Heavy vs. Healthy

So, I recently found Melissa Toler’s blog, and I was totally on fire, while reading her posts. I can agree with so much of what she shares!

However, she got me to thinking about what I believe, and where I stand, as someone who is working on becoming a “Health & Wellness Coach“.

Heavy vs. Healthy | My problem with HAES & Body Positivity | Life, Unleashed

In one of her posts, Melissa stated, “It’s okay to be fat!” What I think she meant to say, however, was “it’s okay to have a bigger body than what society considers ‘ideal'”. Otherwise, I’d have to disagree with her statement. Here’s why…

If someone has a good amount of “fat” on their body, generally they have some unhealthy habits … and those habits can lead to other health issues (heart disease, Diabetes, etc.). Therefore, it would be wise for those people to learn how to take better care of themselves.

And yet, I also believe that, if you are taking care of yourself by eating well and moving regularly, then yes, it is totally fine to have a body that is bigger than what society would tell you is “ideal” (who says society gets to make the rules, anyway? Am I right?! )

My belief is also that you need to find what works for you, in regards to eating, exercise, and just maintaining your health. It doesn’t have to be complicated — heck, it shouldn’t be complicated!

It’s about taking care of yourself so that you feel good, and can enjoy your life … but not to the extent that this completely overtakes your life, and is all you ever think about. It shouldn’t be causing you to completely obsess.

There are FAR MORE IMPORTANT things in life than weight loss, or how we look.

This also got me to researching more about the “health at every size” (HAES) movement. And, while I agree with a few of its tenets, there are more that I disagree with. Just the title, alone, is all wrong… but, I think they mean well.

What I believe is meant by this title — and maybe by the whole movement — is that women can be beautiful at every size. And, that –to me– is far more accurate. No one can judge someone else based on their size alone (though, sadly, many try). Thin doesn’t necessarily equal “healthy”, just as heavy doesn’t necessarily equal “unhealthy”. Our appearance doesn’t equal our state of health.

My feelings are similar, in regards to the whole “body positivity” movement, as well.

It’s totally a good thing to love yourself, no matter your weight or size!  But (and maybe I’m misunderstanding it, here), to completely ignore the need to eat healthy & move regularly while saying, “I love myself, just how I am!” — that’s not right. You are not loving yourself if you aren’t doing what has been proven to help one maintain good health. You are not truly loving yourself by allowing your body to go to waste in order to prove a point to the powers that be (or, just to those in your circles who may have offended you at some point).

There is no one-size-fits-all method … we all have to find what works for us, personally … and then let go of the “shoulds”. We need to stop apologizing for who we are, and for what we feel is right for us.

Again, my point is solely that you can maintain good health habits without having to become all obsessive about them. I believe that it truly is important to pay attention to our health, and to practice those things that will enable us to live life to the fullest. God calls us to be good stewards of what we’re given — including the bodies we live in, given to us so that we can do His work, here on earth.

After all, we can’t fulfill our purpose (our calling) if we can’t even get our butts off the couch! ;)

 

Practicing Simple Health

If you’ve ever had excess weight to lose, and have started looking for help in this area, you know that there are more than enough gurus out there, willing to tell you how you should do it. A lot of it tends to be very conflicting, too. Do you go low carb, or low protein? Should you eat three meals a day, or six smaller ones? Paleo? Keto? Intermittent Fasting? It’ll make your head spin!

 

practicing simple healthBack in 2005, I found a method called “mindful eating” (also known as “intuitive eating”). And, in putting its principles into practice, I easily dropped twenty-five pounds in just six months. It is the only thing that has worked for me, thus far.

Prior to this, I’d tried other methods, only to give each one up after anywhere from two days to three weeks. I tried Bob Green’s ‘Make the Connection‘ diet, Weight Watchers, First Place for Health, following diabetic exchanges (even though I’m not Diabetic), and others. Nothing worked … until I found intuitive eating.

That’s the thing, though — and I believe it more and more, with each passing day: You have to find what works FOR YOU.

We are all different, with different tastes and preferences, and circumstances that are unique to each of our lives. So it makes sense, then, that no one method or plan is going to fit every single person … at least not in the same way.

