hike in a state park near our home to get out and enjoy nature.  We didn’t take a map or water as we intended to stroll a short path and  be gone less than an hour.

That hour’s journey turned into four hours in the woods as we took a wrong turn.  Since we didn’t have a guide or a map, we couldn’t exactly tell where we were going.  The signposts along the way were not as clear as they could be and in the woods it was easy to lose direction.  We thought we were good at relying on ourselves for the journey but realized having a map, a compass for direction and some markers along the way could have made a much more pleasant journey.  The afternoon got later and later and darkness was coming.  We felt we would sometime run out of park but wasn’t sure if darkness or the end of park would come first.  Luckily the end of the park came first and we could then hike back to our car on the road where we could see where we were going.  The path was much freer and clearer in the light.

By learning and participating in spiritual direction,  I am finding my journey to  freedom, peace and joy becoming like the hike on the road – freer and clearer in the light. I discovering I am more of a performing and people pleasing self – a false sell.   I know very well what other people may want from me.  However, with spiritual direction I am discovering what I  need for my own heart to grow authentically and how God has created me to be.

Spiritual Direction is the journey of the heart towards God.  It is the strong invitation to pay attention to God and the feelings that  give us feedback about what we really believe about God, ourselves and our faith.  This journey, I have discovered takes time, work and tears, yet the freedom and peace on the other side has been so worth it.  My own depression and anxiety have lifted because of my work in spiritual direction.

What is Spiritual Direction? 

Spiritual Direction is:

  • Opportunities to grow and be more open and willing to receive God’s goodness
  • Ways to notice and accept the longings of our hearts, which reflects the desires of God’s heart for us
  • A process to choose the authenticity of our true selves
  • Companionship along the journey to the heart of God

Spiritual direction extends an invitation to us to pay attention to our feelings.  According to Alice Fryling, in her book, Seeking God Together, “Stressful feelings are like the “fix engine” light on the dashboard of a car.  and it’s time to look under the hood.  God gently calls us to Himself and with the help of a spiritual director, we can begin to notice our unconscious interpretations.

My Story

As I grew up, I was the “perfect little girl.”  I got a lot of attention for being that little girl so therefore I couldn’t let anyone see the “real” me because they might not like me if I wasn’t perfect.  I knew God loved me ( my thoughts) but I kept performing for Him as if I had to be perfect.  That took enormous energy to hide my negative feelings which played a big part in causing my  own anxiety and depression  It wasn’t until I felt He delight in me and called me His Beloved, that the walls around my heart began to crack and my depression began to heal.  I no longer had to be someone else.  I could be authentically myself.  I am still on the journey to discover what I need and how to ask for it.

What about you?

Have you been hiding your feelings for a long time, even from yourself?  Have you been telling yourself you shouldn’t feel this way?  Where is a safe place for you to explore your thoughts and your feelings so that God can touch your heart and soul?

If you would like to explore an introductory spiritual direction session and the conversations that can transform your heart, you can contact me.  You can think about an issue you are processing, and we can explore your feelings about it and bring it to God for direction.

This heart journey to self discovery and God’s delight in you begins now.  If you live in the Madison area, you can also check out our upcoming retreat, Sacred Call to Self Discovery – A Woman’s Day Away.  Come join the journey.

A 5-step Process to Practicing Peace

A 5-step Process to Practicing Peace

As I woke up that morning, the knots in my stomach were still there.  The anxiety that I had been working to push down, kept reoccurring in my stomach and threatened to over take my body through a racing heart and strange thoughts. “Not again, Lord. Not today.”  I softly whispered.

I trudged upstairs to my chair to take my fears and anxieties to God.  It was the only place I knew to “dump” them for the day.  Over time and practice, I found the anxiety lessened and I got more and more peace in my daily living.

What I found out in this process was that science verified what Paul told us to do over 2000 years ago.  Researchers have found that practicing peace can broaden and build the neuron receptivity in your brains so that as you practice peace, you broaden your capabilities to have more peace.  This is true of many positive emotions (gratitude, joy, love, interests.) The Hebbs principle is that neurons that fire together, wire together.  You are actually rewiring your brain!

Try out the following 5-step Process to Practicing Peace in your life to reduce anxiety over time.  Ask God to reveal to you what is underlying your anxiety.  I am sure this framework can bring you closer to freedom from disquieting thoughts and emotions as you practice bringing everything to Him.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.   New Living Translation (NLT)

1 Don’t worry about anything;

I don’t know about you, but I seem to have been born with the worry gene.   It seems to be a natural part of me.  However, God tells me not to worry.  In Matthew 6:27, Jesus challenges us about worry with this question: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  I can’t say that worrying has helped in any area of my life.  I do have to make a conscious effort to choose not to worry.

 2 Instead, pray about everything.

What do I do then with all my emotional energy and concerns?  I am to pray about everything.  I can imagine God holding my hand, sitting beside me in my chair, listening to my concerns intently.  I can give Him all my emotions,  my fears, my joys, my wonderings, my tears.  I can ask Him – What do you think about this?  What is interfering with that?  I can bring Him all my myriad of questions and know I can leave them at His feet.

3 Tell God what you need,

Besides praying and asking Him questions, I can tell Him my perspective.  I can tell Him what I think I need.  I might need Him to carry my load or put a hedge of protection around someone.  Or I want to be free from worrying about someone else’s issue and let Him take care of it.  Or I might want discernment and wisdom on my next steps in a relationship.  Whatever it is, I am to be specific in what I think I need.  I also want to take time to listen and hear what He might want to tell meJ

4  Thank him for all he has done.

I then can take time to thank Him for hearing me.  I know He’s been listening.  I thank Him for caring and loving me.  I thank Him for being my Abba Father.  And depending on what I am praying about I often thank Him for taking over.

5  Then you will experience God’s peace,

which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

When I practice these steps, the peace I get in return is amazing.  Do I do these steps every day?  No.  Could I?  Sure.  Do these steps take a lot of time?  No, especially after you get the framework down.  Do they reduce anxiety and bring peace?  Yes.

Each of us have choices each day to bring our worries to God and take our one precious life to Him and release the Holy Spirit’s peace within us each day.

I would love to know how you and God experience and grow peace in your life.  Post on NancyBoothCoaching  Facebook or in the comments below.  Habits take a while to develop but the peace that passes all understanding is worth it.  Blessings to you all!

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