Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Making Good Decisions: What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

Decisions, decisions. Every day we are faced with tons of decisions. Some are simple such as what to have for breakfast and others are complex like whether to stay or leave a relationship or a job. When we are unsure of what the "right" choice is we can feel stressed and pressured. When we have too many decisions to make we can also feel stressed and pressured. The key is to make good decisions in a timely manner. So today we are going to talk about what to do when you don't know what to do.

The decisions we make determine our destiny and it can be stressful when we are  unsure of how to proceed. One reason we put off making a decision is because we feel we don't have enough information at hand. Rather than make the decision in the heat of the moment, it is better to put the decision on hold and give yourself more time to think about it. Salespeople love to try to make you make snap decisions, but snap decisions can be costly.

Delaying making a decision too long can be costly as well. How many times have I missed out on concert tickets due to waiting too long? Or wasted too much time in the wrong relationship? The question becomes when to wait and when to act. Today I'll share some tips on figuring out when it's time to make a decision and what to do in the meantime.







1. Resist the urge to make it happen NOW. 
Waiting is tough for most of us.  We like things to happen on our time-table. We want it NOW. Many times we take things into our own hands and try to make it happen which often leads to frustration and burnout. A recent visit to my mom's to help her sell her house was just such a scenario. I was in a dither to get the whole house cleaned up and organized and I wound up exhausted because there was too much to do in a short period of time. When I finally realized the house would sell in "God's timing" not mine, I felt so much more at peace.

2. Consider all the factors. 
Big decisions are more complex and require more in-depth analysis. I had a single friend once who has a hard time making decisions. She wanted to move closer to work. I gave her the same advice - consider all the factors. She talked to me about the utility  bills, the gasoline, the commute. It sounded like she was covering all her bases. After she moved in to her new apartment, she calls me.
"I'm not happy here."
"Why not?" I asked thinking she had done due diligence in her research .
"I don't like the location."
Now isn't location like the number one thing to consider when you're thinking about moving? Don't overlook the obvious.

3. Get comfortable with uncertainty. 
The answers don't always come immediately. Sometimes weeks, months, or even years go by. Yet, we must learn to get comfortable with not knowing. It is better to wait for clarity than to make a decision while we're still unclear. We might not know the right answer, but we can trust that God does and He will make it clear in his timing.

4. Practice the pause. 
The discipline of pausing seems to have been lost in the hustle and bustle of today's fast-paced culture. Patience is a skill which we  acquire only by waiting. When we learn to pause, we give ourselves time to reflect. We give God a chance to work,to intervene, to speak. As a single mom, I have always done everything myself because I felt I had to. I have learned that I don't have to beary such a heavy burden. God is there and his shoulders are a lot stronger than mine.  He can make things happen that I can't but I have to give him the chance. Trying to do everything in my own strength saps my energy and ruins my health.

5. Wait for the strong "Yes".
Rest assured the answer will come. One day you will have an "Aha!" moment and the answer will become clear. This is why meditation and solitude are so important. We need to tune out all the distractions of the world so we can hear that still small voice within. When you hear that strong "Yes!" you will know exactly what to do and when to do it. Don't be like Sarah and Abraham who got tired of waiting on God to give them a child, and decided to take things into their own hands by having hubby sleep with the maid servant.

So what decision are you unclear about? If there is doubt in your mind, apply some of these tips. Take time to pause. Give it to God and wait for an answer. It may be a phone call, a knock on the door, or simply that still small voice inside that speaks to each of us when we quiet ourselves enough to listen.

If you enjoyed this post, please click the +1 icon and if you'd like to join our community, enter your email 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". 

Until next time, stay tuned for more insights on finding healing, wholeness, and harmony and discovering your destiny!

Keep looking up!

Ariel









Tuesday, May 23, 2017

7 Ways to Regain Trust in Yourself

Are you always looking to someone or something outside of yourself to give you answers? Do you doubt your decisions or prefer someone else make them for you? Agonize over making decisions? Many people do so you're not alone. This month we are talking about reclaiming our personal power by regaining trust and today we're talking about regaining trust in ourselves.

