Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: The Power of Commitment

PROCRASTINATION should be a four-letter word. People don't realize the impact of procrastination. This bad habit keeps us from moving forward in life and from seeing our goals and dreams come true. "Someday I'll..." never comes and in the meantime, we'll be less joyful, less fulfilled, and less excited than we could be. Taking action on our goals and dreams gives us life, energy, and a joie de vivre.

What is it that you have been putting off? Starting that diet or exercise program? Sticking to that budget? Getting your business going? Finishing that degree? Getting serious about your relationship with that special someone?

How many times have we said "Well, I'm not quite ready yet."  Or, "It's not the right time." Or how about "I'm going to think about it for a while." Sound familiar?

I have put off things from time to time or more like taken too long to make a decision. I've missed out on tickets to concerts or events because I was still "thinking about it". What have you missed out on because you were still "thinking about it"? Here's a personal story about commitment.

In my book, "The Power of Faith", I talk about how I felt God was telling me it was time to commit to my church. I had been going to different churches every few months or so, depending on what the sermon series was at the time. I was like a sponge and wanted to soak up as much as I could of God's word and teaching so I'd venture from church to church around town.

But then one day I heard this:

It's time to join the church.

"Lord, am I ready to join the church? What am I getting myself into?"

All sorts of doubts crept into my mind. This is what happens when we are about to commit to something or someone.  I thought my freedom was being taken away until it occurred to me that God just might want to use me at the church. And indeed He did.

I started by becoming a greeter at the door. Then I moved on to being a small group leader at my house. Next I joined the devotional ministry. The possibilities were endless and I was learning all sorts of skills in the process. I didn't lose my freedom. I gained connection and a place to belong and to serve.

But commitment takes confidence. We need to feel a certain comfort level about whatever it is we are about to undertake. If we let those two pesky critters "Doubt" and "Fear" creep into our minds, we will never commit. We imagine all sorts of negative outcomes. And that, my friends, is where Faith comes in.

I have found that having faith to commit to something new is kind of like Peter learning to walk on water. He had absolutely no skills whatsoever to do what Jesus was calling him to do, but what did Peter do? He stepped OUT OF THE BOAT! And He kept his eyes on Jesus, at least for a little while. What happened to Peter and what happens to us is that the minute we take our eyes off Jesus and look at our own abilities, we begin to sink.

What is it that you are longing to do? Are you willing to TAKE A STEP OF FAITH AND GET OUT OF THE BOAT? This means getting out of our comfort zone into the unknown.

I hope this post has encouraged you to take action in some area of your life. You deserve to see your dreams come true but it is up to you to take the first step. You don't have to have the whole process mapped out. All you have to do is take the first step and then the next one and the next one.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my bi-weekly posts and also a copy of my free e-guide, "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path". 

Stay tuned as we begin the next step on our journey to igniting the power within.

Keep looking up!

 Ariel




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: 5 Ways to Overcome Overwhelm

"I've just got too much to do and I'm exhausted." "I don't have time for...." Have you heard yourself make comments like these lately? Do you feel like you are never caught up? Always on the go and never have time to relax, exercise, or do something nice for yourself? If so, you are not alone. We all struggle with overwhelm at times, but there are ways to manage it and make life more relaxed and stress-free.

The feeling of being overwhelmed is a problem many struggle with, especially women who are usually taking care of the family, the house, the meals, the spouse or boyfriend, all the while holding down a full-time career AND trying to stay thin, fit, and beautiful. Just thinking about all this is exhausting.

I know because I've been in there myself. As a single mom raising two sons, working at a demanding high-pressure job and going to night school, it was quite a juggling act to keep everything together. But I survived, and you will too and today I am sharing 5 tips on how to deal with overwhelm and not turn into the wicked witch of the west.

1. Take time to breath.
When we start feeling anxious, rushed, or stressed, that means it's time to take a break, sit down, and take a few deep calming breaths. Repeat a phrase that will calm you down such as "I can do this", "I am calm", or any prayer or meditation that you choose.

2. Prioritize.
Reevaluate what is really important in your life. Most women have a hard time relaxing. We need to remind ourselves to just "Chill out" and move relaxation higher up on the priority list. I know I do. Most men do not seem to have this problem, I have observed. We could learn from them.

3. Just say NO.
 I used to carry a yellow laminated card in my purse with the word 'NO' written in big red letters. I would whip it out when someone asked me to do something I was not crazy about doing. Picture the referee at a soccer game giving a yellow card to one of the players. You get the idea.

4. Stay present.
 Focus on the task at hand. Don't spend precious energy thinking about what all you have to do that day or that week. Take one thing at a time. Then rest. Then do the next thing. When we spend time complaining or ruminating about everything we have to do, we waste precious time and energy.

