Girls. It's Time to Grow Up

 

FYI: Title credit goes to my girl Laura. I was trying to coming up with something a little 'sweeter', but she's pretty good and getting to the point. :)

Our words carry weight.

Whether we like it or not, what speak out into the atmosphere holds a lot of power. Do you remember back when you were in 7th Grade? Ugh, I try to forget about it! But I do remember it. And not for the best of circumstances either. I remember the mean things we used to say to each other in attempt to feel superior and better than one another. I remember shrugging off the hurtful words that were said in front of all my friends, pretending like it didn’t bother me, but deep down it felt like a knife had gone through my chest. I remember walking with my head hanging low, scared to raise my voice or share my opinion, hoping to fly under the radar and survive another day without being called ‘loser’, ‘chloe-lowey’ or ‘charcoal chicken legs’.

Yes, I remember those words.

Fast forward about 10 years. I’ve graduated High School, found myself a job and ready to take on the world! Well, not really… I was actually very lost, very broken and very insecure. One woman decided to stick by my side and mentor me. She saw the potential of what I could become and so she started to pray with me, encourage and speak hope into my future. She would say things like “I believe in you!” and “You’re truly going to do amazing things.” She believed in me even when I couldn’t believe in myself. She didn’t just recognize the gift and grace over my life, she pulled it out of me.

Did I believe her at the time? Not really. But I remember her words.

This woman played a significant part in my journey to becoming who I am today. And it was her words - her spoken, aloud words of love and encouragement that have helped shape and grow me into the woman I’ve become and still am becoming.

Her words carried power, just as much as those foolish 7th graders did too.

I know we all crave the kind of love and encouragement that my mentor poured into me over all those years. So why is it that we are so quick to tear down, gossip and slander others?

Ladies, I am speaking to you.

We go to women’s conferences and networking events that are about standing together and supporting one another. We use hashtags like #communityovercompetition and #sisterhood to declare our devotion and commitment to one another. But I gotta be honest, are we letting those words lift off the pages, allowing them to settle into our hearts and minds and truly transform our #communityovercompetition spirit?

Don't just hashtag about sisterhood - live it. 

Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says ‘Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit - you choose.’ It might sound a bit dramatic, but when I think of God, in his almighty power and wisdom, how he created the very heavens and earth into existence. He didn’t wave a magic wand nor did he do a dance or write up a business plan. He spoke the earth into existence. God called Ezekiel to speak a prophetic message over the dry bones so that they would live again (Eze 37:4). Jesus says to us that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that He is Lord then we shall be saved (Rom 10:9).

For the longest time, women have been made to feel like we are pinned against each other. That we cannot be both a great mother and successful business woman. A loving wife and travelling minister. There is something so powerful that happens between women when there is no judgement, full acceptance and a raw, open and honest space for each other. There’s nothing like it. I’ve never understood why, we as women, feel the need to hate on, put down and belittle each other in order to feel more esteemed, successful and powerful.

This is not powerful at all. It’s just sad.

Just like a ship cannot sail without many hands on deck, so too can we not achieve all that we were created for without each other. We don’t need to push anyone down or aside in order for us to have our golden moment. There is enough room for everyone in this world to do great and wonderful things.I am huge believer in the fact that a rising tide lifts all boats. When we help our fellow sisters get one step closer towards their success - whatever that looks like - we too pull ourselves closer into our own success and destiny. There is nothing that can go wrong for you when we lift each other up.

I’ll end with this. We speak on average 20, 000 words a day. Yep. Twenty thousand! So I challenge you to ask yourself, “What kind of words am I releasing into the atmosphere? How am I speaking to/about the women I know and admire? Do I withhold genuine celebration and support for others when they succeed?" 

Let’s leave the childish behaviour back in 7th Grade and be the kind of women who come alongside others and speak life, hope and purpose. Ask God how you can bring love, peace and strength with your words today.

 

Facing Your Fears - Pt 2

 
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Learning to recognise

The Voice Of Fear

Remember Part 1's post and how I referred to many of us feeling stuck in the glass box? Well, that glass box (majority of the time) is actually the limitations we’ve set around ourselves. No one has that much power and control over us to direct our choices, beliefs and decisions. Along the way we learn behaviours and build value systems that contribute to our way of thinking and eventually we reach a point where what we believe to be true has more power over us than the actual truth itself. This is exactly how fear gets to us - it all starts in the mind and it has a way of convincing you that it’s the truth. But Fear is a liar, it’s an illusion and it will take us out of the game if we aren’t prepared to handle those thoughts and feelings when they come.

Fear spoke to me in 3 main ways:

1. “You’re going to fail.”

2. “Even if you do step out, you’ll probably make the wrong choice.”

3. “Are you really good enough for that anyway?”

If there is one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that fear tries to do three things: it attacks our identity, our destiny and our ability. Why? Because Fear knows, and yes I refer to it as a person, that if we are secure, confident and assured of who we are and what we can do, then we will be unstoppable. 

Sometimes in order for us to understand what fear is, we need to turn our attention to what fear isn’t. When we start to recognise the voice and feelings of fear, it will be much easier to silence or ignore the voice of fear altogether when it starts to creep up on us.

 

Fear is not your friend.

Havilah Cunnington, one of my all-time favourite speakers coined this term at a young adults leadership conference a couple years back: “If you don’t look at fear as your enemy, it will one day defeat you.” What a powerful statement. One I’m sure we’ve not stopped to think about before. When I think about this statement my mind immediately takes me to a soccer match. I am the forward going in to score the goal, which is my purpose metaphorically, and fear is the defender of the goal posts - there is often two or three of them. The defender’s one and only mission is to stop you getting through their line of defence and keep you from scoring the goal, because if you get past them, then your chance of scoring is much, much higher. Fear want’s to stop you from reaching the goal. It is hell-bent on making sure you stay small, blocked and restrained from any possibility of reaching your dreams or discovering your purpose and worth. When we start to have this mentality that fear is not our friend and we are striker of the game - breaking through enemy lines to reach our goal, we will be in a stronger position to fight the feelings of fear when they come.

 

Fear is not your comforter

Often at times fear will start to rise when we are about to step into something that’s uncomfortable or challenging. You may be met with feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm or pressure. This is completely normal but fear will usually try to hitch a ride on the back of these emotions and blow them out of proportion, to the point where you feel that what you originally planned on doing wasn’t a good idea and thus make you think it’s safe to stay exactly where you are. Fear disguises itself as a comfortable place. A place where you’ll be ‘safe’ and not have to worry about the ‘hard stuff’. This in effect is crippling and keeps you in stuck-mode. Although you may feel from time to time that it’s easier to stay this way, you also feel trapped.

 

Fear is not your protector

When I’m afraid or nervous about doing something my initial thoughts are to retreat , run and hide for cover. This is an act of fear. Fear will try to keep you locked down. It poses as a protective mechanism but what really happens, on a subconscious level, is that fear tells you you will never be able to survive or do well if you really take a leap and go for it. It makes you feel incapable, not good enough, smart enough, whatever enough.

 

I know these feelings all too well. Before I started this blog and my journey to becoming a Life Coach, I was so full of fear - but I didn’t know it. I hid behind the mask of comfort and protection so I could feel like I was being smart, responsible, safe. But slowly and surely, adventure was knocking at my door. I just could not shake what I wanted to do and I knew it wasn’t going to be the so-called traditional path which freaked me out even more because I had nobody to look to. I couldn’t see anyone around me that was doing the things I wanted to do, which made me feel like I was alone - but I wasn’t. We are never alone. Even though there may not be people in our lives that are creating the exact same path as we are, there are people in your world that will ‘get it’ and they’ll have a passion for your vision. Stay with those people, because they will be some of the ones who will help you at your hardest hour.

 

Once I realised how fear spoke to me it was a lot easier to deny its power and control over my decisions. As once I learned that fear is the enemy to my destiny, I learned quickly not to believe it’s outrageous statements over my life. As I said earlier, fear spoke to me in 3 main ways:

1. “You’re going to fail.”

2. “Even if you do step out you’ll probably make the wrong choice.”

3. “Are you really good enough for that anyway?”

 

Now instead of believing the lies, I have a comeback:

  1. Nothing is impossible. My God is with me and He never fails.

  2. Everything is worked together to serve a purpose. There are no mistakes in life.

  3. I was created on purpose for a purpose. Being born is proof enough that I have something to give.

 

I love what the dictionary has to say about courage; the ability to do something that frightens one. It gives me hope because being courageous is not about being fearless. We all get a little scared sometimes but it’s the ability to act out in courage despite the feelings of fear. As Walt Disney said “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Learn how fear talks to you. What does it say? When does it speak? How does it make you feel? I encourage you write it down and then write a new page declaring the truth over the matter. What would Love say to you instead of Fear?  Focus on what you CAN do instead of listening to the lies of what you can’t do. My dear, you can truly to do anything - with enough passion and perseverance.

What does Fear try to say to you? 

 

Facing Your Fears - Pt 1

 
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Facing Your Fears...

& breaking free.

You probably don’t know this about me, but it wasn’t so long ago that I was a very doubtful and fearful person. Especially when it came to my dreams, my future and my purpose. It’s not that I didn’t have dreams; I just had no idea how to pursue them or if I even be good at it. I was always comparing myself to the person next to me and I would confuse their calling with my own. I didn’t go to college because I was scared of choosing the wrong subjects and wasting time. I was so scared of making a wrong decision that I didn’t make any decisions at all.

“What? Chloe? No. The girl who is full of confidence and chasing down her dreams and encouraging others to do the same? No way!”

Yes way.

Fear paralysed me. I was consumed by it and I didn’t even realise. It got me so good that it actually took me out of the game for a few years through my indecision, comparison, envy, lack of confidence and trust within my own talents, abilities, strengths. To the point where I even started to doubt that small inner voice in my spirit that I knew what calling me to these  things. I became stuck.

Stuck in comfortability.

Stuck in the everyday upkeep.

Stuck in the mind-set of ‘well this isn’t so bad’.

Stuck living my life-passions through the eyes of others gutsy enough to go for it.

I lived like this for most of my life. Can you believe it? Most of my life spent worrying, waiting, hoping, praying but unwilling to take action. Unwilling to take risks. Fearful of failure. Doubtful of success. Just hoping things would ‘fall into place’ one day.

I may be a little more confident now and yes, I am pursuing after my dreams with everything that is within me, but you need to know something. I don’t always feel confident. I definitely don’t always feel like I have it all together. I don’t always feel like chasing down that dream or writing that blog post, sending that email and so on. It takes guts, courage, determination, tears, passion, consistency and a whole lot of grace to stay the path. Not every day is a rosy, magical experience. But it is an adventure. It is process, process, process and growth, learning, experience, self-discovery and character building and so much more.

So what on earth am I getting at here? Why am I sharing all of this?

Maybe you relate to exactly what I’m saying. Maybe you’re stuck in fear-paralysis right now and have no idea how to get out. You feel like you’re in a glass box. You can see everything and everyone around you doing what they love and being paid for it - and they’re actually happy. You so desperately want to break out of the box but you also think it’s somewhat safe inside. It’s almost become easy and you’re just starting to get comfortable. But you can’t deny that niggling feeling that keeps coming back, reminding you of those dreams and visions that are deep inside of you waiting to come out.

I want you to know  there is a way out of the box. I want you to know you can be courageous in the midst of fear and breakthrough it. That you can start to live a life full of purpose and meaning and do what you love - all you were created to be, do and achieve! It might sound simple, but the follow-through is the hardest part. I know this is possible because I am a living example of what it’s like to be trapped inside the box, and to finally break free and start living in freedom, confidence and passion.

We were never meant to settle for a mediocre life. You for created a full, abundant life! Seriously! The Creator of the universe had planned long before you were thought into existence for you wake up everyday loving who you are and your purpose on this earth - unashamed, unafraid and undaunted. So over the next couple weeks let’s talk about fear - how to recognise it, how to reject the thoughts and lies it speaks to us and walk in the fullness of love that we were created for.  

 

Chloe xo

 

The Fear Of Missing Out

 

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It's a real thing... but we can overcome.

Throughout high school I suffered a serious case of approval-addiction. I would give anything to please anyone. I would do things that sometimes didn't align with my convictions or core beliefs just to get in with the 'Cool Crowd'. On top of that I had this extreme fear that if I said 'no' to something - such as an event, a party or anything where anyone I deemed 'important' was going to be there - I felt as though I was going to miss out on a grand opportunity in my life or that my world had dramatically shifted all because of one trivial event. I wanted to be able to do everything.

I thought that these things, places and people shaped the course of my life and if I didn't say yes to these moments, I wouldn't find the fulfilment, joy, peace and all those other beautiful things we so often seek after. My life was in there hands so to speak, well, at least I thought it was.

The added problem to my approval-addiction was that I am naturally an extroverted person. I love being around others, being the life of the party, and it energises me to be with groups of people. This what not a good combination for someone who had a fear of missing out on 'the best' opportunities or moments. What if there were two events planned on the same night that I was invited to? What if I say yes to one thing but then 'something better' seemed to have come up? I was wayward, unstable and constantly fretting that I would miss out on something because ultimately, I wasn't secure in my own decision-making and life direction. There was some work that needed to be done within my heart. I did eventually grow out of this phase but it wasn't without struggle.

Somewhere around the same time that I was graduating from High School, I met a woman at a church service meeting who spoke some words of encouragement to me. She said many things but I remember her distinctly saying to me 'You will not miss out. You will not miss out.' Soon after I received revelation on this...

Saying 'no' to some things in your life will set you up for the better 'yes' in your life.

I realised what I wish I could have learnt many years ago and saved myself from a bunch of stress, drama and pain. It is impossible to say 'yes' to everything. What is even more liberating from this truth? You don't have to say 'yes' to everything!

Do you ever find yourself fatigued and can't quite figure out why? You constantly wake up tired but you are getting a decent night's sleep? You can be easily agitated or frustrated? You feel as though you have some free time during your week but it all of sudden gets snatched from you and you have no idea where it went?

This was me. I so desperately wanted to be able to do everything that I was unable to do any of it productively (or wholeheartedly). This revisited me a couple of weeks ago as there was just so much going on in my life. I was asking myself (and God) 'why do I feel so close to the edge!?'. I was gently reminded that I had started slipping back into my old ways. Which is why I felt compelled to write this post.

Don't allow others to put endless demands on you, listen to your inner voice.

What are you doing that you don't need to be doing? Are you walking in the direction of where you want to be going? Are you giving time to what really matters?

These are all questions I ask myself. I don't want to be doing anything that is distracting me from where I need to be or from my purpose. I want to be intentional about my time and I want to give it first to people and things that matter.

Figure out what is really important to you and this will set a compass for your life's course. I believe this can change from time to time. We have seasons of particular focus and then some others where there is more room to breathe. Ultimately, you should have an over-arching 'Yes' that determines your life-direction.

You're biggest yes will determine what you say no to.

And remember - all the times you said 'no' to something like, say a party so you could be at your family dinner or 'no' to drinks with the girls so you could be prepared for your exam the next day - remember that you will live in the benefits of these moments and choices in the days, months and years to come. You are sowing into people and places, not to mention yourself and I believe that is building for you a strong, intentional and purposeful foundation.

I'll say it again sweet girl, you will not miss out...

 

How Do You Know if He is 'The One'?

 
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It's not what you think

Photo by Linda Truong Photography

The major question on every woman's lips when things start getting serious. A phrase that gets thrown around a lot in Hollywood and well, basically anywhere. Is there a real answer to this question? Is this a myth? Maybe it's all gut-feeling and so called intuition. Whatever  it is, let me give you some hard earned wisdom and truth I have learned on the subject.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS 'THE ONE'.

There. I've said it. Let me relieve you of a lot of stress and self-added pressure by saying there is more than one man out there for you.

Let me put it this way; If there was only one person you were supposed to marry in your life, what happens if that person goes and marries someone else? You then never find your soulmate and your supposed 'Number One' guy has just ruined it for the rest of the world because he married someone else's soulmate and then that person with have to marry someones soulmate and so on and you get the point?

Truth is there are many men to choose from.

YOU KNOW IF HE'S 'THE ONE' IF YOU CHOOSE HIM TO BE SO.

Relationships is all about choice. From family relationships to friends to marriage. Everything you do, say and agree to comes down to a choice you alone made. The man you marry will based on a choice you decided to make for yourself. It won't be out of obligation or pressure but because you chose him to yours. If I didn't make it clear enough let me say it again; who you choose is the who will be 'The One' for you.

To help you make that choice however I believe there is a few qualities and things that need to be up for discussion. Sadly too many girls are rushing into relationships only to get their heart broken or question their own identity over some guy that didn't handle their heart with the utmost care and respect.

I think it's time for us girls to be a little more responsible with our hearts.

We need to take to time to get to know someone before we start planning our Pinterest wedding boards. We need to start treating our hearts as thought they are locked in a treasure chest guarded by many gates. And ladies let me just say, not everyone in your life will get through all the gates. Learn to protect yourself.

So although I don't know what your list of 'The Perfect Man' looks like. I do believe there are three main things you need to consider before you start embarking on the journey of that idea.

These very three questions were asked of me when I was going through a phase of doubt. Ryan and I had discussed the idea of marriage and I was keen... but I wasn't sure. Everything seemed to line up but something held me back from making a decision. Whether is was fear or nerves I knew it had to be settle. So I hope this settles you too.

Photo by Linda Truong Photography

1. Does he love God?

What are his core values? What shapes and motivates him? How deep is his connection to his faith? Maybe this is not applicable for you but definitely something to know and think about before you jump in further.

For my God-loving girls out there, this is a big one. Consider this your the highest core value of your life. If his doesn't match that, you are both starting this relationship on a major imbalance. Consider the cost as someone will always have to pay the price.

2. Does he respect you?

This seems like a no-brainer but seriously, don't date a douche! Understand your worth and value and don't settle for anything less. Here are some ways to know he is disrespectful:

  • He doesn't take interests in your world or interests.
  • He sees you at random times and days (late nights, only on weekend, early mornings).
  • He hardly makes time to see your friends or family.
  • You almost always split the bill or end up paying in full.
  • He makes little to no effort.
  • He doesn't respond well to conflict and often disengages.
  • He puts more emphasis on the physical aspect of the relationship and neglects the emotional and mental.

3. Are you both heading in a similar direction?

Something you want to be sure of is that you are both heading in the same direction in terms of your dreams and career. You want to compliment each other not complicated one another. If you want to pursue a career in acting and he wants to move to Africa and work on the mission field you may want to think about what your futures looks like! I'm not saying that you both need to be working the exact same job but just make sure you have similar vision for the future.

Some other things you may want to consider when choosing him might be:

  • What do your friends and family think about him?
  • How does he treat you in front of his friends?
  • Can you be yourself around him?
  • Is he kind and honest?
  • Do you both encourage each other to be better people?
  • Are you emotional and mentally mature to take on a relationship right now?
  • Do have fun together?

Marriage isn't just a choice. It's choosing the same person a million times. - Danny Silk