Category Archives: Freedom living

Messin’ with the acceptable

confusedfaceSomebody asked me why I would write about the things I do, and then go and spoil it by talking about skin-care and nutrition stuff. Aren’t I pimping? My answer is simple: No. I write about living fully, and to me that includes loving what we do for a living.

I realize that not everyone gets to work their dream job. There’s lots of people grinding the daily 9-5 or crazier and to be frank, it’s important that they do it or we’d have a breakdown in something somewhere, right? But… there will always be somebody to do some of those jobs. Those “easily-replaced” kind of jobs.

So, just for the sake of being difficult, tell me this: do you know what your passions are? What are you good at, what motivates you, gets you excited, makes you want to share it with others? And to push the point even farther, what if you had the opportunity to make money doing what you’re passionate about? Think it’s too good to be true? Why? I know of virtual assistants, fitness coaches, foodies, business coaches, health & wellness enthusiasts, motivational coaches, crafters, and direct selling consultants who all have made a living for themselves online (as well as in the real world) doing what they love! Why can’t you?

There are plenty of resources out there (like arealchange.com, or marieforleo.com  for example) that can help you get moving in the right direction. Lots of free stuff as well as stuff you pay for, but it’s quality info, and all you need to do is take the 1st step by checking out the possibilities.

Here’s another thing: I think that Christians can tend to get a little bogged down with some not-so-accurate theology, believing that being poor is equal to being godly. I’m not saying it’s wrong to not want money or “things”. But I also don’t believe it’s wrong to make and have money… it is the love of money that is the root of all evil, not money itself. Having more than enough means that there is more to give to those that need help, organizations that fight injustice, or provide clean water or care for children. Yeah, I know. I’m messin’ with the acceptable aren’t I? I am completely convinced that God is my Provider. He is the giver of every good and perfect thing. He also gives us dreams, passions, and desires, and when we are tuned into Him and allow Him to love us utterly and completely so that it transforms us, all His goodness begins to spill over. So why do we put a halt to the good things when it has to do with money?

We are each responsible for our thoughts, our actions, and also our beliefs. I believe that God is good, and He desires to do good things through me if I will let Him. I am still ultimately responsible for how I perceive and translate (and hopefully not distort) His goodness.

In a nutshell, I will continue to share the good things He brings my way, and my hope is that if it turns out to be something you can use or take advantage of then… yay!

Talk to me. Either fill out the form below or jump over to my Facebook page and message me there.

Be your best,

Sheavaun

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Absolutely What?

absolutelyAbsolutely:

Adverb: with no qualification, restriction, or limitation; totally. 

Are you getting the gist of what I’ve been trying to get at over the last few days? To encourage you to not just accept what is o.k. or passable, but to challenge yourself to live fully?

At the risk of repeating myself, let me say again: you are a complex being. Your thought life, your experiences, your physical well-being, your perceptions, who you think you are are all vital components that help make up the quality of your existence.

But I would remiss if I did not, once again, touch on the importance of recognizing the God of the universe and how much He digs you. It is not about what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you. It’s about who you are, and what He’s done for you. I used to think that God had to love me because it was just how it worked… but I didn’t see it as a deep, all-encompassing, knock-your-socks-off kind of love, because well, that was kinda weird. I was just one of the gazillion people ever to walk the earth and not very important. Funny thing is, when I slammed to the bottom of my pit of hell and finally reached out to God, begging for mercy, you know what happened? He gave me more than I ever dreamed.

It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had a lot of work to do, skewed perceptions to right, and responsibility to take; but not once have I been alone. Because I took the risk to ask Him to walk with me, He has never left my side. It’s been hard. It’s been painful. But it’s also been full of joy. And now, as I continue this journey of becoming all that I was created to be, I recognize His smile. His beckoning. His direction.

Friend, it all comes down to this: His love and mercy is free. It cost Him immensely, so that you and I could benefit. He gave us the ability to choose. (Why do you think the world can be so messed up, and yet so good? Because He gave us the freedom to make choices and we regularly exercise that.) When we choose to do life with Him, and when we choose to let Him love us completely as He so longs to do, that is when transformation happens.

God’s love isn’t some wishy-washy-fruity-kinda-icky-sweet-mumbo-jumbo for the weak and flighty. It is a powerful force that completes. It is the gas in the car, the food in the system, the reason for all that is good. It makes life happen. And it comes from one source. Jehovah.

He is Absolute, and He loves you. Absolutely.

He desires for you to become all that He intended for you to be. And He will be right there with you if you ask.

I hope you ask.

Be you. Absolutely.

Tell me, what are some of the things holding you back from living fully?
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Be You. (Who are you, anyway?)

identityYou are unique. There’s nobody else like you. You can’t be just like anyone else either, no matter how hard you may try to emulate them. You are you.

You may not like that. You may not feel like you add up to much in the big scheme of things.

Or you may not care. You don’t make a splash, don’t affect anyone, don’t have much to offer, so who cares?

Maybe you think you could have been someone special if “it” hadn’t happened. Or if “they” hadn’t interfered.

Haven’t you ever wanted more? Wondered if you’re missing something? Should-a-would-a-could-a?

What if there is more to living than what you’re experiencing right now? What if you could have a positive impact on someone else’s life? What if it was possible to live fully, abundantly, rather than just makin’ it?

Let me begin by telling you that I believe you are not a mistake. I believe you are important. You may have encountered hard things in your life that are unfair. Maybe made some bad choices. You may feel stuck. You may not be sure where you fit in.

Maybe you want more, but don’t even know what that ‘more’ is….

Maybe you’re in pain and don’t even know how you’re going to move forward.

Please hear me when I say to you that you are loved. You were made specifically. Detailed. The circumstances of your life have contributed to who you are today, but they do not define you. You are not alone. You are desired. You are wanted. You are special (in a good way).

Sure, I probably have not met you, but I am confident in the One that created you, and He doesn’t mess around. He is very personal. Whatever you think you know about Him that is negative has probably been smeared by power-seekers throughout history up to the present time and have given Him a bad rap. Please don’t let awful people determine your perspective of God. That would be sad not only because you’d be missing out on Someone so wonderful, but you’d also be missing out on how wonderful He thinks you are. Let me be clear: He is not a talisman that if you rub the right way and jump 3 times if you’re lucky will do good things for you. He is the living God who wants to do life with you. If you let Him (what a gentleman.) Yes, He is just. He is perfect. But you are not, and He bridged that gap so you wouldn’t have to.

Your life is a story. Yes, yours. Look at it. Process it. What have you learned? Good and bad. What is the truth? Can you see where God has shown up along the way? Not the ogre with the big stick, or the intimidating figure frowning down on you in disappointment – that’s not Him. I mean the One who has spoken words of comfort to you in the midst of difficulty. Shown you beauty in the midst of despair. They may be little things, but He has been there. How do I know this? Because He loves you. Just as much as He loves me.

You, my dear, are a masterpiece. The Artist of your soul longs to partner with you to bring the colors of your life to the best possible light. To sing songs of delight over you, smile at you, sometimes laugh at you because you’re so darn cute, and most of all to walk with you.

My journey started a few years ago when someone had the audacity to say something to me, which I will in turn say to you, and maybe you’re in a place in your life right now where you just need to sit in it and absorb it:

“I don’t think you know how much God gets a kick out of you.”

Sure, you could be right and I’m just a whackadoodle that doesn’t have a hot clue what she’s talking about. But what if I’m right?

I urge you to discover who you are in Him.

Psalm 139:1 – Lord, you have examined me and you know me. 

Acts 17:28 – In Him we live and move and have our being.

C.S. Lewis once surmised that each person is created to see a different facet of God’s beauty — something no one else can see in quite the same way — and then to bless all worshipers through all eternity with an aspect of God they could not otherwise see.” – John Ortberg

Talk to me about some of the obstacles you face when you think about who you are, and your meaning in life.

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Is it wrong to want to be beautiful?

monalisaBeautiful:

  • the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness.
  • having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind

So, how do you respond to these definitions of beauty? Do they line up with your own definition? Who comes to mind when you think of the word beautiful? Someone famous? Someone you know? (I know, I know, I ask a lot of questions.)

Here’s the thing: do you consider yourself beautiful, or is that honor only reserved for the exceptionally good-looking-few out there? How about this: can you consider yourself beautiful?  (Did you squirm?) Frankly, there’s not very many of us who have the self assurance to declare that, yes, we are beautiful. First of all, we think it’s awfully arrogant to admit such a thing, and secondly, not everyone has a mug like Halle Berry, so how fair is that?

But let me ask you this, isn’t beauty relative? Isn’t it supposed to be in the eye of the beholder? Let me further ask you, did you read the definitions at the top of the page? Beauty is defined as ‘something’ that pleases the senses (not just sight); delighting the senses or mind. We all have met  that one person who appeared so gorgeous when we first spotted them, yet as soon as they opened their mouth, or acted in a certain way our perception immediately changed. And we also know of someone who isn’t necessarily eye-candy to the average Joe, but who we can’t help but gravitate to because their attitude and demeanor pulls us in.

I will admit that I have struggled with this whole beauty thing for years. Our society touts a certain kind of beauty and if you don’t quite measure up to the standards, well then, you don’t measure up at all. After 4 babies, then hitting depression full-on due to unresolved issues, plus a failing marriage, I have really felt ugly. Not only ugly on the outside, but I felt ugly on the inside too. I just couldn’t see myself in a favorable light, and sadly, it affected my behavior.

It has taken a ton of in-depth searching for me to not be disgusted with myself anymore; a complete over-haul of my understanding of God and how He sees me to assist in getting over my “bad case of the uglies”. Learning to take responsibility for my emotions, my thoughts, as well as my eating habits has resulted in a more favorable view of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fawn over myself in the mirror. But I also don’t sneer at my reflection anymore either. Knowing that my Creator smiles at me, calls me Lovely, and waits patiently for me to welcome Him into my thought processes and daily living is nothing short of amazing. And the same goes for you.

You are loved. You are beautiful.

Food for thought, Chica.

 “For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.” Zephaniah 3:17

Talk to me. Tell me about how you see yourself in terms of beauty.

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Don’t tell me to be happy!

Be happyBe Happy.

Almost makes you want to break out and sing in a Jamaican accent doesn’t it? Not really?

The word happy often gets lumped in with other words like “nice” or “awesome”, and has lost it’s meaning somewhere along the way due to over (or ill) use. So what is the definition of happy? According to the dictionary, happy is:

  1.  enjoying
  2.  characterized by well-being and contentment
  3.  feeling or showing contentment
  4.  having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation)

Ok, so what if you’re not happy? Am I suggesting by being happy that you must plaster a smile on your face even if you don’t want to, and force yourself to feel something you’d rather not? No. No, I’m not. You can’t force yourself to feel anything. It is a by-product; a result. But you can influence the means by which you attain that result.

For years I have allowed my emotions to swing like a pendulum, depending on other people or circumstances to dictate the direction it would take. I blamed anyone and everything else for how I reacted and felt. It was wrong. My circumstances may not be favorable in a given moment, but I have the ability to control how I respond, instead of reacting. I can decide in that moment that the situation does not have power to make me react unfavorably if I do not give it. I control my thoughts, not the circumstances. Nor does the person who has irritated me, or offended me, or caused me harm. Ultimately, how I view and subsequently feel about what happens to me is completely on my shoulders. Am I keeping the power or giving it away?

Think I’m on crack so far? Think that since I don’t know what mistakes you have made, or what has been done to you, or who is messing with you that I couldn’t possibly be talking to you? Let me just say that I have either experienced myself or have relationships with, heard stories of, and watch attentively the lives of people who live with alcoholics or addicts; people who have been raped, abused, beaten, or neglected; suffered loss, marriage failure, death of a child or other loved one… and the people who stick out above the rest are the ones who have chosen to take the power away from what has been done or is ongoing, and be solely responsible for themselves and how they think and live. Now that is power.

** It is important for me to interject here and say that if you are in the middle of an abusive/harmful situation, please get help. There are resources for you to tap into, and I urge you to do so. Your life matters.

It takes courage to take the reins. To whip off the dark sunglasses, and allow yourself the freedom to spread your wings. But that freedom is sweet. Oh so sweet. (You may even be surprised at some other benefits of this change in perspective, like lower blood pressure!)

One of the most useful tips I’ve received in regard to this is to learn to say, “oh well”. Not “oh well, I don’t give a rip”, but “oh well, I can’t control that person or the circumstance, but I can control how I respond.” Powerful stuff. Oftentimes we expend so much energy reacting and trying to control or manipulate people or situations when it is really quite impossible in the 1st place. So we become bitter. We feel stuck. We have lost our ambition, or we live in fear.

Fear stinks.

My friend, that is no way to live. Believe me. No wonder Jesus said to take our thoughts captive. They can either poison, or sweeten our lives. They are a force to be reckoned with. Be responsible for your thoughts, which will contribute to your emotions, which will contribute to the quality of your life.

Learn to be thankful.

Learn to be content in all things.

Learn to be happy. Despite your circumstances.

I believe you can.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

and the Wisdom to know the difference. – amen

 

**there can be other factors contributing to unhappiness like hormones, mental or emotional issues. Again, take responsibility for yourself and seek help. You deserve it.

Shameful Little Secrets

embarrassment       Sharp intake of breath. Right hand rubs my forehead, covering my eyes. Barely audible groan. Whoosh of exhaled breath. Stomach in knots.

That’s what happens when something crosses my mind to remind me of an embarrassing moment, a poor judgement call, a foot-in-the-mouth episode, colorful language I let fly without thinking, or anything else I’ve done that now makes me cringe. These moments still take me by surprise, and tend to plunge me into a mud hole of despair. My shameful little secrets grab me by the throat with no intention of letting go.

I shake my head in disbelief as I recall the people I have hurt, or embarrassment I’ve incurred. What brings tears to my eyes is knowing I have besmirched the name of God countless times by my ignorance, my hot temper, bad 1st impression, or a poorly handled situation. For most of my life I have lived under the category heading of  ‘Christian’. I’ve attended church, youth group, camp, mission trips, and even traveled through the U.S. singing in churches about love and blessings. Yet I still behaved poorly. I would be one of those wretched souls who cause someone that does not know God to look and say “no thanks, if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want it.”

Believing that it was completely up to me to muster up enough love and control to better my life and be a good example, I deemed myself a failure. A lost cause. 1 Corinthians 13 -the famous Love chapter in the Bible – was avoided at all costs lest I be reminded of my lack of fortitude in that area. I did not have enough love, no matter how deep I dug.

I suppose it’s taken slamming to the concrete floor of nothingness and loosening my hold on all that I thought I could control to allow me to discover priceless treasure: I am different. I am unique. And the anger I have kept prisoner for over 20 years, fueled by fear, does not need to remain as my primary staple for survival. Slowly, but oh so surely, I have begun to cock my head in wonder as I listen to the whisperings of love that have been slipping past my defenses. Gently seeping into the hidden places of pain, the musty cellar hiding my insecurities and conclusions that I do not measure up.

The Voice I am learning to recognize, learning to trust, speaks to me of a love that is not based on what I do or have done in the past. It is given freely to me because the Giver is like that. He gives freely. The only requirement is that I accept it. To accept Him as the ultimate giver of love, freedom, peace, and fullness of life. His grace is immeasurable. And as I welcome this grace with jerks and halts and stops, it begins to settle into my bones, filling me with strength.

What baffles me the most in this extraordinary process is that as I release my anger and in turn accept love and adoration from the Giver, I find I don’t react to people or situations negatively like I used to. Sure I slip up once in awhile, but learning that God is bigger  than I am, and loves me for me somehow enables me to respond rather than react.

That love I could not seem to muster up on my own? It bubbles up to the surface and overflows, and it didn’t originate with me. What a beautiful thing.

 

 

You make me so angry!

Do other people drive you nuts sometimes?

Do you hate it when they just won’t quit? When they don’t get it?

angry

When they won’t stop doing the thing you told them not to do? (It’s for their own good, right?)

Yeah, me too. So why are we the ones with the headaches, the ulcers, the high blood pressure, the once-happy-now-irritable temperaments? It’s their fault, not ours, right?

Wrong.

Let me throw this out there: has it occurred to you that the offending individual will most likely continue their behavior whether you badger them or not? Now, I’m not talking about young children that are our responsibility to teach and protect. I mean the spouse, the sibling, the friend, the acquaintance, the parent, the adult child… the ones that you’re allowing to get under your skin. If you just up and quit the reminding, the bailing out, the protecting, the defending, the hounding, the rescuing, I wonder what would happen? I’ll tell you what would happen, you’d be free!

Hear me when I say this: you can’t control them. You may try, but the reality is that you can’t. The individual that is causing you so much angst is responsible for themselves. Period. They make their own decisions whether you are involved or not. You can have influence, yes, but the choices they make are theirs and theirs alone.

The choice you have is whether or not you’re going to die a slow death of suffering by giving them the power to affect your well-being (do you really want to give that power away?), or to own your responses and process your emotions in a thoughtful, freedom-giving manner. You can do that you know. Amazing, but some of us have lived our entire lives without that knowledge. Somehow we have conducted our day to day lives with the belief that our state of mind or ability to have a good day or experience was dependent on how someone else behaves. Nope.

I’m not saying that what they do won’t affect you. I am saying that you have the choice as to how you will respond and what you will do with what they do or say to you. You can let it fester and become bitter, or angry, or hurt and dejected, or you can choose to believe that they don’t have the power to control you. How freeing is that?

Get off the roller-coaster sweet’ums. Take the power back, and take responsibility. You can do it!

Side note:

  • If your good feelings about yourself stem from how someone approves of you, or whether they seem to like you or not;
  • if you can’t seem to be happy unless you are rescuing that person;
  • you don’t really know what your likes or dislikes are anymore, but you do whatever they like;
  • how that person presents themselves in dress and appearance or how they behave is to you a direct reflection on yourself;
  • or the quality of your life is dependent on the quality, values, and opinions of that other person,

I encourage you to consider the fact you may be co-dependent. It’s “a pattern of learned behaviors, feelings, and beliefs that make life painful.” (Sondra Smalley)

A social worker named Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse has defined it as, “all persons who

  1. are in love or in a marriage relationship with an alcoholic (or someone who engages in addictive behaviors. ie: drugs, booze, work, food.)
  2. have one or more alcoholic parents or grandparents, or
  3. grew up in an emotionally repressive family”

According to her, this includes 96% of the population. Whoa. If this rings true for you at all, you’re not alone. I urge you to begin the journey to take your life back, by looking for an Al-anon group in your area and get the support you need. There are many experienced counselors out there too, so please don’t wait. I regularly attend a group in my area, and it has been life-changing. You can click on this link  Al-anon to find one near you.

Take care of yourself.