Why (and How) God Tests Our Faith

Now that God has refined you, He’ll test your faith like gold. This is where a lot of believers become discouraged and give up.

When faced with a situation that tests your faith in God, how do you respond? Many times, our initial prayer is for God to deliver us from the situation. We may even beg Him for it. But I’ve learned that God doesn’t deliver us from a test because the purpose of the test is actually to deliver us.

It can be difficult to understand why a good and perfect God allows us to go through trying situations. The reason is simple: sanctification. God is transforming us into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. God tests us for our good; to develop our faith. Testing is not something we should despise because it’s a chance to show the genuineness of our faith and glorify our Lord.

Testing Reveals What is in Us

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” – Malachi 3:3 NIV

The bible tells us that God refines and tests us like silver and gold. To understand what that looks like practically, you first have to understand how silver is refined. In short, the silversmith places the silver in a fire and watches it very carefully. He knows the silver is ready when he can clearly see his reflection (or image) in the metal.

When you’re in a trial or test, does God see His image and character in you? Or are your carnal ways of thinking still leading your behavior? Do you exhibit the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control,etc…) or are you led by your flesh? Will you doubt God or trust Him if a less qualified person is given the promotion you’ve been praying for? Do you slander that person’s name to everyone around you or do you ask God to remove the bitterness and still serve at your job as unto the Lord? When faced with a test, what is in you will come out of you. How we respond determines if God moves us forward in His will or allows us to spend a bit more time in our current season.

Testing Removes Impurities From us

As you grow in your faith you’ll begin passing more and more tests. It’s a great feeling, but even though you’re on the right track you shouldn’t get too comfortable. Now that God has refined you, He’ll test you like gold.

Gold is naturally impure. To purify it, the goldsmith must put into the furnace repeatedly. With each pass through the fire it becomes more pure. This is why there are different karats of gold (8,16,24). The higher the karat the more pure it is, with 24 karat being the purest. If we want our faith in God to pure and indestructible like gold, our faith has to go through the fire again and again. Although we’ve been made right with God through our faith in Jesus, the remnant of our sinful nature is still within us. Our sanctification doesn’t happen all at once, it’s a process.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV

This is where a lot of believers become discouraged and give up. We don’t know when the tests will come, how long they will last, or how intense they will be. Like the Israelite’s in the desert, we can grow weary and start to believe God has forsaken us in the very place He brought us to. In our weakness and fear, we attempt to take matters into our own hands instead of waiting on God (See Exodus 32 NIV).

“If your faith doesn’t cost you anything it’s because it s not worth anything”

Your Faith Will Cost You

To follow Christ we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves. This requires dying to our own desires and ways of thinking. The tests we go through are design to kill our flesh so we learn to rely on the Holy Spirit. It’s a fight not to go back to self-medicating or finding our worth in a relationship. It’s a struggle to stay faithful at work when you’re being overlooked or discredited. Trials feels like the complete opposite of what life in Christ should be, but it’s not. The purpose of the test is to grow your faith, free you from bondage, and increase your dependency on God. Shallow beliefs and idols won’t last in the trial, they’ll will be ruined by the fire. Only what is true and pure will remain.

Friends, don’t fear the fire – the tests and trials. The fire isn’t designed to destroy you, but to remove everything that’s been holding you back from God’s perfect will. If you stay steadfast, you will glorify God and come to know His power in a brand new way. Your triumph will be a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. Now this isn’t to say that it will get easier, but you will become stronger, wiser, and not as easily swayed by storms that come your way.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4 NIV

Source: Daily PS

Instant Pot Christian: Are You Changed in An Instant?

Have you ever purchased a new item only to feel overwhelmed when you go to use it? It’s so new and different that you don’t even know where to begin. A new Christian may often feel this way as he/she learns to navigate the Christian life. There is no instant pot Christians.

That’s how I felt when I took my instant pot out of the box. It wasn’t a crockpot where I could just toss things in and turn on. The instant pot has so many buttons and options. And, within each feature, there are more features! It’s a completely new way of cooking, and I just couldn’t figure it out was I went. The instant pot was a new way of life and I needed to learn and understand how to use it. I thought I’d be making fancy meals right out of the box, instead I needed to start with the basics.

There’s No Instant Pot Christianity

For those of us who have been followers of Jesus, we sometimes anticipate an instant pot Christian. We expect the moment someone believes, their life is instantly changed to what we expect a Christian to look like and speak. There is no instant pot Christians.

If Christianity was about molding a person to a specific set of standards and conduct, we’d have a religion with a group of people that looked, dressed, and acted the same.

Christianity is the Transformation of Lives by the Power of God

In Romans 12:2, Paul writes that we are not to conform but be transformed. Conforming, by definition, is to comply with rules and laws. Conforming does not indicate there is new life within you; instead, it’s an indication that you are are a rule follower. Anyone can conform to a set of rules. However, true life transformation is by the power of God. This is the power that changes lives.

