Just Focus on Today

When I think about all of the worries or fears or doubts I have, almost every single one of them is in the future. It’s not even something right here in front of me. Worried about how my kids will turn out; worried if I’ll ever be able to earn more money to contribute to the family income; worried that none of us will make friends in our new little community. Worry. Worry. Worry. I understand that some/most of those are ridiculous things to worry about, but they do pop into my head…a lot actually!

But what happens if I focus on today? What if, instead of worrying about things that are completely out of my control, I solely focused on today? I mean this is after all the culmination of life, right? Focusing on today and not tomorrow’s worries. (Easier said than done on most days.)

Not today, though. I will focus on today as today is my only guarantee. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow or next month or even next year, but I am here today. I’m not trying to sound like a Debbie Downer here, but I just woke up this morning and realized I was bumming myself out worrying about freaking everything around me and that wasn’t helping one little bit! So it’s time to try something new!

I hope you are encouraged to focus on today. I hope we can encourage each other to stop worrying so damn much and enjoy the people and the relationships right here in front of us.

When Your Perspective Changes

One of my favorite radio shows does a segment called “First World Problems.” I love listening to the hilarious and absurd things we complain about or even get very upset about when it comes to life in a developed, financially well-off country. It puts things into perspective when you hear these complaints from other people. It reminds me that most of my complaints are just as ridiculous as theirs.

For example, my husband and I are now being told we will have to move once again after we just moved our family. Is anyone going to die in this situation? No. Will anyone be left behind or be homeless? No. Does this mean we will have to sacrifice our standard of living in order to accommodate the move? No, I really don’t think so.

You see, problems always seem so much bigger in our heads. It’s when we get them out there for other people to hear them that we hear from our own voice just how absurd our “problems” really are.

I know we’ll be fine. I know our family and our kids are resilient and that we are “home” as long as we are together making an effort to make it a home. I know there are people all across this country making tougher decisions today or having to move further away than 3 hours South. I know there are military families that are shipping loved ones over seas and across oceans to do the jobs they love to do.

My perspective has changed. Thank you God for giving me perspective and for allowing my ridiculous worries, fears, doubts, and anxieties be silenced so people will real issues can be heard.

 

Don’t Fall into Fear’s Traps

There are landmines lurking everywhere. One wrong move and you can land on the one live explosive that is able to derail your entire existence. No, I’m not talking about actual bombs here. I’m talking about fear and the stupid lies it tries to tell all of us.

“You’re not ready. You’ll never be ready. You aren’t old enough to do that. You’re not young enough to do that. Why would they pick you for that job? Why wouldn’t she cheat on you? Of course you’ve gained weight. You aren’t as good looking as you used to be. You’ll never be enough.”  

I have to admit, I became infuriated simply typing those statements and lies out. These thoughts have crept into my mind, almost daily. And when I’m really weak, sometimes every hour. Fear tries to tell us everything that is wrong with us, all of our flaws. There isn’t any mention of the things you’ve done right in your life or the goals you’ve already accomplished. Fear wants to focus on the bad, the negative, and the impossible rather than give you any glimmer of hope or confidence.

Don’t fall into fear’s traps. Those things you hear fear whispering to you isn’t reality. Maybe if you let fear control you long enough it becomes your reality, but that’s when you need to fight like hell to get your life back. You are in control…not fear!

Now, watch your step today. Be sure to step over those landmines hiding in the shadows. And for goodness sake, don’t let fear direct navigate for you anymore.

Scared, Frightened, & Terrified…

Taking a leap of faith can be scary…maybe even terrifying for some people. Will it work out? Will I get everything I was trying to get out of the situation? Will I fail at this venture? Will people laugh at me and judge me when I do fail? Will I be completely wasting my time?

These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind daily.  I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for my writing, my personals goals, things to try, and for exciting new hobbies I’d like to pursue. But in comes Doubt, follow by Fear.

They both creep in like two burglars planning a sneak attack on an unsuspecting victim. Just when you think all of your plans are laid out, they knock on the door just to ask, “And what do you think you’re doing?  You can’t try something new without telling us.  We’re here to help you.” (Yeah, I wish those two would just go play in oncoming traffic sometimes.)

But instead of cowering down to these two thieves trying to rob us of our joy, let’s push back and tell them to get the hell out of our house! Why are we listening to them anyway? We are bigger than they are! We know we can take them down and kick them out. Push back and tell them to hit the road.

“You’re not welcome here Doubt and Fear. We are working on a project that doesn’t need your input. You are welcome to sit in the corner and eat chips quietly, but if you so much as say a peep to us while we’re working, you’re getting tossed out with the trash. Got it?”

Good. Now we are ready to take on the two things that hold most of us back from doing things that we love or that we need to do. Stand up to Doubt and Fear today. Don’t take their crap anymore!

Coming Out of the Alcoholic Closet

“Some people may not understand. What if those people judge me? How else can I explain why I’ve blown them off on their annual social event? What if they find me out anyway? Will they tell other people? Will they judge my husband and I as being different?”

These are some of the irrelevant but very real fears I’ve had when thinking about telling a close friend of mine about having a drinking problem. I still don’t feel like I can justify telling my husband’s story to someone else, but I can own my story. Except, I must admit, it still feels really awkward sometimes.

I know I shouldn’t care what someone else thinks about my situation, but when it’s a close friend and not just an acquaintance I may only see a few times a year, the game changes a little bit. I want to share who I am with this person, but how can I do that while not lying or completely scaring them off? (I have some pretty outrageous stories from my past, as I’m sure we all do.)

Here is my advice, you’ll know when it’s time. You’ll know who is worthy of your story, and it’s not everyone. You’ll know if you should finally say something, or if you should even bring up the subject at all.

When it comes to your story, you are the one holding the pen. You are the one crafting the pages of your life, not someone else. If you feel the need, then jump in and tell your audience (your friend or family member) how your story really unfolds. If they won’t appreciate the intimate details of your life, then they don’t deserve to hear your story in the first place.

Does Your Past Ever Haunt You?

My husband and I experienced a really trying time in our marriage a few years ago. Between the drinking, the fighting, and adding other gritty details to a troubled past we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to pull through. Luckily, we are able to stand here together today.

But sometimes, the past creeps into our present and we are burdened by the situations that happened years ago that still torment us mentally.

We are reminded of both our distrust and past resentments. We have issues letting go of situations we have already promised to forgive. We fall back into the some of the destructive patterns which led us to an unhealthy set of habits in the first place.

In other words, we mentally fall of the wagon for a bit just to realize we are heading down the wrong path. (Thankfully, we are able to see this pretty quickly, either in ourselves or each other, and we can try to address the problem before it get’s too messy.)

Don’t let your past control your present. Don’t let your past control your future. Let your past live in the past and try to move forward.

We have all made mistakes. We have all done regretful things. We have all messed up in some way or another. But don’t let those burdens keep you from living your best possible life today.

Bad Weather

I woke up to some crazy storms this morning! The hanging plants on my back porch were about to be flung off into the distance when I peaked outside.  I think I watched the movie Twister too many times growing up because my heart starts racing any time there’s really bad thunder and lightning. I think to myself, This is it. This is the time when we’re going to have to get down in the floor of our small half bath, with the interior walls and no windows.  Maybe the roof is about to fly off our house at any second. We have to be prepared and protect our family! (Yes, I should be nominated for an Oscar based on the dramatic performances played out in my head, but it doesn’t work that way…I checked!)

Life is basically the same way. We go into our “fight or flight” modes when things get tough. Should I stay and figure out if this time the tornado of life is going to do some serious damage on my relationships? Should I hang around for the devastating aftermath that I know is inevitable with those huge clouds looming overhead? Should I prepare myself as best as I can to protect myself and my family for the storms that may or may not come?

We can’t live our lives every day with fear of the unknown. Well, we can. But if you do (or have in the past) you know how freaking exhausting that is! You know what it’s like when you see that first sign of rain. You know that there is an impending storm on the way. You have to decide whether you’re going to take cover to protect yourself and hunker down for the long haul, or you’re going to leave to find shelter elsewhere. The choice is up to you, but either way, it’s never a bad idea to find a way to protect yourself first.