Grateful Journal #5: Grateful To Be Fearful

As you might know, I have a lot of fears.

“What may your fears be?”, you may ask. I must admit, it is a long list of fears, so I shall reveal my biggest one to date:

 

Of not meeting my own expectations, and disappointing and shaming myself when I fail.

 

Two apt terms come to mind: “Being my own worst critique” and “Being my own worst enemy“.

 

But, one thing I wanted to share in the midst of dealing with this massive fear I face right now is this:

I’m grateful that I am made aware of this fear. I’m thankful that God has made me recognise this fear that have been a hindrance to me achieving my fullest and victorious destiny.

 

Don’t get me wrong- it is a tough situation to overcome this overwhelming fear of mine, especially when it comes to taking risks and facing new challenges.

I tend to doubt my own capabilities in succeeding, and when I do fail, I feel ashamed of myself. I feel useless, I feel hopeless, I somewhat “reinforce” that defeatist state of mind, and I get mad at myself for failing.

It is a horrible vicious cycle of self-pity, self-degradation, self-belittlement, and self-loathing.

It’s tiring to go through it again and again. Most of time, I feel like there isn’t much of a point for me to take risks and face new challenges, especially when I feel like “it’s bound to fail again, like the other times.”

The feeling of failing and being defeated time and time again is such a draining feeling.

 

Yet, I know, as an overcomer, I need to overcome failures with the strength and boldness of God.

Not by my might, not by my strength, but by the Spirit of the Lord will I overcome my fears. Through Christ, I can do all things. Through Christ, my weakness is made perfect.

And, as I wrestle and deal with this fear with God, I pray with thanksgiving that because of Him, there is a hope for tomorrow- a tomorrow where God will fully restore my heart with perfect love that is without fear, and a renewed sense of boldness and courage to execute God’s written plans and destiny for me!

This doesn’t apply to me only- God wants to restore you whole as well.

God wants you to live a victorious life: a life that He has written and destined for you.

In order for you to live out a fulfilled and purpose-driven life, God wants to remove the fears, the anxieties, the shame, and the pain from you.

God wants to replace the former with love, hope, joy, and boldness.

I know, because that’s what He is doing for me now.

Fearful, Yet Hopeful!

I have a lot of fears.

Growing up, I felt so much fear in me- the fear of meeting new people, the fear of disappointing my parents, the fear of failing and not hitting my own personal mark, the fear of trying out new experiences.

And the list goes on.

Honestly, it’s not easy to live a life with fear.

It hinders with my quality of life; it hinders me from taking risk, and becoming an overcomer.

 

In fact, starting out Positivity Lab was a challenge to me- there was a fear of failure, a fear of not measuring up to my own personal standards.

What if I wrote in a certain way that people disliked?

What if people didn’t like and resonate with my content?

What if I ended up wasting time and money doing this?

What if no one reads it, and feel inspired by my content?

It was a never-ending list of fear and self-doubt; yet I’m so grateful I overcame all these fears and self-doubt.

 

Sure, it was a struggle to overcome this fear- it felt overwhelming at the start for me to conceptualise, plan, strategise, and launch something like Positivity Lab.

But, after pondering, sitting on it, and thinking about it for the longest time, I decided to go on with it.

And, ever since, I’ve not regretted.

 

Every single part of the journey was enjoyable, despite the challenges and the setbacks.

It was tough initially- the self-doubts and fears came back to haunt me, and they still do up until this day, but I have a form a peace.

A peace knowing that God has my back, and He will see this plans to fruition.

A peace knowing that God was the one who called me to start Positivity Lab. He sent friends and family to encourage me throughout the starting stages. And, that has been tremendous help in kickstarting Positivity Lab.

A peace knowing there’s hope for the future, and the future holds bigger and better plans than I can imagine.

That’s what gave me the hope to press forward, and march on despite my fears.

 

Do I still have fears now?

Sadly, yes I do.