When you come to Christ, you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your previous way of life and thinking are no longer relevant, but it takes time to learn God’s way. There are no instant pot Christians. You learn His ways by consistently renewing your mind. As you renew your mind, your life is being transformed, from the inside out, into the same image as the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

I remember my own journey as a new believer five years ago. Theologies and terminologies were overwhelming. I would call the language of mature believers “Christianese” for I didn’t understand what it meant when “God spoke to you” or “being saved”. My attempts for understanding through the Bible only led to more questions. My previous ideas of life needed reprogramming. I didn’t need a new set of rules to follow, I needed a reboot of my operating system.

This is what the transforming power of God does, it wipes out our old operating system and puts in a new one.

The More I know, the Less I Understand

Fast forward five years later, and I have a deeper understanding of God, but I also have many unanswered questions. Unanswered questions is good for it keeps us seeking God. We will never understand the ways of God, and we must learn to accept the mystery of God. God doesn’t think the way we do for He is greater than us and so are His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Because we are made in His image, we can relate to His thoughts, but we cannot understand Him. It’s like a young child who can relate to the thoughts of his parent but cannot understand his parent at the same time. As parents, we have experiences and a larger picture to base our decisions. So it is with us and God for we are His children and do not understand the ways of God. We need to be okay accepting the mysteries of God.

We get ourselves into a lot of trouble when we think we have God figured out. And, when God doesn’t act the way we expect Him, this leads to disappointment and a crisis of faith.

While we may have lots of questions, God reveals truth to us in His time. The Holy Spirit will teach you everything you need (John 14:26). Remember, your life is not built in an instant for there are no instant pot Christian.

Christianity is not an instant pot. You are not changed in an instant. Instead, by the power of God, and over time, you will find your life tranformed. Don’t allow anyone recieve you, you are a work in progress.

Thanks to CHRISSY PETRAITIS for this piece.

Do Small Things Greatly

Our concern shouldn’t be that our task is small. Instead, we should be asking: Am I doing my task greatly, regardless of its size or seemingly importance?

Life is full of small things, isn’t it? I don’t mean snails and sand fleas. No, I mean the small choices we make, like taking care of our bodies, and tasks we complete, like home and work responsibilities. Since “small” or seemingly routine, non-earth-shattering items construct the majority of our time, perhaps they aren’t so insignificant after all.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for daring adventures and if you follow my personal blog, you know I just returned from traveling two weeks in Italy. Everything in its place, right? Although life certainly has its mountain-top moments, it’s also good to adventure on the small scale.

Truth is, God cares about and can use our ordinary, less-than-glamorous moments just as much as those bucket-list accomplishments.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Bible in 1 Chronicles. Now this book holds its share of hurdles, including chapters of genealogies, but it also holds a challenge relevant to our lives.

In 1 Chronicles 9:29-34, we find a short account of appointed responsibilities in the house of God and who was charged with what task. Maybe you’re thinking, “So what?” Stay with me and take a look at verse 29:

“Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices” (NKJV).

Overseeing vessels and instruments in the temple’s sanctuary seem like trivial tasks. Making the ointment of the spices (verse 30) or keeping inventory of the flour, wine, oil and other spices (verse 29) don’t sound especially exciting to me. If that job posting opened today, none of us would probably sign up for it.

However, these details were important enough to record in Scripture. In fact, these small tasks proved vital to the efficiency and order in the house of God.

If you’re like me, we’re often so focused on doing something “big” for God that we trip over the little things. For example, how was our attitude toward that task we didn’t especially enjoy?

Yet God cares about our response to appointments great and small. We see this again and again in Scripture.

  • “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40 NKJV).
  • “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (Philippians 2:14).
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
  • “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
  • “But you be watchful in all things … fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).

In other words, the big and the small assignments both matter. I like how Helen Keller summarized this idea:

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

NB: Do something small as if they were great today.

Learn Something New During This Lockdown

Hey guys!

I will dive straight through on the topic today. Hope you learning something new during this lockdown.

This is an opportunity for everyone of us to be creative in whatever area we find ourselves. It is not easy to be on a lockdown, the boredom alone can get people crazy. But it depends on those who know how to manage the situation.

Skills you can learn

  1. Cooking/ Baking
  2. Graphics design
  3. Photography
  4. Writing/ blogging
  5. Makeup
  6. Video Editing

And many more…

Whatever you want to do, you can do, don’t be idle.

In all, stay safe✌

How to Avoid Toxic Venting

This is a sponsored post.

Hello guys, been a while, trust you all doing well and staying safe. This too will pass very soon.Venting can be a healthy way to express frustration, but when it becomes toxic, it creates a cycle of negativity that’s hard to repair. Though it feels good to vent in the moment, toxic venting creates significant anger and resentment that is unhealthy for you and your relationships.

On the other hand, healthy venting helps you to heal and move forward. By reasoning things out with someone else, you gain clarity on what’s happening. Confiding in someone often lessens the pain because you feel supported. You avoid getting stuck in all that negativity.

What is Toxic Venting?

Toxic venting feels like an attack on someone’s character. Whether you are the one venting, or you’re listening to someone else do it, this communication makes the other person out to be “the bad guy.” This type of bad-mouthing becomes an intense form of gossip.

With toxic venting, the person gets fixated on the other person’s faults. There is no rationale, only targeted rage. Instead of feeling momentarily upset, the venting mimics contempt, which according to The Gottman Institute for Couples Therapy is the single best predictor of divorce.

Examples of contempt include:

  • Name-calling, put downs or criticisms that hit below the belt
  • Acting like the other person “is beneath you”, lazy or stupid
  • Making comparisons to another person or implying they don’t deserve you
  • A lack of accountability for your part in the situation

But toxic venting isn’t just about complaining. It’s telling the same story repeatedly from a victim’s point of view. This behavior fuels gossip and resentment which can make them difficult to give up. Unfortunately, some people feed off of a juicy story!

Those who learn this type of behavior as children, may rely on it a way to get attention. Listening to family tell negative stories makes an impact on how we view conflict. These negative stories become almost entertaining, but unfortunately, at someone else’s expense.

Primary Examples of Toxic Venting

  • Repeatedly criticizing someone’s character but rarely acknowledging their good qualities
  • Complaining about what others do but never admitting your own behavior
  • Implying that someone is less than, stupid or worthless in any way

Each time the person re-tells the negative story, the emotional intensity makes it harder to forgive and move forward. Over time, this can impact physical health and create stress-related illnesses.

Living in the negative story feels draining even though temporarily it gives us energy. Over time, people who are emotionally healthy become repelled by the behavior. Some may distance themselves as a way to avoid having to listen to it.

What is Healthy Venting?

When venting is healthy, the boundaries are clear; you are expressing frustration to get support and seek solutions. It’s not a free-for-all to say whatever you are thinking out loud. There are firm limits that don’t get crossed.

Healthy venting acknowledges frustration while not getting stuck in the feelings. When the person vents in a healthy way, their focus is to get relief, not to be right. The person can communicate what’s upsetting without blame or condemning the other person. While this may include some complaining, it’s not the primary focus. Healthy venting addresses what’s not working while brain storming solutions.

Tips for Healthy Venting

  • Reaching out to trusted friends to reason things out
  • Expressing yourself through “I” statements which keeps the focus on feelings
  • Acknowledging anger and other emotions without getting into character attacks
  • Writing in a journal to express yourself without being censored

Final Thoughts

When done constructively, healthy venting helps you recognize what needs to change in order to seek solutions. Making an effort to see things from the other person’s point of view tranforms the story. For instance, instead of getting increasingly upset, you start to empathize with the other person. You can hold two different points of view rather than being right.

Healthy venting provides a sense of emotional release and connection because you feel heard. Acknowledging your upset in a healthy way makes it possible to resolve issues without damaging the relationship. That way, everyone wins!

Source: Michelle Farris

Prayer Is The Motivation We Need Right Now

Dear Father,

Thank You that we get to be a part of Your global Church at this moment. Thank You for the opportunity to spread Your love and hope to a world living in darkness and despair.

Your Word says that if Your people humble themselves, turn away from wickedness, and call on Your name, that You will answer them and heal their land.

So we, Your people, are asking Your forgiveness for the times we’ve chosen not to love the people You put in front of us.

Allow this season to strengthen Your Church and to remind us of how much You love this hurting world.

Please heal our land and use us to meet the needs of others. Grow our faith as You grow Your global Church.

Come, Lord Jesus, and do what only You can do.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Let us spread Faith and not Fear.

Covid19: Motivating Yourself While Working From Home

Studies have shown that working from home can increase productivity; however, without proper checks & balances put in place, it can spiral into a lonely and weird feeling that might lead to a Lack of Motivation. Here are a few tips to motivate yourself and increase your productivity while working from home.

Have A Dedicated Workspace

Within your home, find your concentration zone and make use of it each time you intend to get some work done. As much as possible, avoid working on the bed, playroom, and the living room except you can prevent or control any distraction caused by people around you or your environment.

Wrong way to work from home.

Get Dressed Like A Professional

Since the mindset for work has been accustomed to a semi-professional dress code, being too casually dressed can hinder one’s brain from getting set for some serious task, so get out of those pyjamas right away!

Set Boundaries for Family and Friends

Depending on the set up of your home, friends and family are more likely to see you around more often. Make them understand that you are not on vacation and would be grateful if they left you to work at certain hours of the day. This also means that you should resist the urge to invite guests to your house during this period.