No doubt about it, decision-making can be tough, especially when it comes to big decisions. If we don't trust ourselves, decision-making is even more stressful. When we lose trust in ourselves, we lose our personal power.

How do we lose trust in ourselves?
One way we lose trust in ourselves is by making mistakes that have painful consequences. Our inner judge says "How could you have done that?" "Why did this happen to me?" "You should have seen this coming" etc.

We shame and guilt ourselves over things that were out of our control. Stuff happens - good and bad. Yes, many times we had a part to play but other times, things just happen. We need to accept that bad things happen and that we are not flawed or somehow a bad person because such and such happened to us.

It is important to deal with what happened, heal from it, and then dust ourselves off and get back in the game of life. After many unfortunate circumstances, here are some ways I have learned to regain trust in myself and I'm sharing them with you.

1Forgive yourself.
The first and most important thing is to mentally and emotionally let yourself off the hook. Give yourself grace. God does. Forgive yourself for whatever happened. Learn the lesson and then move on knowing you learned how to proceed in life in a better way.

2. Accept personal responsibility for the consequences.
It is too easy to blame other people for our problems but this way of thinking does not serve us. By blaming other people or circumstances, we are blinded from the truth that is is our actions and choices that put us where we are. If we are in debt, it is our spending habits that need to be changed. If we are overweight, it is our eating habits that need to be improved.

If we want change in our lives, we have to take personal responsibility for our choices and our actions. Our lives will change when we do.

3. Trust in your ability.
Realize we make lots of decisions everyday, many of which we barely have to think about.
Decision-making is an on-going learning process that builds character. As a single parent, I had to make a lot of decisions raising my sons. Some decisions are bigger than others, but recognize the rewards of making good small decisions and you will become more confident when it comes to making bigger decisions.

4. Look for the positives.
We won't always make the right choice or decision. For example, for years after my divorce, I beat myself up saying "I married the wrong person," like there was something morally wrong with me. Until one day, one of my sons said "Well, Ma, you wouldn't have me if you didn't marry Dad." That put quite a different twist on the subject. Even when we feel like we have made a mistake, good can always come out of it.

5. Don't pressure yourself into making big decisions quickly.
Some decisions such as who to marry, what career to pursue, have life-changing impact. The bigger the decision, the more time I spend on examining the various factors and possibilities. We make decisions based on the amount of information we have available at the time so don't feel pressured to make a decision if you are not 100% comfortable in your answer.

6. Do what is BEST for you.
For many years I was overly concerned about doing "the right thing." Then one day a counselor asked "How did doing the right thing become confused with doing what is best for you?" I really had to think about that. I had put a strick moral restraint on my decision-making process. The bigger the decision, the more time I spend researching all the different factors and possible outcomes. I know I will be the one to have to live with the consequences but I trust that I am making the best possible decision for me.

7. Trust in the Outcome
 Often people don't want to make decisions because they don't want to be held responsible for the outcome. The key is to be confident that no matter what the outcome, we will be okay. We will be able to handle the situation however it turns out. When we let go of the outcome, we free ourselves of the burden and allow God to step in.

 What do you feel led to do recently? Ask yourself what is the next right thing to do and then "Just do it!" as the Nike ad says. See how you feel. When we make a decision  we release the pressure. We feel relief to have made the decision.

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

Until next time, ignite the power within and keep looking up!

Ariel 

Monday, May 22, 2017

The First Step to Transforming Your Life

Are you excited about life?  Are you seeing your goals and dreams come true? Or is there something you would like to see change?  Some place you'd like to visit? Some relationship you wish was more fulfilling?  Life is a growth process and when we stop growing we stop living. We become stagnant, bored, lethargic. I'm all about growth and change so today I want to inspire you to take the first step to transforming your life.

What would you like to change about your life?
Some would like to improve their appearance, lose weight, be more in shape. Others would like to pursue a new hobby, career, or financial goal. Those who are more relationally-oriented would like to find inner peace or improve the relationships in their personal life. Contrary to what some say about old dogs and their tricks, I do believe most people are interested in growing, changing, and improving their lives, no matter how old they are. Could this be you?

But perhaps you don't know how to go about it or where to start. As with any journey, the first step is always the most important. Now you may be thinking the first step involves some sort of action. But I want to challenge that perception. What you may or may not realize is this: the first step in any journey, change, or forward movement in life begins with a decision.