And, quite a bit of them if I’m honest.

Some things still terrify me, and I’ve yet to accomplish them despite me wanting to.

But, in due time, I pray that God will give me the strength and tenacity to overcome these fears, and become the overcomer God wants me to be.

 

 

If you’re in a similar situation where you’re filled with fear, and all hope seems lost, let me encourage you- God will deliver both you and I from our situations.

He will be the reason for our Breakthrough. He will lead us to victory.

He will see us through, and help us overcome!

What Do You Love?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:21

 

Our hearts lie where our interest, our passion, our love, and our desires are.

Just think about it- what do you spend the most time, energy and money on? Could it be shopping and looking sleek?

Or maybe is it food and coffee?

Or is it basketball?

For me, my heart lies in my passion and interest in weightlifting, music, work, reading.

My heart too, lies in spending time with friends and family.

And, looking at the list at a glance, you wouldn’t have thought I love God.

But in my mind, I thought I did.

I was always under the assumption that He was and is my first love.

I thought I put Him above others, and above my other priorities.

I thought wrong.

I was putting my other priorities above God; my passion, my desires, my hobbies, my relationships- all these have taken precedence above God.

 

Today, allow me to ask-
What is your first love?
What do you love and prioritise?
Where does your heart lie?
What is your treasure?

 

Are you (and even I) prioritising the right things in life? Is the order of significance the most beneficial to ourselves, or does it include other people, or God for that matter?

Are we aimlessly trying to fill the void of meaninglessness and boredom in our lives by spending so much time on our hobbies, passions, and interest? Or are we doing it out of genuine passion and interest?

Or are we using all these things we “treasure” to associate some form of identity and worth to ourselves?

Are the treasures that we seek and desire the most challenging us, and pushing us in the direction of growth, confidence, and enablement?

Or are they diverting our attention from more important priorities (our walk with God, our families and loved ones, our personal growth) in life?

Or worse- are they hindering us from being the overcomers God has made us to be?

Rest Is For The Strong

“Rest is for the weak.”
“Only the lazy rest.”
“You have to constantly work if you want to be the best.”
“The hustle never ends. It’s 24/7.”
“Success never rests.”
“You are given a limited amount of time- maximise it.”
“Chilling and resting is a waste of time”
“Reduce your sleeping hours by x hours a day, and at the end of the year, you have x amount of extra days more compared to others.”

 

Familiar lines, aren’t they?

These are the sort of things our favourite hustling Gs, our respected self-made financially successful businessmen, and our idolised entrepreneurs turned motivational speakers share about all the time.

It always relates to their work ethics, and their dedication to be “at the top of the game”.

And, to be at the top of the game, they preach about how they have to work more, hustle harder, and to toil longer hours to outwit, outsmart, outmaneuver, and outrun their competitors.

 

Don’t get me wrong- I do believe the importance of working hard and smart for my own success and career growth.

I do believe that as overcomers, I do need to give our all our might and strength to deliver quality results in whatever I’m tasked to do.

I do believe in being “at the top of my game”, and having a commendable work ethic.

 

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Proverbs 14:23

 

However, I also, do believe in the concept of a sabbatical rest.

I do believe in the concept of work-life balance.

I do believe in resting after the work is done for the day.

In fact, did you know God, too, rested?

The mightiest being on this world gave Himself rest at the end of His “work” day, and continued on “working” on building His universe the next day. At the end of the week, He took the 7th day off, and rested.

 

“And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.”
Genesis 2:3

 

Throughout the 7 days, God completed all the daily tasks He had set out to do within each day. In each day, He saw the things He made, and it “was good!”

After completing His good works for the day, God stopped working when evening came, and resumed work in the morning.

 

“And there was evening, and there was morning”
Genesis 1:5; 8; 13; 19; 23; 31

 

God could have chosen to work all day and all night to complete the earth within a shorter period of time. Yet He didn’t.

God chose to do the amount of work that He was required to do within the day, and He began to unwind and rest once evening came about.