Create An Activity Schedule

Working from home demands concentration and dedication; therefore, you should create an activity plan or task schedule to help you remain organised and productive. Set up automated reminders for important tasks, online meetings, and deadlines; decide ahead how you’re going to proceed each workday.

Get The Right Tools and Facilities for The Job

Especially in Nigeria and some other developing countries, working from home requires certain facilities which you always enjoyed at your office, such as internet service and electricity supply. Endeavour to find out what quantity of data will be adequate for your work as well as what network works perfectly in your residence. Try to make the best use of times when you are supplied electricity by the power company and get an alternative source of electricity if you can afford it.

Adopt Apps To Control Your Social Media Usage Each Day

Social media interaction and entertainment has been a major distraction over the years, even at workplaces; working from home could further aggravate the distraction rate if it is not intentionally controlled. It is therefore important to research and invest in getting tools that can help you manage your time on those platforms. Moment; App-detox; Stay on Task; Break-free & Stay Focused are some of the most commonly used Apps for this purpose.

Avoid Procrastination

Do not give room for the postponement of any task that can be completed immediately. Do not derail from your daily schedule and avoid the urge to do house chores during your working hours; instead, schedule an appropriate time to get them done so that they don’t interfere with your work.

Take a Lunch and Walk Break

While working at home, time tends to move very quickly, especially when you aim at completing scheduled tasks. Indeed, you can sometimes forget to eat or change your sitting position for hours. Do not neglect the need to go on your usual lunch break like you would do if you were at the office; furthermore, take a few minutes to walk around, it helps you stretch your muscles and makes you feel refreshed. For every 55 minutes of work, you can indulge yourself in about 10-15 minutes of break to grab a cup of water or just get some fresh air.

Reward Yourself For Good Behavior and Concentration

For productivity sake, promise to give yourself a treat at the end of the day or after completing a strenuous task. When you feel satisfied with what you have achieved at the end of the day or week, put something together to reward your diligence and commitment.

Plan To Interact With Others At Specific Times

Staying at home to work can sometimes be mentally stressful and breed the feeling of loneliness; therefore, while practising self-isolation during this crucial period, endeavour to often interact with people living with or around you, just like you would with your colleagues at work.

Finally, working from home demands a lot of discipline and commitment on your part; however, you might not fully enjoy its benefits until you have been fully immersed in it. One last task which must not be overlooked while working from home is to Workout or Exercise regularly during the day. This helps your muscles to relax, improve your breathing, boost your immune system, focus your energy on what matters, and sometimes, inspire solutions to a task that has been proving difficult to solve.

In the midst of the virus outbreak, we are all advised to work from home, especially those who are career oriented. Let’s obey the rules as it will help stopping the spread of this pandemic virus.Be Safe!Source: Big Field Digital Ibadan Nigeria.

Your Life Becomes The Sum Of What You Tolerate

In an ideal world, life would amount to the sum of our intentions.

Good things would happen to good people; we’d be measured by our heart and depth and character.

While this is true to some degree — life is undoubtedly kinder toward those who are kind to it — the truth is that your intentions don’t amount to your outcomes. Just wanting something badly enough does not qualify you to have it, simply believing that you’re capable of more does not mean you will actually achieve more.

In the end, your life amounts to the sum of what you tolerate.

It is defined by what you allow.

You are treated as well as you allow other people to treat you. When you set boundaries or cut off contact with those who do not meet those expectations, you are setting the standard for relationships in your life.

You achieve as much as you allow yourself to pursue. You create as often as you are willing to show up, and to begin.

You grow as much as you allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. We often think that it is discomfort that holds us back from becoming who we want to be, when in fact, that feeling, once truly acknowledged, will point us in the direction that we need to create change.

If you are willing to tolerate mistreatment, you will be mistreated.

If you are willing to tolerate unhappiness, you will remain unhappy.

If you are willing to tolerate dissatisfaction, you will remain dissatisfied.

Your life only truly becomes your own on the day that you decide you will not — for another second of your existence — tolerate less than you know you are capable of having, doing less than you are capable of doing, and being less than you are capable of being.

The truth is that nobody else is going to give this to you.

Nobody is going to wake you up to this fact.

Nobody is going to sit you down and give you a power point presentation about your worth and potential, and nobody is going to strategize a way to make it a reality.

The only way it is going to happen is if you decide you are no longer going to be okay with excuses, empty words or broken dreams. It is only going to happen if you decide that you will no longer tolerate anything less than the outcomes you want, and the life you dream of.

Your life becomes the sum of what you tolerate, so stop tolerating less than you desire.

Guest post from Brianna Weist

The Big Risk if You’re Seeking Approval from Other People

As human beings we crave acceptance and approval – to feel a sense of belonging and security.

It makes sense if you think about our primitive nature and history – the need to be in tribes/communities together, for safety and survival.

That seems to drive so many of us in modern life to go seeking approval and acceptance from others – be it our families, our friends, our work colleagues and employers.

Heck… we even go on social media and seek “likes” from complete strangers in order to get that sense of acceptance.

But here are the cold hard facts about living for the acceptance, approval or praise of others…

  • Yes, it feels good (we all like it!)
  • But, you can’t guarantee you’ll always get it.
  • And as long as you’re attached to the acceptance, approval and praise of others, you’re also equally attached to their judgment, criticism and rejection.

The powerful truth that I’ve personally learned over the years is this…

  • When people say nice things about me, that’s lovely and it’s just what they’re thinking and feeling in that moment. It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business. ????
  • When people say unkind things about me, that’s unpleasant and it’s just what they’re thinking and feeling in that moment. It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business. ????

If you live by the praise of others, you die by their criticism.

Everyone is simply projecting their inner experience into the outer world – be that positive or negative, be that praise or criticism. To live your life at peace and empowered here are 2 TIPS…

  • Don’t take things personally – even when it’s nice things (acknowledge the love the other person is expressing, and witness it with appreciation, but don’t attach to it like an umbilical cord!). ????
  • Don’t go looking for people to validate, approve, accept or praise you – GIVE IT TO YOURSELF. The only person’s opinion who truly matters is yours. From your own approval, the world is your oyster and you can enjoy the good and detach the bad, forever free to simply be.

To support you in breaking free of needing the validation and approval of other people, listen to this affirmations audio every day for 30 days. It will help to shift your mindset and energy away from that old pattern…

Lots of credit goes to Bernadette Logue for her brilliant piece to the world.

Why Rejection Doesn’t Scare Me Anymore

The word ‘rejection’ terrifies this generation because we assume it means that we failed or we’re not good enough. We assume it means that we can’t win the game or get what we want. We assume that it makes us look weak, bad and inadequate.

But the essence of life is change and adapting to the things we can’t control including the things that rejected us and the things we couldn’t get. It’s not a direct reflection of our own shortcomings but it’s just a natural part of life and it happens to everyone. And I mean EVERYONE.

But we never look at the other side of rejection, at the possibility that maybe we wanted something that wasn’t going to be right for us or we wanted someone who wasn’t going to treat us right. We never try to understand what rejection is trying to tell us. It’s trying to tell us that we’re knocking on the wrong door. We’re going the wrong way. We’re trying so hard for something that could cause us so much pain.

I always look back at the times I was rejected from something and how it always led me to something better. I look back at the times I thought someone was great or irreplaceable only to discover that they were not genuine or kind. Sometimes we don’t see the obvious truth because we’re fixated on the word ‘rejection’ and how we can literally do anything to avoid it, even if it means destroying ourselves and forgetting our worth. I eventually found something better and wondered why I can’t learn to embrace rejection and take it as an opportunity to grow.

You might not get the things you want but you will get the things you need. You might not get the person you love but you will end up with the person who adores you and shows you a different kind of love.

Why can’t we see the blessings in rejection? Why are we only looking for the instant gratification of the word ‘yes?’ Given that many times ‘yes’ broke our hearts too and left us with nothing.

We contradict ourselves because we keep saying that if something is meant for us, it will find us, yet we can’t seem to shake rejection off, we can’t stop it from crippling us when it comes to taking risks and loving ourselves.

Rejection is also fate telling us that some things are not meant for us and if they were, we wouldn’t have been rejected. Rejection is another word for redirection.

Rejection sucks by all means and no one likes the bitter taste of the word ‘no’ but it’s also preparing us for something bigger than what we wanted for ourselves. It teaches us that God’s plan will always be better than ours and sometimes that’s all the faith we need to get over the fear of rejection and actually learn how to embrace it.

Guest post from Rania Naim.
Originally posted on Thoughts Catalog.

Photo credit: Pinterest

7 Basics For Getting Your Life in Shape: Bruce Lee

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 30 years I’m pretty sure you know who Bruce Lee was. 😊

If you have, then you may be interested to know that Lee was a very famous martial artist and actor who sparked the first big interest of Chinese martial arts in the West in the 60’s and 70’s.

But besides being an awesome fighter and iconic figure Lee also had some very useful things to say about life.

Here are 7 of my favourite fundamentals from Bruce Lee.

1. What are you really thinking about today?

“As you think, so shall you become.”

Perhaps the most basic statement of how we work. Think about what you are thinking today. What do those thoughts say about you? About your life? And how well do they really match your plans for your life and your image of yourself?

It’s easy to forget about this simple statement in everyday life. It’s easy to be quite incongruent with what you think on an ordinary day compared to how you view yourself and your goals.

A simple external reminder such as a post-it with this quote can be helpful to keep you and your thoughts on the right track.

An brilliant and beautiful expansion on this thought can be found in James Allen’s “As a man thinketh”.

2. Simplify.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

If you want to improve your life then it’s tempting to want to add more. One problem with this may be that you don’t really have the time or energy to do more though. And so your efforts to improve become short-lived.

Adding more and more just creates more stress, worries and anxiety. Removing clutter and activities, tasks and thoughts that are not so important frees up time and energy for you to do more of what you really want to do. And as the clutter in your outer world decreases the clutter in your inner world also has a tendency to decrease.

This has the added benefit of making it easier to actually enjoy whatever you are doing even more while you are doing it.

Adding more thoughts and thinking things over for the 111th time may create a sense of security. It’s also a good way to procrastinate and to avoid taking that leap you know you should take. And the more you think, the harder it gets to act. Perhaps because you want to keep that comforting sense of security and avoid the risk of wrecking that feeling.

Thinking has its place. It can help you plan a somewhat realistic route to your goal and help you avoid future pitfalls. Overthinking is however just a habit that will help you waste a lot of time. It’s more useful to replace that habit with the habit of just doing it.

3. Learn about yourself in interactions.

“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”

The one person that is the hardest to get to really know may be yourself. Studying yourself while you are alone may result in some insights. But it’s also likely to produce a lot of made up thought loops and doubts in your mind.

A good way to really learn more about yourself is study yourself in interactions with other people. How people react and act in these interaction can over time teach you a lot. And what you think and how you react can perhaps teach you even more.

What you see, feel and hear in other people may be a reflection of you. The things you learn by thinking this way may not always be pleasant, but they can be enlightening. They help you to see yourself and also how you may be fooling yourself.

And these powerful insights can be very valuable for your personal growth. So, in interactions with others, try asking yourself: what is reflected?

4. Do not divide.

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”

This is a very useful and powerful thought. It is also one that obviously is hard to live by. Why? I believe it’s because the ego loves to divide and find ways to “add more”� to itself. It want’s to feel better than someone else. Or more clever. Or prettier. Or cooler. Or wiser.

How can you overcome this way of thinking and feeling?

To me it seems to boil down to not identifying so much with your thoughts or feelings. That doesn’t mean that you stop thinking or feeling. It just means that you realize – and remember in your everyday life – that the thoughts and emotions are just things flowing through you.

You are not them though.

You are the consciousness observing them.

When you realize and remember this it enables you to control the thoughts and feelings instead of the other way around. It also enables you to not take your thoughts too seriously and actually laugh at them or ignore them when you feel that your ego is acting out. When you are not being so identified these things you become more inclined to include things, thoughts and people instead of excluding them.

This creates a lot of inner and outer freedom and stillness. Instead of fear, a need to divide your world and a search for conflicts.

To learn more about this I would recommend Eckhart Tolle’s books like “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth”.

5. Avoid a dependency on validation from others.

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”

The ego wants to add because it thinks it’s not enough. One way of doing that is by craving validation from others. We want to feel smart, pretty, successful and so on. And the validation makes you feel good for a while. But soon you need a new fix.

And the problem with being dependent on validation from other people is that you let other people control how you feel. This creates a rollercoaster of emotion in your life.

To find more emotional stability and to take control of how you feel you need to get your validation from to a more consistent source. Yourself. You can replace the expectations and validation of others by setting your own expectations and by validating yourself.

And so you validate yourself by thinking about how awesome you are. You don’t sell yourself short. You appreciate how far you have come and the positive things you have done. You appreciate your own value in the world. You set goals and you achieve those goals. This builds confidence in yourself and in your abilities. These things will help you to build a habit of inner validation.

Now, showing off. Why do we do that? To get validation from others. However, this need for validation often shines through and that is why a thing like bragging seldom works. Instead of seeing the cool and successful person you are trying to project people just see the insecure and needy person looking for validation. And your bragging falls flat.

6. Be proactive.

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

It’s easy to get locked into a reactive mindset. You just follow along with whatever is happening. You do what the people around you do. You react to whatever is going on.

And so you get lost in your circumstances. This way of thinking doesn’t feel too good. You tend to feel powerless and like you are just drifting along.

A more useful and pleasurable way of living is to be proactive. As Bruce says: to create opportunities despite the circumstances around you. This feels better and provides better results (no matter if that with your blog or business, while dating or when it comes to your health). But on the other hand it’s also more difficult. It’s easier to just drift along in the reactive stream of life.

And if you want to be proactive then you may have to take the lead quite often. And that can be scary.

Still, living proactively is so much more rewarding and exciting.

7. Be you.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

Just being yourself is a hard thing to do. You may do it sometimes. And other times you may forget or fall back into old thought patterns. Or you may imitate someone else.

And that comes through too. And it may work.

But I believe that being the real you will work better. Because there the genuine you is shining through. Without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness. It’s you to 100%. It’s you with not only your words but you with your voice tonality and body language – which some say is over 90% of communication – on the same wavelength as your words. It’s you coming through on all channels of communication.

So I’m not saying: “yeah man, you should just be yourself because it’s the right thing to do etc”.

I’m saying that I think being your authentic self – the one where you do little dividing, the one that needs little validation from others, the one where your ego is not running the show and trying to get something from someone – will give you better results and more satisfaction in your day to day life because you are in alignment with yourself.

And because people really like genuine and people really like authenticity.

Image credit: Pinterest

Source: Positivity Blog.

The Truth About Transforming Your Life Is That It Is Often Means Doing Less, Not More

The beginning of a self-transformation requires action, but the end of it requires something deeper, something harder, something you’ve probably never realized before.

While doing more will almost always generate results, there’s an untapped, life-changing magic in doing less.

Sometimes, your problems don’t come from what you’re not doing, they come from what you can’t stop doing.

To really change your life, you probably need to consume less. You probably need to learn to use what you have, to take a breath and stop yourself every time you think you need that one new perfect thing that will magically transform you into a new person.

You probably need to spend less. You probably need to reevaluate your patterns and behaviors and refocus on your long-term goals, prioritizing your future comfort over your immediate gratification.

You probably need to engage less, both with people who are not mentally mature and people whom do not have any intention of having a civil discourse with you. This is not because you can’t speak freely, but because having an exchange with someone whose intent is to fight you rather than connect with you will always be a losing situation.

You probably need to change less. When we start out on our healing journey, it’s about uprooting, replanting, and sprouting. But if you’re unhealed beneath the surface, you won’t be able to lay roots without wanting to rip them out again. Healing, you will find, is not about how many times you can start over, it is whether to not you can bloom.

You probably need to care less. When your mind is consumed with trying to master and perfect every single little thing in your life, you get overwhelmed and give up. Instead, you have to focus on the few things that are actually requiring your attention, and then build from there.

You probably need to do less. Not because you shouldn’t be productive, but because you only have so much energy in a day, and when you spend it on things you don’t really care much about, you find yourself constantly exhausted, drained and at your wit’s end.

You probably need to have fewer expectations. Often, we conflate that with having high standards, but they aren’t the same thing. Unrealistic expectations will slowly wreck you, because they require that you achieve perfection immediately. When your expectation is that you should be a natural-born master of whatever you try to do, it becomes really hard to show up and do the work consistently, which is what you actually have to do to achieve mastery.

You probably need to not try so hard. When you try to force people to like you, it usually has the opposite effect. When you try to convince yourself you’re attractive, you usually seem less so. When you are trying to force every outcome in your life, there’s usually a reason they aren’t coming together on their own.

You probably need to give fewer excuses. Not because you’re going to be unkind to yourself, but because the kindest thing you can possibly do is stop avoiding the honest truth about what’s wrong. You cannot keep trying to positive-self-talk your way into thinking you love your life when you do not. When we’re ready to make fewer justifications, it means we’re also ready to make greater change.

The truth about doing less is that it’s going to bring you into stillness. It is going to require you to face that discomfort you’ve been running from head-on.

The truth is that when we first realize we need to change our lives, it is easy to get swept away in the escape fantasy of it all. Everything has to go, and nothing can stay. There’s an addictive quality to starting over, and if you’re not careful, you can confuse it for actually healing.

Truly getting better is learning to be okay where you are, wherever you are. It is actually metabolizing that discomfort for once, listening to it, letting it show you where you are deeply misaligned.

It is to become grounded, to make positive decisions for the long-term, to start breaking those destructive habits that have been fueled by the pain you haven’t quite had a name for all these years.

It is to no longer be controlled by your feelings, but by your ambitions, by your dreams for the future.

When you go about changing your life, sometimes, the most radical shift of all is to do absolutely nothing — and wait for the sun to rise.

This is a guest post from Brianna Weist.

The People You Envy Are Not Your Enemies, They Are Your Mentors

This is a guest post.

Envy is a shadow emotion.

It’s the dark side of desire, and it shields itself as so many different things.

We often don’t realize that we’re jealous of someone until it’s boiled over into an anger so hot, we are forced to stop and ask ourselves why we are so lost in rage.

We often don’t realize that we’re jealous of someone because the people we are jealous of often aren’t superhuman. There are enough beautiful people in the world that we could envy, but we don’t, because the people whose lives we most deeply covet are the ones that are most similar to our own.

In that is the lesson.

The people we envy are not our enemies, they are our mentors.

They are our mentors because what they are really showing us is what we aren’t allowing ourselves to have.

What they are really showing us is the depth of our desire.

What they are really giving us is clarity.

The people we envy are our mentors because envy itself is an enlightening, guiding emotion. It shows us what we want for ourselves, and think we can’t have. It shows us what we want to pursue, but think we aren’t able. It shows us what we want to have, but assume we don’t deserve.

When we someone who has what we really want, instead of reconciling our own desire, we try to suppress them as well.

We try to humanize and villianize them. We try to find fault wherever we can. Instead of allowing their lives to be proof that what we want is possible, we instead deny that they could possibly have achieved that which we are so convinced we ourselves could never have.

Instead of recognizing that our envy is showing us the places in which we want to grow, we displace the feeling, and blame someone else instead.

You do not want the exact life that someone else has.

You want whatever it is they are giving themselves permission to have, to feel, and to pursue.

Maybe you see someone else in a relationship. It’s not that you want to be with their exact partner, it’s that you also want to put yourself out there and find someone who matters to you. Maybe you see someone who is attractive. It’s not that you want to look exactly like them, it’s that you want to feel good about who you are. It’s not that you want exactly what they have, it’s that you want permission.

That’s why we’re more likely to be jealous of our peers than we are a celebrity. We’re more likely to envy the people just close enough to us than the people far away — even if those people are the ones who have far more than we could ever imagine.

We don’t covet it because what we envy are the lives that are ever so slightly elevated from our own. They’re just out of reach, but not so impossibly far away that they seem unrealistic.

That’s the thing about envy: underneath it all, the thing we most deeply desire is also the thing that we know, at some level, we are capable of having.

What we want is not to suppress someone else’s joy.

What we want is not to take away someone else’s success.

What we want is not to deny someone else’s love.

What we want is to allow ourselves to pursue what we know is within our reach.

What we want is to allow that envy to show us exactly what we want, and then to dissolve the limiting beliefs that are preventing us from having it.

When we envy someone, we are actually getting a lesson in our own desires.

Source: Brianna Weist

Single’ Is A Status, Not An Identity

Hey guys!

Normally I don’t post on relationships but a friend of mine triggered this that made me to share this piece. Being single is not an identity nor being married. It is a status that will eventually change in the course of time.

You are single. And whether that’s because a previous relationship didn’t work out, someone left, you messed up, you haven’t found your person yet, or you’ve never been in anything serious—this is the simple truth about you—you are (gloriously) on your own.

But this is nothing to feel shame about.

Being single is something to celebrate. Because the word does not define you. Because you are in a place where your thoughts, decisions, actions, and choices directly influence and benefit you. Because you are able to pursue whatever makes you happy, excited, passionate, or wild without anything or anyone holding you back. Because you have time, and there’s no need to rush. Because finding someone to love isn’t, and shouldn’t ever be the central focus of your life.

Because when someone looks you in the eye, they don’t see your relationship status as a label of who you are. Because ‘single’ is a description—not an identity.

Sometimes it feels like the world around you is caught up in connections. You look on social media and you’re flooded with images of happy couples, of marriages, of weddings, of beautiful families with babies. You open your mailbox and there’s another invite to so-and-so’s shower. You walk down the street and watch couple after couple canoodle, hand-in-hand.

Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong with you, if you’re the one who’s messing up every relationship you fall into, if you’re ever going to find real love.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all wondered, doubted, frowned at our reflection in the mirror. We’ve all questioned whether or not we’re the one to blame, worked on ourselves, got back out there, failed and tried and failed and tried again.

The thing is, sometimes we get so wrapped up in where we stand that we forget who and how worthy we are. We’re so focused on what our relationship status is that we forget the importance of just being, and just being who we are—an entity, all on our own.

We worry whether we’re ‘enough,’ whether we’re ‘too much,’ whether we’re on the right path. We worry about when on the timeline of our lives we’ll fall into our special someone, or if they even exist. We worry about how we look to the rest of the world, if we’re making the right decisions, if we’ve already found our person and just don’t recognize him or her.

But all that worrying does nothing but push us away from the positivity that surrounds us. If we’re so consumed with falling short, we’ll never believe we’re worthy of the love that might naturally fall into our laps. If we’re so focused on all the past relationships that have failed, we won’t appreciate a good one. If we can’t let go of our pain, we won’t make room for new people, new experiences, new chances.

The truth is, none of us have this ‘love’ thing figured out. We’re all navigating, all searching, all trying to find someone whose mess mixes with ours and love them, choose them, fight with and for them as we grow. We’re all failing around, trying to learn who we are and can be alongside someone else.

But the most important thing we must remember is that being ‘single,’ is not an identity.

Sure, you can celebrate your singleness. Sure, you can focus on yourself and keep your distance from connections if you’re simply not ready. Sure, you can be a healthy version of selfish. Sure, you can prioritize your own happiness before engaging with someone else.

But don’t allow your relationship status to define who you are and will become.

You are worth far more than a label that limits you. And who you are as a person is not defined by whether or not you’re loved, or loving someone.

As you live your life, as you work, as you chase dreams and desires as you let go of your past and begin again, as you learn to trust, as you smile and laugh and pursue what feels right—don’t forget this simple fact: Your singleness is a status, a moment in time, a description, not a definition.