Too Busy for Authenticity

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. -Psalm 46 NIV

 What does it mean to be still?

This is such a well-known verse, and I think oftentimes taken out of context. Through my research, I prayed to understand God’s true intent of this phrase. I used to think of it as calm down, relax, etc. However, it is much more black and white than I gave it credit for. In Hebrew, “be still” means “cease.” In Greek, “be still” means “hush”. So, stop and be quiet– definitely not as gentle as I had once thought.

With my new understanding, I now see “be still” as calm my busy soul, oh Lord. Stop my racing mind. Still the buzz. Inch me closer to peace. Being still means not conforming to the pattern of this world where hurrying is the new normal. Be still means being present. Being all there. Being still means being a trusting listener. Being still means being intentional, renewing my mind.

You’ll notice in the context of Psalm 46:10, the verses preceding Psalm 46:10 are acknowledging God’s presence in the midst of chaos. God commands us to stop and be quiet, because he is fighting our battles. He is calming the storm. He is sorting out the chaos when too often, we just create more of it. (How true is that?!)

In our culture we are immersed in, chaos is readily present. There is so much noise, commotion, and rushing. As a mother, calming our busy souls, stopping our racing minds, stilling the buzz, moving closer to peace, being present, and being a trusting ever-present listener feels like we are swimming upstream. Does anyone resonate with that?

Let’s figure out what all of this really means for us. In order to do that, we must understand what the following means for us individually.

  1. How is the enemy disguising himself in distractions throughout your life?
  2. What schedule are you choosing to keep, and is this bringing you more stillness?
  3. Are you being intentional and aware of how you are spending your time?
  4. Are you surrendering control of your schedule to God?
  5. Are you taking care of you?
  6. Are your actions and values aligning? (Because this is where we can discover our best, true, authentic selves.)

So how do we move forward? We become more aware and intentional of how we are spending our times. We take our own small steps in order to obey God’s command of stopping and being quiet. We figure out what will work for us according to the season we are in, and we choose to trust and listen, surrendering the fight, giving control of our schedules to God.

Finally, we take care of ourselves. Energy comes from rest and self-care. Stopping and being quiet is rejuvenating. Maybe being still is God’s way of saying, I’ve got this. Trust me. Take care of you, so that you may be renewed, giving quality energy to things that matter instead of giving a bunch of exhausted nothings with your time

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Blessings Disguised as Messes

I walked in the front door and saw my puppy’s dirty footprints on the wood floor. I then glanced to the kitchen table to see my husband’s work gear scattered all over the place. Finally, I looked in the kitchen sink to see a pile of dirty dishes, right next to an empty dishwasher. This was not the welcome home I was hoping for, but it’s the one that God wanted me to have.

Every single day, there are imperfections in my home that add to the daily stress of maintaining it. However, I recently realized that all of those little imperfections are not actually imperfections. They are signs of life. My puppy’s dirty little footprints? They are a sign of a healthy, energetic black lab, who excitedly greets me at the front door every single day (I don’t think anyone is more excited to see me than he is!) My husband’s work gear scattered all over our kitchen at the end of every day? It’s a sign of a career that he is in love with and excited to pursue every single day. Finally, the dishes stacked high in the sink? They are a sign of full tummies, joyful conversations and fellowship. Oh how easy it is to miss these blessings that disguise themselves as messes.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

If I am quick to focus on things that are praiseworthy, excellent, right and lovely, I am choosing to see a precious puppy who loves me dearly, a husband who is living out his calling within his career and the blessing of our yummy food and my sweet family I get to share it with. I have control over what I choose to see, and what I focus on grows. If I choose to see all of these lovely blessings within the mess, I am energized and joyful, living in a real and authentic way that God calls me to live. Because real life means messy floors, counter tops and sinks. If it’s perfect, it’s not real.

I encourage you to start seeing the signs of life within your home, even if it means leaving your dishes in the sink a little longer.

Millennial Matters

Here I was, a recently married 24-year- old woman asking myself, “What next?” I was searching for the perfect career that would complement my strengths and passions, but what I found was corporate America. I realized I lost something along the way while searching for my soul-satisfying career. I had career tunnel vision of professions that I “should” be seeking, but little did I know, there is a big difference between a should and a want. So I stopped, took a leap of faith and I waited for my career to find me.

Just a few short weeks later, my sister recommended that I speak to a woman whom I would have a lot in common. We were hours away from one another, and I am not the type to call people. Being an introverted millennial, I would much rather email, text, basically anything that has some sort of barrier. However, this time, I found just enough courage, and I called her.

I told her my testimony, my struggle and where I was now. What she said was both a surprise and blessing. “You need to look into parent coaching. It sounds like it’s for you.” As a childless millennial, I never thought my “want” would be parent coaching.

Running whole-heartedly into this career that I did not think I would “fit” into made me realize something. Millennials matter to the field of parent coaching. We are creative, energetic and inspiring. We are explorers who are endlessly curious (my resume literally says, “Expert at being curious.”) We pour our hearts into all that we do. Corporate America cannot contain us, because we do not fit into their mechanistic set of standard operating procedures. We are alive and need room to grow. Parent coaching is a profession that “gets” us. It encourages aliveness in parents which then translates to their children. Not only do we get to be who we really are, but we also get to encourage it in others.

Parent coaching is truly something special that satisfies my curiosities in a new way. Right now, I could not ask for more. Did I ever think I would be able to say that about a career? Absolutely not.

Even if your soul-satisfying work is not parent coaching, do not doubt for a minute whether or not you would fit into a specific field. Every profession could use a little more life that millennials bring.

So there I was, staring at my computer screen intently as I read my introduction letter to the Parent Coaching Institute. I smiled to myself and practiced my response when people asked me how I was going to be a parent coach when I was not a parent myself. Sure, someday I will be a mother and a parent coach, but for here and now, my millennial heart wouldn’t have it any other way.