How many times do we find ourselves overworking instead of resting?

How many times are we prioritising our work moreso than our bodies and our minds by restricting the rest they so desperately need?

How many times are we taking time out to care, to tend, and to love ourselves by giving our bodies, our minds, and our souls the rest they need to recover?

 

Again, don’t get me wrong- sometimes I do sacrifice sleep to get some work done because whatever I’ve completed for the day didn’t feel enough, despite it being “good”.

But, most of the time, I didn’t need to do the extra work- the work could have been completed the next day.

In my pursuit of wanting to complete my work despite it being late at night, I find myself wanting more rest the next working day.

My performance suffers; my work quality drops; my mind isn’t atuned to the situation at hand; my mental cohesion dips.

All because I didn’t rest.

Too often enough, I find myself toiling and pushing my physical and mental limits.

To be honest, I didn’t even realise the state of tiredness I am in until I spent one Sunday sleeping in, and lazing around without thinking about work, doing something, or moving about.

It was a great change- to be able to rest peacefully.

I felt recharged and rested.

I felt much better physically and mentally, despite not accomplishing any sort of work, task, or errand.

Instead of starting the week on a low, sunken, jaded, and tired note, I get to go into the office fresh, fully rested, excited, and beaming with energy!

 

Another thing:
Rest is not solely for the weak, the uninitiated, the lazy; rest is for the strong.

Through rest, we get to grow and develop ourselves even further by keeping ourselves in tip-top condition!

Through rest, we find the strength, the capability, and the mental acuity to overcome circumstances and situations.

Instead of punishing our bodies by limiting rest and sleep, we as overcomers need to look at life with a long-term perspective.

We will need to sustain our bodies and health for the years to come.

Don’t let the accumulated lack of sleep and rest, and its negative health repercussions be the bane to our lifestyle!

And, through rest, we can maintain our body’s capabilities, functionalities, and health to live an uncompromised and quality lifestyle throughout the years to come.

Be A Blessing Unto Others

At this juncture of my life, I do feel sometimes life is meaningless. Everything does somewhat feel meaningless, especially when we’re chasing after self gratification and self glorification.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m grateful that I have everything I need: friends, loved ones, family, a house, a car, food, bed, electricity, and what not.

Yet, on the other hand, I can’t help but to wonder- why do I put so much value in gratifying and glorifying myself through the choice foods I eat, the luxurious brands I buy, or the lavish lifestyle I pamper myself with?

To top it all off, all the self glorification and self gratification I receive from these purchases are temporal. The initial sense of joy and pleasure we receive from these purchases will eventually ebb away.

And, that, to me, feels futile.

To clarify: I do need to pamper and love myself occasionally- to celebrate wins, milestones, and accomplishments in life. I do strongly believe that, but, I too believe, the money and the resources I am blessed with can be used to bless others who are in dire need.

In this current phase of my life, I’m trying to learn how to love and care for the marginalized, the outcasted, the homeless, the shunned, and the despised.

Through the monetary resources I am blessed with, I want to use my resources wisely to bless these groups of people. It can be as simple as buying them food and water.

I want to learn how to show them love, care, and kindness.

I want my life, and my work to be meaningful- not in a self fulfilling manner, but in a way where it can leave an impact behind, and support others (aside from me), in more than one way.

Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, and getting into the habit of materialism, I should find contentment with whatever I am blessed with, regardless of the amount, and yet, bless others with whatever much I have.

And in this phase of my life, my prayer is this:
To learn how to bless others freely- without doubts, fear, hindrances, or even worries.
To help these group of people without wanting repayment or anything in return.
To give my resources out of a joyful heart.
To love them with the same fiery passionate love God has for them.
To care for them like how others have cared for me, and blessed me throughout my life.
To break them out of this cycle of poverty and destruction.

I will be honest- it is a challenge for me to constantly donate a large portion of my money to the poor, the needy, the marginalized, and the uneducated.

