Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The One Thing You Need to Achieve Your Goals

Can't seem to lose the weight? Make time to exercise? Find yourself snacking on junk food and watching television instead of doing something of value? You're not alone. Although we know these things are good for us and important in the big scheme of things, somehow we find an excuse and manage to avoid doing the very things that matter. Why is that?

It comes down to the issue of self-mastery. Self-mastery means being able to regulate one's choices, behaviors, words, thoughts, and feelings. Another word for self-mastery is self-discipline. Although the word discipline somehow has gotten a bad rap and often conjures up images of Catholic nuns smacking you with a ruler, self-discipline is critical to our moving forward in life.

We need a change of perspective on the word discipline. How about we replace the word "discipline" with the word "mastery". Self-mastery. Doesn't that have a better ring to it? Think of it as a tool in your arsenal to help you achieve your goals in life: get in shape, get your financial house in order, enjoy an exercise routine, develop a spiritual practice.

We need discipline in many areas of life: at work, at home, in public, and with ourselves. I hear people say all the time things like: "I am so undisciplined" or "I am so lazy". Stop saying things like that because our words become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm willing to bet you are holding down a steady job of some sort. If so, you have already developed discipline. You get up everyday to go to work. You get up, get dressed, and endure a possibly grueling commute to get to work on time. This all takes discipline. Not everybody can manage to do that. Give yourself a pat on the back. Now think about this.

If you have mastery in one area of your life, it means you have already developed the skill to some extent. Now all you need to do is to apply the skill of mastery to another area of your life. For example, I have some friends who are constantly trying to lose weight. Weight loss is no easy feat. I know because I used to be several pounds overweight myself and I still battle the bulge. They tell me they are going to start a diet, an exercise program, join Weight Watchers, etc. They ask me to hold them accountable. Then what happens? Nothing. After a few weeks, I bravely get up the courage to ask how the diet is going and then I hear something to this effect: "I just can't seem to stick to it" or "I don't have time to get to the gym", basically, an excuse.

The real reason they are not able to lose the weight is a matter of not applying the skill of discipline in this area. Weight loss is another opportunity to practice discipline. Or to put it another way, how we spend our time and energy. Motivational speaker and author, Jim Rohn, says this: "Spend most of your time on the 80% of things that matter". The problem is many people spend 80% of their time on things of little value, like Happy Hour, and only 20% of their time on what truly matters.

The same thought processes you use to get yourself to go to work everyday can be applied to any goal. How do you get yourself to work? Do you say "I'm too busy" or "I can't get up in time"? No, we make ourselves do it because we want the paycheck. In the same way, if we really and truly want to be thinner, we will make ourselves do the necessary steps. For example, a goal might be: lose 5 pounds by Easter. The action steps might be 1) walk briskly for 30 minutes 3 - 4 times a week and 2) cut back on portion sizes. These are realistic and achievable for anyone. Any goal can be broken down into simple yet doable steps, IF you're interested.

Today is the day to pick an area of your life where you want to see transformation and change. Establish a realistic and reasonable time-oriented goal and then create a short list of action items. Post this list somewhere you will see it every day. Writing down our goals and having them in front of us keeps us focused. See my post on setting SMART goals.

Now that we have discussed the practical side of discipline, let's talk about the spiritual component.

We need to have faith in ourselves that we CAN achieve our goals and dreams. I think a major reason people fail to change is that they lack the faith in themselves to accomplish their goals. Faith is the fuel that fires up our engines. Without faith, we will achieve nothing. If we say to ourselves "I'll never lose this weight" or "I'll never get out of debt" again we are setting ourselves up for failure. We must believe we have the power and the discipline to make the changes we want to see in our lives. How else are we going to live "the abundant life"?

So, what one area of your life do you want to change? Next, define 3 - 5 action steps you can take to make progress on this goal. Above all, reprogram your thinking. Start telling yourself "I can ......". One of my favorite verses says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13). As a Christian, if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we have the power within us to move mountains, not just lose those 5 pounds.

Until next time, I hope this post has inspired and motivated you to make that change. You CAN do it! Write me and let me know how it's going.

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

Stay tuned for more positive and practical wisdom to help you ignite the power within and discover YOUR destiny!

In the meantime,
Keep looking up!

Ariel Paz

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How Couples Therapy Can Help Improve Your Life

Are you having a rough time in your marriage or significant relationship? Are there ongoing tensions about issues that seem unresolvable? Today I'm encouraging you not to throw in the towel but to explore the benefits of couples counseling and here's why.

Couples therapy tends to be depicted as a desperate attempt to save a broken marriage or a
relationship. Like taping together a shattered vase, it comes across as a pointless endeavor.
Because of this belief, many couples don’t go to therapy, and don’t get the help they need.
The truth is that couples therapy can be quite beneficial. Let’s go back to the vase analogy.
Therapy isn’t taping together a broken vase, but instead replacing the vase with a stronger,
more beautiful one. Or, it can improve upon the foundation so that the vase doesn’t fall to
begin with. There are many benefits for couples therapy, and we shall discuss them below.

1. Couple’s Therapy Can Strengthen an Already Strong Relationship
You may imagine couples therapy being for those whose relationships are about to fail, or
always consist of fighting. However, stable couples can benefit from counseling as well. Think
of it as a maintenance test for a car. Your car works fine, but you want a professional to look
at it to see if there aren’t any hidden issues. These issues may be minor, but if left untreated,
could end up costing you down the road. This is the same with couples counseling. There
may be minor miscommunications that could erupt if untreated, or other underlying issues.

2. Couples Therapy Works for Any Issue
No matter the issue, a therapist can help to resolve it. Sometimes, the issue is small, such as
miscommunication. Other times, the issue may be more difficult to tackle, such as infidelity.
However, if the couple is willing to work things out, a therapist can help find the solution that
will satisfy both parties.

3. Couples Therapy Profiles the Individual Too
With couples therapy, the therapist is usually not just interviewing the couple together. There
are many sessions, and some of them may include interviewing the couples individually. The
conversations allow the therapist to make a profile about the couple as a whole, and the
individuals as well. Individual therapy allows for the person to vent safely to the therapist. The
therapist uses this information to find solutions to their problems.

4. A Therapist Understands How the Human Mind Works
Why do so many couples have problems resolving their issues? It’s just how the human mind
works. We like to get the last word in. We like to be emotional rather than logical when it
comes to fighting. When two ‘hot heads’ argue, there are no winners.

A therapist knows how to use words to calm the couple down and think rationally. There is
usually a simple solution that both parties can agree upon if they stop fighting, and a therapist
can help the couple realize this.

5. Online Therapy Makes it Easier 
Thanks to online therapy, it’s more convenient than ever to have a successful therapy
experience. Online therapy makes it easier to schedule a session when both parties are busy.

Online therapy allows estranged couples to communicate despite being far away. With online
therapy, you can talk to a therapist during the heat of a fight and help resolve the fight before
anything regrettable happens.

More couples are turning to online therapy thanks to our hectic lives. With online therapy, a
couple can talk to one during a walk, during work, or any other place that has service.
Sometimes, we need help outside of the therapist’s office, and online therapy can be the

Hopefully, this cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about couples therapy.
Couples therapy can be quite beneficial, so if you and your partner are interested, talk to a
therapist today!

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

Stay tuned for more practical and positive wisdom to help you find healing, wholeness and harmony.

Keep looking up!

Ariel Paz

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ignite the Power Within: 3 Ways to More Inner Peace

Are you a control freak? Do you always have to run the show? Have things your way?  Most people have control issues, some to a greater degree than others. Stress makes us more controlling. Today we'll be talking about how to surrender so we can have more peace and serenity despite what happens in our daily lives.

The human tendency is to want to control. If you were raised in a chaotic home environment like I was, control becomes a coping mechanism to help us manage our lives. This learned behavior then spills over into other areas. We often don't realize we are controlling until someone points it out to us or we feel stressed out a lot of the time.  There are some things we can do to let go of the reins and relax more.

Here are 3 ways we can learn to surrender more:

1. Stop trying to figure things out.
    I think the smarter a person is, the more difficult time they have with this. I have a friend who
some might describe as "flighty". She has no problem with control. She doesn't try to figure anything out. The problem there is she doesn't take responsibility for herself. I, on the other hand, am always trying to figure things out. I think it also comes from my being an analyst for 30+ years. I learned that way of thinking on my job. Recently,  I have had to unlearn that thinking pattern and learn how to come to grips with not knowing all the answers. It really does take the pressure off when we stop trying to figure everything out.

2. Stop fretting about people and events we can't control. 
    The trick here is to realize when a situation is not in our control. A neighbor stopped over and launched into a fast-paced tirade about another neighbor's behavior. I said to her "It's not in your control. We can't change other people. Stop worrying about her and focus on yourself." Immediately, I could see her relax. When you get worked up over something, take a breath and ask yourself "Is this something I can control or not?" If the answer is no, let it go.
    This also applies to our grown children. Stop using the excuse "Well, I'm a mother and mothers worry." That is an excuse. You do NOT need to worry. Trust God with your kids and let them take responsibility for their choices.

3. Let God call the shots.  
    Now this one is a bit tougher, I have to admit. We like to be in control and we like to call the shots. A male neighbor said to me one time "You like to call the shots". I was a bit surprised. "Well, I've been a single parent for most of my life and I'm used to making decisions."

Things happen in our lives that are out of our control and life takes a dramatic twist. I think these times are opportunities to learn to trust God more. We don't always know where the road is leading, but God does. As the song by Carrie Underwood goes, "Jesus take the wheel,". It's a lesson we all need to learn at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.

As we close on the topic of letting go, I hope this post has helped you understand more about letting go, how to let go, when to let go and the benefits of letting go. Here's one more article you might find helpful on the subject. If you're interested in professional online help, contact Better Help for a therapist or a psychologist.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our blog community, please enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my bi-weekly posts on topics such as relationships, personal growth, health and wellness and spirituality. You'll also receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path". 

Stay tuned for more positive and practical wisdom and
Until next time,

Keep looking up!

Ariel Paz

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ignite the Power Within Step 4: How to Win in the Game of Life

Baseball season is upon us and Baltimore is  once again full of hopeful excitement. Loyal Orioles fans pack the stadium sporting their orange and white jerseys, ready to watch the game and socialize with friends and loved ones. Kids hug their blue cotton candy and the smell of hotdogs activates our taste buds.

Imagine a runner rounding the bases at full speed. Excitement mounts as he heads toward home base. Sensing the urgency of the moment, he makes a courageous dive towards the plate, the fans hold their breath and then the umpire signals "You're out!"

As I watched the game this past weekend, I was reminded that life is like baseball in more ways than one. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball. Other times we strike out a time or two.  It could be a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, an unresolved health issue, or a financial setback. It could even be a grand slam of all of the above. What to do then?

At such times, it is imperative that we pull out the secret weapon we all have deep within.  I call it the power of Faith: an amazing gift we each have been given to help us cope with the curve balls of life. Some of us, for whatever reason, get thrown more curves than others, but we must trust that a power greater than ourselves has a plan and a purpose for each time we strike out.

When we realize we have this great gift, despite the odds and our circumstances, Faith gives us the ability to stay in the game. Yes, it takes courage and yes, it takes strength but when we activate our faith during the tough times of life, God gives us both of these. He equips and empowers us to do what we need to do even when the game seems all but lost.

Just as we need to strengthen our physical muscles to handle the demands of life we also need to strengthen our spiritual muscle. As I share in my book, "The Power of Faith", there are specific steps you can take to develop your personal power so you will be equipped when life throws you a curve ball.

So, next time you feel like you've struck out once again, remember every play can teach us something about ourselves, others, life, and God. If you enjoyed this post, join our community and  enter your email in the box provided. You'll also recieve my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Until next time, stay in the game and keep your eye on the ball. You're bound to hit a home run sooner or later!

Ariel Paz 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How to Receive the Promises of God - Part 3

We've been talking about receiving the promises of God. What are they though? Joy, Peace, Abundance, Provision, Guidance, Wisdom, Love, Strength, Prosperity, Health to name a few. First, we talked about expecting God's best in our lives. Then we talked about the power of speaking out God's word and what you want to see show up in your life. Today we will finish up this series with the third step in receiving the promises of God.

The first two steps set and energize our desires and call in God's help and power. These are crucial to seeing the life we dream of materialize but there is one more step which is just as powerful.

In order to see our dreams materialize, we need to take disciplined action. In other words, we need to develop habits that move us toward our goal. We cannot keep making excuses for why we are where we are in life. We have to DO something about it if we are unhappy.

Here's a personal story. While raising my two sons as a single mom, we lived in an aging townhome. The place always needed fixing up, repairs, and replacing things like the windows and the carpet. I'd get home from work, take care of the boys, and then start working on whatever the current house project was. I remember pulling up old carpet and tack nails in my living room, on my hands and knees. I remember painting the wood paneling in the basement to give it a fresh look. I remember painting the stairway and hall and ripping down awful wallpaper scrap by scrap.

My mom always wondered why I kept "putting all that money into that house". Well, because when one owns a home, one has a responsibility to maintain it, that's why. One day, while painting the dining room, I heard God speak to me "Go see the condo". I had seen an ad for a condominium complex in the newspaper recently. I put the paint brush down and decided to go visit. Long story short, it turned out to be the home of my dreams. God gave me a huge new kitchen, a luxurious bathroom with a lovely garden tub for soaking, and a built-in fireplace. I sold the family home for a good price because it was in pristine condition to a young man starting off on his own. I never looked back.

I share this story to illustrate the fact that when we do our part, God will do his part in his timing, and often, his timing is unexpected. What dream do you want to see come true? What steps are you taking to make it happen? The promises of God are a team effort.

I hope this series was encouraging and helpful. Consider joining our blog community and enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my bi-weekly emails to encourage and inspire you to ignite the power within and discover your destiny! You'll also receive a copy of my free eguide "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path" for you or a friend who is seeking.

Until next time, stay tuned for more positive and practical wisdom.

Keep looking up!

Ariel Paz 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

5 Tips for a Healthier You

Are you on a diet? Trying to lose weight? I'm trying to lose the winter blanket I put on every year. If we want to live long, healthy, and active lives, diet and nutrition should be among our top priorities. I know it can be confusing trying to decipher what's hype and what's not these days, so today I'm sharing some simple, doable, and practical tips on how to eat and live healthier.

Every time I turn around there is some new diet or weight-loss supplement being touted. We had the South Beach diet, the Zone diet, the Atkins Diet, the Paleo diet, and now we have the Keto diet. It's always something popping up in the weightloss marketting game.

A lady at church last week was telling me about the diet she's following. She can only eat between 6 and 8 pm. Now is that crazy or what? How can your mind and body function without any fuel?  I had to restrain myself.

Then we have the ads claiming you can "Lose weight without exercising", "banish the flab without dieting", "Pop this pill and your fat will magically disappear" - all hogwash if you ask me. Let me assure you eating well and staying in shape is not rocket science. All it really takes is a genuine desire to be healthy, give up our bad habits and adopt some basic but sound nutritional guidelines.

Today, I'd like to share with you a few healthy tips I've used over the years to help me stay in shape. Pick a few and implement them into your daily routine and you will definitely see changes.

1. Detox your system:
Get rid of sugars, fats, salts, dairy, white flour, sodas, red meat and alcohol for a while and see how much lighter you feel. Twice a year is a recommended. Spring and fall are both optimal times to clean out our system. If you can, try a brief fast every so often. I shoot for one fasting one or two meals in a day. Fridays work for me or pick a day when you can take it easy and do not need the calories. Fasting breaks the eating/craving cycle and also clears our minds to allow us to connect with our inner selves.

2. Drink more water:
Water is great for getting things moving, improving our complexion, and for hydrating the skin and the body. Drinking water also staves off false hunger pains and prevents headaches. Use a water purifier and drink 8 - 12 eight-ounce glasses per day depending on your weight. I use tall colorful glasses to make the experience more enjoyable. I also set a reminder on my phone at regular intervals during the day. Do whatever you need to get in the habit of drinking more clean water and please, skip the plastic bottles!

3. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies
These foods are vitamin dynamos and pack a punch when it comes to fighting disease and inflammation. They are also lower in calories and higher in fiber so they fill you up and help move things out of your system like estrogen and toxins. The more colorful your plate, the better. Meat should only be about 20% of your meal. The rest should be fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

4. Ditch the salt and the grease
If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol problems, make this a priority. Want to get off your meds? Try using fresh herbs instead of salt which causes high blood pressure, water retention, and bloating. Replace vegetable oil with healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, and extra virgin coconut oil instead. Your palate will adjust, trust me.

As you can probably tell, I am a firm believer in the philosophy "You are what you eat". Our bodies are temples so let's treat them as such, shall we?

And while I'm on the subject, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about feeding our spiritual body as well. It, too, needs a healthy diet. What are you feeding your spirit? Are you noshing on junk food like romance novels, tv sitcoms, video games or violent movies? When was the last time you visited a place of worship? Took time to meditate and prayer or wrote in a journal?  Do you fill your mind with positive thoughts of faith and hope or are you still digesting the negativity from yesterday, last week, or twenty years ago? It is important to nourish our spirit as well as our body.

5. Nourish your spirit.
To feed my spirit, I choose to listen to uplifting words and music, worship on a regular basis, and surround myself with positive, encouraging people. I've done away with those energy vampires who suck my energy dry with all their complaining, moaning, and negative self-defeating attitudes. I've also chosen to disassociate from those who have a low sense of self-esteem or a victim mentality because they only drag me down and stress me out. It's hard enough to keep ourselves up so why allow these negative energies into your space?

Our daily diet of foods, habits, and thoughts can make a huge difference in the quality of life and the level of joy and energy we feel. If we want to increase our personal power, it starts with taking care of ourselves.

I hope this post has encouraged you to make some healthy choices. Do write and share your thoughts with me. If you'd like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my bi-weekly posts plus a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Until next time, stay tuned for more practical and positive wisdom to help you ignite the power within!

Keep looking up!

Ariel Paz

Thursday, May 3, 2018

How to Receive the Promises of God - Part 2

What is it you would like to see show up in your life? A spouse? A child? A new job? How would you like to show up today? More peaceful? Patient? Less frustrated? More joyful?

Last time, we talked about our expectations. What we expect in life is what becomes our reality. If we want good things to show up, we need to change our thinking to expect that they will show up in the right way and in the right time. Today, I am going to share the second key to receiving the promises of God.

As a single mom raising two teenage sons, life was quite a challenge. I had to deal with rebellion, addictions, cutting school, the police, expulsion, DUIs, alcohol, smoking... well, you get the idea. Through it all, I was a praying mom. Isn't it interesting how we don't usually call on God till we get in a pickle?

Now you know I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, but let's not stop there. There is one more weapon in our arsenal against things that try to come against us and that is OUR VOICE. First, we need to become comfortable with praying out loud. That's right. Not the meek quiet whisper some of us are used to. We need to speak out boldly and confidently. Here's a story that happened just today.

My sister and I were on the phone with the real estate agent who is trying to sell my mom's house. Let's just say there has been a tremendous amount of strife the past year between my mom and my sister. After not being around each other for forty years, living together is quite the adjustment. After going through all the different issues, sans Mom, who decided she was not participating, the real estate agent launches into prayer - not some lengthy, preachy-type prayer, but prayer just the same. I was like "Now, why haven't I thought of that?" She closed "In Jesus' name, amen." Poof! Powerful! The change in the atmosphere was palpable.

That's what I'm talking about using our voice. When we declare God's word out loud, God's ears perk up. All of heaven comes to attention (Rev 8:1-4).There is power in the Word of God. Instead of the usual "I'll never lose this weight" how about "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). Instead of "I'm so tired, I don't know how I'll get through this day" try "The joy of the Lord is my strength" (Neh 8:10). Instead of "I'll never break this addiction" declare "Who the Son sets free is free indeed," (John 8:36).

Not only will our thinking be transformed, our faith will be strengthened and God will come to our assistance and work the supernatural. Give it a try and see what happens. You will be amazed AND transformed.

Now you know the first two keys to receiving God's promises. Stay tuned for next time when we'll discuss the third and final key.

If this post was helpful, consider joining our community. Enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my bi-weekly posts and a copy of my free eguide "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path". 

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel Paz