Self Sabotage- My Hidden Enemy

Written by Nicole Collier

coffee cup notebook pen

I had a revelation recently that anytime I would post an update on my weight loss journey I would immediately self sabotage. Why would I do this? Your guess is honestly as good as mine. I took a long hard look at myself, and why I did this. I would post about another weight loss goal met, an additional 5 or 10 lbs lost, and I would binge eat that day.

The definition of self sabotage: Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in our life and interferes with long-standing goals.

I came to the conclusion that I am afraid to be a healthier version of myself. I had become accustomed to being the “fat friend”. You know- the funny one who hides behind her sarcasm, and humor to mask how she feels on the inside. The one who projects how she feels about herself on to others with the words she uses. Which are not always life giving.  

I hate typing that as much as you may hate reading it. Trust me. However, this is where my comfort zone was.

How do we find a balance between the woman we are and the woman we are accustomed to being?  The woman we have come to be friends with, whether she is helping or hurting us, and the woman we are created to be.

One way to do this is to take captive our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5.) Let us hold true to who God says we are! We are wonderfully and beautifully created in His image (Psalm 139:14.)   When I hold true to this thought, it helps me to want to be my absolute best and give him honor with this body He gave me. Don’t believe the lie the enemy wants you to believe that you are not worthy of being the best you- GIRL, YOU ARE WORTHY OF THIS AND SO MUCH MORE!

Another way is to really understand our triggers by asking ourselves, “what is it that has happened in our past to have such control over us where we sabotage the hard work and effort we have put in?” For me it has been the words that have been spoken over me throughout my life. I had to understand that hurt people hurt, and people will sometimes speak their insecurities in their self to those around them. I have learned to bless and forgive. If I have to stand in front of a mirror and remind myself I am worthy, I am a beautiful person on the inside and out, and I have people in my life who love me, then I will find the largest mirror and do just that.

Remember friends, this life is a journey. It is an amazing journey God will take us on, if we let Him. Let us remember to not sabotage the great and wonderful work we have put in, and let us listen to the words our Heavenly Father speaks over us. May we see our self as beautiful and wonderfully created as He made us, and sees us. Let us hold our head high, straighten our crown and accomplish our goals without sabotaging ourselves.cropped-8c9ba9bf-aa74-49d8-adc5-38337d1c5e66

Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

 

Journey To Joy

pink gerbera flower in closeup photography

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

 

Negativity was my roadblock to joy…

I’m just going to admit it right off… I am a glass half empty kind of girl. I don’t really want to be, but my melancholy self just leans that way.
No one  wants to be around negativity all the time. I didn’t want to be that person everyone avoids, the one who always complains about everything. But I’m afraid I was, and I was tired of being that person.
I begin to realize it was time to do some serious soul searching. It has taken me a long time to accept my own personality and the way God designed me.
As The Lord was ‘forming me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 MSG), as He formed all of us, we were made unique. He made us who we are. He gave us our personalities with all it’s qualities and quirks! We are made in God’s image so our qualities are cause for celebration! The quirks are the things we give to Him to mold into Christlikeness.  The former we take for granted, the latter draws us close to Him.  This marks our dependence on Him. It keeps us coming to Him again and again, which in turn, enriches our relationship with the Lord. If we were perfect we wouldn’t have to lean in so much.
Starting on this joy journey, the first step was becoming tired of the life of pessimism, which was weighing me down, as well as desiring to be a better representative of God’s marvelous grace. It became a high priority in prayer because I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

I couldn’t will myself to do it, though I tried and failed. I wanted it to be authentic and I needed a changed heart.  Oh, how I wish it was a one and done type deal! But no, I didn’t use the word ‘journey’ by accident!

I started intentionally looking for things to be grateful for and searching for the good. A few extra minutes of sleep, a smile from a stranger, a beautiful bargain from the clearance rack! I verbalized my thanks directly to the Lord. Then a funny thing started happening. My heart was responding! The Holy Spirit was transforming me from the inside out! I didn’t have to try so hard. It was becoming…me!
There were some serious challenges.
I have been getting injections in my left eye for about two years. On one visit the nurse was about to numb my right eye. I said, “Stop! You are treating my left eye” He said, “Oh, we are so used to doing both eyes”. And there it was, a choice. I could be bitter about having to get any injections or choose to rejoice that there was only one eye affected.
I chose joy.
That’s all part of the journey.
Choosing.
I’m not talking about a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, rose colored glasses, afraid to speak a negative confession lifestyle. I’m talking about getting to know the love of God in such a powerful way that you know you are His. He will work all things for good. He is for you, not against you.  He loves you with an everlasting love. And there is so much more!
I found this by committing to read the Bible through. I used a one year, chronological Bible. Immersing yourself in the Bible, God’s active and alive word will be the key to successfully journey to joy!
Oh, my sweet friend, join me on this journey! You have a greater joy awaiting you!
As you begin your journey I pray:
That Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will go deep down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

 

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

Gone Unnoticed Until Now

Written by Jodi Lybrand

woman standing near body of water

Walking is my preferred choice of exercise. I love walking the trails on my very wooded property. Many times it is a multi-tasked walk. When I am frustrated my walk is a bit more intense, it is my stress reliever.  Some days are pure worship, enjoying God’s creation. Other days it is filled with prayers and petitions. Away from phones, social media, chores, errands and all other distractions I can hear God’s voice most clearly.
On one recent walk, my attention was drawn to a large patch of green I had never seen before. Leaving the pathway to take a closer look, I discovered it was Surprise Lilies. These are flowers that grow grass-like leaves, these go away and months later  single stalks and flowers emerge. This group was about thick three feet square. They had to be growing for years! Why haven’t I seen them before. I must have passed by them hundreds of times!
Have you ever felt like these lilies? All your work, serving and sacrifice have gone unnoticed? Have you spent years honing your giftings but seemingly not using them to potential? Do you feel like you have  endlessly labored overlooked while others have their dreams fulfilled? Has your dream died?
Oh, my sweet friend this is not true! The great prophet, Isaiah felt the same way. Knowing he was called by God, he still thought his work was in vain. (Isaiah 49:1-4) In a similar  fashion Paul felt his labors among the Thessalonians may have been useless. (1 Thessalonians 3:5) You are in good company!

We all get tired from time to time. We are prone to discouragement. As the scripture states, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true there is life and joy. (Proverbs 13:12 NLT)  Being stuck at the comma is challenging! Waiting is difficult. It is hard living in the in-between.

While we are waiting we need to learn not to compare ourselves with others.  It is a must! Jennie Allen tells us that “Comparison robs us of the joy of obedience.” We are all on different time tables with the Lord. Find your joy in what He has called you to do today.
Also during the wait share your dreams with someone who will encourage and remind you of God’s promises. Remember,Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
My dear friend, I don’t know when your ‘now’ will come, when your special dream will be fulfilled but know this, God sees you. He knows your heart, He sees your efforts. He loves you. Don’t give up! Be encouraged with this truth from His word  ..stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for me is a waste of time or effort(Corinthians 15:58 Message)
One last thought. Do you know what another name for those lilies is? Resurrection Lilies! I’ll just leave that one for you to reflect on!

 

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word

When You Want What They Have

Written by Jackie Tinkler

 

“If I just diminish her somehow, look away, point out her flaws, tell others she’s really not that great, then just maybe and  not purposely, but secretly, I’ll build myself up and have the love I desire”  …Jackie Tinkler

adult back view beautiful bench

Women want to be amazing, we want to be told how wonderful, beautiful and worthy we are.   The problem is we don’t want anyone else to be too much more amazing than we are!   Why?  Because the back story is “no one loves me.”
Here is our narrative…
I feel something missing, something I truly need and desire.  I don’t really know what it is, but I see something SHE has and I think I need it. So I fix my eyes on HER and what she has (or I think she has) and what I really fear is that SHE will get the love I deserve and want.   So, I act out in my fears to get the love I want.  I now feel comforted and secure.  But, it doesn’t last because I need MORE the next day and the next. It’s impossible to keep me filled up.

What I truly need is to know the love of Christ, which has not filled my whole heart.  My identity is in something other than Him.  Now, I’m to compete and contend for the love I need and it’s exhausting.

Aren’t we fearful when we don’t feel loved? Doesn’t the scripture tell us that perfect love casts out fear?  To ease our pain, we tell ourselves a comforting story to make us feel better, one that convinces us that we need to one up or put someone else beneath us. The truth is, if we were rooted and grounded in the security and love of Christ, there is no competition because the Love of God knows no bounds and there is enough for all of us to feel full.  I know, it’s a hard realization, but we are in need of God’s far reaching marvelous love to fill our whole heart.  No more competing, no more jealousy, no more lack.

 

close up of padlocks hanging on heart shape

DON’T NEED WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE ALL I NEED

 

 

 

 

Let this scripture sink in…
Ephesians 3:17-18 ” Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.  Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences-the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions.  How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding – this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!”
Why would Paul make such a statement unless He truly experienced God’s love?
Dear friend, take heart…you are loved ENOUGH.  I would love it if today we released our whole hearts to God and asked him to fill it with a crazy love we can never understand…the only love that heals our hurt.  I promise, He will be the love of our lives!  Pray with me..
Father, release your empowering love to fill our hearts with hope. Let us not linger in this place of fear any longer.   Help us to be honest with ourselves and you as we no longer contend, compete, or fear for the gifts, talents, possessions, or beauty of others. We are built up secure and strong in your intimate love.  Where we feel lack, show us how strong and beautiful we really are! That one of  a kind girl!  You’ve given to us all the opportunity to comprehend “with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of your love. May that love grow deep in us as we feel more and more at home with ourselves and others.” 

 

IMG_3892Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

 

 

God’s Plan for Our Children Isn’t Always Ours

Written by Nicole Collier

person having tea while working

Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

In May of 2008 I became a mommy for the first time. I had never been one to dream of having children, but, after our wedding, it felt like the next thing to check off. During my pregnancy I had grand dreams for our first- born. Once we found out we were having a boy, those dreams included playing football and I was sure he would be a great defensive tackler. Maybe he would play guitar. I knew he would be all things boy: puppy dog tails, snails, mud, and all things dirt.
My dreams could not have been further from the truth. My son hated all things dirt. He would rather sit inside and play with toys than go outside. It was too hot, or too dirty. When it came time to sign him up for soccer he was not having any of it. “I don’t like it mommy, my legs hurt when I run,” he’d say. He would run up and down the field, though, just so he could enjoy the snacks after the game.
During all of this time my prayer for my child has always been, “Lord, let him shine your light, let him be kind, and a leader for you.” God began showing me that while the dreams of his growing up may have not been realized, my prayers were in fact being answered. He shines the light of Jesus to everyone he meets with his big smile. He is kind to the kids who need a friend, and even to the ones who don’t. He is a natural born leader, and will soon lead his very own small group for boys his age.
I realized one day that the dreams I had for him were not really dreams, as much as it was me wanting to have a do-over with my own childhood. That stung. I realized how unfair I had been to try to mold him into someone he was not.

When I chose his life verse of Jeremiah 29:11, I did not understand at the time the impact and reminder it would have on myself. The reminder that no matter what our dreams may be for our sons and daughters, God has the final plan in place. He will protect them, and they will flourish under God’s plan.

