The Journey to Knowing ‘I am Enough’.

Several years ago, I had laser surgery on both eyes as a preventative measure against narrow angle closure glaucoma. During the weeks of my procedure and healing, I had to wear my glasses during my waking hours and not use my contact lenses. Not so bad, right?

Well, not anymore. But, it wasn’t always that way … At age 11, my already coca-cola bottle thick glasses were upgraded to bifocals. Pretty tall order for a little girl who weighed just over 50 pounds. Not the accessory that I wanted to add to my daily wardrobe. It didn’t matter how pretty my frames were, no one could see them for looking at two eyes that appeared to be a “uni-eye”.

The fun really started when I wanted to start wearing makeup. Guess what makeup does — it enhances your eyes so they can look larger. I tried every way possible to get mine to look smaller. I prayed often for my eyes to be healed.  If that wasn’t enough, I had overactive sebaceous glands and large pores.  So add acne to my list of “how do you see me now” wonderment and you get the idea of what middle school and high school were like for me. I was blessed to have cool, name brand clothes. But, no matter how I wrapped it, the package that I presented caused people to stare and whisper.

There were many times that I came home in tears wishing I never had to go to school again. (I homeschooled my girls, probably, in part, to feelings that I carried from this point in my life). Fast forward to age 17 – I discovered benzoyl peroxide, got my braces off and found a doctor that would fit me for contact lenses. With an overall improvement in my appearance, and starting college, I was moving up from stay-to-myself-shy to Sheri-the-social-butterfly. Suffice to say, my life in college was much different than high school.

While pregnant with my oldest daughter, I prayed daily that she would have perfect eyesight, straight teeth, and clear skin. (I did pray for my middle and youngest daughters as well… God has abundantly blessed!)

Over the course of time, I learned that my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth were not necessarily better because I had evolved from my moth stage to the butterfly phase. Regardless of the outward changes, inside I still felt empty, unlovely and unlovable. I equated outward appearance with love and acceptance. What a disappointment to find this wasn’t the case at all. What a joy to find that the more I learned to lean on God, the more my mindset began to change.

At 22, after having grown up in church and spending some years being the prodigal, I got my business straight with God.   At 39, I began doing a faith-based weight loss program, and during this season in my life I learned that God had been with me for all those years and was teaching me how to lean into Him to learn to do life well. Having lost my dad in a car accident at age 9, I missed out on the valuable male insight he may have provided about guys, dating, not compromising my values to feel loved, marriage, car repair, career paths etc.

I began to ask God for the abundant life His Word promises. This would take me on a journey that led me to value people without being driven by my desire for love and acceptance from them.  I began to see myself as He sees me. I saw that I am beautiful and that every struggle I have faced has served to draw me closer to Him and to the understanding that He has seen me at my best and my worst and loves me unconditionally.

All the while, He was patiently teaching me to love myself. He sent little messengers along the way, like the little four year old girl who put her hands on my face and told me that I was pretty, that Jesus loves me, and when I get to heaven He would heal all the “holes” (acne scars) on my face. 

So today, I can wear my glasses without feeling embarrassed. I smile when I touch my skin and find that as my daughter Rachel suggested, by eliminating foundation makeup and simply using a concealer as needed has caused my skin to actually improve.

Sometimes, I still ask God to heal my skin and eyes, because He is able to do so, if that is His best for me. Regardless, I am now happy behind my peepers, when I choose to wear them, and in my own skin. It probably helps me to be more intentional in my actions so that my inner beauty, the work that Christ has done in me, can shine through..

I am incredibly thankful for the ‘journeys’ that God has orchestrated to help me learn to see myself through His eyes and understand that His plan was for me to recognize that with Him, I am Enough!!

What is the Potential in Your Promised Land?

What are the circumstances you are struggling with just now?  Are you trusting God in this circumstance?  Is your faith for the small things or is it big enough to believe the Lord for the bigger concerns in your life?

Do you see God as big enough?  If not, problems may seem too big, and your failures may seem insurmountable, and your peace may be adversely affected by your trials. It’s time to remember that God is the same God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt, kept Daniel safe in the lion’s den and was present with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. Do not allow your inability to comprehend how big God is to limit the plan He has for your life.

If we are continually comparing ourselves to others and feeling as if we don’t measure up, we will be powerless to use our gifts and talents to glorify Him and bring the joy we long for in our lives..

 In Numbers 13, a scout team had been sent into the Promised Land and reported that it was flowing with milk and honey.  However, in addition to their positive report, they add a but… The downside is that in this land of promise there are giants.   Men so large are reported that the scouting team is made to feel like grasshoppers. They momentarily forgot God’s provision and guidance to the nation of Israel in times past.   They neglected the fact that He had always kept His promises.  Instead of seeing the potential, they concentrated on the problems in the promised land.

God came to give us a full and joyful life, not a life lived from crisis to crisis.   He never promised a life free of problems but He did promise a life never free of His presence.

Someone once said that,  “The problem with Christianity isn’t that it has been tried and found wanting; but rather that is has been found difficult and left untried.”   Are we giving up in our darkest hour, because we aren’t taking God at His Word and living in the light of His promises?

Are we prepared to face life’s ups and downs? Or are we exerting too much energy on things that distract us from going deeper with God? The storms of life will come. It’s not a matter of if, but when!. It may be time to step out of our comfort zone and into God’s capable hands and allow Him to fulfill the work He wants to do in us.

We truly recognize the potential in our promised land, when we realize that God is at work in us and through us and that He specifically gave us the talents we possess to be used for His glory. His design for us is unique and special, and He reveals His plan for us step by step. His expectation of us is simple obedience.

William Hulme said, “Because I know the WHO, I can handle the WHAT, even without knowing WHY.”   If we are unwilling to believe this, we will probably see more problems than potential in our promised land. The Giants will make us feel like a grasshopper and will crowd out the view of our land of milk and honey.

God’s plan and His timing are perfect. The wisdom of His plan is that He wants to lead us into the promised land. He will do so if we hold on to His promises and rely on His Word.   Follow in His footsteps.  Celebrate the wonderful creation you are – and use and enjoy the talents that you have been given.  Be an inspiration to others, rather than murmuring because you do not do the things they do. Allow God is help you discover the things you do well and do them with all your might as unto the Lord! (Hint: The passion God may reveal in Your Life, may be in the places where He has allowed you to be wounded the greatest!)

What Steps Can I Take to Live More Simply?

This journey isn’t so much about eliminating the number of shoes or books we own, the square footage of our house or giving away every non-essential item we own.

Simplicity, for me, has become the removal of the unnecessary things that tend to distract me from discovering and enjoying what I value most in my world.

5 Steps to consider if you want to live more simply.

1. Simplify your wardrobe. Adopting a minimal wardrobe has afforded me less stress when choosing what to wear each day. Eliminating items I rarely wear and only purchasing clothing, shoes and accessories that I feel most like myself in, has given me more time each morning and the ability to eliminate chaos.

2. Eliminate digital distractions. When meeting with someone, I intentionally allow my phone to take a coffee break. For me, multi-tasking simply means I am able to screw up two things at once! I work when I’m at work. I am intentional when I am in a meeting. I continually strive to remember that I own the phone, it does not own me!

3. Learn to be vacationally-minded in your work. Changing the mindset in how we view our work can transform the way we work. God designed us to create! Realizing that creating is our work makes getting to it a lot easier. If the goal is only for a promotion, prestigious title, or a larger paycheck, it will not be enough to fulfill us in the long run. On vacation, we are intentional in getting the most out of the moments we have and creating special memories. Focusing on seeing ourselves as ‘creative’ beings helps us to view our work as our gift or contribution to something bigger. We develop pure intentions and ultimately greater joy in doing it.

4. Learn to say no to things. It’s tempting to believe that saying yes to everything is the path to success. However, if we treat everything as a priority, we will not reach a high level of success. Unnecessary commitments and obligations can cause stress and friction in our relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. The ability to say no provides space to focus on the things we value most. It’s not about being involved in everything, but rather learning not to trade off “best” and settle for “good”.

5. Embrace the mundane. Life is truly lived in the morning coffee chats on the porch, car rides to school or work, standing in the grocery line talking to a neighbor, reading to your kids before bed time, caring for a loved one, walking the dog, and clearing off the dinner table as a family. It is these moments that we often hurry past. Yet it is these simple memories that last a lifetime. These are the experiences that write our story and shape our lives.

I invite you to consider what ‘keeping it simple’ could mean for you…

Sheri

What is the Value of Living Simply?

I don’t know exactly when I fully realized that what I really enjoy is a small, slow, simple life!

It’s here where I recognize that truly special days can be a rainy afternoon and a good book, or a lingering lunch with a friend or loved one where we reminisce about the goodness of God or share the ups and downs of life.

Enjoying simple things allows me to manage my stress and reserve my energy for the unplanned and unexpected times and be prepared to respond in a manner that will not bring regret.

If I allow it, life can be a noisy place with loud voices pushing or driving for me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. All the striving can leave me drained of joy and wondering if I am simply not enough.

When I stop spinning, I can listen for God’s still, small voice whispering for me to know that He is in control.

What if I never really achieve accolades beyond the people who are my primary circle of impact? What if life as I have chosen it is good, even amazing, in light of the fact that my heart is fully engaged?

Since leaving the frantic pace of life and learning to not keep up, I have found that I truly enjoy solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy.

I have found great delight in sharing my deeply rooted faith, doubts and insecurities, in quiet ways and through genuine relationship with some very special women in my life who have invested in me.

We haven’t had a fairy tale romance and I follow hard after God to be the wife that will always be for Jeff’s best. This keeps me humble and I need it!

I am a mom who delights in her girls and in knowing they are free to choose their appointments with life. I consider it a special privilege to affirm and support them in their passions!

I seek the Lord often to learn to embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. I am at peace with who I am and what I need and believe it to be an amazing gift of God to walk in this knowledge.

I enjoy a simplified life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. And for me, it is enough!

Sheri

How Can I Live a Life of Passion?

How Would You Describe the Speed in which YOU Do Life?  Life balance isn’t about having it all or how many plates you can juggle, but more about relinquishing what doesn’t work for you so that you can be rightly aligned and fully intentional with what does.

Resisting the Hindrance of Resistance…Growth requires becoming an expert at navigating inevitable life change by learning to accept what you cannot change and eliminating excuses for not changing the things you can. Reflecting on where you and how you are impacted by things outside of your control is an excellent exercise for some super new habits!

You Are What’s Eating You… How much sleep are you losing, or how many ways are you indulging yourself over unresolved issues, relationships or projects? The more baggage we carry, the sooner we show signs of aging. So travel light to find the fountain of youth.

Live Free… Give of your resources generously. The level of your ability to freely give is directly proportionate to how ‘free’ you truly are. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. Avoid the temptation to clutter your life or schedule with unnecessary weight. To the one who has much, much will be required.

Live Out Your Passion… Find ways to do what you love and share it with others. Express love as often as you are able. Do all that you do as if God were your employer.

Be intentional… All work and no play dulls our senses to the beauty all around us in the people love and the things we enjoy. Learn to adjust your speed of life to take time to smell the roses, experience the beauty of a sunset or the warm hug of a dear friend. The day may come, that you will be very glad that you made the effort!

Sheri

How can I let go of my fear of what others think of me?

Choosing to do something or not do something based on what we “think” others would say about our choice prevents us from having the freedom to make the best choices. Having to first “check in” with a panel of judges, internal or external adds confusion to the decision-making process.

Accountability and support are extremely important. And the folks in our life, who are committed to our well-being without attempting to control us, can provide excellent guidance for us. Having listened to our hearts and shared in our joys and sorrows, they are in the best position to offer objective advice.

A good indicator of these supportive relationships is that we feel valued and not judged, when sharing our thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams with them. When we are making choices that align with our overall direction in life, those who support us are willing to cheerlead and urge us on. And, if we are considering a choice that may not appear to be the best for us, they have the courage and our permission to remind us of our values and question us on the choices we may be considering.

The key difference in someone who believes in us, respects our choices and our right to make them, is that they will ASK questions as opposed to TELLING us what they think we should do.

To get over believing what other people think about us, it is wise to remember that their opinions of us are really none of our business.

A possible reason for listening to the panel of judges is a fear of failure. However, consider the fact that we never truly “fail” unless we quit trying to find a way that satisfies the pursuit we are on.

An effective way to face the fear of failure is to visualize the worst case scenario and ask ourselves what would we do if it were to happen?

My grandmother always said, “when people are talking about ‘you’ they’re leaving someone else alone”.

Yet, the truth is that people will always be talking; they will always be judging. This is something we have no power to change. But we do have the power to choose what we believe is best for ourselves!

Sheri

In Simplifying My Life, How Can I Learn Contentment?

Contentment is the fundamental pursuit in each area of life. We want to get the house painted or our certification completed or the kids grown or something that we are convinced will enable us to finally be content. However, it is really a condition of our inner person. Sort of an at-peace-with-me feeling. It is also a foundation to enjoying life and being intentional in the moment. Can it be done? If so, how?

1 – Practice delaying gratification. When you consider making a purchase, use patience and consider postponing the ones that are simply for convenience. If you end up purchasing the item later, it will be well thought out. If not, you’ll be happier to have saved the time and money.

2 – Evaluate the important areas of your life: spirituality, mate, family, work, friends, finances, health, personal development, rest / recreation, etc., and determine what defines your values in each of these categories. Such as, “for R & R, I need to be out in the fresh air and sunshine and I need unstructured blocks of time…”. This will enable you to establish a thought pattern around the way you make decisions in the important issues of life. The process for making better choices is made simpler because your values are defined and explain why you do things the way you do them.

3 – Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend 10+ minutes each day reading something that inspires you. Journal what you glean from what you read, personal encounters, a movie you watch or just what comes to mind while you are in the shower. You will be amazed at how you can gain such positive perspective from your quiet times. Invest in others by offering an encouraging word in the way of a note, text or call to them when they are working on a particular endeavor or are facing a personal trial.

4 – Unplug from the technology of life and plug in to the simpler paths. Change gears for half an hour each day by taking a walk or a bubble bath. Find a neat little hobby such as painting or woodworking that you can enjoy and de-stress from the working hours in your day. Write a blog — oh, I resemble that! — on something that you have learned in an effort to enlighten others.

5 – Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can offer guidance in learning how to do things in a different, possibly more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things or teach a class around what you have learned with others who will benefit from your time. Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share.

6 – Reach out and get to know a neighbor at home or work. Don’t worry, if you’re the new-bee you can still take the initiative. Every friend we have was once a stranger. Be observant in watching for common interests. Maybe you both have kids the same age or at work it may be someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you.

7 – Practice learning to be a great listener. By doing so, you will learn the true art of emotional intelligence and the high quality of “likeability”. When you work to listen to others at deeper levels, you communicate to them that you place high value on them and the time they spend with you. You will also learn how to take the focus off of your own personal challenges and you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of encouragement.

By putting these steps into routine practice for 30 days, you will be able to determine if your life can be defined as being more content. And, in turn, you can inspire others to do the same!

Sheri

What I Am Becoming is Way More Important than What I am Doing!

A bold statement: “What I am becoming is way more important than what I am doing”.

Yet, in reality, it is freeing. It allows me to stop worrying about producing and pay attention to the things I am learning, the ways I’m being stretched, and what is birthed in the way of fruit as a result of the choices I make in life.

We’ve probably all experienced the George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life) moments, where we wonder if our having been born really makes much difference at all. These ideas usually come on the tail end of a season of having things seemingly on a downturn. Much of these distractions, if we choose to focus on them, tend to keep us from happily “row row rowing our boat merrily, merrily, merrily, down the stream”. 

If we can consider that perhaps, what we are becoming through the processes of reflection, growth and change in our lives may be more important than whatever it is we are endeavoring to do, we may be able to endure the challenges of life more patiently.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, he identifies the difference in our level of expertise in life according to a 10,000-hour rule. This “rule” is that when you have invested 10k hours in doing something, you are truly an expert at it. He parallels the lives of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, among others. It is a really good read about some interesting success stories, as well as motivational.

The importance is placed on what we are becoming in light of practicing and reading and engaging in repeated efforts around things we are passionate about.  I think of it like learning to write in cursive, or playing the piano, or whatever we endeavor to do well.  We don’t arrive at “being a master”; the art of mastery is in the becoming…the practice, the conscious thinking and focusing on, the commitment to continuing to get back in the ring, on the bike or horse, or at the keyboard, and the willingness to compete with only one…myself…as a means for improving today over yesterday.

It isn’t a striving; it is a growing process. It is natural like learning to crawl before we walk and like acquiring a taste for new things, whether it be food or adventure.

To enjoy life on a broader scale, be open to all things but attached to none.  Being open doesn’t mean you have to “do” all things; the openness (absence of judgment) frees us mentally to focus on the becoming. We celebrate and feel the exhilaration of what “can be” as opposed to fighting what can’t be or feeling hemmed in by all we “can’t do”.

I recently engaged in a conversation with a good friend as we discussed the “bearing of fruit” in our lives versus “producing fruit”. She had spent some time reflecting on her journey and what God’s Word says regarding the difference and it was very enlightening. We often strive to produce fruit. If we can frame our efforts in the matter of “bearing fruit”, it is a natural progression of building on to a well-laid foundation or a well-watered garden.

So, whatever you are facing at the present moment, if you are tempted to stress over all that you are doing, whether or not it is the right thing to do or try, consider that what you will learn in this season is another piece in what you are becoming. We are able to learn from all choices that we make and we benefit from everything we learn, so you can just go with it and welcome the awareness you now have around the art of becoming.

God has ignited a candle within each of us, a passion with potential to burn brightly in our sphere of influence. As we move into the process of becoming and away from the worry of “doing”, we will have more clarity in the many ways He will work in and through us so that we can take our candle and light our world.

What you do, may be forgotten tomorrow, but what you become will make all the difference!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Wife & Mom

Growing up the little child within …

Within every one of us is a little child who has leftover childhood needs. Many times our parents did not listen to us. Our boundaries [personal limits] have been violated and often result in anger, resentment, procrastination, promiscuity, various physical ailments, introversion, perversion, and even self-destruction.

We lose our ability to communicate during childhood by often being told the “appropriate” thing to do, (what to think as opposed to how to think) therefore, not allowing us to express our true feelings and emotions. As we become adults, the rush of unchecked adult passions, frustrations, and anger can run rampant within us. We may feel ready to explode, yet unable to even cry. We’re hurting too bad to laugh. We may experience rage due to the inability to turn thoughts into words. It is crucial that we develop safe relationships so that we are able to vent emotions and frustrations through appropriate channels.

From childhood, our feelings of not being loved and validated especially from our parents, can leave us tempted to use sex, food, drugs, alcohol, shopping or a host of other vices to temporarily self-medicate the pain we are too afraid to face. We hesitate to grieve the true losses. Grief and acceptance of what we cannot change are the stepping stones to healing and freedom from damaged emotions. It requires courage and a true support system to develop the skills needed to learn to grow from our experiences.

Distorted childhood perceptions and conclusions often bring consuming thoughts of inadequacy, and have the potential to produce a lifetime of insecurity. Fear and insecurity can prevent us from developing an intimate relationship with God. We try to impress Him with our performance, struggling to realize that it is not our “efforts” He is seeking. He is pursuing us with the love we’ve looked so far and wide to find, in order that we can be healed and whole. Our wholeness brings us to a place that we become the conduit whereby He is allowed to love others through us.

“All that I express, speak, and understand is relative to my childhood. You will never understand the man / woman I am on the outside until you have touched the child within me. If you never develop empathy for the little boy or girl in me who is holding a blanket and sucking his thumb in a doorway, watching everyone leave, then you will never understand my erratic behavior on the job, in bed, or with my own children.” (“Loose That Man and Let Him Go” by T.D. Jakes) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child… [1 Cor 13:11]

There are hidden things in us that we belittle other people for. We carefully conceal what lurks in the secret and dark chambers of our hearts — but they are there. Under difficult circumstances, those secret weaknesses can erupt with terrible results. We can be incredibly hypocritical, often strongly condemning others for the very things we are most guilty of. The greatest and most lethal weapon I am challenged with, is ME.

Who I am when no one is looking is who I really am! I am alone anytime I am surrounded by people who don’t know who I am. Anytime I am in a situation where I can’t fully be myself, I am alone. Anytime I have to put on a facade or camouflage who I really am, I am alone and isolated.

God has been calling us through the problems we experience. We may avoid it because we assume that open confrontation with God will be negative. His plan is for us to surrender to His will and purpose for our lives. Regardless of how rough or tough we act, a real friend will look us in the face and say, “I hear you, but you are STILL wrong.” A true friend loves you enough to stand up to you. God comes to stand up to you and to move you away from mediocrity.

True friendship and intimacy are achieved when we feel so comfortable around others that we can be who we really are. We need to stop hiding ourselves and from ourselves. If we don’t, we may lose our true selves and become the lie we’ve pretended to be. We will be more than pleased as we discover the true depth of relationships we can enjoy as we allow our true selves to emerge. The best part is the stress that is reduced when we just “get real”!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom