Are you a Professional at Productive Procrastination?

A week ago I had this idea for a post on procrastination. Can you guess what happened? Yep. Procrastination.

Since September 2014 I’ve been leading women’s bible studies. So far, I’ve led the same study for two groups of ladies – Red Hot Faith by Cindy Bultema. The second session ended at the beginning of March and I finished an online virtual bible study shortly after.

And I’ll be honest, I’ve been floundering a bit since. Leading these women really fulfills me! The study I was doing was Rescued by Paulette Stamper on the book of Colossians. It was so powerful and impactful.

I feel like I’ve taken a step backwards and I’m not sure how to have meaningful time with God on my own. I’m trying to get back into playing my ukulele. And I’ve started a few plans on the bible app on my phone. I think I may need to remove technology from the mix and dive directly into the bible. I find just sitting down to read really difficult. I might try studying a book at a time and see where that gets me. I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have!

What does all this have to do with procrastination? Well, I’m finally ready to get to that point. I came across a verse from Nehemiah.

So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
                                           Nehemiah 6:2-3

We need to be aware that the enemy is trying to keep us from God’s work. Procrastination can be sneaky especially when it’s productive.

Have you ever put something off by cleaning your house? Or finishing some other tasks that need to be done instead of the task you need to do?

Recently, I’ve been talking with a friend of mine who is writing a book on a deeply personal matter. She’s been doing what I call productive procrastination. She told me of one such productive moment that led her to cleaning her toilet! Now that’s professional grade procrastination!

My procrastination tends to be a lot less productive. I usually end up escaping into tv land, social media or food. I’ve even caught myself watching TV and playing a game on my phone. Do you think I’m actually paying attention to what I’m doing let alone what’s going on around me?

I’ve got some amazing ideas and some really cool goals. Yet, I constantly let fear and procrastination get in my way. And then I beat myself up (metaphorically speaking) for failing to do what I set out to do. I’m starting to realize the problem is not just me and my flaws. There’s this little voice that whispers in my ear, “You deserve a break,” “Why don’t you just watch one tv show,” “Do you really need to do this today,” on and on it goes.

How do we defeat the trickery of procrastination? It calls to each one of us every day. And it sounds so reasonable.

Check your motives. Is what you’re doing God’s work? Or are you putting off what really matters? Stop and pray about it. Take a moment to check in with Jesus.

Don’t worry. The plan is to take my own advice. I’d love to hear what works for you!

Letting Go of the Old

This morning, I was looking at Colossians through the Rescued bible study I’ve been doing.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
                                                         Colossians 3:12

The study asked which “articles of clothing” are the easiest to put on and which are the hardest. It also asked which “outfits” I need to throw away. In answering the outfits question, I learned something about myself. I love that this study has helped me learn a lot about myself!

The “outfits” I need to throw away are my escape and hormonal outfits. My default when I get stressed out is to retreat into tv land and hide in my bubble. When I need a “quick fix”, for my emotions, I turn to food. Anyone who’s followed my blog, for any length of time, you know that I have PMDD. My hormones and moods start to get out of control about 12 days before my period is due. My temper flares, I get defensive, and I carb load. And every month I try to change and I try to handle it. And every month I fail. 

The thing is I don’t bring this to God. He’s the God of the universe. He can do anything. And yet I don’t turn to Him for this. I don’t doubt that he COULD take it away. It’s just that there are so many bigger needs in this world.

My big self-realization? There’s a part of me that feels like I deserve PMDD and I deserve to be overweight. Or maybe it’s the thorn in my side like Paul had. So, I should just learn to live with it.

But, did God really say?

How would I know? I haven’t asked Him. I am one of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. Maybe I need to turn to Him and ask for His help.

What would my life look like without my thorns?

Who would I be if I didn’t wear these outfits any longer?

Looks like it’s time for me to find out.

Stepping out of Fear and into Truth

Fear.

It comes out differently to different people. This weekend I over-ate and escaped into tv-land. I didn’t realize it was fear until this morning. 

You see I’ve got some major changes happening in my life. Really great changes that I am super excited about. But I’m scared. Change is scary. But this kind of change puts me in a place where people will look to me, rely on me.

I know I’m a wife and mother. I have a family that relies on my everyday. But this is different. People are starting to rely on me in a new and unfamiliar way. My faith is on display. And for the longest time I felt like a fraud. Like I was just going through the motions of my faith. Go to church. Sing and praise God.  Pray while at church. But go home and live as I normally do. The entire time I was craving a relationship with Jesus. And I spent so much time looking for “signs” of what God wanted me to do.

I couldn’t figure it out because I wasn’t having a relationship with God. I didn’t know “how”. Well, I’ve previously talked about how I finally figured that out and, of course, it wasn’t in my own power. I had help both human and divine.

Fear. Oh, how the devil relishes in it. He whispers in our ear and says:

“You’re a fraud.”

“You’re not reliable.”

“Who wants to listen to a sinner like you?”

“Did God really say…?”

Do you want to know what I learned today? The devil may be able to whisper in your ear and put thoughts into your mind, but he does NOT know what you’re thinking. I believed that until today. So, the best way to fight him is to praise God…OUT LOUD! Thanks for that tip Paulette!

So, now I’m aware that I’ve been hiding in fear. Now it’s time to step up, remember God’s truths and step out in Faith.

God’s got my back!

And I’m not alone.

I’m never alone.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.   
                                                      1 John 4:4

Holy Spirit? Yes, Please!

I’ve been taking part in a virtual bible study called Rescued by Paulette Stamper. It’s taking us through Colossians. This morning I was asked this question: Describe a time when you have tried to accomplish something in your own strength and not in the power of the Holy Spirit in you.

I thought I’d share my answer here. Some of this I’ve talked about before. 

In 2012, I went back to college. I enrolled in the Addictions and Community Service Worker program at Everest (Everest is a whole other topic that I won’t get into).

I truly felt God calling me to take that program. I was certain I was fulfilling my destiny. I’d found my purpose in life. The thing is, I wasn’t spending time with Him. Yes, I went to church,  but I wasn’t in a place I could really hear God or know His will for my life.

Because I was following God’s will I was certain I would find the perfect job as a helping professional. I sent over 100 resumes and applied to countless jobs. I did find a casual job in the field, but there was no room for moving up or working full time. And I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to start my career. I’d found my passion and what I was good at. I wasn’t looking for some high paying job, but this was what I was meant to do.

Eventually I left the casual job and started to look for any job. I still had very little luck in that department until a woman at my church forwarded me a job opportunity.

I did get that job. But what I was left with was severe disappointment. I was disappointed in myself for not being “good enough” to work in my field. I was disappointed in God for not following through on His plans for me. All of this disappointment led to severe unhappiness and depression. I was missing what God was calling me to do.

Finally, out of desperation I knew I needed help. So, I decided I would use my vacation to discern God’s will for my life. I went to the GEMS conference and tried my best to reconnect with God. I came home without any concrete answers. But I did decide that He wouldn’t want me to remain so unhappy in a job. I felt certain that meant looking for a new job.

Within my first week back I had a dawning. I wasn’t hating my job. I was reluctant to admit that I was even enjoying work! I hadn’t changed my mind. My job certainly hadn’t changed. God changed my heart and my whole perspective.

Now, looking back I can see that God did want me to take my course at school, but it wasn’t to lead me to some amazingly fulfilling job. All of this has led me closer to God and into Women’s Ministry. I have no idea what being a part of Women’s Ministry will look like. Will I have a big role or a small role? But here’s the BIG realization. It doesn’t matter! I’m stepping out into the unknown. I’m walking in Faith and trying to follow where the Holy Spirit leads because God’s plans for my life are so much greater than my own.

Starting Over

I’ve struggled with writing a new blog post for a very long time. It’s been over three months since my last post. I’m in transition. I decided, well, probably three months ago, to blog more about my faith walk. And then I hit a wall. I developed seasonal depression and I really struggled with just day to day living. I finally started to come out of it and I’ve tried to write a few posts and none of them felt right.

It’s only this morning that I finally realized why. I’ve been going through a virtual bible study called Rescued by Paulette Stamper. She’s an electric woman with a contagious faith! What I’ve come to realize is that God gives me great ideas all the time. I then tend to put them off for “later” and then never go back to them. Some ideas I can’t escape and they keep coming up. I just assumed I was being lazy and procrastinating. That may be a part of it, but here’s the whole truth that I’m finally able to see – I’m scared. I haven’t been trusting that God has plans for my ideas. In fact, they’re His ideas not my own.

You see, I’ve been feeling like my blog is ready for a change. I’ve continued to feel as though I should be sharing more about my faith walk and trying to be more encouraging. And here’s where fear entered the picture. I’m afraid that no one would want to hear about my faith because I’m not exactly the poster child of great faith. I am a sinner. A big one. And who wants to hear from someone who does it wrong all the time?

Enter my Rescued aha moment this morning. It doesn’t matter that I’m a sinner. We all are. My sins aren’t any worse than your sins.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

                                             Matthew 7:5

God can use my voice for His glory. I don’t have to do anything other than show up and take a step in Faith. So, here I am. I’m stepping out in Faith. You’ll either like what I have to say or you won’t. I’m trusting that God has a plan for me and for you!

Expect more bible verse and faith talk. If that’s not for you – then I wish you well!

P.S.
If you’re struggling with seasonal depression reach out and ask for help. Go see your family doctor, counselor, therapist. Call a friend. Call lots of friends. You can even message me. Just don’t stay in the dark my friends! There is always hope.

Being Elle November 2014

The Road So Far…My Faith Journey

Being Elle November 2014I am a woman of faith. It’s time I owned up to it and admitted it. I’m going to share my story with you. This will be a long post, but I promise it’s all true and uniquely me. ​

In 2004, I realized that I believed in God. It w​as a slow dawning. Shortly after this realization I felt a nudge to go to church. ​Here’s the thing. I’d never really done the whole church thing. I mean I’d gone with friends off and on over the years, but certainly I’d never belonged to a church. But I kept getting a tug on my heart so I got myself and my son ready and we set off to go to church. I was a single mom at the time and my son was around 18 months old. We went to a United Church and sat through the service. There was nothing remarkable about it for me at all. When the service was over I sort of hovered a little trying to see if anyone would talk to me. No one was rude or anything, but I left without speaking to one person. I have nothing against anyone at the United Church. It just wasn’t where I was meant to be.

So, a few weeks goes by and I get that familiar nudge. So, off we go again. As we got closer to the church I stopped at a railway crossing and looked towards the United Church. I just didn’t want to go there again, but where else was I going to go? So, I looked across the street and saw this little farmhouse looking building that barely resembles a church​ and thought to myself, “I don’t belong anywhere. So, what does it matter which church I go to? Maybe I’ll just try every church until I find the right ​one.”

​I crossed the street and walked into the Barrhaven Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. I had no idea what that meant. When I walked in I was immediately greeted by this friendly woman​ who asked if I was there for the GEMS and Cadets service. I said that I wasn’t. I had no idea what GEMS or Cadets was. She told me that there was a nursery downstairs for my son if I wanted. I declined because that was unheard of to me. In my head I was thinking, “What do you mean? Someone wants to watch my child for free while I sit through the service in peace? No way, what’s the catch?” So, we found a seat near the back. As soon as the service started I was blown away. It didn’t take long for me to take my son down to the nursery. The worship music immediately moved me and brought me to tears. The whole message spoke right to my heart. After the service, people talked to me and I just felt so welcomed. I knew I had to come back. It didn’t take long, but I met some other people new to the church. The music, the service, the people, all of it was exactly what I needed. I felt as though I’d finally found a real home. I felt accepted and loved. A few months later I met my husband. ​

In 2007, I was approached to join the GEMS Girls’ Club as a counselor. I had just had my third child and she was barely two months old when I started. By some miracle, my husband agreed to let me go Wednesday nights. Every year he threatened it would be my last and every year I somehow managed to continue on. Well, it’s 7 years later and my daughter started GEMS this year. I’m now a co-coordinator as well as a counselor. When I look back, I am amazed at God’s sense of humor and timing. My first time at this church was a GEMS and Cadets service and years later I was to become a leader in that same ministry.

I’ve grown a lot in the last 10 years, but all along I’ve craved something more. ​I’ve always wanted to be like the “Super Christians” who seem like they have it all together. I’d go through short periods of time when I thought I had a handle on it, but it was always sporadic and short lived. ​

​This summer, I attended the GEMS ​Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When I went there I had it on my heart that I needed a change. I needed to find my purpose and calling in life. I thought that God was going to reveal my purpose to me there. I thought that He would tell me to look for another job, as I was so unhappy in the one I had. I’d spent 11 months depressed and miserable. I’d go home crying regularly because I was so unhappy. I had an amazing time. I met some amazing women. I had some real breakthrough moments like when I attended a workshop that really spoke to me. I cried through most of it. I left when it was over and walked halfway down the hall before I gave into the nudging in my heart.

“Turn around.”

“Go back.”

“You need to speak to that woman.”

So, I did. By the time I walked back in the room everyone else had pretty well gone. So, I spoke to the workshop leader and told her how desperate I was to figure out God’s plan for me. Actually, I blubbered all over her. I cried and told her that I knew God was calling me for something, but I didn’t know how to discern what was next. The woman hugged me and prayed with me. She even asked for my email address so she could check in on me. Her name is Cindy Bultema. She’s the author of Red Hot Faith. A bible study that I am now leading at my church. More on that in a bit. ​

When I got ho​​me nothing had really changed. Over the next week work was super busy, but I still had it in my mind that I was going to look for another job. By this point some of what I had heard at conference was starting to sink in. I had started to envision myself leading an evening women’s bible study. Unbeknownst to me, the previous leader had been praying for someone to step up to take on the evening study as she wasn’t able to do it any longer. I was speaking with a life coach once a week and I shared with her a couple of my secret desires. One of which was to lead the evening bible study, particularly the Red Hot Faith study.

​I think it was my second week back to work that I finally realized I wasn’t unhappy there anymore. I was even enjoying my job and it would allow me to continue being a GEMS leader and possibly lead a bible study. It’s now three months later and I’m still quite happy where I am. The only explanation I have is that God changed my heart towards my job and I am so grateful that He did. I ended up getting a really awesome raise!

So, I am leading the Red Hot Faith bible study and I think it’s going really well. I have a co-leader who’s such a big help to me and the women who come are so different and so open. It’s been a real blessing to me and I hope to them as well.

At the beginning of October the author of Red Hot Faith started a 31 Days to Fire Up Your Faith on her blog. I decided it would be a good idea to follow along. Now, I’ve spent 10 years trying to find a way to pray and read the bible and do all of those “Super Christian” things. I’ve failed at that a lot. But after a week of following these blog posts I was inspired to wake up 15 minutes early to read her blog and pray and maybe get into the bible a little. What I discovered is that I wanted more and more time to spend with God in the mornings. I found myself praying off and on throughout the day. I was finally doing all of those things I’d been craving for years. I just had to find the way that worked for me. I guess I always thought I had to just sit down and read the bible and it was too structured for the way my brain works. Now I do a little of this and a little of that, but all in all I’m building a relationship with God truly for the first time since I accepted Jesus over 10 years ago.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still have a lot of struggles. I yell too much, I swear way more than I have a right to. I still struggle with my eating habits. The main difference now is that I’m able to talk to God about it. I’m praying about my struggles and my blessings and I’m even praying for other people the way I’d always intended but never really managed more than a quick, “please be with this person”. ​

I’ve found my purpose and that’s to be a child of God, to be a woman of faith, to share what I have with those around me. And it is my prayer that I can be a blessing to all of the women and girls who come into my life. ​
I told you this was going to be a long one. If you’ve made it this far – thank you! So, there you have it. I’m putting myself out there and sharing the truth, as I know it, in my own life. ​

Come ROAR with Me!

empower So much has happened since my vacation at the end of July. I really want to share everything with you but I don’t want to bombard you with a super long post. I will be sharing my adventures hopefully a piece at a time over the next little while.

If you’re a regular follower of Being Elle you’ll have noticed the design change. I like to change things up every year or so. Over the years, Being Elle has grown and changed much like I myself have grown and changed. I’ve been searching for such a long time. I’ve had my ups and downs and I’ve struggled, especially over the last year or so, with trying to find my “purpose”. (More on that another day.) For now, just know that I’ve had some real momentum in finding my purpose. Since we’re on the topic of purpose I’ve come to realize I can be doing so much right here! I’m excited to really bring my passions out and show them to all of you!

I’d like to share with you my most recent adventures which happened Wednesday of this week. A couple of weeks ago, a friend invited me to a women’s conference and there was just something about it that made me say Yes. It must have been the title: ROAR – Reach Out. Achieve Results. I knew very little about it going in, so I had no real idea what it was going to be like. Man, I am so glad I went! It was truly amazing. First off, there were quite a few men who attended which I thought was really amazing. The speakers were exceptionally powerful, and truly approachable, their whole vision is exactly where I’m at.

 “You are meant to be all that you are uniquely created to be. At ROAR, we believe it’s not only possible, but within your grasp.” – Excerpt from ROAR’s Vision

I took notes, lots of notes, and I want to help start a movement! The best way to do that is to share what I’ve learned. So, the following in italics are notes I took, primarily from the Keynote Speaker, Diana Kokoszka. (NOTE: The ideas are not my own, however, the notes were written down by me while attending the conference.)

ROAR stands for Reach Out Achieve Results.

Change Your Thoughts and Change the World!

Today’s western society is very much a HAVE — DO — BE way of living. If I have the same things as that successful person and do what they do then I can BE just like them! But that doesn’t work, does it? The way to change is to BE — DO — HAVE. To be like someone else you have to think like they do. Successful people live like everything they wanted has already happened.

Are your thoughts the hero? Or the villain? We get addicted to negative thinking, Instantly change those negative thoughts into positive. Change impossible to I’M POSSIBLE. You can have fear or faith, but you can’t have both.

I will leave you with one last nugget of gold from my notes. This really stood out for me. The acronym for FEAR:

Face

Everything

And

Roar!

So, let’ get out there and do some roaring of our own. Be BOLD. Be Powerful. Be Everything You Set YOUR Mind To!

Vacation!

So, for the first time in a couple of years I am on vacation and actually get to travel! The GEMS Leadership Training Conference is this week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We’re leaving around 8:30 this morning. I really should be in bed now, but I’ve been busy packing, doing laundry, and just finding a place for everything before I go. I don’t get back until Sunday sometime and I know I won’t have a lot of time to prepare before going back to work Monday. I guess it’s just my way of preparing for that inevitability and to clear some of my mind clutter too.

I have big hopes for this time away. It’s a time away from my job, away from my house and away from my family. It should give me plenty of room for some much needed soul searching. I want, no. I need to find my calling. I need to find God’s purpose for my life. I don’t expect to have all the answers, I just want to feel like I’m on the right path and working towards the right goals. I’m tired of floundering through life. I know I have a great life in terms of an amazing husband, and three healthy, beautiful, unique children. There was a time I thought that was all I’d ever need, but I’m now finding there’s still something missing. Some part of me that can’t find peace until I am fulfilling a purpose greater than I am now.

Okay, well this post took a sorry turn for the dark and depressing! Sorry about that. I am actually quite excited about my trip and just wanted to take a few minutes to share where my head is at. If there’s WiFi I may try and sneak in a blog post while I’m away. If not I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stories to share when I return.

Have a great week!

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Progress with Primal Strength Systems

As you know I’ve been doing a fitness class called Primal Strength Systems. I’m in my fourth week now and loving (and sometimes hating) every minute of it. I decided to do a video post since it’s been a while.

I’ve made a lot of progress over the last month and I’ve proved to myself that I am capable of so much more! I’ve had some personal bests that have really encouraged me in my journey. Tonight I was able to hold up my own body weight on that damn gym rope. It was only for a short time and only a couple of inches off the ground, but I DID IT!

I’m actually holding up my own weight!

Well, I’m off. I just had to share my excitement and progress with you tonight while it’s still fresh and while I can still type without muscle pain!

And in case you missed it and you’re wondering what kind of equipment we’ve been using here’s a demo video.

Everything is Awesome….

Today, just for a moment everything is awesome! I am awesome! This morning was my sixth class with Primal Strength Systems and today I kicked ass!

It’s getting easier to lift the 75 lbs bag. (I said easier not easy.) I also surprised myself with my improved ability to pull myself up from the ground using the thick rope. (You know the dreaded rope you had to climb in gym class as a kid) We did this one the first class and I could barely lift myself off the ground. Now I can go hand over hand and pull my body up and back down again (my feet stay on the ground). One of these days I’ll get someone to take a video or a pic of it to show you.

It’s amazing what I’ve accomplished in three short weeks. I feel like everyone should be able to tell just by looking at me, but there’s no obvious physical changes. (I checked. I took pictures to compare. It’s only minute changes that I can see.) That will come in time, I just have to be patient and persistent. I am quite proud of myself for what I have accomplished. I continue to amaze myself. Seeing the things that my body is capable of just makes me want to do more and more amazing things!

It’s funny on my way home I had so much to say and now I’m drawing a blank. So, I guess I’ll keep it short and sweet today!

Have a great weekend!