These days I am enjoying this time in the transition between preteen to teenager years. I am watching him navigate the social world of fifth grade, as hard as it may be. He is as steadfast and true to who he was created to be now, as he was at four years old refusing to run during a soccer game.
Let us not be afraid for our children to be their own person. Let us trust the one who made them! He has the perfect plan for their life.
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Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

My Deliverer

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

adult back view beautiful bench

Your tormentors have said to you,

“Fall prostrate that we may walk over you”

And you made your back like the ground,

like a street to be walked over.

But the Lord your God says:

“I will rescue and redeem you

out of the hands of your enemies.

Though many gather against you

to gloat over you, to make your situation appear hopeless.

They do not now my plans for you,

plans not to harm you but to give you hope and a future,

to restore the years the locusts have eaten.

They do not understand my plans

to gather them to the threshing floor,

to place your foot on their necks.

Do not be afraid!

Do not be discouraged!

Be strong and courageous!

This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.

I will make your feet like the feet of a deer.

Rise and thresh, O, Daughter of Zion!

I will give you horns of iron,

I will give you hoofs of bronze!

You will have My strength and My power,

to overcome all your enemies.

Praise be to my God!

He trains me for battle,

He gives me His shield of victory!

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!

Exalted be God my Savior!

It is He who saves me from my enemies.

Therefore I praise you with my whole heart!

Thank you for your unfailing love and mercy!

Deliver me according to your promise.

( Isaiah 51:21, Micah 4:10-13, Joel 2:25, Joshua 10:24, 25, Psalm 18:33-35, Psalm 119:11 NIV)

JodiJodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!

Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!

A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

What MORE Do We Need? Part 3

woman-overloading-with-shopping-bag

Written by Jennifer Morrow
SOMETIMES LESS OF SOME THING IS REALLY MORE OF WHAT WE NEED.
SOMETIMES HAVING LESS OF SOME THING LEADS TO AN OPEN DOOR FOR MORE OF SOMETHING BETTER.

There is a struggle within our hearts and minds that we all face daily in order to really experience the MORE that truly fulfills.  This is the something that is MORE BETTER – okay, not proper grammar, but it works to make this point.  THE MORE THAT TRULY FULFILLS does not derail or kill the heartfelt desires that God has placed within each of us for His purpose and glory.  WHY?  Because the God who knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves and knew us while we were yet in our Mother’s womb, created us to desire, to hope for something better, and that something is more than we can often imagine or think in our finite minds.

WHAT APPEARS LESS THAN DESIRABLE TO MANY IN A CULTURE CONSUMED WITH SELF-FULFILLMENT, IS USUALLY WHAT LEADS TO MORE FULFILLMENT IN THE END.
HOW OFTEN DO WE SETTLE FOR SO MUCH LESS THAN GOD DESIRES FOR US? 
C. S. Lewis, the great British lay theologian and writer/creator of The Chronicles of Narnia and other eloquent works of literature, has a powerful quote regarding our desires.  This quote is taken from the book entitled, The Weight of Glory:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half hearted creatures … like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 
Here’s something MORE to remember:
  • You were lovingly created by God who knows you and knows the very number of the hairs on your head.
  • You were uniquely created by God and no one else even has your same fingerprints!  Amazing!
  • You were created to be loved by God and to be in a love relationship with Your Father God.
BEING LOVED, KNOWN AND VALUED BY OUR CREATOR, AND KNOWING OUR PURPOSE, FULFILLS WAY BEYOND EXPERIENCING MORE TEMPORARY PLEASURES. 
Here’s something MORE to consider:

The next time one of your old desires for MORE leads you to carry out an old habit that continues to leave you empty, unfulfilled, and not so happy or glad, but maybe even sad(?), how about trying MORE of at least one of these new choices today my friend?

  • Spending MORE time in God’s Book and a little less time on Facebook? 
  • Spending MORE time bringing all your needs, fears, and specific requests to God while also being thankful for God’s goodness and faithfulness in your life? 
  • Spending a little MORE time actually getting together with friends who are traveling the same journey of faith for encouragement and support? You know that small group and church community thing works really well. 
  • Spending MORE time praising and thanking God over complaining?
  • Spending MORE time worshiping over worrying?

OLD HABITS DON’T DIE EASILY.  WHEN WE HAVE SPENT YEARS SEEKING TO FILL OUR DESIRE FOR MORE THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS, WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT EVEN JUST A 21-DAY PRACTICE TO BREAK US FREE FROM EVERY OLD HABIT.  THERE IS A REASON THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF STRONGHOLDS – THEY HAVE A STRONG HOLD IN OUR HEARTS AND IN OUR DAILY LIVES.  

WE HAVE TO ESTABLISH A NEW PATTERN.  

EACH TIME OUR SOULS BEGIN TO CRY OUT FOR MORE OF THAT OLD HABIT OR THING THAT LEAVES US STILL UNFULFILLED AND WANTING MORE, WE HAVE TO CHOOSE THE MORE and BETTER OPTION GOD OFFERS US.  THIS WILL LEAD TO OUR ONLY STRONGHOLD BEING GOD.

LORD, FILL US WITH MORE OF YOUR SPIRIT, MORE OF YOUR LOVE, JOY AND PEACE.
 THIS IS THE MORE WE ALL NEED!
PSALM 4:7-8 THE MESSAGE
WHY IS EVERYONE HUNGRY FOR MORE?
“MORE, MORE” THEY SAY.
“MORE, MORE.”  I HAVE GOD’S MORE-THAN-ENOUGH,
MORE JOY IN ONE ORDINARY DAY
THAN THEY GET IN ALL THEIR SHOPPING SPREES.  
AT DAY’S END, I’M READY FOR SOUND SLEEP,
FOR YOU, GOD, HAVE PUT MY LIFE BACK TOGETHER.

 

Still, beyond all our unfulfilled desires, hopes and dreams, there is still MORE to come and the MORE that awaits us at our final destination is truly abundantly beyond and MORE than we can ask think or even imagine. 

Heaven will be so much “MORE BETTER” – Amen!

 

Other References:  Jeremiah 29:11, 31:3; Psalm 18:2, 119:1-2, 139; Matthew 10:30; Acts 1:14; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 3:20-21; Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7
IMG_3712By God’s amazing grace, I am a covenant daughter, a wife, a mother of 2 adult children and a son-in-love. I love God’s Word and I love studying it, teaching it, and listening to others teach and preach. I also love to laugh, dance, pray and worship – so I am sort of a rare bird.
My problems and my pain have always pressed me to pray, pen and pursue God’s presence in worship, not necessarily in that order. After the murder of my beloved brother, God turned my mourning into dancing for Him, which led to a ministry through dance over the past 20 plus years, including being the founder of Destiny Dance and Restoration Arts Dance. Since 2012, I have had the privilege of teaching dance at a Christ centered non-profit dance studio.
Writing, like prayer, worship and dancing, is a release of what is deep within my spirit. I also love fashion, festive parties, family gatherings, concerts and plays, reading several books at one time, cheering on the Crimson Tide, and traveling.
I am a member of Church of the Highlands, where, since 2004, I have been blessed to serve in the areas of prayer, outreach, leading small groups, coaching, and Women’s and Freedom ministry teams. I began practicing writing in 2009 on a Restoration Arts blog and in 2015, I started another blog at http://www.ponderit.org. I am experiencing a true restoration of joy despite all of the ups and downs of life.
I now even call myself “Joyful Jenny,” and I choose to laugh a LOT and uncontrollably at times! My heart’s motivation is to share what has helped me to live in love, joy, and freedom no matter what life throws our way. Having encountered the brokenness and pain as a result of my own childhood, family alcoholism and mental illness, tragic loss and grief, and a prodigal son’s journey, I empathize with other hurting hearts.
My prayer is that you will experience more of God’s love and joy and the intimate fellowship of His Holy Spirit. In His presence is fullness of JOY! Psalm 16:11
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