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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It’s All About Perspective

This is a story that I heard many years ago, and found online recently. It highlights the value of perspective … and the fact that mindset plays a big part in the choices we make!

It's All About Perspective | Life, Unleashed

{story source}

As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?

Life, Unleashed is dedicated to helping you see that –at any time– you can BREAK FREE! You are never without choices. Just like the elephants, God has given us great power … but, we have been “conditioned to believe” that we are limited in what we can do. Satan wants to keep us stuck. That’s how he “kills, steals, and destroys” our lives, and our futures. It’s time we WAKE UP and remember who we are.

Essentialism: A Review & Thoughts

I finished reading “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown*, a bit ago (thanks to seeing that one of my favorite bloggers had it on her shelf), and I’m soooo glad I checked it out! It was exactly what I needed to read.

Essentialism: A Review | Life, Unleashed

However, the book has also sent me into a bit of a questioning place, as well — which, I suppose, is the point.

The basic premise of the book is “Less, But Better“.

Essentialism is not a finite action or a single decision to live with less. Becoming an Essentialist means embracing a lifestyle to always seek out what truly matters and let go of everything else. {source}

There are a ton of great quotes and ideas throughout the book. What it comes down to, though, is what the quote says (above) — asking yourself what TRULY matters in your life, and then choosing to make trade-offs (a whole chapter of the book is dedicated to the idea of trade-offs, and it really struck a chord with me).

I’ve been researching Minimalism for a while now. In June 2015, I basically “Kon-Mari’d“ my bedroom, and it felt amazing to have done so! But, the idea of going completely “minimalist” didn’t sit right with me. I need color and variety in my life, and from the pictures I was seeing on Pinterest, I wasn’t ready to become a true (or “extreme”) Minimalist. Capsule wardrobes are not my idea of a good thing, let’s just put it that way.  But, to each her own.

Yet, when I read “Essentialism“, I realized that minimalist living isn’t so much about getting rid of things, as it is about learning to make intentional choices about what truly matters… for you, and for the lifestyle you want to live.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown | A review (adailyrhythm.com)

I also found Jennifer’s blog, “Simply & Fiercely” through Pinterest, as she has a series about how she’s become a Minimalist. And, her posts made more sense out of the whole idea for me. They reminded me that — as with anything in life — you should take the basic concept, and then modify it so that it works for your own style.

So, when I took all of this information and started to apply it to my work (my blog, basically), it actually helped clarify for me what I hadn’t been able to figure out for the past 3 years … which is what my main “niche” is supposed to be. As a multipassionate individual, I don’t like to box myself in too tightly, and so the idea of picking “just one thing” was torture for me! Recently, I’d chosen to identify myself as more of a “lifestyle blogger” — wherein, all I meant by that was that I had multiple topics I would be writing about — and this helped. But it still wasn’t quite the right fit. The categories I’d chosen didn’t seem to be “right”, just yet… some of them, yes; but not all.

One of the questions the “Essentialism” book says you should ask yourself is, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources, right now?” And, when I thought about what is that “most important thing” for me, right now (for my business, anyway), it was to be creating content. So, I started making a list of things I wanted to write about and offer… but they all seemed so scattered (I love a lot of things, after all! See, again, my “multipassionate” nature!) So I asked myself (for probably the millionth time), “What ties all of these things together?” And, I wrote down “whole life”… and then — AHA! — “Authentic Living“. And, all-of-a-sudden, I felt I had figured it out… this, intuitively, felt completely right. After all, “authenticity” is my #2 personal core value! So, it makes sense.

Thinking about my past 3 years in business (for myself / being self-employed), I realized that I keep coming back to these two concepts:

  • Being free to do what you love (and, freedom is my #1 personal core value)
  • Discovering who you truly are, & using that to build your ideal life

I love to teach, and I love personal development. As you may know, I’m a big-time nonfiction junkie. I actually prefer reading nonfiction over fiction, truthfully. I soak up knowledge like a sponge (which is just part of the “Input” part of my personality, and maybe a bit of the “Intellection” side, too — both of which I learned from reading Tom Rath’s book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“.) I long to teach others what I’ve learned through both my reading, and through my life experiences (and also, to teach what God has taught me, too!).

So, that brings me to what I do here at Life, Unleashed … and why I blog about being who you were created, uniquely, to be. It’s so important to be who you are, even (maybe, especially) in business. Don’t ever hide your true self! There are people out there who need to see the real YOU.

Definitely check this book out for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!