Tuesday, October 16, 2018

4 Steps to Keep Irritability from Spreading


I was really irritable last week. Irritable like when people start to back away from you slowly and give you a lot of personal space, and you’re glad. It wasn’t one thing in particular. It was everything. And everyone. All week long.

I couldn’t seem to shake it, but I didn’t want it to spread to my family. I’ve been on the other side too many times—not sure if someone was mad at me or just mad in general. I didn’t want others to wonder what they’d done, when really, the problem was me and my bad mood. So, in addition to prayer for my own heart, I started to really pay attention to how my irritability might affect others.

4 Steps to Keep Irritability from Spreading {Tweet this}

1 – Acknowledge how you feel and let others know it’s not them. (Or be specific if it is something someone did.)

I knew my nerves were frayed and my supply of patience was empty, so I tried to keep to myself when I could. One night my daughter asked, “Are you upset with me?”

I answered honestly, “No, I’m not upset with you. I feel irritable and everything is getting on my nerves, but it’s not something you did.” From there, we went on with our evening. She knew I wasn’t feeling myself, but that it wasn’t because of her, and I breathed a little easier because I admitted how I was feeling.

It didn’t specifically fix anything, but it kept my irritability from infecting her.

2 – Take care of yourself.

By the end of the week, I was sick. I’d been denying it all week long. It’s not that bad….I don’t feel as bad as I sound. I was fine—until I wasn’t. I needed time to rest and get well. By then, I was still super irritable and then I was sick too—not a good combination.

Everything always seems worse when we’re tired, hungry, and/or sick. That doesn’t mean our problems or situations aren’t really as bad as we think they are. They might be downright awful. But, when we don’t take care of ourselves, our energy and ability to deal with things that come our way are limited. Everyday inconveniences seem way worse than they might if we were thinking clearly.

Stress takes its toll. It can make us forget to eat at regular intervals or not get the sleep we need. Stress keeps us from letting our minds relax during the day and wears down our immunity systems. Eventually, we find ourselves drained and struggling to get through the day. 

3 – Take a time out.

As an introvert, I re-energize by having time to myself. Last week though, I was so irritable, I didn’t even want to spend time with me. So, one night, although it was early in the evening, I announced I was going to bed. I needed sleep and I needed to be done with the day.

Taking a time out isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing. Sometimes it’s best to remove ourselves from a situation before we make it worse. Even when it’s unintentional, our bad moods affect others. We might pick a fight or lash out at someone just because we’re reacting from stress and emotions instead of clear thinking.

4 – Don’t worry about things ahead of time.

When I found myself getting angry about something that hadn’t happened yet, I knew it was my irritability controlling me. I had to make myself stop thinking about it before my thoughts spun out of control.

Worry and anger before the fact do one of two things—either we’ll get upset for no reason because what we think will happen ends up not happening, or we put ourselves through the emotional stress twice, before it happens and then again when it does happen.

Both cause unnecessary emotional, physical, and mental stress that can ruin our day and affect those around us. Worry and anger like to have control. It’s up to us whether or not we’ll let them have it. {Tweet this}

I don't pretend to have this all figured out. I'm still working on it and probably always will be. It takes a conscious effort and practice to change our thoughts and learn how to control our worry and emotions, but it can be done. And the time and effort we spend on it is worth it.

What do you do when you find yourself in a mood you don’t want to spread?

In Christ,
Laura


Monday, October 8, 2018

God Works As We Share


I’m not always the best at sharing parts of my life with others. I wrestle with whether or not to share, with whom, and how much I want to put out there. I don’t want to admit how much I struggle in difficult situations and I don’t want to burden someone else with my worries.

But, I’m learning that sharing our stories (even small parts of them) is often the way we will see God use it for good. {Tweet this}

This past summer was heartbreaking for me when I lost my mom to cancer. In the weeks before, I spent time visiting with her, which kept me out of town quite a bit. During a downtime, I emailed a friend to update her on how things were going.

She replied, “I’ve been thinking about you almost all the time because my mom has been visiting this week—it’s really made me appreciate her visit even more.”

As hard as my days were, God gave me a glimpse of how He was using what I was going through in someone else’s life. A tiny reminder that He can use anything for good—even something that didn’t feel so good to me.

