Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living now, or was it mainly shaped by your parents, friends, spouse, school, or the media? In 2021, I realized that I was living a story that I never fully wrote. It was a biography written by a guarded and fearful person rather than an autobiography written on faith and optimism. Many times, we are living safe lives because it’s easy and there is less resistance or even opposition but that is fake and almost like you are in a fun house with multiple mirrors that are distorted and fragmented. Through a lot of prayer and seeking God, I learned that if I didn’t like the story I was living, then it was time to change perception. I know what you’re thinking, yes that’s hard especially if you have been living a fictitious life for a long time and you don’t really know who the real you is anymore. If that’s the case, start with envisioning how you’d write the next chapter of your story. Better yet actually sit down and write it. Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things. In other words, we believe what we perceive to be accurate, and we create our own realities based on those perceptions. And although our perceptions feel very real, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily factual. Today may be the day you need to adjust some of the dials on your life, to get better reception. Get rid of those rabbit ears…and make the switch to digital. Your perception impacts your reception…. hmmm…think on that!
Posts by Kara Barker:
New beginnings are all around you and within you every day. You don’t need to wait for a clean slate to start something new. You can conquer the moment today. God is in the business of making all things new. His healing brings restoration beyond understanding, no matter where you come from or what you’ve done. You made it to 2022, whew.. 2021 was no joke!
Today is the day to start or restart your journey. Today is the day you begin believing that you have greatness inside you. Today is the day that you begin to cast your net out farther because your vision is bigger than you. Today is the day that you create new healthy habits and patterns in your life. Today is your day to be who you were called and destined to be. Yes you may slip or you may fall but today is the day that you pull your shoulders back, stand like you are balancing a pineapple on the top of your head and walk with authority and grace. Today is your day to be the best version of you. I am so proud of you. I just want to tell you that just in case no one has. You are awesome and amazing and this is your year to be GREAT!!
Matthew 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Lord, I made a decision to follow You.
I know You hear my prayers even if I don’t see the answers right away. No matter what happens, I am certain that I am not without hope. Lord, strengthen my faith where it is weak. I put my life in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Keeping calm during stressful times is sometimes easier said than done. The constant thought of whatever it is that is stressing us out continues to linger in the back of our minds, and we just can’t seem to shake it.
Keeping calm during these stressful situations can be a task within itself, but it’s not impossible! So how do you manage to keep your cool and not blow your top during your most stressful times? Here are 4 ways to remain calm during stressful situations. Keep reading to find out how!
How to Remain Calm During Stressful Times
Gratitude is key. Whenever you begin to feel stressed and down and out, remember what you’re grateful for. When you feel and express a sense of gratitude, you’re allowing your mood to shift from negativity to positivity. Overall, this increases your well-being and may even help you to forget whatever it is you were stressed about in the first place. By beginning each day with a grateful and calm spirit, it will make it even easier to remain calm and reduce your stress level.
Keep a Positive Perspective
Along with being grateful is practicing positivity. When stress occurs, it may allow your mind to shift your perspective to an extremely negative outlook. If you begin to feel your mind shifting from positive to negative, stop yourself the moment it happens, and let go of your negative thoughts as you refocus your mind on all things positive. Positive thoughts tend to distract your mind from the stressful situations that may be occurring around you and will keep your mind in check.
Slow down before deciding to act on whatever it is that’s stressing you. Allow patience to take over and collect your thoughts and emotions before responding or acting on the situation. Even if you have to have a small pep talk with yourself before deciding on how to handle the situation, then do whatever it takes to make sure you don’t act on impulse, but that you allow yourself to collect your thoughts before saying or doing anything you may regret later. This will allow you to remove all emotions and enhance your ability to make decisions.
When all else fails and you want to remain calm in stressful situations, pull away from the situation. The time that you’re away will give you time to process what took place, and how you want to approach it with a clear and fresh perspective. The less emotionally attached you are, the clearer your mind will be as your first goal is to always remain calm.
These four tips presented on remaining calm during stressful times is so important right now, especially with the current climate of our world.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed out, make sure you follow these 4 ways to remain calm and let us know in the comments below, other tactics you enact to make sure you keep calm and carry on!
Happy Family & Friends Giving!
Even in the toughest economic or political times, there are numerous reasons to be grateful. The old saying tells us to count our blessings, but sometimes that can be difficult to do. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to feel grateful and express that gratitude. Every now and then, it doesn’t hurt to take stock of just how good you have it. Gratitude is a powerful thing. Or perhaps more accurately, gratitude is an empowering thing. Having an attitude of gratitude is wonderful. It’s so easy to be fixated on gaps or our faults. But our perspective certainly changes when we start to focus on things to be grateful for.
Thank You God
During this Thanksgiving, I want to specifically pause, reflect and thank God, family and friends for all that they have gifted me in this life! Count your blessings, not sheep we’re told to get rid of the worry keeping us up at night. Gratitude helps us see that God’s hand is all over our circumstances. And God tells us when we give him our thanks, He gives us supernatural peace.
Thank You Family
Without family, life would not be the same. Some people love ‘em, some don’t: families. If you’re one of those whose family loves and supports you, consider yourself lucky and be grateful. Feel thankful and express that gratitude if you are lucky enough to have family who is more like friends: They’re people you can confide in and who will be there for you through thick and thin. Many people don’t have that kind of family, so be grateful. And remember to tell them how lucky you are.
Thank You Friends
You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. If you’ve chosen good ones, remember to be grateful for them and express your love and appreciation. Friends help you remember who you really are and who you can become. They remind you what you want and need, as well as what you deserve. True friends are there through your best and darkest times. Appreciate that connection. Express your gratitude every chance you get. I am so thankful for God’s compassion, favor, grace and mercy.
So, on this Thanksgiving while we are all gathered around the dinner table with heaping plates of food, let us pause, reflect and give thanks to our loved ones.
- We are a generation of women who have never worked harder to have it all, yet go to bed most nights worrying that we aren’t enough.
- We are constantly asking “Why?”
- We are constantly measuring. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, if you’re married, if you’re rich, poor, old, young, in college, or out of college.
- We are always looking around to see how we measure up to everyone around us and usually focusing on all the ways we fall short. And when you look all around except to God, you will always fall short.
It can seem like the world is full of messages telling you that you are not good enough, smart enough, spiritual enough…or even that you are too much. It’s too easy to let these pull you down and suck the joy out of your day.
I believe our struggle with wondering if we are enough goes back primarily to how much we trust God. We aren’t struggling because of the specifics of our circumstances as much as we are struggling because we fail to trust God to give us what we need, to show us where we are supposed to go and what we are supposed to do. – Ouch— 😬
Believe me, this message is for me too. I mentor different age groups of women, and I have found the universal theme between all of my mentees is that internal self-doubting voice……
All of my mentees including myself have that internal voice that whispers telling us that we will never be good enough, we should have been a lot further in life by now, I should had this by 30 or 40 or 50, etc. And those personal statements have often led to anxiety, stress, depression, obsessive behaviors and even some other physical symptoms.
Recently one of my mentees and I were discussing her goals of increasing her volunteerism and setting up large program, which I told her that was great but what about the now? I asked her what she could do small scale that aligned with her purpose that would still be a step towards her goal. She felt she needed to have completed staff work instantly, with the funding, vision statement, everything as she felt like she was inadequate. Like I have said before, they didn’t build Rome over night, but they started with one brick by brick. A lot of sweat, patience, perseverance, tenacity, commitment and focus.
Leaning on society’s standards of when you should have kids, get married, buy a house, etc. can be self-damaging. But As women, we have to start encouraging ourselves and put things back into perspective. As the singer Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers sang so eloquently, sometimes you have to speak a word over yourself, Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test. And no matter how you feel, speak the word and you will be healed; speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord
7 Ways Shift Your Mindset and To Embrace Your Awesomeness
- God says You’re Enough Because HE is! You are enough, because you were made in the image of God and carry His likeness in You!– Philippians 1:6, CSB: “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
- Stop comparing your growth or purpose against someone’s outer shell.
- That is never a fair assessment, and just because the outside of the refrigerator is clean doesn’t mean the side does not have rotten milk, moldy food and expired yogurt. – Psalm 139:14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
- Learn How to Silence the Inner Voice with the Word of God & Prayer. Romans 8: 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, whether you accept this or not, thoughts have a lot of power.
- Take time to Enjoy the Scenic Route- Or in Other Words Breathe. Breathing intervenes in negative thinking. More so, it releases unnecessary tension that is stiffening your body and causing aches and maybe even physical pain. Diaphragmatic breathing slows your heart rate, eases anxiety, and slows the pace of your mind. – 2 Corinthians 9: 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
- Include God in Everything. God wants to abide with you every day, all throughout the day. He doesn’t just want you to seek Him when you go to church or when you’re desperate. His desire is to have a personal relationship with you, so you can experience His presence in everything you do- Proverbs 3: 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
- Response to Life Not React. What I’m talking about is ensuring your thoughts are in the right place, in wise mind. Wise mind means you are mentally and emotionally neutral, balanced and mindfully navigating though situations in life. You’re not acting out, acting impulsively or making decisions on the fly. You’re calm, thinking thoroughly through things, and checking yourself before wrecking yourself. James 1:19 instructs us to be quick to listen and slow to speak and become angry because there is power in our words and anger doesn’t produce righteousness.
- Unplug. This daily discipline keeps my mind engaged, enriched, moving slower, and calm. Philippians 4: 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Motivational Point: God Says You Are Enough Because I Am
Did you know that “I am” appears in the Bible 719 times. 508 times in the Old Testament and 211 times in the New Testament. God was reminding WHO He Was and of His Unlimited Power. If you’re a child of God, you have the same authoritative power to speak life and profess things in Jesus Name. So allow me to encourage you to be brave and speak the following I AM statements:
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made
- I am significant
- I am smart
- I am valuable
- I have value
- I am worthy of love
- I am courageous
- I am talented and intelligent
- I am becoming more confident every day
- I am proud of myself
- I am a child of God……as a Christ follower or believer, you authority granted by the Holy Spirit and power to make those proclamations. I want you to start with positive affirmations every day.
Philippians 1:6, CSB: “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
There are many times when I forget who I am and continue to compare myself against the world’s expectations and standards. And in those doubting moments, the inner sabotager yes we all know her, becomes bold and boisterous. However, as Christians we were created to be the “salt and light” of the world and it’s up to you and I to not allow those haters and naysayers to extinguish our confidence nor self-worth. When you dim your shine you’re not only playing small but in essence you’re placing a ceiling or limitation on your purpose. Within you is greatness and your greatness are the gifts you have that people absolutely love about you, yes there are many of them too! Your greatness is your most authentic and real version of you when no one else is looking. Inside of you God placed seeds of greatness. And those seeds just need a little sunshine and water to sprout. So at the end of the day I need you to be great and shine because the whole world needs a little shimmer and a little glimmer of the Holy Spirit that is deep down within you. So Sis, it’s time to shine!
Matthew 5:16 ESV In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Ephesians 5:14 For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Daily Prayer: Lord, I pray for courage to walk in the plans that you have for me. I pray that you will keep me close as I step out in faith and do your will for my life. I admit I am afraid, but I will not let fear rob me from the blessings that will dim my shine. Heavenly Father, help me remain bold and confident in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This is Our Year
The way you get over a crazy ending is with an amazing beginning. At the turn of a new year, many people often make resolutions to start new habits, create new experiences or even sharpen an existing skill. If you’re anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. No matter how strong I start, it’s inevitable that I will fail if I don’t have some method of accountability. But like a lot of people making grand New Year’s resolutions, after a few weeks in spite of their good intentions they start to lose steam and quite frankly fizzle out. However, as the scripture, Isaiah 58:11 states, The Lord will guide you continually giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most lose their resolve by mid-February. Bottom Line: At least 8 times out of 10, you are more likely to fall back into your old habits and patterns than you are to stick with a new behavior. Behavior change is hard and it requires more than just grit and gumption. Just think on this for a moment, how many great ideas, wonderful concepts, potential experiences were in the incubator but were never birthed because of your own internal critic said you would fail, they would laugh, they would reject you and you would be judged. But, this is our year! So, let’s start with some intentionality and become part of the 20% of people who have figured out that their purpose, drive and motivation has to be louder and more boisterous than the critic from within or cynics within one’s environment.
Everything won’t change in 2021, but you can. Nearly every habit you have today, good or bad, is the result of many small choices made over time. It is the repeated pattern of small behaviors that leads to significant results. Each day we make the choice to become one percent better or one percent worse, but so often the choices are small enough that we miss them. The underlying assumption is that your resolutions need to be big to make a difference, but that is completely bogus. The best way to capitalize on this new year and create the best resolutions are when you make small incremental changes similar to the SMART goal-setting strategy, i.e. specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. So, friends, at the end the day, let’s commit to making small and consistent resolutions day by day. It’s quite simple, live one day at a time, not one year at a time and create a new rhythm this year that is filled with daily positive affirmations and celebrate your wins.
Although Rome wasn’t built in a day they were laying bricks every hour. This is our year, to become unstoppable. We owe it to ourselves to not settle for another year of average. This is the year, to take chances, bet on yourself, get out of your comfort zone, color outside of the lines, create a new narrative, start something new, dream bigger, learn to say NO when it matters, grow where your planted, strengthen your faith, practice wellness and maximize the many moments this year will offer.
This is Our Year!
Barker, K. (2020) Hallelujahs and Hiccups, 100 Day Devotional Journal, Dallas, TX: Takman Publishing Company.