5. Be thankful.
Look for the positive side of the situation. Instead of complaining about cleaning the house, say "I am thankful I have the energy and the health to clean my house."  "I am thankful I have a house to clean." Rather than bemoan your job, your boss, your coworkers, say "I am thankful I have a job and a steady income." There is always another way to look at things.

These are a few tips to help us all stay calm, cool, and collected despite the many demands and responsibilities of life. There will always be stuff to do. We cannot change that. But we can change our attitude on how we think about the stuff we have to do.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".  Share this post with your friends too.

Until next time, remember to take time to rest and as always, keep looking up!

Ariel

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: How to Enjoy Life While Waiting on Your Dreams

We all have goals and dreams we want to see come true, situations or people we want to see change. Sometimes, they take longer than we'd like to materialize. In this month's Ignite the Power Within series, we're talking about making our dreams a reality by never giving up. But what to do in the meantime while we're waiting?  Today, I'm sharing 3 techniques to not only make the waiting easier, but to keep you full of  joy in the meantime.

So, what is it that you have been waiting for? A boyfriend or girlfriend?  A new job?  A baby perhaps? Maybe you're waiting for your business to take off, to get that promotion you've covetted or to finally retire from the whole grind. Most people are waiting for something. Life has seasons of waiting and sometimes they can be pretty long. As I explained to my youngest, who has been job hunting for several months, waiting is a big part of life. The key to not giving up is to learn how to wait.

Over the years, I have learned there are a few techniques that help during my periods of waiting so here there are:

1. Wait in EXPECTANCY.
In other words, we need to have faith  and  believe that what we are waiting for is going to come our way.  This attitude is a requirement to receiving. If I doubt, I slow down or pretty much cancel the flow of good things into my life.

2. Learn to SURRENDER
Secondly, and I know this might seem counter-intuitive, but it is true, I must surrender or let go of the desire for whatever it is I am waiting for. When we want something we tend to think or talk about it constantly. This is known as obsessing and is NOT conducive to receiving because we have made whatever it is an idol. 

For example, if I am waiting for a boyfriend, let's say. And every time I go out, I size up every male that walks by and worry about how I look. This behavior falls into the obsessing category. I know many women who do this. Their entire conversation consists of talking about this or that guy. By surrendering my desires, I am saying, in effect, "Lord, I trust that you know what is best for me. I trust you to bring good things into my life in Your perfect timing and I will be content in the meantime and happy with what I have in my life today."

3. Live to SERVE. 
 I can't just sit back and bemoan my state. No one likes complainers or whiners, not even God, as evidenced by the Israelites who never made it to the Promised Land because of their griping. We have to get out there and do something of service to help other people. To paraphrase Christian author and speaker Zig Ziglar, "If you help enough people get what they want, God will make sure you get what you want".  This is a philosophy I adhere to and one of the reasons I write this blog.

I hope these techniques give you some ideas on how to enjoy your life while you wait and work on your dreams. Write and share with me what you are waiting for and what you are doing while you are waiting.

If you'd like to join our community enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my bi-weekly posts and also a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".  

Stay tuned for more practical advice on making your life the one you dream of.

In the meantime, keep looking up!

Ariel 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: Does Your Life Need an Alignment?

Ever notice your car veering off to one side of the road?  Even though you want to go straight, your car is pulling in another direction. This usually indicates your car is in need of a front-end alignment.

In a similar way, life can get out of alignment. Other people, too many activities and even our own thoughts can be distractions and cause us to veer off course. If we want to stay on track and see our goals and dreams come true, every area of our life needs to be working together. What I think, say, and do all need to be congruent; that is, in alignment.

Pay attention to frustration and overwhelm
There are  many things that vie for our time and energy. People and activities pull us in different directions and it is very easy to get side-tracked from where we really want to go or who we want to be in life. Frustration can be a signal to us that we are "off-course". We want to lose weight but we neglect going to the gym. We want to have a deeper relationships but we don't make time for them. Result? Frustration.

Feeling overwhelmed can also be a sign we are off-course. It means we have taken on too much and we probably aren't focusing on what really matters to us. Life is all about choices and we only have 24 hours in a day, so it's up to us to choose how to use those 24 hours.

When I find myself feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I know it is time to for a "front-end" alignment; time to check and see if my habits, choices, and activities all line up with my goals and values.

Keep my actions in sync with my goals 
For example, if we want to lose weight, and then say "I'll start my diet next week" and next week gets pushed into the week after and so on.  If one area is out of balance, our direction will be skewed. Say I want to get my financial house in order, but I continue to spend more than I should on impulsive purchases.  My actions are not in alignment with what I say I want - to get my finances under control. Or maybe I desire a deeper relationship with a loved one, but I work late every night of the week - not congruent.

Check in with God 
In the same way, if we want God's best for our lives, it is important to check in with Him on a regular basis. This is why Faith is so important. Faith believes that God is guiding me and that when I spend time with Him, He will show me what's really important, what needs to go, and what changes I need to make. We need to make time for solitude so we can hear that still small voice that is guiding us. Then it's up to me to cooperate and take action.

So, friends, is it time for a "front-end alignment" in your life? Have you veered off course from what truly matters to you? If so, it's not to late to get back on track.

If you enjoyed this post, please click on the +1 icon and leave a comment. If you'd like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided and you'll receive my bi-weekly posts. I'll also send you a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Stay tuned for more on staying on this topic and  and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: 5 Strategies for Conquering Setbacks

Are you going through a tough time? Adversity strikes us all, often when we least expect it. On the way to seeing our goals and dreams come true, there are setbacks along the way. I like to think of these as potholes in the road of life. They come in different forms: relationship breakups, job loss, and health issues to name a few. They jolt us out of our complacency and sometimes side-track us for awhile. Although most of us would probably prefer a smoother life, I believe the reality is that problems are part and parcel of our personal growth journey and that they really are gifts in disguise. So what to do to when we hit a pothole in life?

1.  Realize life was not meant to be easy.
If that was the case, what would be the point? Sit on a beach somewhere and drink margaritas day in and day out? Spend our lives partying? What would we learn? How would we grow? Would we be motivated to help others? I think not. The pains we experience in life are, as author Rick Warren says in his book, "The Purpose-Driven Life" delivered to us for a purpose.

Take Jesus' life, for example. Talk about suffering. He reminded us that  "In this life you will have trials, but take heart, for I have overcome." (John 16:33). Life was not a bed of roses for him because he had a great destiny to fulfill and so do we.

2. Learn to surrender to what is.
 Accept the fact that we don't always understand why things happen in our lives: an illness strikes, we lose our job, a friend or loved one betrays us. A old friend of mine has a saying "It is what it is". In other words, accept things the way they are.

Now I'm not saying don't do anything to try and change a situation, but some situations are not within our control to change. We can't change other people. We can't change the events of life, but we can change ourselves and how we respond to these. We each have been dealt a hand for a reason, probably only known by God, and we have to live out our lives the best we can so we can be reasonably happy.

3. Choose how to respond to adversity.
When we complain and bemoan about the trials of life, this only magnifies them and makes us more miserable. We ruminate at night about the what ifs and how we are going to handle a situation. We become fearful and irritable.  We expend just as much, if not more energy, being anxious and fretful. This energy could be channeled into positive solutions. The way we choose to respond to adversity is paramount to overcoming life's challenges.

4. Cultivate a positive attitude.
Uncertainty, loss, and overwhelm can make us fearful, but we don't have to let fear overtake us. What we believe about ourselves and, more importantly, what we believe about the existence of a loving and all-powerful God have a lot to do with how we manage the challenges that come at us.

As a single parent who went through an ugly divorce, I faced overwhelm, loss, and uncertainty quite often. I chose to look through the lens of faith rather than fear. Faith pleases God and He will step into our situation when trust Him to work out our problems.

5. Look for the lesson.
Trials are stepping stones to our destiny and I believe every trial has a lesson for us to learn. It is up to us to find that lesson because this is the blessing. Difficult circumstances are meant to refine us, purify us, and make us more like God. When we learn the lesson before us and make the appropriate changes, we propel ourselves to the next level.

Sometimes it takes us a while to figure out what the lesson is. I've noticed that God often presents the same lesson in multiple areas of my life at the same time. It's like "She's not getting it. Let me give it to her over here." As an ex-teacher I can understand this. Here's a quick personal story.

In the late seventies, during the disco era, I was teaching hustle to a class of thirty some adults. I noticed most of the couples grasped the step I was showing them, but a few of them were struggling. As I gave them personal attention, it dawned on me that not everyone learns in the same way, so I explained the step using different terms until there was the "Aha!" moment every teacher lives for.

In the same way, our souls have lessons to learn. This is part of the healing from the wounds of the past. Our parents try to teach us some things. We can learn from them, but they can only teach us what they know. We do ourselves a disservice if we rebel against what they try to teach us but rest assured, God will continue the process throughout our lives.

If we want more peace and harmony during the tough times, it is important to:
1) realize life is not easy
2) surrender to what is
3) choose how to respond to the adversity 
4) have faith 
5) look for the lesson

When we realize trials have purpose, it makes them easier to get through.

If this post was encouraging, please click the +1 Google icon, or leave a comment here or on Facebook.

If you'd like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided and you'll receive my bi-weekly posts. You'll also receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Stay tuned for more on hanging in there when the going gets tough and you will see your dreams come true!

Keep looking up!

Ariel
















Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: Never Quit!

Ever feel like giving up? Tired of fighting the battles of life? We all feel this way from time to time, especially when we think we're doing the right thing, but we're not seeing any results. If we're going to see our dreams come true, we have to be push-thru kind of people. No matter what we're facing, there is always someone who has it tougher.

Think you have it rough? Well, how would you like to be born without limbs?

While down in Jacksonville, Florida this past week, I happened to be on the beach where the Never Quit Beach Challenge was taking place. Thousands of competitors wearing shirts with the motto "Never Quit" filled the beach. There were swimmers, surfers, and runners. The marines wore shirts that said "Pain is weakness leaving the body". Young girls 5 - 6 yrs old were doing chin presses on the bar. Parachute jumpers decorated the sky. It was quite a sight to behold.


Then I heard the opening prayer by a man named Nick Vujicic. He praised my lord and savior, Jesus Christ, right there in public amidst thousands of people. "Who is this guy?" I asked as I tried to hold back the tears welling up in me.

Nick Vujicic is an australian born in 1982 in Brisbane, Australia - with no arms or legs. Today he is a college graduate with two degrees, an author, a CEO, and a motivational speaker. He was also a participant in the three part race.

Now how's that for faith and inspiration? Check out this website for more info on the race and it's origins. The whole event certainly inspired me. So next time you think you're having a hard time, think of Nick Vujicic and remember his motto and mine - Never give up!

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided and you'll receive my bi-weekly posts. I'll also send you out a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Stay tuned for more on how to stay in the game of life and see your dreams become reality.

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

Ariel 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: 5 Steps to Making Your Dreams a Reality

Everyone has dreams. Some dream of becoming super rich. Others dream of marrying the love of their life or traveling the world. Each person has dreams and visions inside them. The trick is in making them a reality. We can't just sit back and wait for things to happen. If we want to see our dreams come true, there are a few steps we can and must take to make them a reality. Today I am sharing 5 steps that I've used to help me see some of my dreams come true so you can apply them to your life.

1. Get really clear on what you want
 This first step is vitally important. What happens when we're not super clear is we get what we want, but then we're not happy with it. Get really clear means evaluating your priorities - what is of utmost importance to you. These are called "values". What do you value most? A relationship? Freedom? Financial success? Pleasure? Keep in mind values sometimes change over time, so try to focus on the long-term values. Ask yourself "Will I be happy with this in 5 or 10 years?"

2. Visualize what you want
Once you are crystal clear on what is truly important to you, then try to form a detailed mental picture of whatever is. The clearer we are on our desires, the less time we will spend later on evaluating options. For example, for years I had wanted to move to a condo but I never visualized the specifics of it. When the opportunity came to purchase one, I was not very clear on what I wanted so I spent a lot of time looking around at other places until I became very clear on exactly what I wanted in my new home such as a covered garage, a pool, and a gas range. It wasn't until I was clear that I realized the first place I looked at had exactly those requirements.

3. Talk to God About It
Prayer is paramount to seeing our dreams come true. God wants to give us the desires of our heart, but not at the expense of our character. Contrary to popular books such as "The Law of Attraction", simply thinking about "attracting" things into our lives won't work. God is the giver of all good things. He knows what is best for us and the timing of bringing things into our lives. As a single, I have been attracted to certain types of men, usually the unhealthy kind. After several broken hearts, I learned to pray this prayer early on: "Lord, if this person is not good for me, please make it very clear quickly" and He would.

4. Make a plan
Dreams take effort. If you want a good paying job, you need to go to college. If you want to be fit, you need to exercise. If you want to get out of debt, you need to make a budget and track your expenses. You get the idea. Plans turn dreams into realities. If we are diligent in doing what we can, God is faithful to do what we can't. Keep in mind not all plans succeed. If one plan doesn't work, don't give up, make another plan. Try something else. There is always another approach.

5. Take the first step
The first step is typically the hardest. I think this is because human nature has a tendency to procrastinate, otherwise known as laziness. We make excuses to put things off that we say we want. Often it takes a serious event such as a heart attack or illness to get us to address our fitness level and eating habits. Financial disaster can motivate us to look deeper into our finances.

Don't let fear can keep you from seeing your dreams come true. We must be willing to take the first step: sign up for classes, put together a resume, write the first page. Once we start moving, the path will become clear. We don't have to have the entire process mapped out from A to Z. From my experience, the next step is often revealed after I take the first one. I can trust the process.

If you enjoyed this post, please click the +1 icon and pass it on to your friends. If you'd like a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path", enter your email address in the box provided.

Stay tuned for more on this topic and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel