Week after week I sat with my mom in the pews, yes actual church pews, they had cushions but were old fashioned straight backed wooden pews. I followed along and took my mom and our church community at their word. This is what we did. This is how we connected with God.
That was my life and experience throughout most of the 70’s and 80’s until, January 3, 1989 sitting in yet another church, in more hard, wooden straight backed pews but this time something was different. Something changed and I started to believe for myself in the God I had only experienced from the outside. Something shifted inside me and I started my personal spiritual journey.
It was exciting, full of promise but mostly full of hope for tomorrow. Always hope for tomorrow even when my todays weren't or aren't that great.
My connection with God over the last 31 years has given me that continual hope for which I am so grateful.
What this personal spiritual journey has not given me is wealth, or 100% health, or an easy, burden free life.
It has not given me a life full of no problems or pain. This is the prosperity gospel that is promoted throughout a lot of churches today, is NOT my experience over the last 31 years although I did buy in to that “gospel” for a while and it caused many other issues in my life - a story for another time.
Throughout these 31 years, even with the constant hope for tomorrow, I have spent many days frustrated and thinking something was wrong with me. Feeling trapped, knowing I needed help.
From the pulpit I would hear “you don’t want to keep walking around the same mountain over and over again.” Church-speak for facing the same problems all the time. Which made me feel weak and foolish.
My problems actually are the same over and over again.
Time. Money. Lack of joy due to frustration mostly because of time and money. Relationships - tons of relationship problems.
One day I realized I needed help. Some kind of tangible help in real life.
I was hesitant to seek help, especially from anyone or anything “outside the church” (again church speak for if you get help from someone other than us you are doing something wrong). I quietly started to read and learn things that made a lot of sense and did not go against my Christian beliefs at all.
This quote from Gabby Bernstein, a self-help expert, explains this perfectly. I apply this statement to some other expert coaches in my life as well.
"I have demystified these principles to make them easy to commit to and apply in daily life.” - Gabby Bernstein
Sometimes we need people who know how to do this and can help us do this without dishonoring our own spiritual beliefs.
In other words for me this means taking something like James 1:2 - 3 Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
A popular, often quoted Bible verse that I struggle with and helping me understand how exactly to carry that out internally and externally.
Most of the time in our church circles we fake it and hope to make it one day.
I learned a long time ago “fake it til you make it” mentality does not work for me. I need help in real life now.
It’s not just Gabby Bernstein, there are a lot of people out there who can de-mystify concepts we, as Believers (Christian speak for “Christian” or believer in God or believer in Jesus) know but have a hard time making a reality in our life.
One of those things is JOY. We are taught in church Jesus is our joy.
I have faith, why is it so hard to keep my Joy?
Why is it so hard to live in joy for an extended period of time?
Why are we on an emotional and mental roller coaster?
We like to blame social media but if you could read my daily journals you would see I was on this roller coaster long before social media was a factor in my life.
We hide in the seats at church with our “joyful faces” on but inside we struggle. Maybe not every day but a lot of days. It's confusing and the trapped feeling happens because we are afraid to seek help or to even try to help ourselves outside of what our churches and peers find acceptable.
You can seek help without dishonoring God.
We need help.
Yes God is our source of all the things we need in life. Could it be God provides people and ways for us to help ourselves connect with Him and love others better along the way?
Sometimes we need some help getting to that source (God, the source of all things) or help applying that source (God) in our lives.
My well meaning "super Christian" friends will say “all we need is Jesus”. Yes - I agree. At the same time I personally believe Jesus wants me to stop the cycle and live my fullest life here on earth in every way and to find way to live a life of peace and joy regardless of circumstances.
I also personally believe God wants me to experience His love abundantly and if I am stuck in cycles of misery emotionally and mentally I am distanced from that.
Therapists, coaches, counselors - people who have proven systems in place to help us emotionally and mentally are available to us if we will seek them out!
I wrote something recently in a post on Medium, it is applicable and worth quoting here:
Lindsay Teague Moreno in her book “Boss Up!” says the two groups in life she fears the most, which are also the two she loves the most and the ones who make up her tribe are moms and Christians.
JOY is a big desire in life. As a midlife mom I don’t want to lose my midlife years and beyond to grumpy old lady-ness or continue the roller coaster emotionally and mentally.
If you struggle emotionally and mentally and desire to finally break out of that cycle and live a life of more constant joy and peace I invite you to join me on a journey in 2020.
I am a student in, Rebels for Joy. It is a 12 month program designed to help us break through emotional and mental baggage so many of us struggle with.
Led by Jillian Bolanz & Bonnie Kelly - two strong, experienced coaches - both of whom I have personally worked with before. I know them. I trust them.
This program will give you personal access to both of these ladies, weekly videos, actionable lessons to apply in life on a weekly basis that build upon themselves throughout the year.
I am ready to stop the damaging cycles in my life mentally and emotionally. If you are too schedule a call today to see if this prgram is a good fit for you. There are a few spots open.
You can use this link to schedule a call to discuss the program and see if its a good fit for you. The call is *FREE*.
If you have any questions comment here or DM me! I hope to “see’ you (they are all zoom calls you can do this from home!) on Monday!