Think Positive! Change your mind. Change your world.

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Surrender)

Father, I Surrender

14 January 2018

I am taking the liberty of skipping a few letters because God has put the word surrender on my heart. I’ve always thought of this word as meaning, to give up, but, that’s not what God wants me to believe. See, I’ve come to understand that to surrender has nothing to do with giving up and everything to do with letting go and letting God take control. Rereading that last line has me second guessing; it has me thinking that surrendering absolutely means giving up. I like to be in control, but, next to God, who is more equipped? I don’t know the future; God does. And when the mountains are steep, I cannot climb them with a bundle of burdens on my back that I take out to worry over and try to reason out. Surrendering, in and of itself, takes a control all its own. That control comes in not picking the burden(s) back up.

Consider the last problem you had where you ran to the internet to see if you could figure out how to fix or reason out an issue. Now, consider the resolution of said problem. In reflection, after all was said and done, do you feel the internet research helped? Or, did it exacerbate the worry? Did what you learned make you feel better? If it was to your benefit, weigh it against other times you’ve done the very same thing and not gotten that same sense of peace. Then consider what it’d have been like to have saved yourself the time and simply given the problem to God. I speak from experience. I’ve done this very type of research hundreds of times, lost hours, telling myself God will speak to me through the internet. Bologna. At the very best, I’d sometimes get a temporary surge of relief, but, most often, I’d end up more confused or frightened or lost. I cannot get that time back. I’d have been far better off surrendering the problem to God and letting him handle it. (Note that this type of research is different from researching positive topics to help promote good thoughts.)

Y’all know I’m big into positive thinking. I write about this topic for you, and, selfishly, I do it for me. But, you see, I’m not always good at positive thinking. I tend to practice positive thinking until I have myself in a good place. Just yesterday, I explained it to my husband this way: Positive thinking is my Band-Aid. I wear it until I feel pretty confident, then I pull it off. I begin picking at the newly healed wound until I reopen it and let in the worry and fear and negative thoughts. Then, I pull out the box of Band-Aids and start all over again. It is a vicious cycle, one not dissimilar to an abuse cycle (harm, apology, honeymoon, harm, apology, honeymoon). Look, the brain likes the feeling of relief. It likes the surge of calm after the worry. It urges us toward this pattern. To break the pattern, we have to surrender.

Surrendering is more than a Band-Aid; it is the balm that takes the fire out of the wound so that the scar that remains is only the sweet reminder of lesson learned. The answer is clear: Surrender to God. Even as I write the words, I know I have to follow with the confession of the very human action of surrendering only to retrieve the burden when the burden isn’t being lifted fast enough or in the way I think is best. The surrendering has to be deeper than this. It has to be final. I don’t know if anyone’s ever mastered this. I know I’m still working on it. But, I’m thinking that, if I can do it, the results would be phenomenal. Although, now that I think about it, perhaps a forever surrender is more of a continual surrender, or, a surrender as needed. You know … cast your cares, then get back to the business of living. In this case, surrendering is a practice.

All through the Bible, the word says to guard our thoughts, that what we think is what shapes our lives. And, there’s evidence that the brain can be renewed and rewired. What you think and what you say is what will show up in your life. Proverbs 23:7 states, as someone thinks within himself, so he is. How can we not take responsibility for the trauma, crises, and dis-ease in our lives when this is what the Bible says? But, oh my goodness, how difficult it is to make the switch. Especially, in the middle of a crisis. The mind that can do this is strong, though it may not start out this way. It is a muscle that has to be exercised. It’s so much easier to exercise it with positive thinking when we’ve surrendered our burdens to God.

I am asking you to surrender with me. Let go and let God have our burdens and give Him the glory when it all turns out even better than we could ever imagine. You may say you’ve done this before and that it hasn’t worked. My opinion is this: The only reason it hasn’t worked is because you picked up the burden and didn’t put it back down. Instead, continually surrender. When you make the mistake of unwrapping the bandage of surrender and picking at the corner of the positive thinking Band-Aid, you must stop yourself and surrender again. We are human; we make mistakes. But God is patient. He will let us surrender again and again, and each time we will get a little better at it.

Now comes the big question: How does one surrender? Is there a right way? I’ve said it in prayer before. Just yesterday, I was driving to work, listening to my Christian music, thinking about surrendering, when the urge welled up inside of me, and, before I even knew what I was doing, I was yelling Trust Him. I hadn’t planned it at all. It just happened. Then, I began yelling, I surrender. Never done that before either. Now, I don’t have very many other surrender moments with which to compare this (Surrendering isn’t my strength), so I don’t know if it works better as a result of my screaming it. I know it got my attention. But, I think everyone does it differently. And, I think that we can try different ways as the need arises. Guess I had some tension to release the other day when I did all that yelling. Anyway, who am I to say how to surrender? I do know that even though I surrendered my burdens yesterday, I later found myself thinking through a negative conversation I might have to have with someone. Out loud, I reminded myself that if I have surrendered, then God has this problem, and it’s already taken care of. I don’t need to prepare a mental conversation that isn’t going to happen because God has already solved the problem. I’m not saying preparation is bad; I’m saying dwelling on something that likely will not even occur is a waste of time and the exact opposite of surrendering.

I have so much to learn, but I can say this. I am committed to the practice of continual surrendering. When I follow through, my life is so much better.

God will show up and shine out if we let Him.

 

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Kahle)

7 January 2018

I could write so many wonderful stories about this man who is my soulmate. I could write about his love for me, tell you how he paid for the sins of my past failed relationships until I finally realized it was okay for someone to really love and respect me. I could write about relationships and how it is okay to disagree because if you never disagree someone’s losing in some capacity.

This entry could be about how, in a solid relationship, you grow and change together, and forgive one another for the sharper edges of ourselves that needed shaped and molded by experience. Change is like the shedding of skin where we arrive to greet our partner and the world with our goodnesses even better and our not-so-goodnesses left in the old skin.

Not only does time heal wounds, it also allows us to live many lives. Same people, but, thankfully better.

It was Kahle who has been with me in sickness and in health. He is my best friend, my soulmate. He is the one who led me back to God. I will never forget the day we were hiking and he said, “Are you ready to go back to church?” That first time … I told him no. Then another time on the trail, when he asked again, I’d humbly answered, “Yes.” And I’m so glad I did.

Kahle has told me on many occasions, his main goal has been my happiness. And I tell him, he shouldn’t burden himself with someone else’s happiness, because we are all in charge of our own. But, that’s Kahle—selfless, heroic, my joy, my home.

Life is not always kind. If you can find someone like my guy, grab hold and don’t let go. If you’ve already got that special person, love them deeply.

Remember, the darkness is always afraid of the light. Shine bright with joy in you, around you, and with you, in God, and in that special person with whom He has blessed you.

 

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Just)

31 December 2017

Several years ago, I took a job through the local hospital. I was to serve as an aerobics instructor at an assisted living facility. I recall having to go through an orientation. At the beginning of the orientation session, we had to introduce ourselves. When it was my turn, I’m sure I told them my name (that part’s vague). What I do remember very clearly is saying, “I’m just an aerobics instructor.” I remember this so vividly because the pastor sitting in on the session, stopped the introductions when I was through to tell me that I am as important as anyone else in the room.

I have always struggled with being enough. I’ve heard Joyce Meyer say, on more than one occasion, that we should eliminate the word just from our vocabulary. In this sense of the word, I agree. We must not limit our importance. To do so is to limit God. At the time, God wanted me to be an aerobics instructor. He wanted me to interact with and be a part of the space and lives of certain people, maybe for their benefit, or perhaps for my own. No matter the reason, minimizing our role in this world is to minimize God’s plan for us. We are not just anything. We are all God’s children, and that is more than enough. That is amazing.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (I)

24 December 2017

The letter I is used to signify an incomplete; it is also the pronoun used to identify self. If someone is incomplete, something is missing, unfinished, in need of. Maybe you feel unsatisfied with your life in some way. Perhaps you are a worrier—this shows a lack of security. Maybe you haven’t found the right person to walk with you in this life—love and companionship is missing. The job you want is just out of reach—purpose escapes you. Health is a concern—faith is lacking.

The fact is, you are never without God. He is constant in every moment of your life. In Him you are complete. I’ve been contemplating doubt a lot lately. It is far easier to have negative thoughts than it is to stay positive. I’ve heard pastors say that everything happens in God’s time, but what if His time would be faster if we would change our thoughts. So often, we sabotage ourselves in the happiest of times. Take for example the holiday season. The kids are home from college, you’ve got commitments with friends, the tree is beautiful, the presents are wrapped, good food is available … all is well, except the worry of finishing last minute details, the exhaustion that comes with additional obligations, and the question: Have I done enough? The list could go on and on. We sabotage the holiday season with unnecessary worrying.

Any time we worry or feel lack of something, we are doubting God. It says in the Bible that if we ask anything in His name we shall receive it. But, don’t we have to believe for what we are asking before we receive it? I believe we are responsible for unanswered prayers, or for a delay in the answer. God can’t work if we don’t let Him.

I chose I for this week’s positive thinking post so I could write about the fact that no one is ever alone. We are never incomplete. God is always with us. If there’s something you are waiting for, praying for, wanting for … get out of your way, remove the doubt, know what it is you desire is already yours. Grab onto it and don’t let go. If you doubt, perhaps you didn’t want what you were asking for, after all.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Howard)

17 December 2017

Howard is a veteran, he is a musician, and he is my friend. Of course, this is not an all-encompassing list of who Howard is, but these are the pieces of him that are prevalent to the relationship we’ve formed.

I met Howard at the guitar shop my husband and I had for a time. He’d come in and get my husband to fix this instrument or that, or he might buy some parts. See, Howard fixes up musical instruments and resells them. Over the course of the year we had a store front, Howard and I became friends. But, the business became too successful too quickly and my husband had to choose between two careers. He stayed in law enforcement and chose to fix guitars as a hobby, for now. Even though we didn’t see one another as much, Howard and I remained friends.

When I got cancer, Howard was devastated. He knows what such a diagnosis feels like. Because of exposure to Agent Orange, he has had multiple surgeries to remove tumors. He’s shown me the scars that his beard hides along his neck, the scar on his back. He shared his story, not to scare me, but to lift me up when I couldn’t find hope on my own. He always tells me he’s going to live to be one hundred years old, and I believe him. He also tells me I’ll be here long after he’s gone, and I believe that too.

I remember the first day I saw him after I’d been through surgery and chemo. My husband and I caught up with him at his stand at the flea market. Oh how we held onto one another. After talking with him, I felt so much better.  We talked about mindset. He’ll admit that he worries from time to time, but that he’s quick to change his view, to see beyond what’s happened in his life to a future that waits for him here on earth. He told me that when he had cancer, two other people had the same exact cancer as him. They underwent the same treatment, yet Howard is the only one who lived. Why? Perhaps because of God’s plan for Howard. I know God used him to help me. And, perhaps because of the positive thinking Howard continues to practice to this very day. I’m thinking it’s both. God can’t help us if we aren’t open to it.

Each time I see Howard, he tells me he prays for me every single day; I do the same for him.

Often, when Howard and I meet up, he reminds me of the pile of sticks story he told me lots of conversations ago. He says it is easy to see the pile of sticks that have to be moved from one spot to another. You can look back at the overwhelming mountain of work that has to be done, or you can look forward and see all that you’ve already moved, all that you’ve prepared, all that you’ve accomplished. He tells me to keep my eyes forward, not looking in the past, but into the future and all the good that awaits me.

Needless to say, Howard is Hope. Howard is positive thinking. He is a believer, he is a prayer in human form, showing what it means to believe and receive. I am so very grateful to call Howard my friend.

 

Change your mind. Change your world.

 

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Good God)

10 December 2017

This morning, I did a little research on the phrase “good grief” because, well, how can grief be good? I suppose grieving can be a release, but letting go of the grief would be the best release, right?

It turns out that good grief is not just a Charlie Brownism. What I learned is that good grief came about in the early 1900s as a “mincing” term; instead of saying, “Good God” people began saying, “Good grief”—A softer, more acceptable oath when something goes wrong.

What does the term Good God really mean? John Avidan wrote about this on quora.com. In his response he attaches the words deliver us behind Good God or Good Lord. The Merriam Webster definition of deliver is to produce desired or expected results. On allaboutprayer.org, I found the Webster definition of deliver as “to set free or liberate; to release or save.” So … “Good God deliver us” is a prayer; we are asking for God’s help in a situation. I do get, however, that the phrase normally occurs when we are in the process of throwing our hands up, but, what if we truly mean the expression as a prayer? Why then would we change the phrase to something as useless as good grief?

If I am having a particularly difficult conversation with a student, I often seek God’s help. I’ll ask silently for God to help me know what to say. Or, if I am in need of peace or perspective I will ask for God to shape my thoughts. Maybe I’ve had a disagreement with someone I love or I am worried for someone’s safety or I’m trying to find an answer for someone who is going through something awful. It is then that I ask for God’s help for myself and for those who need it.  I may ask, “Good God (because He is good), set us free from this problem or confusion. Lead us to the solution so that we can be delivered from that which is plaguing us. Show us what we need to do.”

I find a freedom, a pleasant sweetness when I think of Good God in this sense. So … see ya later good grief. Who needs something negative rolling off the tongue when one can say Good God meaningfully, prayerfully, and receive the peace God has for us. Use the term wisely, for sure. Not as an oath but as a prayer.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Find)

3 December 2017

Of the three dictionary definitions I checked regarding the word find, the Cambridge English Dictionary is the one I find most wonderful. While the other two definitions agree with the Cambridge definition in that find can be a surprise or it can mean the search for something, the Cambridge definition goes so far as to include such meanings as finding favor with another, finding an answer through experiment, or engaging the intellect and feelings to find experience. Also included is finding the self in a particular place whether it be good or bad—a promotion at work or a prison sentence, and finding  in yourself the necessary effort needed to pursue a dream or change in a way that makes life better. Find also means to realize the power in the individual self.

No matter the situation, we must find ourselves grateful if we are to be successful. When life gets hard—when someone has mistreated you, when the money isn’t there to cover the bills, you must find in yourself the capability to be grateful. This is difficult when everyone around you seems to be thriving, but you are not everyone else, and the plan for your life is not the same as the person who seems to have everything. Perhaps, it is you who has more joy in family and friendship than the rich man who is surrounded by only objects. (I like that example, but it is overused, and not always accurate. I am certain there are happy rich people. You don’t have to be rich and unhappy or poor and joyful. J)

This week, I think we should experiment on finding joy. Each time we find ourselves in a situation that isn’t as pleasurable as we’d like, try finding the good in the moment; I’ll do the same. Try to actively reshape your feelings; keep your mood from turning sour. Use the power within to recreate the circumstance to suit you rather than mold you. Find the true you, the best you, and be that person.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Every)

27 November 2017

Every refers to all without exception. It indicates how often, and it is used for emphasis.  Every thought we have (without exception) … every moment of every day (how often) …  having every right to create our own world (emphasis): These three pillars are the very essence of our journey through this life. What we think is what our life will be. We must consider what we are thinking that may have a negative impact on our life and make every attempt to change every negative thought to a positive thought so that every day we are living the peace-filled, joy-filled life we are meant to live. Thoughts can limit or they can allow us to thrive and live long and prosper. May every thought be in your favor.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

Thanks Giving

23 November 2017

Embarrassingly enough, it wasn’t until this morning, my forty-fourth Thanksgiving, that I considered both words of this holiday as their own entities. When we speak of the meaning of this holiday we often say it is a day to give thanks. But, if we are thinking about true happiness, we must do more than give thanks.

