Nature is our playground. God’s designated area for us to explore, experience, regroup and reflect.
After the rainy winter and now suffering from social distancing, nature is beckoning us to come outside and play surrounding us with signs of hope and buds of renewal.
Nature is therapy, she’s inviting, non-judgmental and kind.
In our ever-changing unpredictable world, nature gives us a sense of consistency and calm in our chaos.
She is the moving portrait painted by God with artistic brilliancy and colorful vibrancy.
This week we leave our isolated hibernation and go outside and simply breathe while quietly listening to her song.
She is the declaration of God’s glory and hidden within her is knowledge.
Let’s find a comfortable place on the porch or patio to simply enjoy the serenity nature provides while remembering that although we are socially distanced we are all still connected by nature, being warmed by the same sun, awed by the same full moon and all created by the same God.
David so poetically describes nature saying “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words, no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.” Ps 19:1-4
So this week we head outside to sit, play or plant and enjoy the beauty that always been just outside the door.
Psalm 23 is perhaps the best known of all the Psalms. Never before have six scriptures been so timely and relevant for the season our Nation is in.
Please join me as we study and reflect upon these beautiful, powerful and hope filled passages of scripture starting Wednesday, April 1st at 10:00 a.m.
THIS IS NOT AN ONLINE GATHERING. I will simply post the study and you are free to read at your convenience.
The study will be posted on The Chic Creative website with a link to the site posted on The Chic Creative Facebook Community page as well as The Chic Creative Instagram page.
Let’s step away from the worries of this world and step into the Word extracting wisdom, knowledge, insight and encouragement from Psalm 23.
And as always, please feel free to share, comment, invite and include your friends and family if you wish.
Within a New Testament story is a simple yet powerful principle of living the bold life.
Christ is headed to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter who was sick but gets sidetracked on the way to help a woman desperate for her own miracle.
While ministering to her, Jairus’ daughter dies and some people from his house came and said “Your daughter is dead,” “Why bother the teacher anymore?” “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:35-36
Did you catch it? Jesus ignored them telling Jairus to just believe.
Christ didn’t reprimand them. He simply ignored them refusing to allow their unbelief to deter His plan.
When others tell you to give up, quit or walk away from whatever miracle you are believing God for, ignore them.
When people say things will never change, to stop trying, hoping, pursuing or believing, ignore them.
When they tell you that you can’t, never have and never will do what you desire, ignore them. When they label you, gossip, criticize or judge you, ignore them.
When the enemy tries to convince you that God has forgotten you, is mad at you or won’t forgive you, ignore him.
When he tells you this season our nation is in will never improve, when there isn’t enough to go around, when we should be fearful or panic, ignore him.
Christ shows us by example how to deal with opposition, negativity and haters. Ignore them.
Don’t let their words stir up your fear and rob you of your miracle, joy and peace.
Had Jairus believed them instead of Christ, his daughter would have been buried instead of restored to life.
You get to decide so decide to just ignore them!
Week 12: We Create Space
Spring is officially here and this week we create space for her.
Space invites creativity allowing ideas to freely flow. When there is room in our minds to think clearly then the answers we have long been searching for suddenly show up.
Creating space means creating calm. A sanctuary in the storm.
Society encourages us to accumulate more stuff but deep down it isn’t more we want but less. It’s space we really crave. Space to clear our heads and our hearts. Room to breathe and thrive.
While we can’t control what goes on in the world, we do have a say in our own environments, physically and mentally.
To make room for what we really want we simply create room for it.
With social media we can see what everyone else is doing, where they are vacationing and dining.
We see their purchases and know about their hobbies, accomplishments and promotions and it can evoke different emotions and reactions, some positive, some negative.
In reality, social media is actually neutral and only takes on the influence or meaning we give it.
Two women may see the same post of a friend who has lost weight and looks amazing. One woman will be encouraged to continue pursuing her fitness goals while the other will become consumed with envy thus stifling any progress towards hers.
The social media post was neutral but the choice each made after seeing it wasn’t.
One commits to scheduling time to detox her fridge and pantry or go for a daily walk. The other remains in her cluttered mind stuffed with jealousy and never loses a pound.
Creating space isn’t confined to the external.
Space is needed in our heads just as much as in our homes. This week we are making space for what we really want and tossing what we don’t.
We are taking the toxic, the unused, broken and ill-fitting to the mental and physical landfills and donating our extras, spares and no-longer-needed to the local charity.
We are essentially creating opportunity for what we truly want.
If we want to look stylish we create space in our closet for only items that make us look and feel stylish.
If we crave delicious meals, we clear space on the kitchen counter to prepare them.
If we want to rock a slim waistline, we clear room in the refrigerator and pantry for fresh fruits, veggies and nutritious snacks and find fifteen or twenty minutes on our calendars for a walk or workout.
If we want to be more productive then we create a beautiful, efficient workspace with organized folders and neatly arranged papers and never waste another minute looking for documents.
If we need more iPhone storage we clean up our digital world, deleting unused apps, old emails and texts, duplicate pictures and spam.
If it’s focus, energy, personal or spiritual growth, new ideas or goals we want, we stop playing the past on mental repeat, holding onto grudges or drowning in guilt and shame.
If we want to enjoy others, we trade the relationships that are burdensome or draining for healthy, life-giving ones.
The times we are in have forced us into a social sabbatical to reflect on what truly matters so today let’s begin creating space for all we value and hold dear.
We create space.
Today we are witnessing social upheaval and unprecedented levels of fear and uncertainty like never before. From this a great need is emerging.
You are needed. I am needed. Our gifts and prayers are needed.
Why this is all happening is subject to opinion and speculation. But what our role is in this moment is not. God’s Word clearly spells it out for us.
God promoted Esther from commoner to queen.
When her people were in peril, her uncle told her “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”
I believe we are in our “royal position” as God’s daughters for this very moment we are in as a nation and as a world.
Peter proclaimed “God has given each of you gifts from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them to serve one another. . . then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 4:10-11
Our gifts are given to us by God to help each other and bring Him glory.
Our prayers, talents and generosity are needed like never before. Prayer knows no boundaries and is able to reach across oceans and continents to change lives and circumstances.
Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning is his account of his time in the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
Determined to use his gifts everyday to help others instead of focusing on his own needs he found a reason to live. In the depths of despair and unfathomable conditions Viktor Frankl discovered the true meaning of why we are here and it isn’t for ourselves, it is for each other.
Each day let’s look for ways to help others whether it is sending an encouraging email or text, fixing a meal for an elderly, showing patience and kindness in checkout lines and of course praying for our nation.
We don’t have to merely survive this moment but we can thrive during it by living for a higher purpose that will bring glory to the One who sustains us during these times.
And, perhaps this season will return us to our porches engaged in conversation, finally getting to know our neighbors or gathered around the dinner table.
Maybe this time of distancing will stir a desire deep within us to reconnect with the Father seeking wisdom for the times we live in.
God has called each of us “for such a time as this” having prepared and positioned us to offer help and hope in a world so desperately in need of it.
Today is our day. This is our time.
With the chaos tossing us across a sea of turmoil lately, it’s easy to become afraid and unsure of what lies ahead.
Even with Christ in their midst the disciples panicked when the storm came certain they were going to drown. Luke 8:24
Yes things look bleak and the future seems uncertain but “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Heb 6:19
Hope anchors our soul, keeps us steady and calm and focused instead of fearful. Hope is where we find peace in the time of trouble.
David said “Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Ps 20:7
Today tune out the world and trust in God knowing this storm will pass and we will emerge stronger in our faith for it.
During this time of social distancing we draw closer to God drawing deeply from His strength and relying daily on His protection and provision.
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail or abandon you.” Deut 31:6 NLT
Today we let down our anchors of hope, firm and secure in the promise of His presence.
Your friend has an enviable job with the corner office and incredible salary. She lives in a magazine worthy home with the picture-perfect family, dresses in couture and drives a new car.
Her life epitomizes success yet she’s never felt more unfulfilled and confides in you one day over lunch that she struggles with depression, loneliness and emptiness.
You are stunned! How could this be? Her life looks so perfect! It’s because she’s living someone else’s definition of success.
It’s like wearing a trendy top that’s the latest style. It’s uncomfortable and not even your style but you wear it anyway because it’s the latest trend.
Maybe you’re the woman whose life says “success” but you don’t feel successful.
If so, then it’s time to rethink and redefine your definition of success.
How do we do that?
By tossing aside everything we’ve been taught by friends, family or society about “success” and ask ourselves “What does success look like TO ME?”
There’s no wrong answer.
Success to one woman may mean spending her days in her small cottage home painting. While she has to supplement her income with a second job she’s fine with that because for her success is getting to do what she loves everyday which is creating masterpieces.
Another woman realizes success for her means being an entrepreneur, her lifelong dream.
Her friends thought she was crazy for giving up a six-figure job and yes, she had to change her life-style and spending habits but she’s never been happier. She loves the independence and challenges entrepreneurship has presented and believes she is living her definition of success.
Two women who defined success differently found success once they created their own definition of it.
So, how do you define success? What does it feel and look like to you? What does a day in the life of the successful woman look like?
How does she dress, what is she involved in, what are her interests, hobbies and skills? What does she watch and read? Who is in her inner circle?
Again, this isn’t a test and there are no wrong answers – only your answer.
Once you define this then you are free to begin living out your own version of success.
So how do YOU define success?
Never before has our faith been tested like it has lately it seems.
If I allow it, fear would strangle all hope but I’ve learned through experience that fear like any emotion is a choice.
I choose my emotions. They don’t choose me.
It’s easy to let the news and social media make that choice for me but doing so allows them to steal my power and freedom to choose.
Perhaps you can relate.
So I can either choose to believe the world or I can choose to believe His Word.
And today, I choose Him.
He says “God did not give you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”2 Tim 1:7
He says “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are Mine.”Isa 43:1
He says” Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:9
He says” For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do Not Fear, I will help you.” Isa 41:13
Knowledge is power so getting the facts and helpful information is wise as it equips us to make smart decisions and take effective actions.
Reacting from fear however will only keep us in a state of panic and draw us into a web of worry.
Today, my prayer for us all is that we remember that in this valley we are not alone, we are protected, shielded and have a refuge we can run to when the world seems like it’s gone mad.
With love to you all,
MY DEEPEST APOLOGIES! It appears Week 10 did not show up Monday when published!
So while it’s a couple of days late I do hope it inspires and challenges you to rethink the way you see failure.
One of my favorite books is by John Maxwell entitled Sometime You Win Sometimes You Learn.
He writes “Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated; they simply quit. . . As you face bad experiences, it’s important for you to remember that you can rarely see the benefits while you are in the midst of them. You usually gain perspective on the other side of it”
I have yet to meet a woman who has never failed.
I have met plenty who never try because of their fear of failure and I’ve been one of them.
For years I refused to set goals because I feared failing at them.
Fear of failure keeps us from trying or when when we try and we do fail, we slap a label on our forehead of “Failure” and quit altogether.
Failure is only failure when we fail to learn from the experience otherwise it’s no longer failure but a lesson learned.
The woman who experiences failure repeatedly is NOT a failure.
She simply hasn’t yet learned the lesson the experience is trying to teach her because if and when she does she won’t repeat the failure.
Failure can reveal patterns and encourage new ways of thinking that will eventually lead to success.
Choosing to believe that failing makes us failures robs us of our power.
For example, when we make multiple attempts and fail to lose weight quickly either through starvation or fad diets but never learn that both are temporary fixes and not a lasting solution to our weight issue, then we will continue the vicious dieting cycle.
But once we figure out that starvation/fad diet plan is never going to work, then we are free to move forward and find a more effective, long lasting weight loss program.
Failures are simply learning opportunities that open the door to rapid growth.
So today we stop wasting precious time and emotional energy beating ourselves up choosing instead to seek the lesson and move on.
A surefire to get and stay stuck is to spend years berating ourselves up over past failures.
We are not failures.
We are students in the classroom of life and those who ace the class are those who quickly from their mistakes and move on never defining themselves by their failures.
G.K. Chesterton said “How we think when we lose determines how long it will be until we win.”
So, if you are ready to win then begin today by changing the way you view failure.
You’ve failed. I’ve failed . But we are not failures. We are learning as we go from every experience all the lessons we need to succeed.
Changing the way you view failure changes everything.
The woman is busy, moving at breakneck speed and always on the go. Busyness is her life.
Today she has company coming and there’s so much to do. Martha’s story is my story and maybe yours too.
Christ is on his way to her home for dinner and she wants everything to be perfect.
Perfectionism and busyness tag team to rob us of precious opportunities, lessons and blessings God longs to give us.
There the Prince of Peace sits watching her quietly, waiting and wondering if He will get the opportunity to share the love, joy and life He brought for her but sadly never gets the chance.
Martha’s so busy she doesn’t recognize the gift she’s just been handed.
Christ “God made manifest in the flesh” (I Tim 3:16) is sitting on her sofa. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, a scenario most can’t even imagine.
And yet it is played out in our lives every day.
From the moment we wake up until we return to bed at night our Omnipresent God is there.
He gently nudges us awake and sees us slowly amble to the kitchen for morning coffee and joins us at the table as we turn on our cell phones or open the daily paper and He waits.
He joins us for our daily commute to work or as we begin our housework, takes a corner seat and He waits as we go about our errands and tasks.
Leaving the office He sits in the passenger seat in the car as we make our way home and He waits.
Finding a spot in an easy chair He quietly sits as we watch our favorite tv shows and He waits.
Then exhausted we head for bed. He is there protecting us while we slumber keeping us from all harm (Ps 4:8) and He waits.
He had so much to tell us today but didn’t get the chance and so He waits.
Martha loved her Lord there is no doubt about it but like many of us busyness had robbed her of the ability to see what was truly important. Love was standing before her and she missed it.
David in his darkest hour went before the Lord where he found encouragement and strength(1 Sam 30:6) And we can too anytime, day or night.
God doesn’t condemn us when we fail to create time for Him because that’s not His nature. (Rom 8:1) He doesn’t get offended, mad or angry. He just waits.
What kind of love is this that values us enough to wait patiently day after day?
Every successful relationship must be built on continuing communication.
Going days without talking soon becomes never talking and no relationship can thrive under those conditions. Without communication, we will share space with someone but not intimacy, not a relationship.
And as with God, our relationship requires ongoing fellowship to flourish.
I wonder if later Martha looked back with sadness on that day Christ came into her presence realizing too late the magnitude of the moment she missed.
I like to think this was the day she learned what was important and what wasn’t.
I believe God doesn’t have a problem whatsoever with us enjoying downtime, a little tv or time on social media.
But when those activities become thieves that rob of us time to visit with Him, does it hurt Him?
Have you ever had someone sitting across from you yet they spend the entire time scrolling or texting? I have. Over time I just stopped attempting to engage them and moved on.
I have also been this person and regret the moments I missed because my head was buried in a screen. To the friends across the table who sat and waited while I scrolled I apologize.
Thankfully our Father is much more patient and never stops trying to engage us. He simply waits.
Today He’s waiting to share life-changing moments, grand adventures, unimaginable opportunities and beneficial and profitable ideas with us.
And, He’s ready to finally free us from the thief of busyness if we will we let Him?
He is waiting on the other side of our busyness.
Today at the gym I noticed it’s less crowded than it was in January which is common. We begin each year committed to our resolutions only to give up around early March.
This was my story each year.
Nine years ago I attended a spiritual retreat and this prodigal daughter finally returned home to Christ.
Later in prayer I confessed to God my disdain with myself, particularly my body and my mind.
For years I loathed myself, treating her like trash instead of the temple she is.
I fed her trash foods and crap thoughts, punished her with harsh criticisms and cruelly withheld love from her somehow believing that would force her into being who I wanted her to be. Sad, I know.
I told Him everything I hoped to have, do and become.
And I complained about my body and weight I gained that wouldn’t budge. How it must have hurt Him to hear me criticize His handiwork this way.
When I was done, instead of being angry He asked me a simple yet powerful question: “Why?” as in why do you want to lose weight?
I was about to learn a life-changing lesson.
How we answer the question of “Why” reveals our beliefs which determine our success because life is simply a reflection of our beliefs.
My why was the belief that if I lost weight then others would love me which would mean I was worth loving. This belief was a lie because (a) I was already loved and worth loving and (b)we can’t control how others feel about us.
By trying to change my internal beliefs externally I failed at not only losing weight but everything else I had attempted because I had yet to learn that a transformed life begins with a transformed mind.
Success is an inside job.
God gently informed me that He already loved me and it had nothing to do with my weight, the number of social media “friends” I had, my credit score, my mistakes, my past, my successes or failures. He just loved me, unconditionally, as-is. Period.
And in that moment everything changed. I threw away my old belief which was a lie and accepted His truth.
My why then changed which changed my determination to not only lose weight but to love and appreciate the wonder that I am.
My new why for getting healthy was my desire for increased energy I needed to live the life I imagined while also learning to value myself in the process.
That was a positive and powerful why that could produce a win.
I learned that internal beliefs like self-worth can’t be created externally because we can’t control the external.
Our why always reveals our beliefs and either leads us towards or away from what we want.
So, when deciding what you want, first ask yourself why you want it.
If your “why” uncovers a defeating, false belief or is dependent on others’ opinions, then immediately seek a truth to replace the lie.
How do you know if your belief is lie? If what you think is true is the opposite of what God’s Word says about you, it’s a lie.
Your success will always be dependent on your why which will always be shaped by your beliefs.
Your why is the fuel that keeps hope alive and keeps you going when you want to quit.
Creating a why that wins starts with being honest about what we believe, confronting it and if it’s a lie then changing it because we can’t change what we refuse to confront.
God’s Truth of Who we are in Him is the solid foundation on which to construct a beautiful, meaningful life.
Paul wrote “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12:2) NIV
God transforms us beginning with changing what we believe. Yes! Our beliefs are that important and powerful.
What if you made a list of your top five desires and ask yourself why you want each one?
If your why reveals a false belief that’s keeping you from having that desire, confront it, chunk it and replace it with God’s Truth.
Then create a new why built on those new truths and go after what you want!
When you create a Why that wins – you win.
Week 9 – We Invest in Ourselves
When was the last time you invested in you? Usually when asked this question, most of us either can’t remember or not sure we ever have.
We gladly invest in others but see little reason to invest in ourselves.
For years I couldn’t justify investing in myself because deep down I didn’t believe I was worth it seeing it as a waste of my time and resources.
But I heard a story that changed the way I looked at self-investment and my life.
A woman found herself at rock bottom.
She was broke, unhappy, lonely and frustrated until one day in an aha moment she realized that nothing in her life was going to change until she changed. And that day she decided to start investing in herself.
Time and money once spent mindlessly or on the unnecessary she began intentionally spending on personal growth and self care which impacted every area of her life.
She lost weight, met her soulmate, got free from debt, changed careers, travelled internationally, left her job to create her dream career, wrote a book, and so much more.
My opinion of self-investment changed after hearing her story.
So yes that gym membership, online courses, personal trainer, library card, running shoes, small group, blogs, books, podcasts and sermons, counselors, nutritionists, life-coaches, mentors or therapists are all investments that pay huge dividends.
Many self-investments cost nothing and require only our time, discipline, determination and commitment.
You’ll immediately recognize a woman who invests in herself by her boundless energy, genuine laughter, her confidence, relationships, lifestyle, incredible adventures and experiences – all the results of self-investment.
So this Week of Chic is all bout seeking opportunities to invest in ourselves.
Because we can choose to make changes or make excuses.
Maybe it is scheduling a walk, creating an at-home workout, joining a gym, reading empowering books, listening to inspirational talks, meeting up with a friend who motivates us or enrolling in an online course that fascinates us. (Open Culture or Coursera are wonderful sources with many of their courses available for free.)
It’s not so much how you invest in yourself but simply that you do.
Your self-investment might be a pampering massage or facial that allows you a moment of stillness and relaxation, a yoga class, a park bench and a cup of coffee or simply a long, luxurious bath.
So how do you plan to invest in You this week?