But, that’s the challenge I would want to take on, and to bless others who are in dire situations, compared to me.

As an overcomer, let me be of assistance to others in overcoming their situations as well.

Through God, let the blessings be a source of hope and encouragement to these groups of people.

Let the hard work and toiling at work be an avenue of blessing to my bosses, my company, my clients, and to the marginalized, the poor, and the needy.

Let the blood, sweat, and tears have a distinct purpose to it- to be used as a blessing for others.

“do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:4

“They only asked us to remember the poor–the very thing I also was eager to do.”
Galatians 2:10

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”
Colossians 3:12

To Be Passionate Is To Suffer

Suffering- what does that mean to you? What images or emotions do you correlate with the word “suffering”?

Are these images and emotions negative?

Do they contain a lot of pain, harm, shame, worries, and anxieties?

Or are these images and emotions positive- a hope for the future, the excitement to overcome challenges and mountains, and to come out victorious?

Most likely than not, suffering is a word that is associated with negativity. Situations filled with suffering are not pleasurable; neither are they something we look forward to in life.

 

But, today, I want to challenge you.

I want to challenge you (and even myself) to how we view suffering- not as a curse, a burden, a worry, an undefeatable goliath, but as a challenge, as an exciting obstacle for you and I to overcome.

Even I myself have to stop seeing suffering as “oh God, why must I go through this? What a waste of time! I want this suffering and torment to stop, and good things to happen now!

But rather, I should see it as “oh God! Thank you for this circumstance and situation where You are challenging me to grow and develop my perseverance, my character, my mind, my will, my emotions, and my soul.”

I’m sure by now you’re wondering, “What’s with all these positive talk around suffering?

Let me backtrack a little- let’s take a look at the word “suffering”
Suffering means “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.”

Suffering came from the late Latin word called “pati”.

So was another word. And, the word that was derived from the word “pati”, or suffering in late Latin is:

“Passion”

Yes, the word passion, in its original Latin form, means “to suffer”.

And, we have to suffer for our passion.

To follow our passion is to choose discomfort over comfort. It is through our suffering, struggles, and circumstances that test our passion, and our will power to carry on, no matter how painful it is.

 

If you’re in a place of suffering for your passion, let me encourage you:

Keep fighting on. Persevere. Focus on your goals, and don’t let the feeling of self-pity and defeat overtake us.

The suffering is not there to harm you, but to build your character up.

It’s to build your endurance. It’s to strengthen you. It’s to give you hope.

 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:3-4

 

In the movie “The Passion of Christ”, it was shown that Christ suffered for us- He was whipped, tormented, shamed, nailed, and died for us.

And for what? Because He was passionate for us.

He loved us with such intensity.

And that’s why He chose to suffer for us- to rescue us from sin and death.

Was it easy? Not at all.

Was it painful? Absolutely.

Was it necessary for Him to go through each and every single one of the suffering? Yes.

Likewise- we will need to go through seasons of suffering for our passions, you and I.

Let me encourage you once more:
Wherever you are, don’t throw in the towels just yet. Please do persevere through your suffering; they are temporal. Your goals are closer than you think they are.

Keep moving forward, and trust in God to deliver you through your circumstances.

He will see you through your situations if you do commit your situation to Him.

He will make pathways and streams of living waters for you.

He will fight for you, and defend you.

Through Him, we can become overcomers that He has destined us to be.

And through Him, we will be able to turn our suffering into joy; suffering into fun challenges and obstacles we need to overcome to turn our passion into a reality!

Remember: the suffering you’re going through is not to harm you, but to build you up to be an even stronger overcomer than you are now!

Inspirer 27: Lindsay Podhajsky-Taking leaps of faith & overcoming the harshness of mission fields

On this week’s Inspiring Interview, we have Lindsay Podhajsky, a board certified family medicine physician in Florida, and a missionary!