After gaining back the weight I’d lost in 2005, and spending the next twelve years frustrated by my inability to repeat that previous success, I realized that I was very tired of chasing the “quick fix” (which doesn’t exist, anyway!). I was tired of trying various other methods, or attempting to add “rules” to the intuitive eating method in order to get it to work for me (again).

I determined to let go of all of the extras, get back to basics, and start practicing what I call “simple health”.

Simple Health, to me, means doing what I know works for me, using the resources I’ve already found and loved, and not making things any more complicated than they need to be.

I know, for example, from my years of trying various things, that I love:

• eating according to the mindful eating method

• walking on my treadmill -or- going to the gym -or- using my Walk Away the Pounds DVDs
(all of which are my preferred methods for exercise)

• having one or two good friends that check in on me, from time to time, to keep me accountable to my goals

• weighing myself only once a week, first thing in the morning

Now, these are just the basics of what works for me… there are other things I take into consideration (like the fact that our bodies –especially as we age– are always changing, and so we need to adapt our methods to go with those changes). I believe we always need to be learning, so I might test out several other things, in addition to these basic, simple practices that I already know work for me. Yet, if I do nothing else, I will –at the bare minimum– maintain my health through these simple things. They are my non-negotiables.

Intuitive Eating encourages us to eat and drink the food and beverages our body enjoys. Mind you, as I’ve been accustomed to eating processed and sugary foods 98% of the time, choosing those things is obviously not the most beneficial way for me to feed my body. As such, I have to use some common sense, and work to train myself to enjoy the healthier options.

Where this becomes problematic for most dieters (and I, too, fall prey to it) is turning this into some kind of hard-and-fast “rule”. For example: “I cannot have any processed or sugary foods ever again!” That is a recipe ((grins)) for disaster!

Related image

Instead, I can choose to start by substituting a meal or two per week — swapping out the processed foods for homemade or real-food options. Then, I can add in one new “from scratch” recipe every week (or even, every other week), to slowly train my tastebuds, and adjust to my new “normal”. At the same time, I can also just not buy a lot of the sugary snacks any more. Much as I’m allowed to have them, I can tell myself that I am choosing not to, because my bigger desire — the longer-term one — is to get my body healthy {see 1 Corinthians 6:12}.

This is also where it helps to really know why I want to be healthy.

My own “why” is so that I can enjoy life to the fullest, and still be capable of fulfilling my God-given purpose, even into my senior years. I don’t want to end up with any obesity-related health issues, like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, dementia, etc. I don’t want poor health to slow me down, or age me prematurely! Instead, I want to enjoy all of the years God chooses to bless me with!

So, I’m choosing to practice simple health in 2018 and beyond. And, you’re invited to join me, if you wish! {Start with a 30-minute Kickstart Session!} I have a free Facebook community, too, where I offer ongoing support & accountability.

Let’s not let the devil continue to steal our futures by keeping us weighed down (literally!). Let’s take back our health & enjoy life to the fullest!

Kickstart Your Health

Are you tired of being overweight, and feeling like you’re missing out on life?

Wouldn’t you love to finally overcome this challenge, without having to suffer on the way to your goal?

30-Minute Kickstart Sessions

Learn how to lose the weight in a simple way!

  • No food restrictions
  • No required exercise programs
  • No counting (of anything!)
  • No specialty foods to hunt down

You can still eat out at restaurants, without making a fuss.

And you don’t have to cook “special” food for yourself, on top of what you’re already making for your family’s dinner.

WHAT YOU GET

Each 30-minute session will take place via video chat (through Zoom, Skype, or Facebook video — Note: if you prefer to do these with the video turned off, that’s completely okay, too).

During these sessions, you and I will talk about your goals, and where you are currently at, and then I will coach you to start figuring out a plan that will work best for you. I will teach you what I’ve learned, from my 18 year struggle to lose the weight, and help you learn the tools and tricks that helped me change my mindset around food and eating.