I told my mom what my friend said and despite her pain, it made her smile. It felt like it came full circle. Because I shared my situation, my friend felt comfortable to tell me her experience, and I was able to share that with my mom—how her situation was helping someone she didn’t even know. It was a little bit of light interrupting a dark day.

We don’t always get to see how God works, but sometimes, He blesses us with a small peek into His work. {Tweet this}

Is there a time when you got to see how God was using something in your life to help someone else?

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

3 Books for Your Fall Reading {Book Reviews}

The weather where I am has turned chilly and one of our trees is almost completely bare of its leaves. It’s time for blankets, hot chocolate, and plenty of books to read. If you’re looking for something new for your fall reading, I have three books to share with you.

Before I Go - Jesus’ Final Teaching & Prayer
A free 3-week Bible Study with Sarah Koontz

Before I Go is a 21-day study of John 14-17. It begins on Monday, Oct. 15 with daily emails containing the Scripture reading and devotional. It even includes free audio downloads of the daily devotionals! How cool is that!?!

Each day’s study takes about 10-15 minutes a day, depending on how deep into the study you choose to go. (I journal notes and nuggets I want to remember, so I sometimes spend a little longer thinking about Jesus’ words.)

I had the opportunity to preview Before I Go and recommend it. (Especially if you’re looking for a study you can fit into your busy day. And it's free!)

A few of my favorite quotes from Before I Go:

“Jesus Christ’s actions motivate our reactions.”

“Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection built a bridge to the Father. He invites us all to cross over and embrace His redemption.”

“Because of the Holy Spirit, you and I will never be “on our own” again.”

“Prayer invites heavenly power into our earthly problems.”

To learn more about the the Before I Go Bible study and to register, visit Sarah Koontz at Living by Design Ministries. This study begins on Monday, October 15! And did I mention it's free?


When Grace Walks In: Passionately Pursued, Incredibly Loved
By Stacey Thacker

When Grace Walks In is a study on the book of Ephesians and is the second book in Stacey Thacker’s The Girlfriend’s Guide to the Bible Series. (You can find my review of her first book in the series here: Is Jesus Worth It?)

Written in Stacey’s friendly we’re-in-this-together style, she shares from the heart and reminds us that with God’s love and grace, we are not alone in the spiritual battles we face in life.

A few of my favorite quotes from When Grace Walks In:

“Grace levels the ground we stand on.”

“Nothing about Jesus says rejection.”

“This is our hope: Heaven is coming, and today you have all the power you need in the Holy Spirit to live out your calling until you get there.”

“When you walk worthy with Jesus, your enemy will notice.”

To learn more about When Grace Walks In, visit Stacy at StaceyThacker.com.


Love Life Again: Finding Joy When Life is Hard
By Tracie Miles

Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to. In fact, Jesus said In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

In Love Life Again, author Tracie Miles shares how she found joy despite the difficult circumstances she was facing. She weaves her personal experiences with Biblical Truth to remind us we’re not alone in whatever we’re facing. We have Jesus and we have each other.

Each chapter includes Love Your Life Challenges, with prompts for reflection, action, prayer, and something you can do to make yourself smile.

A few of my favorite quotes from Love Life Again:

“You can choose to be content and joyful, or you can choose to be disgruntled and sad.”

“Commit to loving whom God created you to be.”

“When life is hard, we must fight for joy.”

“Prayer doesn’t immediately solve our problems, but it does invite God’s peace to fill our hearts.”

To learn more about Love Life Again, visit Tracie at TracieMiles.com.

[I received each of these books in advance of their launch dates in return for my honest opinion. Favorite quotes are my own.]

What are you either currently reading or have waiting in your to-be-read stack?

In Christ,
Laura


Monday, September 24, 2018

Jesus Understands


The Lord has been reminding me of these truths…

Jesus understands our tears. He wept.

Jesus understands our sorrow. He loved and grieved.

Jesus understands our trials. He was tested by Satan.

Jesus understands our pain. He was rejected, mocked, beaten, and crucified.

Jesus understands our loneliness. He was betrayed.

Jesus understands our need for God. He was in constant contact with His Father.

Jesus understands our need for friends. He surrounded Himself with twelve.

Jesus understands triumph and new life. He conquered death and the grave.

Jesus understands because He lived it. {Tweet this}

Perhaps you need the reminder today too.

In Christ,
Laura