Lindsay’s story is quite an amazing one- she has been practicing medical missions even before she enrolled herself into medical school. And for her, the mission field has always been a calling for her.

After serving as a doctor in Florida for 6 years, God is now challenging Lindsay to take on a 11-month mission trip that spans across 11 countries, including South Africa, Malaysia, and Bulgaria!

 

In this podcast, Lindsay will be sharing on:

  1. What inspired her to constantly take on mission trips in the last 10 years
  2. What challenged her to take a leap of faith, and go into the missions field for 11 months
  3. How she discovered her passion and love for missions
  4. Overcoming tough circumstances in unknown foreign lands
  5. Why surrendering control is rewarding
  6. The most important lesson she has learned from her mission trips

 

Follow her journey around the world here (and do support her as well!):
https://lindsaypodhajsky.theworldrace.org/?isFunction=bio

Connect with Lindsay:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lettersof.hope/

Inspirer #26: Janine Carattini- Overcoming fear & shame when making your voice heard

On this week’s Inspiring Interview, we have Janine Carattini, the founder of The Relentless Pursuit with us!

Janine has this amazing talent when it comes to writing: she shares so much honesty in her writings, may it be on social media, or even on her blog. And through her heartfelt sharing, she seeks to impart joy, love and encouragement!

Read all of Janine’s heartfelt sharing here:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/therelentlesspursuit_/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therelentlesspursuits
Website: JanineCarattini.Com

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/JohnnyCarattini

 


 

Ben: Hey Janine, it’s a pleasure to have you on Positivity Lab! I stumbled upon your Instagram account by chance, and do allow me to say this: I’m completely blown away by your honest sharing!

Before we jump right into The Relentless Pursuit, please do tell us a little bit of yourself.

Hi! I’m Janine! I’m twenty-something and absolutely positively OBSESSED with encouraging other to relentlessly pursue Jesus in their own lives with the words on my heart!

 

How did The Relentless Pursuit come about?

The Relentless Pursuit came about after I read a book about Getting Lost in Jesus. I started sharing my Getting Lost journey but there was a stirring in my heart with the word pursue. So I went from Getting Lost to Pursuing Jesus and found that He had been relentlessly pursuing me all along.

As for sharing with others about the relentless pursuit, that was a seamless transition. I’ve always loved to encourage others about Jesus, getting to know Him and living a life for Him; when The Relentless Pursuit came along, I knew it was just a name to describe what I had
been doing all along!

 

I noticed a theme across your blog posts, and your social media- you’re very honest and genuine with your sharing!
What challenged to be so raw and honest about your daily devotion?

Being raw and honest about my daily devotion was also something that came pretty naturally, after overcoming fear about it. If I wrote as though I never had any struggles or that my life was perfect, I assumed that others would be less inclined to hear what Jesus had to say.

Because my entire ministry is striving to get others to see that Jesus meets us where we are and pursues after us, I knew that sharing my not so glamorous quiet time moments would assure others that they weren’t the only ones who went through rough waters with Jesus. It offers hope, and if just one person is encouraged by a heartache I had to endure, then it is absolutely 100% worth sharing it.

Was there any sort of shame and fear of condemnation when you started sharing your stories and journeys with such honesty?
There was definitely shame and fear in sharing my stories and journeys so open and honestly. It’s why some posts take longer to be released than others. 🙂

But the honesty in my struggles, in those innermost parts of my heart, those are the ones that God wants me to share because it’s then He is able to work on me, on my heart, on my attitude, my life.

 

And, how did you overcome the shame and fear?
Overcoming the shame and fear is a DAILY struggle.

It’s a constant attack, wondering why God would want to use me and my brokenness, that I’m not good enough, and I keep doubting. But the silver lining is that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He always always uses things for His good. He creates beauty from ashes, and He chooses to use us to do that. He continues to use me to do it.

And when I overcome the shame and fear and hit send, the confirmation comes in waves of others being so encouraged and thankful to find out that they are not alone.

So I’d say that overcoming it altogether is still something I’m working on, but I overcome a little more day by day by simply trusting that He has a bigger plan than I can see!

 

What was your lowest moment in life, and how did God see you through your situation? Were there specific verses or chapters in the Bible that gave you the strength to move forward?

I know this will sound a little crazy, but my lowest moment that God got me through actually consisted of me being mad at God for a while.

I went through a season where I lost pretty much all of my friends because of lies and drama someone created. I was completely isolated and sunk into a season of numbness. I went through the motions at work, at home, at church but really I felt nothing.

At first I refused to talk to God about it, and then, as silly as this may sound, I opened up a fortune cookie that had, “You will touch the hearts of many” written on it. The waterworks came and I prayed, I journaled and begged God to help me feel something, to remember His promise.

I just kept hearing Him whisper over and over again that He was going to use me to touch others and I was in complete disbelief that even after I had been upset with Him, He still spoke to me and wanted to use me.

It was still a fight to get out of feeling numb, and I need to constantly remind myself that He is using my stories, my life for a purpose.

I always cling to two verses to push through: Esther 4:14 and Philippians 1:6. A reminder that I am here for such a time as this and that God completes what He starts in us and itis always good.

 

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6

 

You mentioned that you were begging God to help you remember His promise, and you mentioned this “He was going to use me to touch others”. Was this purpose given to you previously? If so, how did you discover it?

It kind of was, I just didn’t know what it consisted of! In all honesty, I think we all share the purpose of reaching the hearts of others, just the way we go about doing it will be different!

In your opinion, for someone who is looking for his/ her purpose in life, what would you advise the person to do?
If someone is searching for purpose, keep asking God to reveal it to you. Just make sure that you have your eyes and ears open to see and hear what He has to say!

And always remember that sometimes, your purpose may not look like you thought it would!

 

That brings us to the end of this interview.

Thank you for your time Janine; it was a pleasure to have you share your inspiring story and journey with us!
And, also, thank you for being so raw and honest with us in answering these questions.

I do pray that the readers will be blessed by your sharing!

Inspirer #25: Sarah Jane Meeson- How to build a God-centered business

On Inspiring Interview, we have Sarah Jane (SJ) Meeson, a Christian business woman, and the founder of Christian Women In Business!

With her extensive knowledge and experience in entrepreneurship, Sarah created Christian Women in Business to encourage, strengthen, and unite Christian business women to align their businesses with God.

 

In this interview, SJ touches base on:

  1. The Bible’s view on business
  2. Why “no” might be the best answer
  3. The most important thing when starting up a God-centered business
  4. The biggest struggle Christian business women (which I think applies to men as well) face when running a business
  5. The hustle and grind is ____.

 

Listen to her own podcast, Christian Women In Business, now!
https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/christian-women-in-business/id1213594190

Connect with Sarah here:
Website: https://sarahjanemeeson.com

Christian Women in Business:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christianwomeninbusinessofficial
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cwibtweets
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christianwomeninbusiness/
Website: https://www.christianwomeninbusiness.com.au/

2018 Mid Year Reflection, Part 3

All good things must come to an end: this week, we’ll be coming to an end for this July Mid Year Reflection trilogy series.

I really do hope you’ve been blessed by the lessons and experiences shared!

And, I do really hope that you’ll take all these lessons and experiences shared with much consideration.

It really has been a big benefit to me through the last 6 months, and I believe many more months to come as well.

The funny thing is this- at the time of writing this Mid Year Reflection series, God has revealed even more things to me, on top of the things I’ve shared!

And I do hope that God will reveal something more in you as well!

Onto this week’s reflection:


1. Have “Me-Time”

Personally for me, I do fear of being alone.

I’m constantly on the edge, wanting to go out and socialise with others, and spend time with others.

And in recent times, this has caused me to forgo a lot of my own “Me-Time”; a time where I get to spend time on my own.

A time where I get to have quality time for myself to read, write, journal, think, rest, doodle, play guitar and drums, and even game.

Don’t get me wrong- it is equally as important to spend time with my close friends, family, and loved ones.

But occasionally, I need to spend time loving and caring for myself as well.

A short distancing of myself from the outside world, and just spend time inwardly with myself. Having some tender-loving care for myself, and just enjoying my own presence.

Most of the time, when I find myself spending too much time with others, I feel overwhelmed and drained.

I really do need time alone by myself to think, to read, and to do the things that I love.

It may sound greedy, but at this stage of my life, I’m trying to give myself more attention and care.

I’m trying to love myself more.

And one of the things I can do for myself is to give my own self some “Me-Time” to breathe, to relax, and to enjoy the peace and serenity that comes with it.

If you never had your own personal “Me-Time” before, let me highly encourage you to try it one of these days.

Sometimes, we all just need to spend some time loving ourselves.

Which leads me to my second point:

 

2. Love yourself

For most of my life, I’ve always despised myself- for the person that I am, broken, defeated, useless.

And I’m not saying this to fish for compliments and pity.

I’m sharing this with you because these sort of negative judgments and self-hate towards my personality, characteristics, and even my body has led me down a destructive path.

A harsh, critical path filled with judgment, self-belittlement towards my own self.

There was a lot of anger, hatred, bitterness, whining, complaining, and they were mainly around this topic- why can’t I be better?

This led me to a path where I needed to do more.

I needed to constantly excel.

I always demanded more from myself.

I made sure I gave my heart, my mind, and my strength.

I strived for greatness, and toiled I did.

I pushed my body over its limits, and tried to take on the challenges one huge chunk at a time.

I felt overwhelmed and drained, yet I still chose to enslave my body to the toilings and hard works to prove myself wrong.

I wanted to prove to myself that I’m capable.

But, what I ended up was with a lot of burdens, a lot of worries and anxieties, a lot of troubles and fears, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of anger outburts and breakdowns, and quite a few burnouts as well.

It’s a destructive cycle I need to get out. My health is on the line!

Recently, a friend challenged me this- instead of being harsh and critical about yourself, be thankful of yourself, and for who you are.

Be thankful as a person. Be thankful for my talents and gifts. Be thankful for the good works I’ve done for the day. Be thankful for being able to provide for myself. Be thankful that I have a house and a car.

And most of all, be thankful that I’m alive and I get to spend another day with the people I love.

Know your worth today. You are made in the image of God, you are his Masterpiece, and your life has been bought by another life, Jesus Christ.

You’re not worthless; you are priceless.

 

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27

 

3. Anger isn’t a sin; your response is.

In days where nothing feels right- everything feels like it’s crumbling down.

Days where everything is going wrong.

Frustrations and anger abounds.

It’s very tempting for us to curse, and have an anger explosion. My confession: that’s the sort of posture I have- I tend to explode, and curse.

I know it’s not the best way to release the anger, and I’m consciously working on it.

And that’s my negative response to how I feel when I’m angry.

The feeling of frustration of anger is okay. That’s what our hearts and emotions feel.

I’m not saying that you should completely ignore and disregard your anger. But what I’m leading to is this: how do you react when you are angry?

 

“”In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”
Ephesians 4:26

 

In anger, do not lash out and make rash decisions, like I do.

Do not make the same mistakes I’ve made countless times when I get angry.

It’s not worthwhile to make hurtful statements, to do regrettable actions, or to eve burn bridges.

The consequences of the actions done in anger can yield major destructions and repercussions.

And, those are some of the destructions and repercussions you may end up regretting in the future.

I know I have made a lot of poor decisions in life, and most of them came through anger.

So please, whenever you are angry, please do take a step back, and breathe before you make a rash decision.

Excuse yourself from situations or circumstances that are triggering you so it doesn’t cause you to explode.

Don’t make regrettable decisions when you’re angry.

