Fighting the good

I don’t mean to boast, but I have been making progress in most areas of my life over the past few months. My physical, mental, social/relationship, career, spiritual lives have grown through the obstacles and trials the past few years brought – think eating disorder recovery, calling off my wedding two weeks before the big day, moving back in with my parents, and being laid off…  I am excited to begin sharing more about the obstacles I have encountered and the steps I’ve taken to overcome them in upcoming posts – so stay tuned!

Though I’m not “perky” and jumping for joy everyday there has been a large shift in my overall mood. I feel like things are finally starting to fall into place and when I look back to how I used to be – very lethargic, anti-social, hopeless – I find it hard to recognize the “old me.” I take this as a good sign, that I am growing into a more mature and knowledgeable person.

However, as I am making progress and sharing my story with others (particularly how God has renewed my spirit), I’ve begun experiencing what some would call “spiritual warfare.” Spiritual warfar” isn’t a phrase I grew up hearing. Red-faced devils, flames, and tortured souls immediately come to mind and I think to myself, “well, I’m not experiencing THAT!”

Battledfocused.org describes spiritual warfare as “is the cosmic war of good versus evil: its battles are fought daily between God and Satan; between the Christian Church and the world system ruled by our spiritual enemy.”

“The enemy could be the temptation to sin or could manifest itself in the person who tells you to reject Christ.” – Fr. Robert J. Carr

Before I began going through a “spiritual renewal” process I assumed that since I was surrounded in a solid Christian community that everything would be “light and fluffy.” I expected less “bad” things would happen and life would get easier because I my end goal was to be doing the “good”. However, I have found that this is when things become harder. When I wake up tired I am tempted to skip church, when I try to find time to pray I am presented with more invitations and activities to fill my time.

That’s what the devil does… He tricks us, coming into our lives in the sneakiest way possible, especially when we pull away from sin. Feelings of jealously/greed/envy over others become stronger. As I gain healthy weight I experience negative self-criticism wanting me to restrict and/or purge. Issues that I thought were resolved with my ex-boyfriend have escalated to the point where others have needed to step in.

I don’t think that these incidences are ironic by any means. Some days I feel like I am being lured back into my “old self/life.” A positive is that I feel like I have been able to recognize almost instantly this shift, where in the past I probably wouldn’t have noticed it for months at a time. Giving a name (“spiritual warfare”/the Devil) , though it may seem harsh at times, to my feelings of inadequacy and temptations to sin has really helped me stop and pray them away before the situation I am in escalates.

Sometimes repeating the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is all I can do to comfort myself. The Devil is strong, but prayer is stronger.

Prayer

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Day eleven: regrets

If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

Wow, these questions just keep getting deeper and deeper! In short, I regret not being more assertive. I regret not saying “no.” For not standing up for myself in potentially harmful situations because I was worried what others would think of me. My self-esteem has always been pretty low and at times has inhibited me from reaching my full potential (professionally, socially, spiritually, etc.).

I do believe that self-esteem and assertiveness go hand-in-hand. As I become more aware of instances where I did NOT have the confidence, leading me to make poor choices, I feel like I have to “fight” harder not to slip into my old ways. As much work as it is, look forward to becoming more assertive and hopefully having less regrets.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I regret not going to grad school right after I received my undergraduate degree.

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What do you regret NOT doing? 

Onwards & Upwards…

Day ten: afraid

What are you most afraid of?

I think it’s funny how Dictionary.com defines “fear” as a noun – person, place, or thing. When I think about fear, I tend to think about fear in more “abstract” terms. A lot of “what ifs” versus being afraid of heights, spiders, and other phobias. I fear missing out, making the wrong decision, making mistakes, rejection, what could go wrong, the unknown… 

I’ve always been a chronic over-thinker which heightens my anxiety and create problems that don’t even exist (and most likely won’t occur). Lately I have realized just how much my thoughts have been counter-productive. I have actually ended up missing out on certain opportunities because I was afraid on the what could happen and trying to “predict the future.” Now I work on challenging the legitimacy of my anxious thoughts (a lot of rationalizing self-talk), being proactive, and having faith that everything will work out. I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about fear:

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What threatens your mental and/or physical well-being? 

Onwards & Upwards…

Entitled One

I recently received a challenge from a young adult ministry that I attend on occasion. The topic struck me as I am going through a “transitional phase” of my life right now. Thinking a lot about the past, my present situation, and what I want in the future. The goal is to come up with a list of 100 things that I feel entitled to. I don’t know if I can come up with 100 that easily, but we’ll see how it goes. First off. What is entitlement?

Simple definition of Entitlement:

  • the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something
  • the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)
  • a type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group

I will start with 25 things:

  • A salaried job because I received my Bachelor’s degree
  • Making more money, especially more than my friends becauseI “work harder” and/or I’m “smarter”
  • A job that makes me feel full of purpose
  • Paid holidays and time off work
  • Disposable income
  • Live debt-free
  • Prayer to come naturally
  • Feeling like I belong in a church community
  • Having more friends
  • Not having to initiate conversations or outings with friends
  • Not having to defend myself over ever though or action
  • People take me seriously
  • Respect
  • Praise and recognition from others
  • Not feeling bored
  • To be free from anxiety and depression
  • To not have to worry about health care and insurance
  • Protection from natural disasters and other accidents
  • Getting a full refund for all my wedding expenses even though I cancelled it two weeks before – my fiance and I weren’t ready to get married
  • Being able to date whomever I want
  • Finding a godly man who loves me and shares my values
  • Parents who don’t treat me like I’m still in high school
  • To be living on my own, not back in with my parents
  • Not having to pay so much for gas and transportation
  • A shorter commute

What are somethings that you feel entitled to?

Entitlement: What Do You Think You Deserve?

Wordy Wednesday: Advent Edition

Hope
(verb)
– to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

Peace
(noun)
– a state of tranquillity or quiet
– a state in which there is no war or fighting
– freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
– harmony in personal relations
– used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

Love
(verb)
– a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
– attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
– a person you love in a romantic way

Joy
(noun)
– a feeling of great happiness
– a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
– success in doing, finding, or getting something

Mercy
(noun)
– kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly
– kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation
– a good or lucky fact or situation

Patient
(adjective)
– able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people
– done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying

Penance
(noun)
– something that you do or are given to do in order to show that you are sad or sorry about doing something wrong

All definitions we found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/.

Wordy Wednesday

Ambivalence
Noun – am·biv·a·lence
1. simultaneous and contradictoryattitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person,or action
2. a: continualfluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite)
b: uncertainty as to which approach tofollow

Discernment
Noun – dis·cern·ment
he ability to see and understand people,things, or stituations clearly and intelligently

Intention
Noun – in·ten·tion
the thing that you plan to do or achieve :an aim or purpose

Pretentious
Adjective – pre·ten·tious
having or showing the unpleasant qualityof people who want to be regarded as more impressive, successful, or importantthan they really are

Tenacious
adjective- te·na·cious
not easily stopped orpulled apart : firm or strong
continuing for a long time
continuing for a long time
1. a: not easily pulled apart
b: tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance
2. a:persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired
b: retentive

All definitions were found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/