Along with your coaching session, you will also get access to these bonuses:

+ free, ongoing support & accountability in my private Facebook community

+ a free downloadable workbook to help you figure out what’s been holding you back

 

Sound good? Click on the green “Schedule Session” button, below…

……………………………
* Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor or medical professional before starting any new eating or exercise program. These sessions are not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor if you have any special conditions, such as Diabetes, heart problems, or other medical restrictions.


TESTIMONIALS

Jenn has been a great, ongoing support and encouragement. She is always quick to lend support, and push me toward the goals I have set for myself, even on the days when it feels impossible. Without her as my cheerleader and encourager, I may have given up long ago.
~ Laurel Hill

When Jenn reached out to help me, it was like having someone take all of the clutter in my mind and make it into a neat list. The vast array of knowledge Jenn holds is an incredible gift that she shares with others. I’m glad I found her through a mutual Facebook group, because otherwise I would still be totally lost.
~ Kelly G.

Jenn is a human encyclopedia when it comes to literally anything and everything. I have asked her a question, and she gives me a list of ten resources to go look at. I’ve asked her for some type of resource, and she doesn’t just give you one, she gives you a ton! She gets all sides and angles. I am so appreciative of all the help Jenn has given me and the people in my community.
~ Shawn Quintero

Jenn is a woman with a big heart and big dreams. In a recent conversation with her, it became very clear that she has a heart for God, and a desire to inspire women to embrace their dreams, and live a life that puts Jesus first. I highly recommend that you get to know Jenn.
~ Wadeny Lockhart

Jenn has a resource for just about any subject I’ve spoken with her about. She has a wide-ranging knowledge base, due to her many interests. Jenn is definitely your go-to source for information online.
~ Stan Michael

When I was totally freaked out on what to concentrate on, Jenn helped me realize that a few is sometimes better. I would definitely recommend Jenn. She was very understanding with my problems, and it felt like she was not some distant expert, but someone closer to me who once had the same questions I was now struggling with.
~ Noemi Mate

How Can I Be a Health Coach?

I don’t look like a “health coach”… I barely act like a health coach (yet). So, why do I call myself a Health Coach? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?

Health Coach? | Life, Unleashed

These are the thoughts that run through my head. But, to answer all of the above…

(1) I deeply care about the health & well-being of others, and want to help them (you!), learn what I have learned –and am still learning– about eating, exercise, and mental health

(2) I am a Health Coach because I am actively working on improving my own health and well-being, while I work to “pay-it-forward” and help you to improve yours.

The way I see it, I’m walking this path ALONGSIDE those I’m helping, fully able to relate to and understand where you are at.

I can sympathize with my clients, because I have (& have had) the same kinds of struggles.

However, I have also learned a lot about how to overcome the challenges and obstacles that get in the way of us becoming our healthiest & best selves, and I am passionate about teaching these things to those who are willing to join me (while I continue to practice these things, myself!).

So, yes… I am a Health Coach. I help women (and men, if any choose), to become & own who they were created to be, through health, faith, and fun, by working together to design a plan that is simple & unique to them.

Wanna join me?

e-Book: “Mindfulness & Eating: The Journey to Health & Wellness” by Jenn

Mindfulness & Eating | eBook cover | alifeunleashed.comDescription:  Learn my best tips for how to eat mindfully so you can eat smaller amounts, eat healthier, and shrink down to the size you’re meant to be. You’ll also read about my journey, thus far, on the path to becoming more intentional with my health.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

  • Pregnancy & Putting On the Weight
  • Trying Various Methods for Weight Loss
  • The Book That Changed My Perspective on Dieting
  • Success!
  • Holidays & Relapse

CHAPTER TWO

  • Gaining Knowledge
  • Finding What Works For YOU!
  • Thoughts & Mindset
  • 10 Lessons Learned About Eating & Weight Loss
  • Finding Your “Why”
  • Intuitive Exercise

CHAPTER THREE

  • More Knowledge Gained
  • Letting Go of Excuses
  • Discovering My Identity
  • Leveling Up
  • Decisions
  • A Changed Lifestyle

CONCLUSION

RESOURCES (link to private page on the blog)

How to Renew Your Mind & Change Your Life

Just 30 minutes a day. That’s all it takes. Influencers like Jim Rohn & Tony Robbins will tell you the same thing.

So, 30 minutes of what?

How to Renew Your Mind ... and Change Your Life | Life, Unleashed

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Growing up, I was extremely insecure and timid. I felt unliked and unimportant, and had a very “glass half-empty” outlook on life.

Everything in life seemed to be against me. I was always waiting for that other shoe to drop, so-to-speak.

And yet…

My mom had always encouraged my siblings and I to read. She took us to the bookstore & bought us books. And, we often saw her, Dad –and even Grandma– reading.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was unable to work, due to an injury, so I spent a lot of time reading. And, over the next ten years, as a stay-at-home-mom, I ended up reading more and more, as a way to pass the time.

In 2005, however, things started to shift. Instead of constantly reading fiction, I was now seeking out more and more nonfiction — at that time, mainly health & fitness books. Next, I was reading more Christian Living. Then, books on business, and success, and entrepreneurship, and personal development. Until, one day, I realized that I hardly read fiction at all, any more!

A SHIFT…

Ever since I began reading more nonfiction, there has been a shift in my life. I am no longer negative and seeing life as “out to get me”. I don’t blame others, or circumstances, for how my life is turning out but, instead, I accept responsibility for the choices I’ve made that have lead me to this point.

I’ve begun to submerge myself in positive messages, and to surround myself with people and words that lift me up and give me hope.

I now look at life very optimistically (despite less-than-ideal circumstances), and have an “anything is possible!” mindset.

What changed?

THE KEY

I honestly have to credit the books I read, plus the YouTube videos, and various pages I follow on Facebook that keep me constantly immersed in positive messages. And, obviously, I can’t go without giving credit to God, because I also prayed and asked Him to renew my mindset. He is faithful. ♥

In Network Marketing, we are encouraged to do at least thirty minutes of personal development each day.

Personal Development: the conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge, and improving personal skills.

I believe this is for several reasons:

IT CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Like I’ve mentioned, I went from being very negative and woe-is-me, to having a completely shifted view, or outlook, on life. I am now an optimist!

IT SHOWS YOU WHAT IS POSSIBLE

Before I started to read about others’ lives, and how they went from difficult starts to raving success, I had only my own circumstances (and that of those around me) to look to for an example of what might be possible. Since no one in my circle was all that influential, my expectations were pretty limited.

However, in reading these others’ success stories, I began to see how “small” I’d been thinking, and my ideas for what I could achieve began to expand.

Marianne Williamson quoteIT FORCES YOU TO LEVEL UP

When you surround yourself with those who are optimistic, positive, and driven — even if it’s only by following these people via social media, and/or reading their books, or watching their videos — you can’t help but be inspired to think differently. And, when you think differently, you then act differently.

You can continue to “play small”, but it won’t feel right. You will have an inner restlessness, drawing you towards becoming more, because you’ve now seen that more is possible!

IT CHANGES WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH

When you begin to shift your mindset away from the negative, towards a more optimistic view, you’ll find it really hard to continue to spend any great amount of time with those who are still stuck in that negative thinking. As such, you will begin to seek out, and spend time with (again, perhaps only virtually), others who think positively, and are actively working on themselves and their lives.

IT PUSHES YOU TO PURSUE A BETTER LIFE

When you know better, you can do better. When you know more, you want more.

No longer will you be content to settle for what’s ordinary or expected. Instead, you will believe there’s so much more that is possible, and you will actively pursue that for your life.

And, not only will you want more for yourself, but you will also want to pass it on… to tell others, “Hey! You’ve got to try this!” (just like I’m doing with this post!)

When you’ve experienced something that changes your life in such a big way, you can’t help but tell others about it!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Let me strongly encourage you to give this a try. Like I said, all it takes is just thirty minutes a day, and you will start to notice a shift in your life. If you’re not big on reading, try listening to audio books (my friend, Sarah, never liked to read… but, after she got into network marketing, she decided to listen to books on CD… and from there, she started buying & actually reading physical books!).

You can also watch videos on YouTube, listen to podcasts, watch webinars… there are a lot of options.

And, if you don’t feel you can fit in 30 minutes all at once, try starting with just 10 minutes per day. Then, work your way up to 20 minutes… and, again, work your way up, from there, to 30 minutes. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

The key is to ignore your excuses, and just start. Find what works for you.

Need some ideas of who to follow? Check out the list I’ve created just for you on my Library page!

Personal Development | Life, Unleashed

Know Thyself

Have you ever taken those quizzes (on BuzzFeed, etc.) that tend to circulate around Facebook, promising to reveal certain aspects of your personality or character? Most of them are pure fluff. However… if you take enough of them, you begin to see patterns.

Know Thyself | Life, Unleashed

Being the “personality junkie” that I am, I can’t resist taking these silly quizzes. I’ve taken quite a number of them, actually, saving the results I get from each in a file on my computer. There seems to be at least a little bit of truth that can come out of them, to be honest.

For example, one thing I hadn’t noticed about myself, until I saw the same result pop up from multiple quizzes, is that I’m quite diplomatic.

{ DIPLOMATIC (adj.): having or showing the ability
to deal with people politely (Merriam-Webster);
tactful ability to avoid offending others or hurting their feelings,
especially in situations where this ability is important (Dictionary.com). }

This is very true of me, though. So, no wonder it came through in the quizzes!

WHERE TO BEGIN

One of my favorite tools is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). While I know there’s a lot of controversy out there regarding the validity of this profiling, I still feel that it’s one of the most accurate I’ve come across.

Through taking the free test at 16Personalities.com, I learned that I am primarily an INFP (60%), but that I’m also about 40% ENFP (an ambivert is someone who is both extraverted and introverted). Some aspects of each fit me better, yet other aspects don’t seem to fit me at all. Therefore…

A WORD OF CAUTION

I fully believe that no one test is going to be able to peg us 100%, spot-on. Reason being, we are all unique and complex individuals.

However, that being said, I think these are still highly valuable tools with which you can start getting to know yourself better!

WHY SELF-AWARENESS IS IMPORTANT

I believe that it’s important to take the time to be more self-aware, as it can help you to be better able to find what works best for you — whether that’s in your relationships, your health, your work, your hobbies, etc.

For example, by knowing that I lean heavily toward the introverted side, I know that I’m going to have to ensure that I get enough time alone to recharge, especially during busy seasons, like the week between Christmas and New Years. My hubby still doesn’t understand why I cannot do 4 days straight of back-to-back family gatherings in a row. But it’s true… I get seriously worn out and irritable, and I need time alone, in quiet, to just do my own thing, and not have to be “on”. It’s like a rechargeable battery: I need to be “put on the charger” to build back up my internal juices before I’m ready to go again!

Image result for quote + know thyself

Another example is regarding work.

Several years ago, I had just gotten out of a job that was all kinds of wrong for me, and was desperate to avoid landing in a similar position with my next place of employment. So, I sat down and made two lists: the parts of previous jobs that I had enjoyed (as well as some job “wishlist” items), and the parts of those former positions that I absolutely hated and didn’t wish to repeat. Then I took these lists into consideration while reading job descriptions in my hunt for work.

Because of this, my next position ended up being far better than anything I’d had up until that point. And I believe it’s very much thanks to my willingness to take the time to sit down and reflect on what does & does not work for me.

YOUR MOST IMPORTANT SELF

The most important part of yourself, if you’re a follower of Jesus, is your identity in Christ. By having accepted God’s gift of salvation (an eternity with Him, in heaven), you are now a daughter (or son) of the Most High God! And this changes everything.

This part of yourself is where you find your strength, power, and confidence. God in you is the source of all these things you cannot access on your own. You have the same power in you that raised Christ from the dead — how amazing is that?

Knowing who you are in Him — that He lives through you — is hugely powerful! A true game-changer! For me, it’s given me a confidence that I have never before had, and it’s increased my self-esteem exponentially. As such, I’m far stronger, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, than I’ve ever been, and that affects all other aspects of my life.

GETTING STARTED

There are a lot of ways you can get to know yourself better. To start, I highly recommend finding out your MBTI (here). Once you’ve got that, it will serve as a good foundation from which to judge everything else.

I also really encourage you to start a journal. Write down what you learn about yourself, and how you feel about those discoveries! You’ll be able to catch patterns, over time, and as you understand yourself better, it will help you improve all aspects of your life!

To help you out, here are a few of my other favorite resources for becoming more self-aware:

JUST FOR FUN…

Leave your MBTI results in the comments, below! I’d love to know what you found out!

Becoming Intentional: What Do You Really Want?

Do you know what you really want from life? I don’t just mean materially. I mean, do you know what you are working towards? Or, are you drifting through life, letting circumstances take you where they will?

Do you know that you have a choice in the matter?

It can be really frustrating to feel aimless and out of control. I think a lot of us tend to forget that we can choose our path.

Wouldn’t you rather know where you’d like to go, and then have a plan for getting there? I know I would.

What Do You Really Want? Becoming intentional about your life | Life, Unleashed

Of course, this obviously doesn’t mean you can’t adjust things as you go along. Life is unpredictable, so we have to adjust, really. We have to remain flexible. And, feelings and preferences change over time, as well. So, where you end up may not be what you hope for, right now, in this season of life.

And yet, it is still worth creating a plan and being intentional about your direction in life. It helps you to feel more in control, and to find more fulfillment. Instead of drifting, now you are living with purpose to your days.

For myself, I would like to reach the following goals in my life:

  • Shrink down to a healthier weight
  • Live a more active and healthy lifestyle
  • Earn enough money from self-employment to live financially secure
  • Make an impact on others’ lives through my work
  • Buy property & have my dream-house built (the one I designed, myself)
  • Continue to grow, both spiritually and professionally
  • Lead a teen girls’ Bible study group
  • Travel… see more of the world
  • Support my favorite charities (Kiva, Mercy House Global, Room to Read)

Having this list, and knowing what I would really love to accomplish, helps me to know what steps I need to take in order to achieve those goals.

For example, in my health pursuits, I already know –from trial & error– that intuitive eating is the best method for me. But, in addition to that, I’ve also come to realize that my dependence on processed foods is no longer working for me (if it ever did!), because I am developing more and more health issues. I’m beginning to see how much truth there is in what they say about your body needing nutrients, not just calories (in other words, our choice of food matters, even more than how often or how much we eat).

I was super excited, recently, to find a blog called, “Hello, Nutritarian!“, which is based off of the principles found in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books (“Eat to Live; “The End of Dieting“).* This blog provides recipes and guidance on how to eat a cleaner, more whole-foods based diet. And that’s just what I know I need.

Also in regards to my health, I came across a gal, last week, who was once where I am at (size 18, currently), but who went on to win a figure competition (which is not something I am aiming for!), and to maintain a completely transformed lifestyle. She is now active every day, eating healthy/clean, and she’s changing others’ lives by paying-it-forward as a healthy living coach (same company I’m with).

This gal’s total life transformation really inspires me — especially since I’m currently at the same weight she started at. If she can do it, I know that I can achieve similar things. It takes a decision —that I am no longer willing to put up with my poor health habits– and making a full commitment to myself and to the better life that I know is possible!

The great thing about all of these health goals, for me, is that I am in a position to help others change their lives… just by being an example for them to follow. By committing to a healthier lifestyle for myself, I have a chance to allow others to watch me and to see that they, too, can have the success they seek (you can, as well!). We are all in it together! And, because this is my work, I earn my living from helping others transform their lives. So, that also ties into my goal of becoming financially secure.

Related: Kickstart Your Health sessions

I believe we all have what it takes to achieve our goals. But, we first need to be aware that we have a choice in the direction our lives are going to go, and then we have to know what it is we want so that we can make a plan, and make a decision to go after it. We need to commit to doing whatever is necessary. It won’t be easy — it’s going to demand hard work and sacrifices — but I know that it’ll be worth it.

Here’s to living your life on purpose!

 

Be a Beginner

So often, I want to rush ahead, rather than taking things slow. Do you do this, too?

While I know that good things take time, and that, by going slowly, what we’re working on is more likely to last, I also get sucked in by our “instant gratification” culture, and want to have the results — right now!

Be a Beginner | Life, Unleashed

I have been in business for myself (working from home) since late 2013. So, you might think that I am seeing good success now, four-and-a-half years later (I am still working from home, after all!). But, no. I’m not yet successful — or not according to the generally accepted standards of “success”, anyway.

However, I also have not failed.

These past four years have been full of twists and turns, trying things and rejecting things, then trying something else. I had to learn a few things through the process:

(1) I had to learn how to actually do business, online, as an entrepreneur (learning the techy bits, sales & marketing, and all of the rest). 

(2) I had to discover what does, and does not, work for me — which business model, and which products or services, were the best fit. In other words, what I am good at that also meets others’ needs.

Finally, sometime last year (2017), I was able to get to that “Aha!” point, and know with almost pure certainty what I am meant to be doing, and who I am meant to serve. It has taken a lot of tears, frustration, and journaling, as well as many random coaching sessions with other entrepreneurs. Yet, through it all, I finally feel confident that I am on the path that was meant for me.

But, here’s where it gets tricky.

Now that I have that knowledge of what I’m to do, and who I’m to help — coupled with the fact that I have been at this for four years — I sometimes fall into the trap of expecting everything to just easily work out, from here on forward. I forget that, really, I’m only just beginning in this newfound role.

Because I’ve had so many stops and starts, I don’t feel like a “beginner” any more… I feel like I should be succeeding by now.

Yet, as I was journaling, the other morning, getting all frustrated over the fact that I am having to start my email list over from scratch (among other things), I was reminded that, in this particular business model, I am only just starting out. As such, it’s going to take time — and patience — to build things up to the point where I do have a following, and I do have products to offer.

Right now, as a beginner, I need to go about patiently laying the foundations — creating content, building relationships with people, etc. And as I do these things consistently (which is key), I will see my business continue to grow. For now, however, slow and steady progress is the goal.

{For those who are wondering, my newfound role is as an Infopreneur and healthy living trainer. I create information products that help women design a life that sets them free; and I also train women to remember who they are, and then get their minds & bodies strong & fit for fulfilling their kingdom purposes}.

Abiding In the Vine

Abiding in the Vine | Life, Unleashed

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:4-5, NKJV)

 

Have you ever read this passage, and felt a little bit lost, unsure of what it means to “abide”? I know I have.

Other versions of this verse substitute the word “remain”, and that helps, to an extent. But, I like to get really, really clear when it comes to instructional passages of Scripture — especially ones (like this one) that promise blessings for having obeyed them!

According to Dictionary.com, “to abide” is … “to remain; to continue; to stay or live somewhere“. The synonyms for the word also provide clues: “keep to; hold to; follow; stick to; acknowledge; respect; defer to…“.

I can break it down even further, just based on thinking through what these verses are describing.

Jesus is painting a word-picture of a vine and its branches… saying that He is the vine, and you and I are the branches. In order to produce “fruit“, we have to “abide” in the Vine. In other words, the branches have to stay connected to the vine. If you cut the branch off, it’s going to wither and die (verse 6). However, so long as the branch stays connected to the vine, and is taken care of by the gardener (God), the branch will stay health & vibrant, and can produce “much fruit“!

So, what does it look like to “stay connected to” Jesus?

Well, for me it means meeting with Him every morning, before I turn on my computer and “let the world in“. Mind you, I am definitely NOT one of those early birds who gets up before the sun to do my devotions! I’m lucky if I can pull my butt out of bed after the fourth time I’ve hit the snooze button on my alarm! (And yes, I have plans to read Mel Robbins’ book, soon! LOL). I then get my daughter off to school, too, before sitting down with my coffee & journal for my “quiet time”. But it has made a tremendous difference in my faith to give Jesus that first bit of every day. I also make sure to chat with Him throughout my day-to-day activities, asking for guidance, thanking Him for things that move my heart, etc. He says He never leaves us, so I picture Him always hanging out with me, wherever I’m at — on the couch, at the kitchen table, driving in the car.

Whatever feels right for you, to make sure you’re staying connected to (abiding in) Jesus, do that. I’m positive that God smiles when we make the effort to keep aware of His proximity.