 

“for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
James 1:20

 

4. Have good counsel around you.

In the last year or so, I’ve been subconsciously surrounding myself with friends and counsel who I can trust my life with.

A group of men and women who are like-minded, and are willing to journey alongside with me in this phase of my life.

And, I am extremely blessed by them- their presence, their support, and their advices have been more than beneficial to me.

Their wisdom and experiences have been vital in my life; steering and guiding me to the right path that I need to be on.

They keep me accountable to what I do- they keep me grounded whenever I start drifting away.

They check up on me whenever I go through struggles and issues.

And they have been challenging me to become a better person- to improve myself in places where I’m lacking.

And I’m so blessed to have these people in life.

This sort of counsel, or peer-to-peer mentorship, has been beneficial to my growth and development over the last year, especially when I was transitioning into a different phase of my life.

If you don’t have a group of wise counsel, or great friends who can advice you, I highly encourage you to find a group of trusted compatriots that wants the best for your life.

Their presence will challenge, and sharpen you to be better.

 

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Proverb 27:17

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Proverbs 11:14

 

5. Apologise for your mistakes.

One of the things I struggle with is to ask for forgiveness as well.

And it’s hard to ask for forgiveness, especially when you feel like you’re the one who was wounded in a circumstance or situation.

It makes it even harder to apologise and ask for forgiveness when the wound actually brings your countenance down.

Hurtful, abusive, and shameful words get thrown out at you just because of a small silly accidental mistake you made.

Despite this hurt and wounding, we still can choose to ask for forgiveness.

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Matthew 5:9

 

We’re called to be peacemakers.

And sometimes, it’s hard for us to apologise and to ask for forgiveness. But there’s a restorative power in asking for forgiveness.

Asking for forgiveness can mend and restore the relationship.

Asking for forgiveness can help you to let go of the shame you carry from that encounter. It can set you free from shame and guilt!

Don’t let your shame and guilt wear you down.

 

6. Ask for help!

Occasionally, I get too caught up in my own problems and struggles. The fear, the worries, the anxiety and doubt- these things overwhelm us.

And in these situations, I forget to approach my trusted group of friends and counsel, and seek advice or even help from them!

It’s ironic- on one hand, I’m so grateful for them being present in my life and being there during my times of need; but on the other, I just completely forget to seek assistance from them.

Especially the ones that could help be of assistance and help me to ease my burdens.

A simple “can you help me” could have eased my burdens, and made it so much easier for me to overcome my situations.

And, there’s no shame in asking for help.

Sometimes, I feel shameful in reaching out and asking for help from others, despite the problem being too large for me to overcome and handle.

Consciously, I’m aware these people I’m asking for help have the right resources, experience and knowledge to overcome this situation.

There’s a fear of “What if I’m bothering them? What if they get mad at me?”

But, what I realized is this- when I start reaching out to others for help, more often than not they’re more than willing to be of assistance to me!

Most people are more than happy to help and to guide you, especially when you’ve reached your wit’s end.

If you’re in a situation today where you feel there’s no hope, ask for help from others!

 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Matthew 7:7

 

It can be the turning point you have so desired in your situation.

This leads to the next point.

 

7. Be humble. Be Teachable.

When you do ask for help from others, be humble and be teachable.

Instead of coming from a place where you’re asking for approval and permission to do something, come from a posture of humility, and wanting to learn.

Be willing to accept corrections, and constructive criticisms.

Be open to hearing their input, and exploring different perspectives and opinions.

Do not reject their wisdom.

Take wise counsel into consideration, and do not take these words of wisdom lightly.

 

“Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.”
Proverbs 13:18

”Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”
Proverbs 9:9

 

And, that marks the end of the Mid Year Reflection Series!

Do pray that you have felt blessed by the sharing, and I do pray it will have a powerful and positive impact on your life!

 

Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comment section below, or drop us an email at hello@positivitylab.co 🙂

I’d love to hear from you!

 

Live Life Positively,
Ben