When we are grateful, our hearts are fuller, our mood lighter, the self—mind, body, soul, and spirit—are more positive. We offer thanks, and in doing so, realize all that we have. Wouldn’t you rather feel blessed than doomed? If you feel like there’s nothing for which to be thankful, start with offering gratitude for your breath, cleansing tears, the ability to walk, and talk, and think, and the ability to teach yourself to rethink. Start making your gratitude offering right now, and every time your thoughts become negative, be grateful out loud. “I am grateful for my family, friends, the ability to write, read, change my thoughts, and change my world for the better ….” Whatever you are grateful for, say it out loud.

The second word in Thanksgiving, give, is often used to precede the word thanks, when we talk about this special day. We give thanks for all that we have. But, let’s think about giving as a word unto itself. When we give, there’s a boost in our spirit that compliments the feelings we have when we are grateful. Giving creates a fullness of energy, like a firework bursting from inside out. It creates a joyful glow, a warmth deep down in the bones, a precious peace that we are doing what God intended us to do. Giving doesn’t have to be spending a load of money. It can be a prayer, a smile, a compliment. Sure, it can be giving of material items, but it doesn’t have to be. When you are truly giving, you can feel it—you know you are moving through the moment synonymous with the Creator who placed you here to connect fully, meaningfully, and peacefully with others. We are all connected. We need to give our love to one another in whatever way that still small voice asks of us.

 

In contemplating the word Thanksgiving, I’ve decided that this is a powerhouse of a holiday when it comes to considering how to live a good life.  Be grateful, offer others your best, and you will find peace, love, and joy in abundance.

 

Happy Thanks Giving.

Change your mind. Change your world.

 

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Do)

11/19/17

Do

I thought I was going to write about delight, but my thoughts took a turn and I’ve decided to write about doing instead. Not that delight doesn’t tie in. It most certainly does. If we are doing the right thing.

This morning I woke up and started baking and thinking. Soon, I had myself in a tizzy thinking about all I have to do for the holidays—the food, the gifts, the obligations.

Now, I am fully aware of the reason for the season. I know this time is about Christ’s birth, and I truly respect that. What we as a society have done, I believe, is make this time about showing our love for Christ and honoring Him by giving to and helping others. I think this is wonderful, until it starts becoming un-fun from all the self-induced stress (For many of us, myself anyway, it is the SELF that needs fixed, not those around us).

Stress and anxiety should not have anything to do with the holidays. I believe, in order to enjoy this season we must DO the following:

*Remember the why—to give thanks and to celebrate Christ’s birth.

*Give in the truest sense of the word—from the heart.

*Gift yourself permission to say no to too many commitments and/or too much giving.

*Take care of you. Give yourself some downtime. Let yourself off the hook if everything doesn’t get finished when you intend it to get finished.

*Love what you are doing.

Do—what’s right, what feels good, what brings peace, what fills your heart with love and joy.

 

Do what delights you.

Change your mind. Change your world.

 

Peace,

Missi

31 December 2017

In rereading this post, I feel it necessary to mention two very important reflection points: 1. I did not take my own advice and ended up crashing two days after Christmas. I took on too much and am still recuperating from the strain of not saying no when I should have. And, 2. I think this post serves as a way to navigate life on a daily basis, not only during the holidays.

Here’s to a go with the flow, peace-filled, goodness only 2018.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Christine)

I could have used so many C words for this post: Caring, Courage, Confidence, or even unConditional Love. What I realized as I was thinking through this post is that my BFF encompasses all of these characteristics, so I’ve decided to use Christine for the C in the ABC’s of Positive Thinking.

Everyone who wishes to live a balanced joy-filled life needs a Christine. This isn’t your soulmate, nor is it your child or parent or sibling, yet you consider this person immediate family. God purposely partners the two of you. You help each other weather life’s storms. You get excited when something wonderful happens for the other. This is a person who doesn’t have any reason to love you other than the desire to do so. This is someone you love just as much as he or she loves you.

I met my Christine in the lunch room at Warren County Junior High School in the seventh grade. I can still picture the suspenders she was wearing. Our friendship was immediate.

For years, our families had dinner together every Saturday. We painted Christmas ornaments in December and took our kids to Bing Crosby Park in the summer.

All these years later, Christine is still my BFF. We do not see each other nearly as often as we should. Life is busy, but in that busyness comes the greatest blessing that also serves as a great lesson: True friendship is not stressful. God helped us build an indestructible foundation. We don’t get upset with each other when we go too long without calling. We are not concerned that another will ever take our place. We trust the strength of our friendship.

I think of Christine every day. I love her just as much now as I did when we talked daily. Truthfully, if I came home from work and found her in my kitchen making a sandwich, it would be perfectly normal no matter how much time has passed.

A friendship like this knows no jealousy or conditions. It simply exists as the perfect sweetness that it is. It is beautiful and honest and pure. It is nonjudgmental.

My life is better for having Christine to call my Best Friend Forever. Perhaps, though, BFF isn’t enough. I believe she’s my SF, my Soul Friend.

Who’s your Soul Friend? If you don’t have one, it’s never too late to get one. You will be happier for such a relationship as the one I have with Christine.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

Check back in a few days for The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Delight)

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Bridges)

5 November 2017

In our lives, we construct many bridges. Depending on the circumstances, we also take bridges apart, or, as the old saying goes, we burn them. Usually, we think of this burning of a bridge in a negative light, and, perhaps, at times, this is true. But I’m not writing about self-destruction; I am writing about positive thoughts which, of course, lead to positive actions.

We must take inventory of our lives and make decisions accordingly.

If we are too busy, we might put up a Bridge Closed sign, a temporary halt on a project or commitment that is not producing fruit right now but that might prove beneficial in the future. Maybe you are tired of being the head of a committee and it’s time to let someone else have a go at leadership. You step down for a season, and perhaps, after a time of rest, you feel restored. You may return to the committee in the same capacity as before or maybe a different position.

Sometimes, you deconstruct a bridge and use the material to add to another bridge. For example, a family member might need more love and attention than ever before. You may need to withdraw your efforts from a commitment where there is plenty of help and use that material to strengthen the bridge that connects you to the family member who needs so much more.

But what if it is clear that a chapter in your life must close for good? Someone’s negativity is dampening your spirit, or maybe someone is using you. At this point, you need to light the match.

Bridges can be formed, and bridges can be dismantled. In our very busy lives, we tend to take on too much. We must reevaluate often, constructing, deconstructing, and demolishing as necessary in order to keep ourselves and others renewed and refreshed and positive in mind, body, and spirit. We must ask ourselves, “What is the purpose of the bridges in my life?” Answer yourself honestly, then get to work and liberate yourself from what isn’t working, adding only that which enriches your life and the lives of others.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The ABC’s of Positive Thinking (Acceptance)

November 2, 2017

Last night I left Bible study with one word on my mind: acceptance. If we are to be positive thinking people, we must accept ourselves, flaws and all. This is not permission to act any way we want; this is simply giving ourselves permission to be a work in progress, to love ourselves despite the mistakes we, as humans, are bound to make.

How might we accomplish such a task? A couple of months ago, a friend gave me a rock. Painted beautifully on the surface are the words, Let It Go. When I would get frustrated with myself, when I’d make a mistake, when something didn’t go my way, when my flaws were right there in my face, I would take a deep breath and Let It Go. It worked beautifully until everyday life distracted me from the practice. Today, I am challenging myself and you to accept ourselves as the beautifully broken people that we are, to know we are works in progress, that we are to love and accept ourselves right now and always. Whether it is once a day or fifty or one hundred times a day, I believe this love and acceptance of self is possible if as our flaws surface, we acknowledge them, then let ourselves off the hook–take a breath and let go.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

Dear Who?

10/29/17

I went through a phase in my life where I thought Jesus was just a person. Why not? He’s King of the Jews, after all, and Jews don’t pray to Him, so I figured they are probably the ones who know best. I began praying only to God. At some point, however,  I heard that in order for God to hear my prayers I have to pray to Jesus Christ, that He is the connection. Hmmm. I then considered the examples of prayer I’ve collected over the years. In listening to others pray, I’ve heard a variety of greetings: Dear Lord, Dear God, Dear Jesus, and Holy Spirit. So … the question then is this: Must I use a specific name or greeting in order to be heard and have my prayers answered?

Here’s what I think: God hears my prayers no matter what I call Him. He meets me where I am in my faith walk. He understands me because I am His child. He would never ignore me or forsake me for calling Him Lord instead of Jesus, or Holy Spirit instead of God. If I am communicating with Him, and I’ve asked Him to guide my prayers, wouldn’t it be that my prayers are the words He has given me? Or, say I am praying totally from my human self, I haven’t asked for His guidance as I pray. Wouldn’t it make sense that since God knows what we are going to say before we ever utter a word, He hears us out, forgiving our humanness and differentiating between the pieces of our prayers that are ego-flawed as opposed to those pieces that are genuine?

I have come to the conclusion that I am much like a mutt from the pound, not in the sense that I am insignificant or ignorant, but definitely in the sense that I am what I call a mixed Christian. I’ve picked up this bit of Christianity and that strain of Christianity over the course of my walk with the Lord. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit knows me inside-out. Jesus loves me; He understands me better than I understand myself. God has rules I must follow, yes. But, I truly believe no exact address matters when I am praying to Him because praying to One is praying to All.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

Diversity

10/14/2017

Ever let yourself get upset when someone doesn’t agree with your beliefs? You know that they are wrong on an issue just like they know you are wrong, and, even though you agree to disagree, there’s an underlying current of hurt that vibrates in your spirit and keeps your peace from being complete. You can remind yourself that we are all entitled to our opinion, but isn’t it our like opinions that link us in friendship? Not necessarily.

In regard to diversity, my uncle taught me this: If we are to truly embrace what it means to be diverse, we must accept even those whose opinions and practices differ from our own. To act or believe otherwise would be hypocrisy. Just as positive thinking is a practice, so to is this idea. We have to grow beyond, but I know I am right. We have to accept others beliefs and practices even when we believe they are wrong. Not change our minds, but accept. There is a difference. Truly agreeing to disagree and meaning it is what we must do for ourselves and others to have freedom and peace.

Diversity, when we want it for ourselves, is easy. It is when we must “practice what we preach” that it hurts. To try and change someone’s mind is a direct breach of acceptance, so, I caution you to let the issue rest if no one is harming themselves or anyone else. To do this, practice the true definition of diversity, we must accept and allow others the freedom and peace to live according to their beliefs without causing stress or turmoil within yourself or those with whom you disagree. This will likely feel awful at first. It did and at time still does feel terrible for me.  But, with practice, I believe it will only enrich our lives and make us better people.

 

#changeyourmindchangeyourworld

 

Believe

10/1/2017

In response to a post I’d made, a very dear friend responded with one of the most important messages I’ve ever received. She wrote, “… It’s great to pray, but it’s amazing to believe your prayers will be answered.” Perhaps this is something you already know. It’s something I thought I knew, but really, I didn’t. The more I thought about this statement, the more it got deep down inside of me. Then, all of a sudden, I understood. I mean, when I read the words, I knew what she meant, but the comprehension I’m writing about is different. It is a knowing that brings with it a sense of confidence in the Lord. It is an understanding that brings peace.

I pray all the time. I’ve been working on praying more sincerely—not  the same rote prayers that come out without thought. For a long time, I’ve had such a fear of God. I’ve worried that if I pray the wrong way, He’ll punish me. I’m sure you’ve heard before, “Be careful what you ask for.” The one prayer warning I’ve heard the most is, “Don’t pray for patience.” Who wants the grocery store lines to get any longer? Or the stop lights, traffic jams, and meetings to last forever? So, I’ve never prayed for patience, and I still don’t have much.

As my faith has grown, I’ve been able to talk with God differently. When I feel that old fear creep up, I tell God that I am afraid, that I don’t want Him to cause harm as a result of what I’m saying. I tell Him that I don’t know how to convey my message effectively without feeling afraid, and then I ask Him to please give me the words or please read the prayers of my heart. This prayer strategy has been working for me. I feel more comfortable with God, closer to Him, and I know He hears me and wants what’s best for me. But, do I believe what I ask will be granted? Not always. Don’t we all doubt at times?

One request I make of God is for Him to let me know that I am safe and healthy. Sometimes, too often probably, I ask for signs. Sometimes He sends them; other times I get this feeling deep in my spirit that God wants me to trust Him more. I thought I’d been doing a great job of surrendering, of trusting, of drawing closer to God, but when I got that message, I mean really received it on another level, I realized that I can pray all I want and tell God I believe He can do anything and profess to others that God can perform miracles, but saying I believe and truly knowing aren’t the same.

When I was in the hospital, just before surgery, I remember telling my mother-in-law that I could get a miracle. “More than one,” I’d said. I believed it with my whole heart, and, I got the miracles I needed. But not every prayer I prayed after that did I truly believe. I doubted. I thought maybe God could keep me safe, but I didn’t know it. I questioned Him. I let others’ opinions compete with His word.

Over the past several months, I’ve been doing less believing in what people have to say and more believing in what God has to say. I’ve thrown my support behind Him rather than sitting on the fence weighing information of the world against His word. When my friend wrote, “It’s great to pray, but it’s amazing to believe your prayers will be answered,” a shift occurred in me. I began to analyze the moments I felt down and afraid and realized these dreadful feelings occur when I doubt God. So, if I want to remain peace and joy filled, I need to remain faithful and always BELIEVE that what I ask for I have received. May we all BELIEVE for peace and goodness and joy and health and love.

Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

 

The Power of Suggestion
9/30/17

What we think and say has a significant impact on ourselves and others. Take for instance the popular example of giving a person six months to live. Why do you think that some people who hear this news simply wither up and die? It is because the power of suggestion has taken over.

As if that’s not enough, the people who are privy to this depressing information about the poor bugger living on borrowed time, well, they commiserate over it, which does nothing but send negative energy to the person who could very well have lived if he and others would think differently.

Consider: While doctors are knowledgeable, they are not omniscient.

In order to thrive, our perspective must match up with success. What would happen if instead of thinking of cancer as supposed to come back, everyone thinks of it as, supposed to stay gone?  Or, instead of thinking, I don’t have enough, consider all that you do have. What we say, how we think, and how we treat our circumstances directly affects the outcome.

I think in many cases people (myself included) wouldn’t know what to do with our time if we didn’t have something or someone to worry about. I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this takes work. I promise, it is work worth doing. I still fail at this, but I’m better at it than I used to be.  Our world would be much different if everyone would make the commitment to be positive.  Start by trying hard to refrain from saying things like, “Oh, he doesn’t look good,” or “He doesn’t have much time to live.” Sending negative vibes can only hurt. Sending positive vibes can only help. Let’s all prefer to help.

Peace,

Missi

Change your mind. Change your world.

Before and After Positive Thinking
9/17/17

I used to believe I was healthy, that I was living well. I exercised and I watched my calorie intake. My husband and I got along well; our children were well-rounded, good human beings. We had the house, the cars, the dogs and cat. We lived on a budget, but we didn’t want for anything. I even quit my job to write and publish books.

It wasn’t until my life took a drastic turn that I realized I’d been living a toxic lifestyle, one full of negativity. A life that, by my very thought process made me sick.

Before you ask, “What did you do, sit around and think about getting sick?” My answer is no, although I fully believe you can bring about illness in that manner. Think about the cold you get every fall, or the sinus infection you get mid-summer. It’s like clockwork. If you didn’t get it, you’d think something was wrong. If you’d quit asking for it, perhaps it’d quit showing up.

But, I wasn’t expecting to get sick. It happened when I thought I was well. In retrospect, I see it all so clearly. Pre-positive thinking, my husband and I ran a 10k Monday through Thursday and eight or more miles on Saturday. Off days weren’t really off days. I’d walk the dogs, do pilates, lift weights. On eight mile days, I’d come home, eat very little breakfast, then do a thirty minute step routine on the wii with another step bench underneath the wii to increase the difficulty. I thought I needed to get rid of the calories I’d eaten.

Food was another issue. I thought since I ate a salad most days, I was healthy. In reality, I was addicted to sugar, and, while I watched portions, I didn’t watch my sugar intake. I was a carb junkie. Bread was my friend. I drank water flavored with aspartame-filled drink mixes. My body craved sugar and salt, perhaps because I was running myself into the ground.

Add to that the fact that I was always angry or worried about something, and you’ve got a toxic volcano ready to explode at any moment. And it did. I got sick. Very sick. I got cancer. After that, everything changed.

At first, I thought life was a miserable mess that would never be the same. I was right in that it was miserable for a while and it isn’t the same; in some ways, many even, it is much better. I still can’t say if I had to do it all over again, I would, but I can appreciate the silver lining.

I will not go into the details of what I went through. Suffice it to say, it was horrible. But, I’ve learned a lot about how toxic and negative I used to be. I started researching. A lot. I needed to know the cause of the cancer so I could fix it. Over the past two years I’ve changed the following:

  • I run sometimes, but not often. Gone are the thirty mile run weeks. Really, I run in the winter when I have to be on the treadmill (I hate the treadmill). Otherwise, I’m hiking, walking, biking, or doing yoga. I am very active, but I am not killing myself. Oh, and I kayak! Before, you wouldn’t have caught me on the river. Never. I was afraid. Not anymore. I’d have never known how much I love kayaking had I not gone through such a trying time.
  • I’ve changed my diet. I realized I had an eating disorder, one that was coupled with and addiction to exercise. I’ve been eating paleo for more than a year now, and, recently I’ve added intermittent fasting. This means I eat within an eight hour window each day. Good cells thrive in a fasted state. Instead of their time being taken up with digestion, they are able to repair and get rid of waste. Bad cells, however, cannot thrive in a fasted state so … they die. (Please do your own research and talk to your doctor before you try anything I mention. I am not a doctor; I do not pretend to know what’s right for you).
  • I went back to church. I go to an amazing Bible study every Wednesday. I try to keep my stress at a minimum, and I take a holistic approach to healing (frankincense, curcumin, wheatgrass, noninvasive acupuncture and chiropractic care, and paleo diet).

 

I’ve changed my outlook on life. This took some time, and, like everyone else, I am a work in progress. After the first round of chemo, I knew I was going to get cancer again. Guess what? I did. It was small, but I had to have a cyberknife radiation treatment and another round of chemo. The cancer was gone after the second treatment, and, I am perfectly healthy now. The difference between the first and second time is that, after the first, I worried until the cancer came back. Now … I’ve changed my mind completely. Does this mean I never worry? No. I especially get nervous when it is time for a checkup. But, I am doing the work. When I start getting negative, I throw away the thought and pick up a positive one. Sometimes it takes me a little longer, and sometimes the shift is quick, but I do it.  I am much better at throwing out the negative and replacing it with positive thinking. One day, positive thinking will be second nature.

Over the course of two years, I have become a much different person. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize me. I enjoy talking to people, whereas before I had social anxiety. My stress level is much lower. I realized I missed teaching teenagers, so I went back to work. Now I write part-time. In fact, I’m almost finished with a new book. I eat well, exercise within reason, love my life, and I work hard to keep negativity out of my life. I’ve forgiven grudges and I now enjoy a greater peace than I’ve ever felt before. My husband and I are closer than ever. We even pray together now. Our children are awesome. They are doing great.  We are well.

I work constantly on repaving the negative pathways in my brain with positive ones. I am doing the work. I am an overcomer. With God’s help, I am changing my mind and changing my world.

Peace,

Missi

On Denial and Being Realistic

When I searched online for the definition of the words denial and realistic, here’s what I found: Denial is the action of declaring something to be untrue, and, to be realistic is to have or show a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected. Hmmm…

I have decided both words should be removed from our vocabulary. Why? Because they are excuses. Excuses to give up, to doubt, to do anything but think positive. If people believe I am in denial because I choose to believe my mindset is important to my health, so be it. If I am a failure at being realistic simply because I know I am healthier, happier, and far more likely to live a long healthy life by choosing to view every aspect of my world in a positive manner, again, so be it.

The term denial allows us to believe our reality is out of our hands. This idea is far from the truth.  “I’ve prayed about it and put it in God’s hands,” some say. “It is up to Him.”  I’ve done the same on countless occasions. And plan to continue to do so.  But God does not expect me to wait for Him to reach down and do all the work for me. He gives me strength and courage and guidance. I might happen upon an article that tells me the benefits of taking wheatgrass, or a friend might lead me to the information that shows why I should use frankincense. Or, I might go to a conference with my husband and, while there, take yoga classes that leave me recharged and free from anxiety. I might find a life changing Bible study. God reveals what He expects of me. It is up to me to accept the signs He shares and act accordingly.

We have to do the work. God wants us to reach our full potential. Certainly pray. I try not to do anything without God. And don’t worry about God leading you astray. He doesn’t want your life to be a mess. He won’t lead you into the darkness. He’ll be your light. I believe, however, that He expects you to do some heavy lifting along the way. That includes throwing away negative thinking. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise needs to do some reevaluating. Positive thinking is God’s healing power in you. If anyone asks me to be realistic, I may have to laugh openly. Why does joy and peace and knowing only goodness for my life and those I love have to be unrealistic? The answer: It doesn’t. Change your mind. Change your world.

Peace,

Missi

10 September 2017

What are You Expecting?

If we expect Satan to attack, then, guess what … Satan will attack. What if we expect God to keep that attack from ever reaching us? What if we expect to never know Satan was anywhere near because the Holy Spirit cut him off at the pass? God wants us to live happy lives; His Son did not die so that we might constantly fret over when Satan is going to rob us of joy. We are to live our lives expecting goodness and love and peace and joy.

Peace,

Missi

31 August 2017

Consider … The body is a suitcase. Inside are your mind, soul, and spirit. Ask yourself: Are they wrapped in a blanket of faith? Or, are they a jumbled mess without protection? Is the outer shell strong and healthy? Have you done the work necessary to keep the case in pristine condition? Or, have you let the outer layer weather as a result of negativity? I have come to understand that, while challenges are a part of life, and the suitcase, contents included, are tried, and we are marked by these events, this does not make us weak. In fact, we are strengthened as we do the work that is necessary to thrive in this world. But we cannot focus so much on the work that we forget about the suitcase. We must treat it like a carry-on we would never part with at an airport or anywhere else. Take care. Open the case frequently.  Review the contents. Remove any negative clutter that’s been added along the journey. Fill the space with goodness and peace and joy and love. And always make sure your precious mind, soul, and spirit, are wrapped securely in faith. It is faith that keeps us well and strong and alive.

#changeyourmindchangeyourworld

Peace,

Missi

13 August 2017

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a yoga instructor who told me a story that continues to bring me peace and understanding. She asked me to consider the following: A woman receives a necklace from her grandmother. The necklace becomes her most treasured possession. One day, she loses the necklace. She looks everywhere but cannot find it. Her day is wrecked.

Another woman walking down the street sees the necklace and kicks it aside. This woman has no attachment to the piece of jewelry that means so much to someone else.

What significance does this story carry?

The necklace itself has no meaning. It is the thought about the necklace that makes it special. The woman who loves and cherishes her grandmother thought great meaning into the gift. The other woman has given no thought to the necklace. She is not attached at all.

It is our thoughts that create what we cherish. Doesn’t it make sense then that our thoughts also create who we are, what we do, the path we choose, the journey ahead?

Missi

 

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

 

12 August 2017

The Power of Thoughts

Recently I heard a trauma surgeon speak about some of his patients who return time and again with various stab wounds or gunshot wounds. They ask him to fix them up so they can be on their way. He said they live because they think they’re fine.

The key word is think. We are our thoughts. The people this surgeon speaks of are those who shouldn’t still be living. Their world is full of violence and uncertainty, yet they continue to live. These are the we scratch our heads at in wonder. We ask questions like, How can so-and-so still be alive? The answer: thoughts.

We are a product of what we think. If you wish to have a better life, you must do the work. You have to kick out the negative thought as soon as it begins, and replace it with a positive thought. I read somewhere that the human mind likes patterns. For whatever reason, it is easier to think negatively, to worry over and try to figure out how to make our lives better. Why not teach the mind to like positive thoughts? Train ourselves to enjoy patterns of positive thinking. It will be a full-time job at first, but it is well worth the effort.

I have to say, for me, it was overwhelming to take on this challenge alone. I had to surrender myself to God. In doing so, the hard work of being positive isn’t as difficult. I will add that I have to surrender daily because the human piece of me wants to control everything. I am a work in progress. Won’t you be a work in progress, too?

Missi

“Being miserable is a habit; being happy is a habit; and the choice is yours.” ~ Tom Hopkins