Tag: encouragement


Sunday Inspiration: The Encouragement of Solitude

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a Sunday devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. This edition of “Sunday Inspiration” is an excerpt from my newly-released book, a 30-day devotional entitled Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a SUP (Hilliard Press). The book is available online through Hilliard Press and on Amazon (profits go to support my mission trip to Brazil with Justice & Mercy Amazon).

Day 23:  The Encouragement of Solitude

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. (Luke 5:16 NASB)

One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of encouragement. In every type of professional work I’ve done, I’ve been able to use my gift to serve my clients and my students. Likewise, in certain friendships and relationships, I’ve had the opportunity to give comfort and confidence to others in times of sorrow and anxiety, and have also had it reciprocated. To get to operate in my spiritual gift is an encouragement to me.

I remember listening to a podcast series by a well-respected pastor on the topic of encouragement. He said that people are in more need of reassurance and relief today than ever in the history of the world. He described different ways we can be an encouragement to others, and how we can be an encouragement to ourselves when we need it most. The pastor said one way we can reassure and restore ourselves is through solitude.

Solitude may be something some people are uncomfortable with, but I’ve learned to relish it, even when I don’t feel like being alone. Here’s what the pastor had to say about solitude:

God used certain people in a mighty way, but before He could, He had to teach them to be alone, teach them what isolation was all about. There is ministry in solitude and if we don’t learn how to cultivate that, we will have a very difficult time encouraging ourselves in the Lord. To be quiet so you can talk to God and so God can talk to you. King David understood the importance of getting alone, and so did Jesus. If a man considers his time to be so valuable that he cannot find time to keep quiet and to be alone, that man will eventually be of no value to anyone. To spend all of one’s time with people is soon to have nothing to give any of them of any value. ~Dr. David Jeremiah

For me, there are a few things I do in solitude that serve as a big encouragement for me. First and foremost, it’s reading the Word at the start of each day and recording in my journal what I think God is saying to me through His Word, as if He were talking directly to me. (Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 NIV) When I later go back and read what I’ve recorded, it’s often what I needed to be reminded of at exactly that point in time, or it’s to confirm that He did what He promised He would do.

The sounds of nature are also an encouragement to me. Being alone outside, especially paddling on the water, is soothing for me. God’s Word reminds me of the hope I have in Him, while being on the water makes me forget my sorrows and anxieties, at least for those few hours. The rhythm of the paddle strokes, coupled with the sounds of the water and the birds, make everything just melt away for me.

I love paddling on my own when I’m feeling discouraged (which was how I was feeling the day I wrote this). But I also enjoy paddling with a friend or a group who can also serve as an encouragement. I hope whoever is reading this is finding encouragement from the words God has put on my heart to share.

What are your own spiritual gifts (take the spiritual gifts test)? How are you using them, and are you getting encouragement from using them in various areas of your life? Spend some time in solitude to reflect on how you can better fulfill your purpose.

Side Note

Just last weekend I took a retreat on my own that required complete silence and solitude. It was a reminder of just how true the words of this post are. I encourage you to find time, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day, to get alone and be with yourself and with God. You’ll return to your daily routine refreshed and renewed.

Purchase the entire 30-day devotional

If you enjoyed this excerpt, I invite you to purchase the entire book. If you’re local to Nashville, you’re also invited to my book signing on June 24th, 11am to 1pm, at Paddle Up (525 Basswood Ave., Nashville, TN 37209) for popsicles, paddles, and paperbacks!

SUP

Books are $12 and the event includes a signed copy of my book, 15% off one paddle board rental the day of or any time during the 2017 season (courtesy of Paddle Up), and free Padrino’s Pops popsicles to the first 10 people!

If you can’t make it to the book signing, you can also purchase a copy online. Profits support Justice and Mercy International’s Amazon mission trips.

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Maintaining Positivity in the Face of Job Loss or Job Rejection

I applied for A LOT of jobs when I was looking for my first “real job” right out of grad school in the late ’90s. About 75 to be exact. And I got about 70 rejections. Rejection is difficult enough. But multiple rejections makes it nearly impossible to keep a positive attitude. Especially when you’re young and you’ve never experienced job rejection before.

I knew I had to find a way to not let it get me down, or else I’d develop a negative attitude that would be evident in my interviews. Going into a job interview with a negative attitude was sure to guarantee further rejection. I had to break the cycle before it started.

I decided for each rejection, I’d tell myself I was one step closer to the job that’s right for me. It also helped to think to myself, “If they don’t want me, why would I want to work for them?”

The Result of Positivity

I finally did get a job offer. It was working in two of my three areas of interest within my industry. I was promoted a year later and got to work in my third (and favorite) area, career development.

Interestingly, I originally applied for a director position even though I knew I wasn’t experienced enough since I was just coming out of grad school. I decided to apply any way, just to see what would happen.

While I got rejected for the director position (for obvious reasons — lack of experience), they called me and said the assistant director position was also open and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for it. I was, I did, and I was hired. A year later I became a director.

This goes to show that sometimes you can apply for jobs you’re not fully qualified for because you never know what can happen!

The Power of Positivity

My mantras made a huge difference not only in my level of positivity, but also in my confidence. They worked so well, I’ve used them in other areas of my life and career. I repeat them when I don’t land I client I want to sign, or when a relationship doesn’t work out like I want it to.

I never knew at the time just how powerful this positive mindset would be throughout my career. I’ve always worked as a career adviser in various capacities. Often I have to encourage my clients who’ve been laid off from their jobs or who are experiencing rejection in their job search. I share with them the same mantras that helped me. Also I remind them that, while they’ve lost their job, they haven’t lost their ability to work.

One client in particular was feeling very angry about being laid off. But after sulking for a few days, she decided to change her view of her situation. She decided instead of calling herself “unemployed” she’d call herself “FUNemployed!” I loved this and encouraged her to embrace that attitude.

Allow Yourself Time to be “FUNemployed”

 
rejection
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Periods of unemployment can provide you the time to get some much-needed rest, spend more time with your family, improve your health, be creative with your time, and explore your passions. Consider it a gift, and take advantage of it while you can. There will always be more work to do.

Are you at a place of career transition where you need some guidance? Have you lost your job and need help with the job search? Or do you need help exploring other viable options other than going back to work for someone else? Let’s talk! Click here to complete the paNASH intake form and schedule a complimentary “Path to Purpose” session. I look forward to hearing from you!

Related post:  What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Job Loss

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Need Some Motivation?

We all need some motivation once in a while. One way I personally find motivation is through the collecting of inspirational quotes and blogs. If you need some motivation this week, feel free to see (and share!) what I’ve collected on my Pinterest board. You can also read some of my inspirational blog posts. See you next week for Thanksgiving!

Encourage Someone Today

Encouragement is something I love to dole out to people. It’s one of many things I provide my clients, and because it’s one of my spiritual gifts, it comes naturally to me. It’s amazing what an encouraging word can do for someone, and it’s even more amazing what it can do for the person giving it out.

A Balance of Encouragement

This reminds me of a post I wrote for my SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer blog last year. I had been out paddling with one of my friends and we decided to teach ourselves some maneuvers on our stand up paddle boards. These maneuvers included walking forward and backwards on our boards while still staying balanced on them in the water, a difficult challenge for just about every paddle boarder when first trying it.

My friend and I would occasionally look over to each other to see how we were both doing. She encouraged me as she saw me trying to walk (I wasn’t graceful, but instead looked like a baby taking its first steps). And while it felt good to have encouragement from her, it felt even better to encourage her! She was doing awesome, and I just kept saying, “There you go! You’ve got it!” Just saying those words to another person lifted my own spirits so high.

It’s Better to Give Than to Receive

So if you find yourself in need of some encouragement today, try to give some to someone else. You may just find the phrase “it is better to give than to receive” to be true not just for gift-giving. A genuine and thoughtful offer of encouragement can greatly reduce your own feelings of discouragement.

One way you can encourage your friends is to share the paNASH blog with them. Send them this link (www.yourpassioninlife.com/blog) so they too can benefit from the many posts that provide positivity, encouragement, and direction for their own lives and careers.

From Fashionista to Passionista

Life In Limbo

I recently learned about the meaning of the word “trigger.” And no, I don’t mean the part of a gun you pull when ready to fire. Instead, in terms of life circumstances, the word “trigger” means, “a life event that forces you into limbo.” When I first saw this definition of the word “trigger,” I realized that’s exactly what I had been in for the past year and a half:  LIMBO. (Some people call it “feeling stuck.”)

What was the life event forcing me into limbo? Nothing I would describe as an “event” occurred. I just know that during the summer of 2014, whenever I wasn’t busy with my work as an image consultant, I was packing in as many fun activities into my schedule as I could. Parasailing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing and more. Heck, I even got to ride in a race car during one of the video shoots I was working on. It was absolutely exhilarating!

F to P

Looking back, I now realize that getting out and experiencing life to the fullest was probably my “trigger.” Why? Because it opened up in me a whole new yearning for a fully-lived life. Not just for me, but also for others. But at the time, I couldn’t see exactly what that looked like. I started feeling restless and burned out with my image consulting work I once was very passionate about. And I was lacking a vision and purpose for the future of my business. Despite having so much fun in my free time, I was definitely in limbo. Which is not always a fun place to be.

Fear As An Obstacle

During my limbo phase, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do or what God wanted me to do career-wise. It was frustrating and discouraging. All I know is, during the summer of 2014, people were coming to me with the same struggles. They were saying to me how they feel they need some kind of change in their life and work. How they wish they could have the time and the means to enjoy life discovering and pursuing their passions like I was.

Every time I heard this my heart would go out to them. I would say, “You CAN!” But, my encouragement was always met with some kind of obstacle, either real or perceived. Their responses included reasons (or are they excuses?) such as, “I don’t have the money.” Or, “I don’t have the time.” Or, “I don’t have the skill/education,” etc., etc., etc. I think a lot of those examples could easily be translated to “I don’t have the courage.” This is understandable because fear can be extremely paralyzing. Whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of change.

The Vision Becomes Clear

As the summer turned into fall and winter and then summer again, I continued trying and doing new things to help me make sense of the uncertainty I was experiencing. I went ice skating for the first time in my life, took a fly fishing class, and learned archery. In that time I also continued my favorite activity I had picked up the previous summer, stand up paddle boarding. I have two boards now and paddle every month of the year, even in the dead of winter, because I am so very passionate about it.

Also, I did something this past September I never imagined doing. I paddled 16.4 miles from downtown Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on the winding Cumberland River to Rock Harbor Marina. I thought it would take me about five or six hours to complete. But I finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes. All while going against a headwind with little to no current to help carry me downstream.

Photo by Joey Martin

Photo by Joey Martin

This experience taught me that, although I couldn’t see the finish line because of all the twists and turns in the river, it eventually would become clear as I neared it. Even if it took what seemed like forever. All I had to do was be patient and keep moving one paddle stroke at a time. That’s exactly what I did in my time of limbo. I kept doing the little bit I knew to do at a time and waited for the answer to come.

All this, along with much prayer, led up to the moment on December 17th, 2015 when suddenly my limbo ended. The clouds parted and the sun shined brilliantly on what my purpose is at this stage in my life. I was in the shower, where I do my best thinking. And suddenly I could see in my head the word PASSION, as if written in flashing neon lights.

The message I was getting is I am to help other people discover and pursue their passions in life and work, and help them find ways over, through, or around the obstacles and fears keeping them from their passions. As soon as this came to my mind, I could clearly see and visualize ways of helping people do this, using my own unique strengths and passions. The rest of that day and for the time since, I’ve received numerous confirmations this is truly my new path. And I’ve taken steps toward making it a reality.

From Fashionista To Passionista

From Fashionista to PassionistaWith this new vision for my future, I was also able to look back on the past and see how God is using my past experience to prepare me for this. Straight out of grad school I became a college career adviser because I was passionate about helping college students discover what it was they loved and wanted to do in their life (instead of just doing what their mom or dad told them to do). Twelve years of that experience has prepared me to coach people on how to incorporate their passions into their work and how to make money doing what they love while helping others.

My own sense of adventure and love for developing new interests outside of work has also prepared me to help others pursue passions outside of their work. I was even able to see how the name of my image consulting business, paNASH, can still work with my new mission and purpose (God doesn’t waste anything!).

So, now, I am no longer an image consultant. While I enjoyed styling people’s wardrobes and helping them look and feel their best, I’m ready to instead help them LIVE THEIR BEST! I just received my certifications in transformational coaching, solution-focused coaching, and life coaching to become a Passion & Career Specialist (my own little niche and twist on life and career coaching). I guess you could say I’ve gone from somewhat of a fashionista to a passionista!

I’m excited to embark on this new journey. I don’t look at it as something I do for a living. It’s something I live. If you want to start living this way, then pursue your passions with paNASH! Email me to find out more on the ways I can help you put your passion into action. Or, join our newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan.

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