Sneak Peek: A Look Into My Journal (05/01/2017)

Here’s another look inside my journal… so you can learn what I’m learning, alongside me!

sneak peek

Lord, my problem isn’t trusting You that you CAN do things — I believe You are fully capable. My problem is that I always have a hard time believing in Your WILLINGNESS to help me, or to do anything for me.

I guess it’s because I view You as a parent… with human parents, I’ve been taught that I will be “rewarded” for doing things correctly; for obeying.

And while -yes- You bless my obedience… it’s what that obedience CONSISTS of that is different, right? Instead of me striving to earn “rewards” by doing things right, obedience (in Your eyes) consists of SURRENDERING to Your Spirit — correct? No more striving or doing… just releasing control to Your Holy Spirit (within me), trusting Him to handle things… Seeking You is the most important thing!

Have I got it, Lord? Is this the answer?

“Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

( ^^ this verse came to my mind ^^)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean 
not on your OWN understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths
straight.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)

“A mind set on the Spirit is LIFE and peace…”
(Romans 8:6)

So, if I stop worrying about ___, and instead just trust You, Lord, that You will provide what I need in Your timing… and I instead focus on both seeking You, and serving those I come into contact with, You will help me succeed? Is that what You’re telling me, Lord?

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and all your plans will succeed.”
(Proverbs 16:3)

….Aha! Seeing this verse with “new eyes”, right now! Instead of it meaning “ask God to bless what you’re going to do“, that word, “COMMIT” means GIVE IT OVER TO THE (SPIRIT) — in other words, SURRENDER — and then, of course, “your” plans will succeed, because they’re really God’s plans FOR you, and He is the one accomplishing them … not me! Wow.

Thanks for these insights, Lord!

 

A Story of Transition

Finding one’s purpose in life is hard. Figuring out God’s calling on your life is also hard. This is something I’ve been struggling with, for years.

a story of transition | Life, Unleashed

When I started my self-employment journey in late 2013, I was mostly concerned with pursuing my life-long dream of being my own boss. And I chose to become a virtual author’s assistant, then, because it’s what I knew — I had gone to school for office administration, had worked in various receptionist positions since, and was an avid reader with a long list of authors with whom I’d already been building relationships. And while this niche proved profitable for a time, I came to realize that it wasn’t really bringing me joy… which is one of the reasons I was pursuing self-employment — so that I could love what I do for a living.

Next, I thought I’d pursue Life Coaching. I’ve always loved to advise, encourage, and support others, and I’m passionate about hearing of and seeing others’ transformations. Add to that my fascination with personal development, and it seemed like the perfect fit!

…That is, until I realized that getting my certification and training would cost far more money than I had or could come up with at that time. Needless to say, that idea fizzled out pretty quickly.

Around this time, God was really starting to speak to my heart about my motives. I started desiring to know what path He wanted me to take, and I agonized over the fact that it seemed like He wanted me to be a Writer.

To be honest, while I enjoy journaling, and do that for my own development on a regular basis, I have never really loved the idea of writing a book, or anything similar. I mean, sure, I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2006, and completed the goal (50K words in 30 days). But I had — and have — no desire to be a published author.

So the question, then, became, how can I fulfill this supposed “calling” to be a Writer, without actually having to write or publish a book?

Well, I’d already been blogging (as a hobby) since 2005, and had grown my following to over 1700 people. I knew others were having great success, monetarily, as “professional bloggers”, by way of sponsored posts, ads, and affiliate links. So I decided that was as good a solution as anything, and I opened up a new blog.

By this point, mind you, a lot of my previous followers were getting tired of my indecision. So they started leaving, choosing to no longer follow me. And really, I don’t blame them (I was getting frustrated with myself!).

I continued to try and figure out what God wanted me to do — what to write, who to target, etc. — and felt like the name I’d chosen (A Daily Rhythm) wasn’t the right fit; it was too mellow, and my heart was screaming for something upbeat and empowering. So, much as I hated changing things up yet again, I knew I had to — and the Life, Unleashed blog was born.

(side note: I’ve gotten several comments from new acquaintances, saying that they love the name of my site — so that has helped me to feel better about the decision!)

Shortly after opening Life, Unleashed in early 2016, I finally stumbled on what I believed was God’s plan for me… as well as my ideal reader, what I should write about, and my “niche”. I was super-stoked to finally feel I’d found it.

Through research, and through talking to various people, I realized that the best way for me to reach the most people with my message, and to have the greatest impact, was going to be through creating an eCourse. So, I did some surveys, and I started learning all I could about what would be involved in course creation. I brainstormed, and I created an outline, and I came up with some preliminary content.

I’ve always loved to share (advise, coach, teach, support, encourage), so teaching an eCourse felt like a good thing for me to do. However… as I was working on that, I was still hesitating. Partly out of fear of the unknown, sure. But part of it, I discovered, was because I have an issue with trying to teach something that I, myself, haven’t yet gotten at least somewhat of a grasp on. It’s hypocritical, and I can’t do it.

As such, when another job possibility came up that would allow me to continue working from home and still allow me to help others experience transformations in their lives, I couldn’t help but think that maybe another transition was needed … at least, for now.

healthy living

Long story short, I have decided to become a healthy living coach. Since I’ve previously had some success in this area, and since I needed the accountability that would come from continuing my own health journey alongside others who are looking to do the same, I figured this would be the best option.

What about my supposed “calling” to be a writer? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s something I still am supposed to do, eventually. Or, maybe I had it wrong all along. I don’t know, yet. But I do believe that God will show me.

In the meantime, the really awesome part about this new role is that it still fits with a lot of what I’ve already been sharing, here at Life, Unleashed. It encompasses mindset, choices, practice, and perspective… all of which are the foundational values this site is built on!

So, if you would like to join me in taking back your health, I have a free community on Facebook called Unleashed Nation, where I will be sharing motivational quotes, tips, and the occasional mini-challenge to keep things exciting. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Bullet Journaling: An Updated Look

A while back, I shared a post about Bullet Journaling, and why I chose that method for planning out my time. Today, I wanted to give you an updated look at how I’ve come to use my journal.

Bullet Journal updated

Note: If you haven’t tried Bullet Journaling, just yet, feel free to visit my previous post to learn more about the system.

So, in the beginning of using my journal, I had to try several different layouts. I wanted to be able to track my health, as well as my business activities, and then my personal items, as well. After a while, I decided that I liked this layout best:

bullet journal | a life unleashed

On the left-hand page, I have just the days of the week listed Monday through Sunday. This gives me lots of room to note what I have going on. Then, on the right-hand page, I have the “week of…”, a large “Notes” section (where I jot down what went well, or what didn’t, and that sort of thing — anything important I want to remember), and below that, a section for 3 things I’m grateful for that week, and my weight-loss progress.

bullet journal update | Life, Unleashed  bullet journal update | Life, Unleashed

(^^ a couple of closer-up views)

I also have a color code that I use when making notes (though, all you see in the pictures above are the “Gym” reminders).

And, that’s it! That’s how I’ve chosen to do my Bullet Journal system, for now. Everything else (the monthly pages, brain dump area, etc) is all the same.

I’m still using the same book from 2016, as I stopped tracking for a while, and only recently picked it back up. So there’s still plenty of room. Once again, this is why I love the bullet journal — for its flexibility!

Want to see more about Bullet Journaling? Check out a few of my favorite posts done by others!

Tiny Ray of Sunshine’s “Thorough Guide to Bullet Journaling

(as well asThe 8 Stages of Bullet Journaling Addiction“, on that same blog^)

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s “My 3 Favorite Tips & Tricks After 3 Months with the Bullet Journal

 

Seasons

// “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 //

seasons

I was talking with a new friend, today, and bemoaning the fact that I’m not very consistent with posting on my blog — something that really bothers me a great deal. I would love to post more frequently. I also commented that part of what has stolen my attention away from creating blog posts is the fact that I’m (finally) working on creating my first eCourse!

My friend was kind enough to offer the gentle reminder that it’s all about seasons … we can’t do everything, all the time. There’s a season for this, and a season for that — a time for this activity, and a time for that one. Perhaps I’m just in a season where I need to focus on creating my course, right now, and I can come back to blogging more regularly after the course has been launched.

Ecclesiastes 3:1Of course, this has made me think of other life “seasons”, too.

Some seasons are easy. Everything feels like it falls into place without much effort, and all seems right with the world.

Other seasons, however, can be really, really hard. They’re places where you struggle, and waking up every day is a chore. What gives me hope in the hard seasons are these 2 things:

1) Just like nature’s seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter), this “season” will eventually end, and another will come. The hard seasons won’t last forever. (And, thank the Lord for that!)

2) Despite the loneliness that can often accompany my hard seasons, I know God still walks beside me, through each minute of each day. He has promised never to leave or forsake us, so I can cast all of my anxiety on Him, because I know He cares.

So, I am choosing, in this season of creating, to give myself grace and patience, remembering that everything will balance itself out over time. And I hope you’ll do the same, no matter what season you may find yourself in, currently. Remember, “This, too, shall pass.

Embracing the Struggle

I was listening to the morning conversation on 98.7 AMP radio, and they were having a mock court session. On one side, two of them believed it’d be great to live in a Virtual Reality (VR) world — a “Matrix” of sorts. The other side disagreed. And their argument was as follows:

If you are able to escape to a VR world, to change the things around you that you don’t like, you aren’t able to develop any empathy. You need to FACE your struggles, head-on, in order to grow!

And, I have to agree.

Embracing the Struggle | Life, Unleashed

There was a time when I’d have wanted to be able to escape to an alternate reality — one where I liked the people around me, and could alter things to suit my own desires.

As I have grown and gone through some hard experiences, however, I have come to appreciate the beauty of the struggle. Honestly, the things I’ve gone through have shaped who I have become — and am still becoming.

I used to want to go back and undo a lot of the things I did. Maturity & time, though, have taught me to appreciate the lessons I was given through those things.

Of course, no one is appreciative of their struggles as they are going through them! It’s human nature –our default– to want to AVOID pain and struggle.

But like the butterfly who must struggle to break free of its cocoon in order to strengthen its wings, we, too, need to go through hard things in order to learn and to grow in character.

// “Without struggle, there can be no progress.” ~ Frederick Douglass //

Struggles also — as the radio hosts shared — help us to be empathetic; to be able to relate to others who are struggling, and to be able to say, “Hey, I’ve been there. I get it.” Our trials and our pain can become purposeful when they help us find compassion for our fellow human beings.

So, learn to embrace the hard times. Know that they’re only temporary, and that — if you’ll let them — they can make you stronger, and better able to help those who are going through similar things.

// “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” ~ Kelly Clarkson //

REVIEW: Moving Forward by John Siebeling

Moving Forward: Overcoming the Habits, Hangups, and Mishaps That Hold You Back” by John Siebeling

 

In Moving Forward, John Siebeling talks about the habits and mindsets that hold us back from living the abundant life that God has promised to us (John 10:10), and from moving forward.

He touches on topics like our emotions, and how we are responsible for how our lives turn out (how we react to life’s ups and downs is up to us). He talks about mindset and choices, too, which I love, as it aligns with what I teach, here on my blog!

Lastly, John also talks about dreaming big, and about our financial habits. There’s even a budget guide included in the back of the book!

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and found it to be a quick, easy read with lots of practical information. Definitely recommended.


A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review by the Baker Books Blogger program.

ROUND-UP: The Scientific Benefits of Journaling

There have been a lot of studies done on the benefits of journaling. It’s great not just for your mental and emotional health, but also for your physical health!


“I never travel without my diary. One should always
have something sensational to read on the train.” ~ Oscar Wilde


RoundUp: The Scientific Benefits of Keeping a Journal | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up post, I’m sharing links to articles that will give you more information on the benefits you can glean from journaling:

 

Why should I bother journaling when I’ve already got too much on my plate?” The following facts may convince you. {The Health Benefits of Journaling, PsychCentral | read more…}

 

“…[Journaling is] a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined.

“…Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.” {…How Writing in a Journal Can Actual Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Collective Evolution | read more…}

 

“…The benefits of journaling are long-term. Not only will journaling help you recover from an experience in the moment, but it will also prepare you to face future similar scenarios.” {Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Journal, Connections.mic | read more…}

 

“Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. And discipline begets discipline. Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread…” {10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal, Huffington Post | read more…}

 

“As my tasks started to align with my goals, I felt more organized—more focused—on what I was doing and why I was doing it.”

“…Journalling has actually been studied intensely over the years. Psychologists have looked at everything from daily creative writing exercises to a structured, standardized question-and-answer format to expressive writing as a means of therapy.” {The Science of Journaling: Why Writing Things Down Makes You More Productive, Shopify blog | read more…}

 

“…there is no wrong answer. No matter what you’ve decided, a journal can help you with it. That’s how flexible and useful a tool a journal is: it can help shed light on achieving any possible goal out there.” {Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY, LifeHack | read more…}

 

“The importance of committing our desires to paper cannot be overstated. It is a simple process, but it pays great dividends.”

“… we are forced to think through our process on a deeper level. The discipline forces us to answer the difficult questions of “why,” “how,” or “why not?” The answers to these questions are not just helpful as we move forward to repeat successes and avoid mistakes, they can be therapeutic as well.” {8 Reasons Keeping a Journal Can Help You Reach Your Goals, BecomingMinimalist | read more…}


“…unless it is committed to paper, you can lose an idea forever.” – Will Self


 

A Sneak Peak: Into My Journal (02/17/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek: A Snippet from my Journal | Life, Unleashed

This past week, I’ve been researching “giving yourself permission to succeed” (and to earn money), and it has been really insightful. I so often subconsciously wait for “permission” before I move forward. And mostly, it’s because I am afraid of making the wrong choice — of having to start over again. I hate doing something “for nothing”.

Though, really, there are 2 truths here:

1) It’s not really “for nothing” if I’ve learned something from it (for example, this isn’t the way for me)

2) Failure and making mistakes are a part of success and moving forward in life! The choice is either (a) play small, never risking anything in order to avoid all mistakes — but then dealing with the end-of-life regrets (and never truly LIVING), or (b) taking the leaps of faith, trying and testing and tweaking and learning, and continuing to move forward, having experienced this thing called “LIFE” and all it has to offer — and being able to say, at the end, “WHOOHOO! What a ride!

So the choice is obvious. I need to stop being ruled by my fears, and just go out and live… accepting whatever results may come from my choices.


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Battling For Freedom

It was raining. A dismal, grey day in February. It made me want to curl up on the couch and ignore my priorities. I had things to do, but the Dark Side (how I refer to the devil & his minions, lately) was fighting hard to keep me down.

I’m sure you have had days like these, yourself.

And, as my newly acquired accountability partner, Anna, likes to say, the struggle is real.

Battling For Freedom | Life, Unleashed

I am thanking God for Anna, though! I’d complained to her about how I was feeling, and I tried to make excuses for why I wasn’t going to get things done. But she wouldn’t let me succumb to the Dark Side — she told me that I needed to “do it anyway” (just GO!), and that I’d feel better afterward.

I kept arguing with the Dark Side, in my mind. I was still making justifications, even after talking to Anna. But, I’ve been here before. I have fought this battle countless times, in the past year, especially, as I have been building the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis. And, each time I’ve made myself “do it anyway”, I have felt better afterward…and I’ve been able to do a little victory dance, as I’ve dealt one more blow to the enemy!

So in the end, yes, I did go to the gym, and I did get my errands run. Score: Jenn – 1, Dark Side – 0 … for the win!

For Freedom | Life, Unleashed

John 10:10 tells us about the Dark Side. It says that the enemy (the “thief”) “comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy“. He is out to KILL our dreams, to STEAL our freedom, and to DESTROY our future! And, he does it one poisonous thought at a time.

That is why we’re instructed (in 2 Corinthians 10:5) to “TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE”, and make our thoughts submit to Jesus’ ways. The battle truly does begin in our minds!

It is not easy, by any means. But then, that’s why it’s called a “battle”, right? We have to fight back against the Dark Side! Our default setting is to do what is easiest, and what feels comfortable in the moment. We’re suckers for pleasure. But that is exactly what the enemy wants — to get us comfortable so that we will forget that we’re in a war.

My goal is to level up my life, and to take back the years that the enemy has already stolen from me. And, if I have to do that one thought at a time, so be it! Like with getting myself to the gym … some days, I really have to fight my thoughts HARD! But, I usually end up telling myself that I can just do 20 minutes of cardio (on the treadmill). By the time I’m there and warming up, though, I always decide that I “may as well” do the rest of my workout. So, I win. It’s always that FIRST step that’s the hardest. And, like I read in someone else’s post, the other day, that first step is actually… SURRENDER. I know — it sounds counter-intuitive, right? Surrendering –not to the Dark Side, but to God’s will for my life– is how I win, because Jesus already fought the battle and won the victory for us! So all we have to do is CHOOSE to surrender to Him. By choosing to go against the Dark Side, by choosing to take our thoughts captive, and by choosing to fight for the abundant life and foregoing the “easy” path, we are choosing to accept Jesus’ victory, and to stand with Him against the enemy! So yes, surrender to God is how we win against the Dark Side.

This is war, friends. But we’re already victors! So, stand strong, and show the Dark Side that you won’t be falling for its schemes!

 


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