That's right. A decision. What really determines whether you are going to succeed or fail in your endeavor, is the commitment to your decision. In other words, it is the strength of your resolve to your decision that energizes you to take action.

The key is commitment. So what do you have to have in order to commit to something? What is the one thing you absolutely have to have in order to follow through? I think you may know the answer to this question. The answer is this:

FAITH. 

You need to activate the power of faith in order to make a commitment to anything in this life. We must believe in ourselves, in others, and in the power of God to make things happen. Nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing happens without faith. Faith is the key ingredient in any successful undertaking.

If you've tried before and failed, join the club, but don't throw in the towel. Check out this video on famous people who have failed miserably in life and see how it makes you feel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y6hz_s2XIAU

What is it that you would like to accomplish in your life? What change would you like to see?
If you want to transform your life, start by activating the power of faith. You'll be amazed at the results!

If this post encouraged and motivated you, join our community by entering your email address in the box provided. You'll recieve my bi-weekly posts plus a copy of my latest freebie.  Stay tuned for more on how to transform your life, achieve healing, wholeness and harmony and live the life of your dreams.

 Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel 






Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to Transform Your Body and Your Life

Spring is here and pool season is right around the corner. I can't wait. It's been a long winter, hasn't it? Have you been exercising this winter? What about weight training? When we make the time to strengthen and develop our physical muscles, they have more tone, definition and strength. Our body is then equipped to do all the things we want and need it to do throughout our lifetime.

This week's post is about exercise and no, it is not a dirty word, so let's do away with any negative thinking or excuses right now, ok? Exercise is not a chore we have to endure. There's a woman at the gym who is wheelchair-bound and I have been watching and encouraging her as she makes the effort to move her body. She is making slow but steady progress. The other day I saw her climb onto the stationary bike. Imagine what it would be like to be in a wheelchair.

Exercise is a blessing and also a lifestyle. Exercise is a part of my life and has been for many years. There have been seasons when I have been injured and out of commission, so I know what it feels like to be immobile. It's not fun. Fun is being able to move, dance, and regular, consistent exercise helps us do just that. It helps us feel more alive.



It is important to make regular exercise a priority. I know you've heard it before, but it bears repeating, especially with the rate of obesity and cardiovascular disease on the rise all over the world. Did you know Mexico has surpassed the United States in terms of numbers of obese people - 32.8%. The United States now ranks #2 and that is not something to be proud of.

There are many fun ways to strengthen our muscles and get our bodies moving. Now that the weather is warming up, I love to get outdoors as much as I can. My grown sons still love to play soccer and basketball. I taught them to play tennis and took them to soccer and baseball practice. They saw me exercising in the basement to my videos. When I was raising my kids, I used to get up at 5:30 am and go for a run around the nearby college campus before the sun came up. Jogging is a great way to get a quick cardio workout in and all you really need is a good pair of running shoes. I'd sign up for 5 and 10k races and collect donations for charities. Then there is biking, working out at a gym, taking a fun group exercise class like Zumba, playing several sets of tennis, swimming, the list goes on and on. Let's not forget yoga and pilates - two great ways to tone, stretch, and strengthen our core and connect with our bodies. Two fantastic low impact weight-bearing exercises that can really train the heart muscle as well as strengthen the bones are fitness walking and hiking. Both are easy and free.

While I'm on the subject of strengthening our muscles, let's not forget our spiritual muscle. Did you know you have a spiritual muscle? Yes, indeed, and it's called faith. Think about this. We all have faith in something to some degree. We have faith that the sun will rise every morning even if we don't see it. We have faith that the chair we're sitting in will hold us. We use faith every day but there are times when we need it in extra doses. In the same way we lift more weight at the gym, or run longer distances, there are circumstances in our lives that put more demands on our spiritual muscle. If we haven't made the effort to develop our faith, we won't be able to endure the inevitable trials that are destined to come our way.

So how do we develop our faith muscle? By exercising it, of course! Faith needs to be used in order to grow stronger. Every trial we go through is an opportunity to develop and strengthen our faith. Just as we strengthen different muscle groups with different types of exercise, different situations in life cause us to develop our faith in different areas.

Here is a short video I put together about this entitled "How to Transform Your Life". I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think of the idea of having a spiritual muscle? Does yours need to be exercised more? What concrete things can you do to strengthen it? If you're not sure, stay tuned and I'll be sharing simple yet concrete and practical steps you can use to develop your faith. If you want to be stronger and stay calmer through the ups and downs of life, now is the time to start strengthening your faith.

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

Stay tuned for more tips on how you can achieve healing, wholeness, and harmony and enjoy the balanced life you deserve.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel


Thursday, May 18, 2017

3 Barriers to Healthy Relationships

Are you feeling disconnected from your husband? Boyfriend? Family member? Do you avoid talking to them or have as little interaction  as possible?  Do minor disagreements turn into major battles?

Chances are you have disconnected emotionally from your loved one. But first, let's talk about what exactly is an emotional connection and how you achieve it. An emotional connection means we are able to maintain a certain degree of closeness, sharing, and intimacy with another person. This is not, I repeat NOT, a sexual type of intimacy. Sex has to do with the physical connection we feel. I am talking about the type of closeness that comes from open and honest verbal communication, the sharing of deep feelings, and the genuine care and concern for the other person's well-being.

If you're not feeling as close as you'd like, here are 3 possible reasons why and what to do about them.

1. Playing the blame game 
    One clue that this is happening is if you hear yourself saying "You always ....". Sure your partner may have done something to irritate you, but accusing and blaming is not going to fix the problem. When something goes wrong in a relationship, both parties typically have some responsibility. Rarely is the problem one-sided.

Start by accepting your part of the problem. Blaming is a a result of refusing to take personal responsibility for one's part. We all make mistakes but that is not an indicator of our self-worth. There should be no shame associated with the  admission of mistakes. When we admit our mistakes, we pave the way for improvement and change.  Here is a good article from Psychology Today on how to stop playing the blame game.

 A better way to phrase your displeasure are by using "I" statements instead of "You" statements.  Here are a few examples:
   "I feel so alone when you work late every night."
   " I feel disrespected when I am talking to you and you are reading the paper, playing video games,
      watching tv."
   " I feel like you're not committed to this relationship when you threaten to leave."

The key is to share from your heart and connect to the other person's heart. If the other person truly cares about you and preserving the relationship, he or she will care about your feelings.

2. Assigning negative labels or name-calling
    When we label someone in a pejorative way, we cause emotional disconnection. No one likes to be called names or labelled. I remember my mother always used to tell me I was "too sensitive" and I grew up ignoring my feelings. Some examples of name-calling and labeling are:
    "You're so clumsy"
    "You're so stupid"
    "You'll never amount to anything"
    "You're lazy"
Most people have their own set of insecurities and when we lash out at others using unkind labels and name-calling, we enforce these insecurities and contribute to the other person's low self-esteem.

A better approach is to hold our tongue or walk away from the situation if we feel we can't control ourselves. Hurtful words do much damage and the emotional scars take a long time to heal. The other person may never say anything to you but if you notice an emotional distancing you know they have been hurt.

3.  Judging
     Judging means forming an opinion about someone typically assigning "right" or "wrong" to their behavior. We never know what is going on with someone inside. Only God knows a person's heart and what hurt they are carrying. Although it is hard not to judge when someone hurts us or acts badly, we are not to return evil for evil. Click here to read "10 Reasons to Stop Judging People".

These are three of the ways we can disconnect from our loved ones. We may not even realize we are doing it so I hope this post has brought some awareness to the problems we may, in fact, be causing ourselves.

If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, please click the +1 icon, share it with your friends or leave a comment. I appreciate feedback.

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

Stay tuned on more insights on how you can achieve healing, wholeness, and harmony and enjoy the life you deserve!

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel 
     
   



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 5: How to Tell If You're Making the Right Decision

Most of us like the word "yes", don't we? I know I do. When someone asks me to do something I really want to do or I find something I really love, my immediate response is an emphatic "YES"! I am passionate about it. There is no hesitation, no doubt, no waffling. Joyful anticipation is a sign we are making the right decision.

A friend of mine was recently considering buying a certain car. As she relayed the pertinent facts, figures, and safety features, I noticed there was no enthusiasm in her voice.
"You really don't sound too excited about this car," I said. "Do you really want to buy it?"
"No, I don't think so," she admitted.
A few days later, she called me up all excited about another car she found and bought that one instead. She has been a happy camper ever since.

Here's another example. Let's take the shoe shopping experience. I'd venture to say that shoe shopping is difficult for most of us.  Either I can't find my size, the right color, they cost too much or they don't fit quite right. Bummer! And so frustrating. But when I finally find just the right pair of shoes -  good color, comfortable, and on sale, - YES!!!!! I get so excited. It borders on euphoria at times.

We know we are making the right choice when we not only have peace about our decision, but we also have joy about it too. When God wants to give us something or get us going in a new direction, we will be filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and hope. We wake up in the morning energized and motivated. This is how we know we are living in the will of God. Just as good parents want to guide their children and give them good things, so it is with God. He enjoys blessing us and he wants to see his children prosper.

But we must be careful. Sometimes we are excited at first because of the idea of something: the new guy, the new car, the shiny whatever. It is foolish to jump into a situation without giving it some careful analysis and prayer. We love new cars, but don't go rushing off to buy that Lexus without giving it some serious thought such as how you are going to afford those monthly payments.

There will be bumps along the way. The bumps are checkpoints for us to check in with God to make sure we are on the right path and ask for confirmation of our direction. An example I like to share is when I was trying to sell my house years ago and one deal after another fell through. I felt like I was supposed to sell it but started having doubts when the contracts weren't working out. So I went to God in prayer, and he confirmed what I was supposed to do in a most astonishing way. If you want to read more about this, check out my book, "The Power of Faith". 

Making good decisions has to do with listening to that still small voice inside of us. When we are connected to God, we can trust He is guiding us in every decision big or small. When we leave God out of the equation, we usually make the wrong choices. I know from personal experience.

Hearing from God and making better decisions is possible and we get better with practice. If you enjoyed this post, please click the +1 icon and share with your friends Many people would love to know how to hear from God and make better decisions.

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

Stay tuned for more on igniting the power within and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 5: The One Key to Making Wise Decisions

Every day we have hundreds of decisions to make. Most of them are small, like what to have for dinner or what color shoes to wear to work. However some decisions are major such as a career-change, a home purchase, or a relationship decision. These are times we need wisdom, knowledge, and God's guidance.

In some situations such as business decisions, good decision-making is a learned mental skill. Professional football coaches get really good at making decisions in the heat of the moment with limited information. They are mentally trained at making multiple quick decisions. They evaluate the facts, combine it with their experience and execute a decision. Done.

Personal decisions are often more difficult to make because the heart and the mind are both involved. We are torn between conflicting values and it takes quiet time alone with God to gain clarity on what is most important to us. We want to do the right thing but often we are unclear as to what that is. This is where God and Scripture come in.

When I am unsure of a decision, I go straight to the word of God.  It helps me to step outside my emotions and take an objective look at the situation. As a long-time student of the Bible, I am familiar with the principles and ideas in most of the books. A good place to start is the book of Proverbs. There is much wisdom in this book regarding the major facets of life including relationships, finances, child-rearing, lending, and communication. Write down all the verses pertaining to the issue you are facing, pray about it, and you will get clarity on what to do.

Many people, however, have this process reversed.  Instead of asking and seeking God's will regarding their decision, they make the decision and then look for a verse to back up their decision. This is not the way it works. God wants the best path for us, but we must make the diligent effort to determine what that is, trusting that God ultimately knows better than we do. He sees the future and we only see with limited vision, often colored by rose-colored glasses.

What decision are you facing? Is it keeping you up at nights? If so, take it to God. Ask for wisdom. "If anyone of you lacks wisdom, ask  God, for he gives it freely and without reproach." (James 1:5).

Like a good father, God wants the best for us. Don't be afraid to seek his advice and guidance. He is faithful to answer your prayers and guide you in the right path. 

If this post has encouraged you, please click the +1 icon and share with your friends. Many people would love to know how to make better decisions.

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

Stay tuned for more on igniting the power within and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel