The Lord prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

About a year ago, I was right in the middle of a completely unfair circumstance. It was one of those rare moments in time when I actually didn’t do anything wrong, yet I was getting hit on every side.

This wasn’t a TV show. It wasn’t a novel. There wasn’t some genius storyline behind the drama. It was my real life. And if I’m honest, it sucked.

It was really difficult to not focus on all the ways life was beating me up. I was getting screwed. I was losing money, relationships, opportunities and respect by no fault of my own. And somehow, I was inevitably the villain.

I lost my job and my best friend. Then I fell to the ground one night and in a matter of days, I lost my health too.

I won’t lie. I was losing faith. Quick.

Then a friend got my attention one day. He reminded me that the Lord was preparing a table for me IN THE PRESENCE of my enemies.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

– Psalms 23:5 NASB

That was a truth I clung to for…well, I’m still clinging to it. For months, it felt like an empty promise as nothing changed. In fact, things got worse in the natural.

But every time I would start to go down the wrong road, I would try to remember to focus on the feast my Heavenly Father was preparing for me rather than the audience watching. I had this visual in my head of sitting at a table on a stage where the Lord was standing and preparing the finest details of an elaborate meal and I was turned away from the table staring at the audience. I was completely missing the point of the show.

Can I tell you why?

Because I’m an Enneagram 3. We like stages because of the audience, not the show. In my illustration, all I’m focused on is what the audience thinks of me. I’m missing that Jesus has a better show than I do.

Thankfully I have a crew that keeps me on track, and a Jesus who keeps improvising His way through my missteps.

I built a habit out of turning away from the audience and putting my feet under the table and watching intently as God continues to prepare a table for me. The more I force myself to make that movement, the more natural it becomes.

Actually, now I just sit with my elbows on the table and my face in my palms as I watch Him do what He does best.

I have the best job I’ve ever had. And I’m good at it.

I’m surrounded by super cool people who help sharpen me and build me up for the kingdom work I’m doing.

I am in love with the role I get to play in the stories my church facilitates for Jesus.

I am healthier and stronger than I’ve probably ever been.

I’m closer to my dreams.

I’m living my very best life.

See? When we let our Lord be the show and captivate the audience, it takes all the pressure off of us. We get to just rest at His table that He intentionally prepared for us.

He not only provided for me in a season of lack. He actually replenished everything the enemy stole from me and blessed me exponentially in the process.

I went from paying my bills to paying my bills, saving, giving, paying off debt and investing.

I went from a job where I was capped out to a career in an industry I love with unlimited growth and income potential.

I went from being a chronically scaled Crossfit athlete to a thriving runner and athlete getting coached by the best.

I went from serving for my church in a role where I had become as good as I was ever going to get to a new role in a new capacity that allows me to grow, develop and use my God-given gifts to make a real difference in the hearts and lives of those I touch.

I am the closest I’ve ever been to seeing my blood, sweat and tears on real pages sitting on bookshelves all over America – and the book tour of course!

I went from being able to see less than 50 percent out of both eyes combined to now being able to see 100 percent out of both eyes, and we are starting to talk about the possibility of driving again.

I could go on….but you get the idea. The God of the universe knows what He is doing. Instead of us being so focused on the audience – the enemy – we have got to gaze at God and glance at life.

All I want is all you’ve got.

In John 2, Jesus asked servants to fill water pots at a wedding that was out of wine. They filled six water pots up with water TO THE BRIM. Once they were finished, He turned their water into the finest wine of the day.

God has consecrated this idea in my heart lately.

It’s easy to give God the best when things look good. Last year, I wrote about this same idea but I was in a very different season of life. I was living the dream. Everything was going right. I had zero complaints.

But this year has been a different story. It’s been hard. And at times, I’ve felt hopeless. All I’ve been able to see on most days is that we are out of wine at the wedding and I’m not sure filling waterspouts is going to do anything except waste time, water and energy.

But in the last month or so, God has arrested my heart. He’s asked me to just simply do what He asks and trust Him, just like Mary and those servants did at the wedding.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a new TV show out and one of his favorite lines in that show is,

“All I want is all you’ve got.”

The Rock is onto something there. That’s all God wants to.

When we bring Him our best efforts, He does amazing things with them. He turns water into wine. He saves the day.

Think about those servants. How do you think their faith was impacted when they saw God bless their best efforts? I know when I remember God’s faithfulness in my life, I walk out on the other side stronger than ever. Why? I’ve seen yet again how powerful God is, and how true His promises are.

