The Three Daily Rituals That Bring Me Immense Peace

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Via Unsplash

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my 30’s is the importance of routine. As a certified bohemian, I’ve always rejected routines and rituals. For years, I thought that routines were for ‘boring’ people who had lost their sense of spontaneity and wonder. Now, I relish routines and rituals. Below are three daily rituals that bring me immense peace.

My Morning Routine

My morning routine is quite simplistic – I wake up before my son gets up so that I can work on client projects, write, think, have a cup of tea, eat breakfast, but the most vital part of this routine is prayer. I pray every morning because If I don’t, my day doesn’t feel right. I don’t just pray in the mornings – I read scripture aloud – I think and meditate on Scripture, and I’m a better person because of it. Once my son awakes, I’m ready to face the day with peace in heart and mind. I still haven’t perfected my night time routine, but at least I know how to start my day and anchor it so that it’s a peaceful and productive one.

Spending Time in Worship

One evening, I felt odd, like something was off, or missing. It suddenly dawned on me that the feeling of unease was the absence of God’s presence. Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand that God is omnipresent – I understand that He is always there – but there is a difference in God’s omniscience and God’s glory resting in your heart and home. When God is present, there is a peace that permeates the soul. I didn’t feel the peace in my soul.  As I lay in bed that night, I wondered why God felt so far, when I heard the Holy Spirit say one word… “Worship!” That morning the first thing that I did as soon as I got up was worship. I danced and sang around my living room. The moment I began to worship I could immediately feel the presence of God. When the Psalmist said that God inhabits the praise of His people, this stanza wasn’t just figurative, but literal. Worship changes the atmosphere of a home and heart. Worship brings a Philippians 4:7 peace into a place.

Making Time for My Family

Writing, teaching, and coaching is my ‘second’ ministry. My family is my first ministry. Before we go into the world to help and love others, we must first help and love our family. Hugging my son and smooching my husband bring me peace. We were created to love each other – love, time and affection with others bring too many physical and mental benefits to count. However, there is also a spiritual benefit to loving those who God has placed under the same roof as you – the benefit of immense peace.

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The Psychology of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Not many people like change. Change is hard. But change is good. Change is inevitable. It is through change that we grow, and learn, and evolve. So we need change, and the best way to cultivate change in our lives is to break out of our comfort zone… at least, every once a while.

For many, the simple thought of breaking out of the comfort zone might provoke feelings of unease.

Asking someone to step outside of their comfort zone is essentially asking them to (voluntarily) place themselves somewhere they’ll feel insecure and vulnerable. Most of us have been wired to fear vulnerability and any other situation that makes us feel exposed.

The comfort zone is the place a person feels in control. When a person is outside of their comfort zone, they lose a sense of control over their lives, and this is particularly hard for people who suffer from perfectionism or just general insecurity.

However, people don’t operate at their best when they are within a comfort zone. The comfort zone breeds complacency, which breeds familiarity and begets mediocrity. People are at their best when they are ‘just’ outside of their comfort zones.

Throughout Scripture there’s a consistent theme – men and women of God who are pushed outside of their comfort zones.

Spiritually and psychologically very subtle things occur when a person is pushed out of their comfort zones. When a person is pushed out of their comfort zone, they quickly realize that they can’t rely on themselves. Being in unfamiliar territory is a reminder that we need God. It’s a reminder that we cannot trust in ourselves. It’s easy to forget these things when everything is stable. But then we are pushed outside of our comfort zones we are reminded that we need a higher power to help us.

Being pushed out of a comfort zone helps us grow. It stretches who we are and broadens our perspective of the world.

Being thrown completely out of your comfort zone quickly dismantles pride. The “need to be in control” and pride are linked… but pride quickly diminishes and is replaced by humility when a person no longer feels in control.

Below are two things you can do to break out of your comfort zone.

First, start to pray radical prayers. Instead of asking for the things that you normally ask for, start praying and asking for more. Pray big prayers. Big prayers require big faith – so stretch your faith by beginning to pray big prayers.

Second, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and lead you into new things. Perhaps there are areas of your life where you feel at ease, but you are yearning for more. Ask God to open the doors so that you can experience more – and when the doors open step through them fearlessly – in faith.

Making Daily Appointments with God in 2016

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God desires to spend time with us. He wants us to live in His Presence. Many Christians are too busy for God – too busy with work obligations, family obligations, chores, errands, and entertainment. They are too busy to spend time with Him. Yet, time with the Father is so crucial to our spiritual well-being that throughout Scripture we are told to pray (communicate with Him), fast (draw closer to Him), and worship and fellowship both alone and with other believers (simply spend time with Him).

If you don’t make daily appointments with God, 2016 is a great year to start. Below is a simple How-to guide for spending more time in the Father’s presence.

Make an appointment. Treat this appointment with respect and consistency. You aren’t just meeting with your Heavenly Father – You are meeting with the King of Kings. If the president wanted a meeting with you, you wouldn’t tell him you’re too busy to talk; instead, you’d rush to the meeting. When you make an appointment with the Creator of the Universe, keep it.

Cancel and block out any distractions. You would never meet with a friend for coffee and then stare at your phone the entire time. Instead, you would be focused on your friend if you wanted the relationship to grow. If you want your relationship with God to grow, you need to focus on Him. I once heard Robert Morris illustrate just how important his time with the Father is. After one of Morris’ church members had given a very large donation, he requested a morning meeting with Pastor Morris. Robert explained that he was not going to meet with him because mornings was his daily appointment with God. Pastor Morris couldn’t be bought. Don’t let anything or anyone buy your time.

Look forward to your time with Him. If you treat your appointments with God like a religious obligation, rather than a blessed, beautiful event, you’ll quickly burn out. It is an honor to sit in His Presence. If there is any part of you that dreads the thought of spending time with Him, pray that God would give you a longing and strong desire to spend time with Him. God CAN change the desires of your heart.

Making daily appointments with God will strengthen you spiritually. They will help you grow in faith. Your daily appointments are sources of joy and renewal. And remember that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Be blessed for 2016!

4 Beliefs You Need to Ditch if You Want to Be Happy

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Happiness experts all agree that it’s not what you have that makes you happy, but rather what you do and who you know. Despite evidence that things don’t make us happy, people still reach for stuff as if it might bring some joy to their lives. But the idea that stuff makes us happy isn’t the only belief that holds people back from happiness. There are a few other beliefs that keep people in a place of discontentment. Below are four beliefs that you need to ditch if you want to be happy.

The belief that you aren’t good enough. Low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness bring unhappiness. In scripture, Satan is referred to as the “Accuser of the brethren.” He is a finger-pointer who attempts to bring shame and condemnation into the life of God’s children. If you want to be happy, you can’t live under condemnation. Instead, you must live in freedom, believing that the grace of God is sufficient for your weakness.

The belief that you aren’t loved. God loves you. You are loved. You are cherished by Him. You are not forgotten. We were created to be social creatures, and we are designed for relationships and love – so it is perfectly natural to yearn for love, approval, and acceptance. Thankfully, God loves, approves and accepts us.

The belief that your life needs to be perfect for you to be happy. Life will never be perfect. There will always be messes, bumps in the road, psychological fires to put out, and missteps. No one has a perfect life. If you wait for your life to be perfect before you choose happiness, then you’ll be waiting all your life. Choose to be happy even when life is a mess because perfection is unrealistic.

The belief that a bad past holds sway over your future. When people have a bad past, they are often fearful that their future has already been written, and that it won’t work out for their good. But scripture says the opposite: Romans 8:28 states that all things work together for the good to them that love God, and are called according to His purpose. Do you love God? Are you called to His purpose? Then things will work out for you, and your past has no sway over your future.

Corrie Ten Boom on Forgiveness

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In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom shares a true story of her experience in a church service in Munich, Germany. A former Nazi approached her to shake her hand after a church service. She spoke of the anger and resentment that boiled inside her as the man attempted to speak with her. She tried to smile and raise her hand to shake his, but she couldn’t. The unforgiveness wouldn’t allow it. But then she did something spiritual and noble, she prayed silently “Jesus, help me forgive this man. I cannot forgive him.”

She shook the man’s hand, and an incredible thing happened. What can only be described as a current passed from her to him, and her heart felt an overwhelming love and compassion for the man she thought impossible to forgive. She couldn’t forgive in her own strength, but could only do so with the help of God. She needed the Holy Spirit to come and help her forgive. I don’t think it’s possible to forgive people without Divine intervention.

Forgiveness is hard. We get stuck. We meditate on the offense. The anger continues to manifest in our behavior towards the person, and the unforgiveness lingers. But unforgiveness is like needle pricks of hatred – forgiveness, on the other hand, is a flaming sword of love. Forgiveness is powerful. It cuts through the hurt and pain, and it covers the memory.

Don’t Hide Your Creativity in 2016

The basement of my friends’ house was filled with art. The art was so incredible, inspirational that I started to cry as I viewed the pieces. I was moved to tears; the art was that beautiful.

And it was in the basement.

The art belonged to her father (at the time she lived with her parents) and he had created lots of work, but then stored it in the basement. I couldn’t believe that he took his amazing work and put it in the basement. I thought it was a sin to put all those beautiful pieces in a dark, unused basement.

Isn’t this what so many people do with their creative talents?

They hide them by putting them in a dark space where no one can see them. I can only think of one instance in the Bible where a man hid a “talent” (in this case the talent was money), and God wasn’t pleased. God isn’t pleased when He blesses us with something of value and we hide it.

When God gives you gifts – those gifts aren’t just for you – they are for you to share.

What if every great intellectual, thinker, writer, entertainer, inventor, and researcher decided that they no longer wanted to share their thoughts, music, gifts, talents, and knowledge with the world?

Can you imagine if all the Adele’s of the world decided to only sing in the shower? What would the world look like? I can’t imagine a world devoid of creative beauty. I don’t want to imagine it.

I believe we are ALL created to contribute in some way. None of us are meant to live in solitary confinement and hide our natural gifts and talents. We are meant to share and build upon the gifts and talents God gives us.

Hoarding your talent is selfish. And selfishness is a sin. Don’t hide your creativity in 2016. If you have a talent, don’t bury it in the ground or place it in darkness. And if you refuse to share your talent, the least that you can do is grow it.

Soul Detox 2016 (A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Detox the Soul)

2015 is finally over…

Some of us had a great year while some of us faced more trials than usual. The good news is that 2016 is here, and we have a fresh start! God’s mercies are new every morning, which also means that His mercies are new every year!

With that said, I want you to consider ditching the New Year’s resolution that you would normally make and consider embracing some ‘Soul Resolutions’ this year. Instead of making a list of resolutions that you probably won’t keep; instead, why not commit to a soul detox for 2016?

The soul detox is deeper than your usual resolution. It isn’t just a list of cumbersome goals and changes that may or may not stick. Instead, a soul detox is about a lifestyle change. It’s about changing who you are from the inside out and allowing the change to permeate every area of your life. A soul detox is about incorporating habits and disciplines that nourish the spirit and leave you feeling that it is well with your soul. Detoxing the soul starts with detoxing the mind, body and spirit.

Detoxing the Body

Choose to eat healthy in 2016! Your health and your soul are related. In the third book of John, the disciple tells the beloved of God to prosper and be in health even as their soul prospers. There is a connection between health and the soul. God doesn’t just desire for your soul to prosper; He wants your health to prosper too. Here are a few ideas for your physical detox:

– Get out of the house for fresh air and walk more.

– Drink more water. Water is life-giving.

– Eat delicious whole foods.

– Sit in the sun.

– Inhale deeply, and then exhale. Do this a few times a day.

Detoxing the Mind

Detoxing the mind requires a release of negative thoughts. Interrupt any negative loops that are replaying over and over again in your head. Choose not to meditate on what went wrong during the day, a hurtful remark, or a memory that still makes you angry. Let it all go in 2016! Replace negative thoughts with God’s word. Think about what God says about you this year.

Another powerful way to detox the mind is to go on a digital detox. Most people desperately need a digital detox! Don’t waste your time on the internet this new year. Make the most of every opportunity. Treat five minutes as if it’s an eternity. Here are a few ideas for your mind detox:

– Meditate on Jeremiah 29:11 which reads: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

– Remember the Biblical principle that you are what you think. Monitor your thoughts.

– Simplify your bookmarks. Visit a handful of websites that you really love and delete every website that you simply like.

– Simplify your online life. You don’t have to be on every social media platform. And when you log on to a platform, look at the clock and keep track of your time.

– Choose to spend less time in front of a screen and more time in front of Yeshua.

Detoxing the Spirit

Your spirit is affected by what you hear and see. Here are a few ideas for your spirit detox:

– Be careful and picky about what you watch on tv or browse on the internet.

– Choose to listen to the word of God while you’re sleeping. Stream scripture into you home with a Roku channel called the Streaming Bible.

– Read scripture every single day. Put His words in front of your eyes.

– Confess scripture every day. Speak it aloud and it will build your faith.

– Avoid the news. Don’t read horrible headlines because it affects your spirit. Detox from the news. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.

Are you going to Soul Detox this year?