Tap into your Joy. 5 Steps to a more confident you!

My husband and I have been struck recently with the realization that many people around us seem to be guilt ridden and insecure. This is something I have been through. I have often struggled with insecurity and anxiety, which I believe comes from guilt. You feel guilty about something you should be doing. Regardless, this is not how God wants us to live our lives! This seems to be a particular issue among the Christian community. I’m going to throw out some steps to becoming a more well adjusted, self confident you.

1.       Cut it out! STOP feeling guilty about everything.

So you are tired and skip church one Sunday? Who cares? Your relationship is between you and God, not the rest of the world. Stop caring what Suzie who sits in pew 4 seat 6 thinks when she notices you aren’t there, and start caring about how often you are in communication with your creator. After all, we are supposed to pray without ceasing. In my mind, that means constant communication with our God. Walking throughout your day and thanking him for your blessings, asking him for wisdom, praising him for the sunshine etc etc….

 Going to church can feel refreshing and can help us recharge throughout the week. Awesome! But going to church doesn’t make you a Christian so don’t act like it is some sacred requirement for achieving eternal life.

 2.       Learn how to prioritize and (dare I repeat myself) don’t feel guilty about it.

We all lead busy lives. Stay at home moms, working moms, college students, newlyweds, careers, etc … Many struggle with balancing home, church school and other things. I’ve been there, I get it! But just do it. That sounds harsh, but seriously. How much time to you spend worrying and stressing out, and feeling guilty? Prioritize: Today I need to study for the test next week. Tomorrow, I have time and I want to make that dinner for my significant other. The next day… and so forth.

 BREATH. You won’t die from a busy schedule. You may forget things here and there, but that’s not the end of the world either. Stop stressing yourself out and start prioritizing and organizing what needs to get done and by when. Don’t feel bad if you need to cancel an activity that doesn’t get you a grade. Your priorities (God being a constant everyday all day priority) should be spouse, children, work, school. If that means that you skip the Friday Bible study because you stayed up late studying for a test and you are exhausted – so be it.

3.       Have  a sense of humor :)

I see people get stressed out over crazy things. I’ll give you an example: Yesterday the traffic was CRAZY – and I hate traffic like most people. Took me forever to get home. I was planning on making these brownies that I love and I was sure that I had all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. So I ran to Walmart with Keegan. I get a specific dairy free type of chocolate chip and because it’s Walmart, they only had minis which is not what I wanted, but ok. So I grabbed that, came home and realized I was missing another main ingredient. Bummer! Then I was walking around my house and realized just how messy it was – like, in every room.

 You are probably reading that and thinking, “well that’s nothing to get worked up about.” EXACTLY! I could let all that could build up. Instead, I thought “what silly things to let bother me. I can make another dessert with different ingredients. The house is cleanable. No big deal” And I made another dessert, straightened up a little, and sat down to do some work.
Another example - before I was married and committed myself 100% to be an insta-mom, Patrick went on a business trip and left me in charge of the pets and Keegan for a day. No big deal - I can handle this! Well, Keegan got sick. I mean SICK. He knocked on my door in the middle of the night to let me know of the bodily fluids spewing forth from his tiny body. I cleaned it up, put him back to bed, and repeated the cycle 3-4 more times that night into the wee hours. I had  some tests at school the next day but he wasn't feeling well, so I skipped the first class. Later in the day, we made it to school and I took a test while he slept on the floor. then we came home (all excited to nap) and found the dog had eaten the cats medicine! ACK! Off to the vet we go - Keegan is passing out, I'm sitting at the vet and I start laughing. Literally nothing else could have gone wrong - but who cares. The dog came back, stomach pumped, and kept throwing up the rest of the day (which I became very adept at catching by the way). Instead of freaking out, I wrote a poem about it.

 On days where everything seems to go wrong, you have to find the humor in it. OMG NOTHING else could go wrong! Hilarious…..if you can’t laugh at it, fake it till you make it. Train your brain to laugh and relax, and enjoy your life. Find beauty in something every day. Think it through- how does this really affect you? Does the dinner being burned really ruin your life? Does the house looking like a tornado blew through it really affect your well being? Sure it’s overwhelming. Prioritize, make a list perhaps, and move on.

4.       Take charge of your life. Set boundaries.

Often, when I hear stories of emotional distress, it’s because someone feels out of control. Your kids are driving you nuts? Yeah, mine drives me nuts too, but I realize that I’m the adult and I am in control. You have the power to set boundaries. YOU are in control. Remember that.

 Feeling overwhelmed with your schedule? Cancel stuff – say no. YOU are in control.

5.Stop being so Jesusy all the time

*GASP* *whaaaaaaat?!?!?!?* Seriously. Cut it out. It’s obnoxious to the rest of the world.

I love Jesus. I love going to church, I love learning, I love the people at my church etc etc…BUT I hate being around super Jesusy people – so much pressure! I don’t like it when people just say things because they are in a church group and they think it’s expected of them. “well, I need to go to church more often.” “My spiritual walk isn’t what it should be.” “I need to be in the word more frequently….it’s a real struggle”. Either fix it, or stop feeling bad about it.

 a-      If you are being sincere, then come up with a solution and stop whining about it. Get up early and read your Bible, or make a time to do it with your family in their schedule. And if you miss a week, you aren’t going to hell, I promise. Remember, it’s about your relationship with God. Not about how you appear to other people.

b-      Some people just don’t like to pray in public or make everything they do about a spiritual experience. Some of the most godly people I know dislike group prayer – just not comfortable with it and THAT’S OK. You don’t have to be someone you aren’t in church. Stop being a follower, and start figuring out who you are.

c-       Church is time for you to worship – not to get attention. I kind of have a thing against long prayer circles where we all share the tiniest details in our life and share prayer requests. Often, it ends up being a gossip circle. I don’t need to know about your second cousins aunt who lost her wallet. What’s probably more effective is to have a few friends you are close to, or maybe your family, who can pray for you on a regular basis.

We are to reflect Jesus right? Who has ever been more self confident? He didn’t care what others thought – ESPECIALLY when they were super religious people. Those were the people he got the most upset with. Instead, he was a sincere, real person who loved everyone, and witnessed through his life, actions, and words. Let’s be like that!

Jesus came so that we would recognize that we are born with a sin nature, repent, and turn to Him for our salvation. Once we do that though, the guilt should stop. The self deprecation, the “I’m not good enough” moments, the “I’m so imperfect” thoughts should STOP. When you become a Christian, you should be filled with confidence. You are a CHILD OF GOD. You are filled with the most incredible, magically, supernatural thing in existence- the Holy Spirit. You have God on your side. Plus, if you are reading this you probably live in the United States of America – so really – what could possible warrant a meltdown? We are so blessed.

I understand where the guilt nature comes from –  we recognize how unworthy we are to be called into God’s kingdom. But I’m going to make a statement that may or may not surprise you. I believe guilt is from the devil. That’s right, so stop feeling guilty. Embrace your freedom in Christ. Embrace the blessings, embrace the confidence that YOU are filled with the Holy Spirit. YOU can take charge of your life.  YOU can set boundaries.

Happiness is dependent on our circumstances, but Joy comes from the Holy Spirit and fills us up regardless of what happens to us on a daily basis. Tap into your JOY!