Whatever you’re doing today, fill it to the brim. Do it like you’re doing it for Jesus. Even if it feels ridiculous. Even if it fills like a waste. Do it, and do it well.

It’s important to note that the waterpots Jesus asked the servants to fill were heavy. It would have likely taken at least two people for every pot, if not more.

If you have a writing project God has asked you to fill it to the brim on and you need a little help with that, join me tomorrow for Winning at Writing Projects: A 7-day email course for writers.

It all starts TOMORROW! This free email course that will help you win at writing. No matter where you are in your project, it will help get you a few steps further in your process.

You will get seven jam-packed emails from me, along with access to a private Facebook group and one-on-one access to me for consultations for your individual projects. 

Registrations ends TODAY. This will never be free again, so don’t miss out! Sign up here. 

“Do you love people enough that you are willing to be put in the fire for them?”

Chances are, you have a memory of something you were dared to do that probably wasn’t very smart. 

Maybe it was a dare to jump off a cliff into shallow water in the dark, or to sneak onto the roof of the neighbor’s house. 

I found myself in this position often and to be honest, my answer more often than not was “YES!” Why? Because I’m an Enneagram 3 and we will always rise to the challenge out of our desperate need to impress the people around us with our performances. 

When I was a kid, there was a TV show and one of the recent episodes had a scene where a bunch of high school kids had been dared to walk over hot coals. I don’t remember the show, or the reason for this scene. I just remember my friends thought it would be a great idea to re-enact it. I took my shoes and socks off. I was ready to make this thing happen and be the hero of my friend group. 

(Side note: If you feel you need to do stupid things to impress your friends so they will like you, find new friends.)

As the coals heated up and I saw the red ember around the coals, I heard a little whisper of logic in my head. And then as I started to put my left foot into the first step, it hurt enough for me to decide maybe this wasn’t a good challenge to “rise” to. 

It’s a good thing logic won that night because that probably would have burned my feet really bad, and there was no real purpose to walking across fire. 

A friend of mine asked me a question a few months ago that has kept me awake at night more times than I can count.

“Do you love people enough that you are willing to be put in the fire for them?”

He was referring to the dream God has placed on my heart. The one to help people find confidence in who they are as children of God so they can be all He has created and called them to be. 

Like when I was an overly-confident 15-year-old idiot, my answer is a quick and confident,

“YES!”

But then as I get closer to the fire and the soles of my feet start to feel the heat, I start to listen to logic again. 

As I begin to get disappointed or feel the burn of haters or see the effects of failure, it’s easy to convince myself that stepping into the fire is a bad idea. I start to listen to the voice of reason. The voice that tells me I can help people some other way. I can honor God and love His people, no matter what I do with my days. That I should play it safe.

But see, that’s not the deal God made with me. He said, “Get in the fire if you really want to help people.” 

Making a decision to get in the fire is asking for the heat. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be uncomfortable. 

But you know what will happen every single time you and I choose to get in the fire to fulfill what God has for us? We will get stronger. Our stories will get better. The ways in which we can help people will become brighter. 

The fire is absolutely worth it. I don’t want to do God’s plan for my life any other way, especially not the logical one that makes sense. That’s not God’s way.

So I think it’s time I stop losing sleep over my friend’s question. I’m running right into the fire. 

Do you really want to help people?

Do you want to help people badly enough that you’re willing to get in the fire for them?

Because you will. God will use that fire to refine you and mold you into the version of you He will use to help the people you’re meant to serve. 

And every time you start to lose faith and try to get out of the fire before it’s your time, it will be all that much more painful to step back into the fire. It’s better if we choose to walk into the flames with confidence and the resolve that we’re going to stay there for the duration.

I talked earlier this week about how being in the fire with Jesus is the safest place for you to be.  Check that post out here. 

If getting into the fire for you means getting started (again) on a writing project, join me Monday (July 22) for Winning at Writing Projects: A 7-day email course for writers.

We will cover big ideas, practical steps and lots more. No matter where you are in your process, I guarantee there will be something for you to learn to get you a few steps from where you are. 

It’s completely free but it will never be free again so don’t miss out on this opportunity. Sign up TODAY. 

What you will get:

  • An email from me everyday next week (July 22-29) with ideas on writing, including practical steps to move along in your process and things I actually do in my own writing process. 
  • Access to a private Facebook community where we can all learn from and encourage one another through the week and beyond. 
  • One-on-one access with me if you have specific questions or need help getting unstuck on your personal projects. 
  • An invitation to give me constructive feedback at the end of the course so I can continually enhance this course for others after you.

Registration ends in 24 hours on July 21 at 11:59 CST, and the first email goes out on Monday. I’ll see you there!

Day 14 of 730. 716 blog posts to go!

Stop wasting time.

I have been more aware of some startling things on the Internet lately.

Do you know how much time people spend arguing with strangers on the Internet about politics and religion? Or filling up community Facebook pages with complaints about every single solitary thing they can think of? Or taking pointless quizzes and playing games? Or rambling on about how terrible their lives are and how all of their problems are unsolvable?

It’s actually really sad to me how much precious time people waste when they could be creating something new and productive.

What do online arguments accomplish? Nothing

What do pointless games and quizzes accomplish? Nothing.

What do complaints accomplish? Nothing

Absolutely nothing.

MILLIONS of people are wasting what precious hours a day they have on doing absolutely nothing every single day.

And for every moment they waste, we are losing out on their contributions to the world. Millions of books, blogs, podcasts, songs, software applications, photographs, artwork, businesses, nonprofits, talks and other masterpieces are never created each year because people are wasting their time arguing on Twitter and complaining on Facebook.

What a waste.

What if we did our part to stitch the world back together by putting our time and creative energy into something that actually mattered?

Join me Monday for a FREE email course that will help you win at writing. No matter where you are in your project, this 7-day course will help get you a few steps further in your process. I dare you to say yes.

You will get seven jam-packed emails from me, along with access to a private Facebook group and one-on-one access to me for consultations for your individual projects.

Registrations ends in TWO days. This will never be free again. Don’t miss out! Sign up here.

Day 13 of 730. 717 blog posts to go!

The safest place to be in this world is in the fire with Jesus.

Let’s talk about fire today.

Here’s some context about Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, which had taken over Jerusalem. They had acquired all the Israelites, but the king had the bright idea to not let a good thing go to waste so he scoured the Israelites for the brightest Jews to bring back with him to his place in Babylon. That’s how Daniel was discovered.

Daniel was chosen because he could interpret the king’s dreams. He went from a slave in captivity in Jerusalem to sitting at the king’s table in Babylon overnight. But then he recruits three of his buddies and they get to come along for the ride as well.

Everything was going well. King Nebuchadnezzar liked these boys. Things were good.

But there’s always some haters. The powers to be went to the king one day and informed him the three boys weren’t bowing down to this giant statue made of gold in the center of Babylon as the king had ordered. He called the boys in and I imagine he tried to coax them into it a little bit. The bible doesn’t tell us all the side conversation here but I just like to believe Nebuchadnezzar was like, “Listen guys, I like you all. Just do what you’re supposed to do. Bend a knee to the statue and keep the peace or I’m going to have to make an example out of you.”

One of my favorite moments in all of scripture happens in Daniel 3:18

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.

Boomshakalaka!

I love their confidence. They loved the king. He had given them so much, but they understood that he could take everything from them except Jesus.

Nebuchadnezzar was obviously an Enneagram 8 and saw this as a challenge. He told his people to fire up the furnace and actually told them to turn it up seven times hotter than usual, just to add insult to injury.

Come on guys, you know those boys were scared. It doesn’t matter how confident they were, they had to be questioning what on earth they were giving up.

But have you ever heard that voice in your head that just tells you to “keep the peace?” It’s tempting to protect all you’ve worked for – whether it be reputation, relationships, resources, etc., especially if all you have to do is blend in and follow the rules.

The boys were thrown into the fire. And God didn’t put the fire out.

If you stop there, it sounds like a pretty depressing story. It sounds like God forgot about them. He left them hanging.

But then….

There was a fourth person in the fire.

Jesus.

Jesus never says we won’t walk into fire. In John 16:33, He tells us,

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Instead, Jesus meets the boys in the fire. And while He warns us that we WILL have tribulations in this life, He also assures us that He will always meet us in the fire.

What if Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego had decided to bend a knee and do what the king they actually respected told them to do? They had everything they could ever need or want. They were “set” for life.

They would have missed out on meeting Jesus.

Too many God-given dreams are thwarted because we get a little success and then we spend the rest of our lives making compromises and trying to protect it.

What if we all lived our lives like the three boys did? Where we were unafraid and unashamed to put God first every single time? Where no amount of success or privilege was tempting enough to compromise on the reverence and love we should hold for only God?

Most likely, you aren’t bowing down to golden statues, but maybe you’re so engrossed in Instagram in the mornings, you miss the sunrise. Or maybe you are obsessed with finding a spouse that you’ve stopped relentlessly chasing after God’s heart. Or maybe you want to build you business so bad that you have forsaken His kingdom.

More than at any other time in history, we are bombarded with people, things and ideas that are keeping us from being exactly where God wants us. When we follow God, we choose to be thrown into the fiery furnace.

The safest place in this world for you and I to be is in the fire with Jesus.

If God has given you a calling, playing it safe and not being willing to fight for that dream might as well be a slap in the face. His plan for your life involves fire. Dreams take work. Work means trials and tribulations.

Fiery furnaces create champions. You will always be stronger for what you’ve been through.

The story He is writing through you is yours. It’s time to own it. Take some risk and step into the fire to meet Jesus. He’s waiting for you.

Is the calling God has placed on your life a writing project? Join me next week (July 22-29) for Winning at Writing Projects: A 7-day email course for writers.

We will cover big ideas, practical steps and lots more. No matter where you are in your process, I guarantee there will be something for you to learn to get you a few steps from where you are.

It’s completely free but it will never be free again so don’t miss out on this opportunity. Sign up TODAY.

What you will get:

  • An email from me everyday next week (July 22-29) with ideas on writing, including practical steps to move along in your process and things I actually do in my own writing process. 
  • Access to a private Facebook community where we can all learn from and encourage one another through the week and beyond. 
  • One-on-one access with me if you have specific questions or need help getting unstuck on your personal projects. 
  • An invitation to give me constructive feedback at the end of the course so I can continually enhance this course for others after you.

Registration ends on July 21 at 11:59 CST, and the first email goes out on Monday. I’ll see you there!

Day 12 of 730 – 718 blog posts to go!

Never give up.

Never. Give. Up.

Five months ago, I was disappointed because my coach said made me take a break for a few days from the gym while I saw a cardiologist and had a few tests run.

A few days turned into a few weeks. A few weeks turned into a few months. A few months turned into almost half a year.

Don’t think for a minute that disappointment ever left me. I tried to sugarcoat it. I tried to stay positive, trust God and respect the process. But really, I was always just really disappointed.

The timing sucked. Coach and I had just discussed a new season in my fitness journey that week and I was on fire and ready to take on all kinds of new goals. I even posted a blog post about it the same day my health went sideways. Check it out here.

I felt like a racehorse that just left the gate, only to hit a mud pit 20 yards in. Every step took more effort than the last. I felt like I was going nowhere fast.

I had a coach who wouldn’t let me give up. He made me keep getting up everyday and doing whatever the next step is. The next appointment. The next test. Rest, nutrition and water in-between.

I spent the majority of these last five months not worried about my health and safety at all. I was worried about one thing, and one thing only. My active lifestyle. I went into every appointment and begged every doctor to give me a clearance letter. I even convinced two doctors to give them to me, even though I clearly was in no shape to resume normal activity.

I was frustrated for most of this season because I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I wanted to do it yesterday.

I finally got the test I needed last week and got a diagnosis this morning.

Can I tell you guys something?

I’m incredibly glad we never gave up. Returning to my active lifestyle is going to be so much more fun now, not having to worry about all the things it could have been. Not only that, but how much more gratifying is a reward you have to wait for?

I now have a diagnosis, with a treatment plan and a guarantee I’ll get back to SAFELY living my very best active lifestyle in a matter of weeks and feel good doing it.

So today, I have two very simple things to say.

  1. Have people in your corner who won’t let you give up on what really matters. It can be your spouse, best friend, neighbor, pastor, boss, a mentor, a parent or your physical therapist. It really doesn’t matter who it is. But just find some people who won’t just go with whatever you want to do, but will challenge you to invest in what really matters.
  2. Never give up. Doesn’t matter how many hours or dollars you feel like you have wasted. Trust the process one more time. I talk about not giving up on your goals a lot, but make sure you’re not giving up on reaching your goals THE RIGHT WAY. Don’t cut corners. You’ll miss the journey, and you might not even end up at your intended destination.

I’m an author and an athlete, so sometimes I write about fitness stuff. What’s your writing goal? Book? Blog? Business plan? Website? Sermon? Screenplay? Regardless of what it is, I want to help. You still have until a few more days to join the Winning at Writing e-course. No matter where you are on your writing project, you’ll get practical steps to take you a little further in your process.

What you will get:

  • An email from me everyday next week (July 22-29) with ideas on writing, including practical steps to move along in your process and things I actually do in my own writing process.
  • Access to a private Facebook community where we can all learn from and encourage one another through the week and beyond.
  • One-on-one access with me if you have specific questions or need help getting unstuck on your personal projects.
  • An invitation to give me constructive feedback at the end of the course so I can continually enhance this course for others after you.

It’s completely free, but it will never be free again. You know what that means? Get signed up. Now.

Sign up here.

Day 11 of 730. 719 to go!

It’s time to win at writing.

If you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of big dreams and hustle. I keep finding myself in the crosshairs of ideas and clarity. 

You know what happens when I find myself there?

I freeze. 

Perfectionism overwhelms me. The wrong voice wins. And instead of reaching my audience with the great content I’ve produced, it sits in a folder on my desktop that might as well be named “Great content nobody will ever see.” 

I recently took a time audit on how much time I spend writing with the intention for people to see it. I found out some startling statistics. For every 45 hours I spend writing, someone else sees 750 words of content. That’s ridiculous. 

And the saddest takeaway from that data is that it proves I don’t believe in my own message enough to practice what I preach. 

My brand is theoretically based on confidence and authenticity. 

Except I don’t share the authentic content I come up with from a place of confidence. 

So how can I expect you – my audience – to be inspired to pursue all you have been created and called to be with confidence because of my story if I won’t share my story with you?

In a recent conversation with my editor, we discussed that I don’t share content because once I hit send/publish, I lose control of another piece of my heart. 

Control. 

That’s the problem. 

Actually, if I’m honest, the real issue is the ILLUSION of control. 

See? I’ve spent my life having very little control of most things. So how do I cope with that? I give myself the illusion of control. 

I have convinced myself that I can still make people believe the narrative that I write great content as long as they never actually see it. I control the perception. I also convince myself that all my ideas are incredible ideas because I haven’t kicked them out there to see if they fly yet. 

Guys, I know how stupid this sounds. Trust me. 

I also know that if we are all honest, I’m not the only one. 

How many of you are out there not living in the middle of your God-given dream because you’re afraid that if you release whatever it is inside of you to the world, you will no longer have control over it. You’re afraid of the criticism, the rejection, the failure. 

So what if we jump off the cliff together? The world needs our ideas. The world needs to see us hustle after our dreams. The world needs our blog posts, songs, podcasts, videos, DIY projects, recipes, online courses, businesses, books, designs, inventions or whatever other awesome content we have to bring to the table. 

The world needs it. But so do you and I. For instance, I know I was created to write books and run races. It’s the passions God gave me to do my part to stitch the world back together. You have your own passions. If we aren’t living in the fullness of pursuing what sets our souls on fire, we aren’t living in the full capacity of the dreams God gave us. We aren’t stewarding what we have been given well. We aren’t honoring Him. We aren’t doing our part to sow into His kingdom. 

So how do we do that? How do we surrender the illusion of control?

We get quiet with and listen to our Creator. Find your version of a prayer closet. For me, somewhere outside with my ear buds in, listening to worship music. I get a bottle of water. I close my eyes and I just let God talk to me. That’s an important step. I believe we miss so much in prayer because we spend all the time talking. I try to spend intentional time in silence, solitude and surrender with Father God and let Him just love me. 

We tap into the best version of ourselves. Find whatever it is that makes you better. For me, it’s consistent personal, professional and spiritual development. I read and listen to a lot from people who are doing the things I want to do. I can’t be the best version of myself by myself. I purposefully surround myself with people who force me to be better than I think I am capable of. It all started a few years back when I started calling them “Team Felicia” but it stuck. Team Felicia loves me exactly where I am but too much to let me stay here. They refuse to let me settle for good enough. They daily remind me that mediocrity is selfish. 

We spend time planning things with specificity. Get a notebook out and write the plan down. I sat down this morning with my notebook (I use Evernote). Right now, my main project is just to post a new blog post every day for 730 days. That’s a lot of new blog post topics, and I’m already feeling the pressure of running out of ideas on Day 10. This morning, I created an editorial calendar for my blog for the next thirty days along with some minor projects I want to throw out to the world and see what happens. My plan may change as time goes on, but at least I won’t find myself at a loss for ideas on any given day. 

We celebrate when we win. Most likely, your goal is YOUR goal. If it isn’t, let’s find a new goal you are actually passionate about. When you create your own goals, you’re the boss. That means you get to decide what counts and how to celebrate it. During my 730 day blog challenge, I am celebrating every published blog post with an X on my calendar. It’s a little thing, but I love streaks, and then I get to watch the data roll in from my website and all my social media profiles as I watch that content find its way onto screens of people everywhere. I celebrate certain analytics with a cup of my favorite coffee from Honest Roasters, or with an hour by the pool, listening to an audiobook. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate your win, just make sure you do. It’s one of the most important things you will do. It’s not enough to just celebrate the beginning or the end. You have to keep the momentum up in the middle. That’s where it really counts. 

I want to invite you to join me for a 7-day email course all about winning at your writing projects. I know the process can be tricky to get started or to know exactly how to make a plan.

This course is only seven days long and will take you a few steps down the road from wherever you are. We will cover the basics of how to win at writing like finding what to write about, more focused time to write, how to get your content in front of more people and so much more.

It’s completely free, but registration ends Sunday, July 21 at 11:59 CST. Sign up here and the first email will come at you Monday, July 22.

Once you’re signed up, be sure to join the private Facebook community (you’ll get an email with the link after you sign up), and introduce yourself.

This is the ONLY time this course will ever be free. It’ll cost you real dollars next time so don’t miss out, and make sure to invite your friends to join you too because doing things with friends is more fun!

Day 10 of 730. 720 days to go!

Simple Gratitude #1

Sometimes, I just want to say thank you.

Here’s my simple gratitude list for today:

I’m in awe and wonder of a God that loves me infinitely more than I can even imagine. That not only sent His son to take my place on the cross and rise again for me, but also left me with Holy Spirit and longs for relationship with me. One of my favorite characteristics about God right now is His creativity. Looking around, I’m just infatuated with how beautiful the world around me is, and that He created it for no other real purpose other than for us to enjoy looking at the world we live.

I’m on my knees in gratitude for my community. I don’t even know where they all come from but there are so many people who love me so deeply, so truly. People I can laugh with and cry with. People I can lean on. People who have my back even when I don’t know it, and who will fight for me in ways I don’t even know to ask for.

I’m beyond words for the beauty of my story. And that my past doesn’t have to be my future. That I get to transform the pain into a huge purpose to reach and inspire others facing the same lies I had to kick in the teeth.

I’m also thankful for sunsets, dogs, fresh vegetables, coffee, freedom, technology, air conditioning, writing, worship music and nurses who can put an IV in like a champion.

Gratitude will change your life every time. If you need a shift in perspective this week, stop and think of three things you’re thankful for. I promise that it will change things.

What are you thankful for today?

Day 9 of my 730 day blog challenge.

Are you taking care of yourself well?

Living a well-balanced life takes work, friends. One of the very practical things I had to learn in the last few years is how to take care of myself.

Everyone has their own ideas of what self-care looks like. Some will say it’s about sleep and exercise. Others say it is spending time in silence and solitude. Spending time with friends and family. Practicing hobbies and other mentally-stimulating activities.

The truth is everyone is right. In as few of words as possible, self-care is taking care of yourself well.

Physically, that looks like taking care of your body.

Sleep isn’t just about getting “enough” sleep. It’s about getting good quality sleep. Here’s some really simple (but not so easy) tips for good quality sleep:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday.
  • Get an old-fashioned alarm clock and sleep with your phone in a different room.

I have an app on my Apple watch that automatically tracks when I am sleeping and the quality of my sleep. Every day, my phone tells me how much sleep I got, but that number doesn’t matter. What really matters is how much QUALITY sleep I got. It’s backed by a month of data that the days I am not operating at my optimum are the days I don’t have a sufficient amount of quality sleep.

Physical self-care also includes getting adequate exercise and fueling our bodies well with well-balanced meals consisting of premium foods. If you have four hours a day to scroll through social media, you have 30 minutes to hit a gym and another 30 minutes to spend preparing and eating quality food instead of drive-thru junk.

Mentally, that looks like taking care of your mind.

You don’t need a diagnosis to need to take care of your mind. Mental health is for everyone. Here’s some practical tips for treating your mind well.

  • Spend adequate time stimulating your mind with constructive hobbies.
  • Stay curious and spend time reading, asking questions and discovering new things.

One of the most critical things I do for mental health is meet with a therapist on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be a therapist. Maybe it’s your pastor or your dad. Whoever it is, let it be someone who will love you right where you are fiercely but will also love you too much to let you stay that way.

Relationally, that looks like taking care of your heart.

Relational health means investing in spending quality time with your friends and family. It means going on date nights with your spouse long after you’re married and intentionally calling your long-distance friends for no reason. It means giving your kids your undivided attention when they need you.

Here’s some practical tips for practicing good relational self-care.

  • Plan social outings, but also leave room for spontaneous hangs.
  • Diversify your social circles with lots of different people from different settings and backgrounds.

Because I spent so many years sacrificing my own heart and health to take care of others, I have to be very intentional to let others be my friend as much as I am theirs. The reality is none of us are an island. We need to be poured into if we want to have anything to pour into others.

Spiritually, that looks like taking care of your soul.

Spiritual health means investing in your relationship with God and developing in your assurance as His son or daughter. This comes with time and trust. Just like any relationship, the more we invest in our walk with God, the stronger that bond will be. The stronger our walk is, the stronger our faith will be. The stronger our faith is, the easier it will be to surrender what we cannot control to God and approach life from a place of calmness and clarity.

Spiritual self-care isn’t just about prayer and reading our Bibles, although those are great spiritual disciplines and will absolutely help in our becoming spiritually healthy. Here’s some practical tips for developing solid spiritual self-care.

  • Spend some intentional time every single day taking in God’s goodness. Look at the sunset, watch the birds, listen to the babbling brook by your house. Appreciate the magic in God’s creativity.
  • Make gratitude lists daily. Live in a state of appreciation for all God has and continues to do for you and those in your life.

I’ve developed a few routines that bring me closer to Jesus on a constant basis. I spend time every single day in prayer, but I actually spend a portion of that prayer time in complete silence. I might play some soft worship music in the background but the point is to sit in complete silence and solitude and let God love me. I imagine sitting by Him with His arm around me and he’s just speaking life into me. He’s admiring me and telling me how much He loves me and has a plan for my life far greater than I can even imagine.

Let’s work toward taking care of ourselves so we can take care of those we love better. And then let’s take a shot at loving one another better.

I’ve shared some of the things I do for self-care in this post but some others I do on a regular basis are below. What do you do for self-care?

  • I love spending time in coffee shops. I will spend way too much money on a cup of coffee as often as I can just so I can sit and write in coffee shops. Sometimes, I will invite others to join me. But more often than not, I’m by myself and I have been known to spend 12 hours in a coffee shop before. More than once. On the days I do, I am filled up.
  • I’m a writer so I love to just sit and spill all my thoughts out on a blank canvas. About 98 percent of what I write never meets anyone else. I just enjoy the process of writing. Why? Because it allows me to get my thoughts out of my own head and brings me to a place of calmness and clarity.
  • Meal prep helps me to be very intentional in fueling my body properly. I used to pay someone else to prep for me, then my nutritionist taught me what I should actually be putting into my body. Now I enjoy the process, and the food actually tastes better because I cooked it. I’ve actually developed a love for trying new things and seeing how tasty I can make the healthiest foods.
  • I love to read, listen to podcasts and watch talks/sermons online. I listen to audiobooks while I’m in the shower and cooking. I listen to podcasts when I’m exercising. I follow a lot of leaders, entrepreneurs, authors, etc online and I enjoy keeping up with their latest content.
  • Serving others feels me up. I have been known to get this out of balance and serve others more than I serve myself, but at the very root of my serving spirit, it feels me up. Serving others allows me to get outside of myself and feel good about making someone else’s life easier.
  • About once a week during the summer, I enjoy spending a bit by the pool. I might spend 20 minutes or a few hours, but I always try to soak up some sun. The sun actually gives us Vitamin D, which will always make us feel better.
  • Lately, I’ve learned that dogs fill me up. If you have pets, you know what spending time playing or cuddling with them can do for your overall emotional well-being. I’ve actually started house-sitting on a fairly regular basis just so i can spend time with dogs. Dogs release all the endorphins!

Are you taking care of yourself well?

Dreams are nothing more than wishes unless backed by a willingness to invest and trust in the process.

Understanding the root of why we do, or want to do, something is critical to knowing we are operating with intentionality.

Team Felicia likes to play this game with me often:

When I say I feel a certain way, or I want to do something, the person on the other side of me will ask, “why?”

And once I’ve answered that question, they’ll ask why again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

What my therapist (or whoever is asking me) is trying to get me to do is get to my root why.

Because once we can understand my fundamental motivation, we can assess if I’m operating from a healthy place. Or even from where I want to be.

Sometimes I find that I feel a certain way just because I think I’m supposed to feel a certain way. Or that I want to do something because I want to prove myself to people who don’t matter.

But sometimes, we uncover something magical. We find a piece of me I never knew existed. It’s like digging for treasure in bedrock sometimes.

A few weeks ago, my fitness coach asked me to do this same exercise to get to my why for my fitness goals. It took days but we finally got there.

Because I love the adrenaline rush that happens when I do something I didn’t know I could, and do it well. I love pushing myself beyond mediocre and into excellence. I love to accept the challenge, and prove I’m better than the challenge. I want to prove to myself and the world that diagnoses and prognoses are for chumps and overcoming obstacles is for champs. I want to inspire other people with the simple truth that they were created for so much more than the “good enough” life and my avenue to do that is to share my journey of finding confidence through fitness – that if I can do it, they can too.

Since then, I haven’t needed extrinsic motivation to do the things I know I need to do to build toward my goals. I haven’t even needed accountability. After a year of fighting to not do things I don’t particularly enjoy like strengthening exercises and stretching or sleeping enough, I actually look forward to doing those things every single day now. What changed? I got to my fundamental motivation, wrote it down and I wake up every single day, read it and can’t wait to follow the plan and build closer to doing the things I want to do.

While I was doing that exercise for Coach, I was also having the same conversation with my editor about the fundamental motivation for another dream on my heart. It didn’t take as long as the fitness goals process but I discovered a beautiful why for my goals of publishing NY Times bestsellers, speaking on huge stages and ministering to a broad audience.

We often fall in love with the idea of a goal, or the finish line of a goal. But we don’t really want that thing (for the right reasons anyway) if we don’t WANT the process.

I’m not saying we absolutely have to love the mundane of the process every single day, all the time. But what if we did? What if we loved the bricks and drywall of our homes as much as we loved the finished product?

What would that look like?

I can tell you what it looks like for me.

I’ve become a decision-maker and not just a problem-solver.

Problem solvers find the answer to what they need to do. Decision makers do it.

I was known as the personal branding ninja in college. I even almost went to work for a branding agency in St. Louis without even a degree. I have owned businesses in helping people market their businesses.

But I haven’t consistently done the things I know I need to do for myself in ten years. I’ve just been waiting on them to just happen because I just want to get to the finish line.

Unfortunately, we haven’t invented teleportation yet to get us from Point A to Point B without any time or effort. Similarly, we can’t just dream big dreams and then wonder why we aren’t seeing them get realized when we don’t put in the time and effort to get there.

So in the last few weeks, I have actually buckled down. I put together a branding strategy plan, which is fancy terminology for I made a list of what I’m going to do and when. That’s right. I told myself what I have to do, and I’m holding myself accountable to actually doing it.

See, God’s promise is I will help a lot of people through my story. He’s given me the dreams of books and conferences and a tribe of people who go to the ends of the earth to find more people to inspire.

But He won’t just give it to me. I have to put some faith in those promises.

In the same breath as the promise, He’s asked me to be bold. To trust Him. To steward what He has given me right now.

He won’t let me see my dream of a NY Times bestseller published until I can be faithful to just publish on the platform I have right now.

He won’t say yes to me speaking at Catalyst or 10x or Orange or Story or anywhere else until I can first speak to the people in my life right now.

He won’t bless my businistry (business & ministry) with millions until I can love the ONE right in front of me well.

But it’s hard to be faithful in the little things sometimes, right? We want to see results. Big ones. Now.

That’s not how it works.

Remember that why I talked about earlier? I had to sit down with that why and my actual calendar. I had to decide what my real goals are and if what i was spending my days doing was getting me closer to my goals.

The truth is they weren’t. Not really. So something had to change. Or several somethings, actually.

One of those things is I’m going to practice my skill everyday for two solid years. I’m going to work on becoming an expert in my craft by committing to publishing a blog every single day for 730 consecutive days.

I have zero expectations out of the next 730 (723 now) days and blog posts. All i want to do is get better at writing, blogging and being consistent.

If you know me, you know I struggle with consistency. It’s my biggest flaw in many areas of my life. I start off well. I finish well. I struggle in the middle. Why? Because I give up when it isn’t fun anymore. When people stop paying attention. When there’s nothing to celebrate.

But not this time. There might be days I write 300 words at 11:50pm, but it counts and I will still publish every single day.

And I’ll actually do it. Why? Because I know my why, and nobody can argue with that. Not even me.

Because my story changes lives. God gave me this story because He knew it would change family trees and rewrite legacies. He let me survive it all and redeemed the trauma so I could look someone else in the eyes one day and know I gave them hope to overcome whatever they are facing. My story is a mirror that reflects God’s truths about who we are as sons and daughters of a God who loves and treasures everything about us. I live to coach people into the light. I want to be the reason someone reads a book that stops them from giving up, or hears a talk that inspires them to take a proactive step into freedom. I want people to see my story and know that if I can do it, so can they. 

Pick a goal. Find your why. And then ask why again. And again. And again. And again. Then take that information and solve the problem (if there is one) of figuring out what to do to get closer to your goal. Then develop a plan. Then MAKE A DECISION to follow than plan.

Dreams are nothing more than wishes unless backed by a willingness to invest and trust in the process.

%d bloggers like this: