There was a season of my life that I could easily define myself as vogue on the outside, but vague on the inside.
Yep, I am actually ok admitting that.
The glorious thing about Jesus is, he meets and accepts us exactly where we are, but he has no intention of keeping us there.
Coming out of the most difficult time in my life in January 2013, I was unemployed, homeless, had just lost everything I owned in a devastating house fire, dead broke after closing a business I put my heart, soul and cash into and newly single again after the end of an 18 month relationship.
I didn't feel brave.
I didn't act brave.
I didn't think brave.
I didn't pray brave.
I was depressed, suicidal and completely devoid of a plan. For a girl who prided herself on wardrobe, material possessions, and color coded road maps to achieving goals - I was forced to look at who I was while stripped bare of all that I thought defined me. Wake up without a pair of socks, a toothbrush or a fabulous daytime moisturizer and quickly you'll realize what's important. (Hint: it's not anything labeled Prada)
What I wasn't without, however, was a bible and a team on a mission. I had just been chosen one month prior to the fire for a missions team to Brazil and was in the early preparations for that trip. While I didn't see a way out of my dark, deep, dreadful valley, God was making a way and he was holding on to me and preparing me for what he knew was out ahead but that I was totally clueless about. What was destroyed by fire, was about to be restored in the water of the Amazon River.
Our missions team met weekly and there was much spiritual study to be done and planning to partake in to fulfill the objective of that trip. During the five month long lead up to the trip, I slowly began to heal from the loss of life as I knew it. During those five months, God created a new heart in me, slowly began to replenish my possessions and refresh my perspective of what I thought I lost in the fire.
During the process of healing I learned that if I was going to be refined, I would have to do the very hard work of transforming my mind about many things I thought were true about myself and life. It was during those months of intense study, surrender and relinquishing my selfish desires that I realized that bravery has nothing to do with circumstances surrounding you, but with mindsets abounding in you. I dedicated all of my time that I wasn't job searching to reading and developing new definitions of success, contentment, healthy relationships and strengthening my personal walk with Jesus. Below are the 6 Dimensions I created as a wheel for my life (call me if you'd like me to coach you through that exercise) and how you too, can start a journey from vague to vogue (which has absolutely nothing to do with clothes). I will be writing in more depth about each of these dimensions in the coming weeks.
Yes, I lost stuff in the fire. Replaceable belongings. But I also lost my attachment to labels, materialism and defining myself by the world's standards. The beauty that was brought from ashes wasn't found in my closet, but in my heart, my true worth and my identity in Christ.
Living bravely isn't a guarantee that trouble won't happen. Jesus said trouble is guaranteed. Living bravely is a guarantee that you will make it through the trouble and on the other side be more powerful, purposeful, peaceful and prayerful. Living bravely is about a progression of self, not a perception of perfection.
Sometimes life will have trouble, and you will struggle.
Sometimes when you trust, your trust is broken.
Sometimes when you love, your heart gets crushed.
Sometimes when you're honest, people don't like what you have to say and you might find yourself alone.
But one day, your life will turn out beautifully and you'll be surrounded by people who you can trust, love, and be honest with. And unlike the liars, the unappreciative, and cowards, you'll never regret not being your best in those past relationships or have to wonder if your life could have turned out better and you'll be proud that you had the courage to be trusting, honest, and loving in spite of those who left you.
I am humbled to dig deeper with you.
1. SOCIAL (Your BONDS)
Healthy interpersonal relationships are critical in your family dynamic and romantic endeavors. By eliminating codependency you create self identity. Health in your relationships
reduces stress and depression but requires:
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." Peter 4:8
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL (Your BENT)
Where do you derive your meaning and purpose? Who are you? Whose are you? When we know and own our spiritual identity, life as you think you know it changes.
glorify God and enjoy fellowship with Him
have good relationships with others
have dominion over the earth
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." Psalm 73:25
3. EMOTIONAL (Your BOUNCE BACK)
awareness of and ability to manage our emotions
brighten your outlook
bounce back ability
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
4. MENTAL (Your BRAIN)
John Piper says "We are perfectly useless as Christ-exalting Christians if all we do is conform to the world around us." How do we take our thoughts captive to align with the word of Christ and avoid sin?
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
5. SPIRITUAL (Your BELIEFS)
Are we at peace with life (no matter the circumstances) and being led by the Holy Spirit? Are we consumed by things above and demonstrating the fruit of the spirit? To maintain spiritual bravery we need:
fellowship with other believers
consistent bible study
share Christ with non-believers
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1-2
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
6. BEHAVIORAL (Your BOLDNESS)
Behavioral health refers to how our daily cognitive habits affect our overall well-being, emotions, biology, and behavior. It’s often used interchangeably with mental health, but is actually a far more expansive term that incorporates not just our mental wellness, but the way our thoughts play out in real life.
Good behavioral health means engaging in behaviors that help you achieve an ideal mental and physical balance. That means exercising, eating a healthy diet, and taking necessary steps to manage an existing disease or injury and how we positively solve problems
"In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born to be a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death -- death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8