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How burnout can be caused by over exercising and under eating

How burnout can be caused by over exercising and under eating

Today I'm going to share how burnout can be caused by over exercising and under eating. I'm going to be sharing my personal story of how I experienced my first burnout and that's right, I said my first burn out because there were actually two separate instances, both completely different circumstances of me burning out. But today we're going to focus on over-exercising and under-eating and what that looks like to your health.

As a certified wellness coach, I help high achieving women increase their network, both financially and relationally by beating burnout and revitalizing their health and I having a personal experience of burning out by going after that “ideal body”, you know, that slim perfect figure where there are no bumps, nothing's poking out. Everything is exactly where it should be. You are perky and you are tight and you are super fit and lean, right? There is no wiggle and no jiggle. Is that what we're all going for is? Does that sound a little familiar to you?

I was going after that ideal body and after years and years of fighting with my weight, and it actually all started when I went on the birth control pill in 1999. After that my body was just no longer my own. I had no control, or so I thought, of what my body was doing, and I basically played the weight game from then until 2012. In 2012 I had had enough, I had had three kids, I was not planning to have any more kids. And I said this is the time for me to just basically reinvent myself, and I am taking charge of me and my health by focusing in on my weight, and I'm going after that very ideal, fit, Barbie-esque type shape. So, what did that look like? I threw everything of who I was into working out. I was working out morning and night. I was waking up at two thirty in the morning to get to the gym by three o'clock in the morning. I was doing a little bit of cardio before weights, an hour of weight training and then another hour of cardio when I was done weight training. And then in the evening, I was doing more. Sometimes I went for a 3-5 mile run and sometimes I did a cardio type of workout video.

But often times it was more weight training with a run. That can only be sustained for so long. Basically, I started hitting a wall. I was definitely losing weight. My shape was definitely changing. I had gotten to the leanest that I had ever been. But here's the thing, I technically “looked the best” according to society but I felt the worst that I ever had, and it was awful.

I had also gone through a separation and divorce in 2012-2013. I had gone from being a stay at home mom with a successful photography business that I had on the side to being a single mom and being thrust into the workforce. I got a job working full time for a nutritional supplement company and I had also dove right into a terrible relationship. I don't recommend that by the way. Going through a divorce, becoming a single mom, going to work full time, having a terrible relationship, and then coupling that with insane exercise and under eating led to my first burnout.

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Recipe for disaster

I was so hyper-focused on what I was eating. I was eating a high protein, low carb, zero fat diet, and that just does not allow for any energy to be produced whatsoever. I was getting sick all the time. I was irritable, I was cranky, I wasn't sleeping well, and I wasn't performing well at work. I was struggling with mental fogginess, I wasn't thinking straight, I was forgetting things, and that's just not who I was. It was kind of freaking me out a little bit about what I was becoming. Then what I was also dealing with was sickness, chronic sickness; I was getting colds over and over and over, it was taking so long to get over them, and then finally in 2014 I had a prolonged sickness that kept me home for nearly three weeks!! At that time I had to pause and ask myself “what am I doing in my life that's causing all of this sickness and this fatigue in this overall exhaustion?”. I realized that I was not the mom that I want to be at all, I was not the employee that I want to be. I was still trying to run a coaching business on the side while still doing some photography, that was just a recipe for disaster. I was juggling everything and striving to do more.

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So, I had to literally take a step back, look at my schedule and see what needs to go, what needed to be removed. The very first thing that I let go of was the exercise and the under-eating. I also happened to be working for the foremost expert in adrenal fatigue. And so through my education and my training and working with Dr. Wilson, the reality hit me- I was basically burnt out. I had adrenal fatigue, I had run a cortisol panel to check my hormones to see where they were; and let me tell you, that was a hot mess. What is considered normal was nowhere near where I was at all. So, I took a six month break from any exercise whatsoever, basically, the only exercise that I was doing was pretty much walking the dog. Once in awhile I did some yoga, but other than that there was nothing else. I definitely got rid of the terrible relationship because that wasn't serving me well at all. I decided to just focus in on myself and being the best me that I could be and that started with eating properly.

There is currently an overabundance of people that are scared of carbs right now. When you are burnt out it is essential that you have carbs and fat along with protein in your diet for energy production and healthy hormone conversion.

Your body simply can not create energy if you are missing key nutrients that come from carbohydrates and fats and proteins. So, if you're omitting any of that let me just warn you right now to maybe consider taking a look at your diet. If you are struggling with burnout, chances are that your diet could have a huge impact on your recovery.

So, in time, between working with Dr. Wilson, working with some other practitioners to help me get back on track, and really becoming okay with the way that my body looks (and I won't lie that was a huge work), I began working towards my recovery. I had to work on my mindset, leaving behind the thoughts telling me I was failing because everything in society is saying, if you don't look a certain way then you are not worthy. That's a hard thing to change when you've been hearing, believing, or thinking that for so many years.

What I realized is that my overall outlook on my health will impact my future generations. I have a daughter, what was the example that I was setting for her by being hyper-focused on an ideal body image for me? I don’t want her to have a distorted image of health and think her worth is tied to her appearance.

For the past four years I zeroed in on what healthy looks like for me and learned what I need to do to avoid burnout. That's been trial and error. It's a practice, you never “arrive”. Some days are better than others. I pay attention to what is going on during my current season.

But what I do know is this… as we search for an ideal body and we do things that are more detrimental to get to it, it's not going to pay off in the long run. I'm going to be sharing my story in another post with the details of my second burnout that was totally different; you'll see why when when I share that with you. Today I really just wanted to focus on burn out that is a result of over-exercising and under-eating; you can recover, but it does take some intention in how you treat your body and how you feed your body.

Do you want to learn more? Check out my interview for the FitFluential Radio Podcast : https://fitfluential.com/from-adrenal-burnout-to-stress-expert/

Think you might be experiencing burnout? Download the “5 Signs Of Burnout” information guide to find out if you are burning out and what your next steps should be.




5 Ways to Prevent Burnout

5 Ways to Prevent Burnout

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Work-related stress is at an all time high and progressing steadily. It has been estimated that 75-90% of patient visits to primary care practitioners are due to stress-related illness.* Stress and busy have become synonymous; while being touted as a badge of honor.

We have become a society that is always connected to technology, never taking a break for fear of missing out on something (FOMO anyone?). We have businesses to build, sales to make and connections to create. Who has time to stop and relax? The ironic part is that without the rest, our best efforts are ineffectual.

Stress causes fatigue, sleeplessness or over-sleeping, feelings of lethargy and depression, weight gain, headaches, muscle pain, digestive issues, low libido, increasing symptoms of PMS and menopause, irritability, poor skin and tissue health, hormone imbalance, chronic sickness, and the list goes on and on.

So if a person is suffering from these symptoms and has an inability to manage stress, how effective can they be in their daily work? We simply can’t do the great work we are passionate about when we feel terrible every single day. The question then becomes, how do we manage stress and prevent ourselves from burnout so that we can continue to build business and increase success?

Here are five strategies that will get you on the right track:

1. Have a plan

Most people that struggle with feelings of overwhelm and stress don’t necessarily have a plan of action on how they will tackle the day. We may stroll into the office and get sucked into the email matrix for hours on end, responding to email, sending email, reading more email, responding and sending a bit more. Instead of doing the deep work that moves the needle in their business, we become daily email managers. When working without a plan of action, it’s easy at the end of the day to wonder what in the world we accomplished. The best sales reps have a distinct plan each day. They know who they are talking to and the purpose of the conversation. There are outcomes from each activity that will lead to achieving goals. To manage your day, use these tips to create a plan that will have you working with purpose.

  • Work with intention

  • Use a calendar or planner to stay on target for the day, week, month, and year

  • Work with an objective in mind

  • Plan each quarter backwards from your goals.

2. Prioritize your to-do list

It’s very easy (and normal) to brain dump all of the things we need to do each day and week on a list and hope for the best when it comes to accomplishing the tasks we listed. When the list is arbitrary and without focus, it’s hard to feel productive and easy to feel pressured. In order to conquer the overwhelm, start with three tasks on the list that you feel will push your business and success forward, rather than simply “busy work”.  Getting caught in the paperwork matrix distracts us from the deep work that generates revenue. While I could organize my desk over and over or arrange files and pens (ROYGBIV is how I roll), it doesn’t replace the activity of actually getting on the phone to talk to prospects or creating content for my programs. After I prioritize my to-do list, I use these prompts to move forward:

  • How much time is needed (realistically) to complete the task?

  • Add the task with the given time to my daily schedule to make sure that I have the dedicated time per task.

  • Focus on one task at a time (no multitasking) to maximize my attention and effort. The best work comes when the distractions are minimal.

3. Delegate

As a first-born, I have held onto my responsibilities in a very serious way. Because let’s be honest, nobody can do things the way I can do them. I take pride in my work, I am very detailed and thorough. It just never occurred to me that someone else could help ease my burden. At the same time, I have felt resentful that I am doing all of the work. While in college, being assigned to a group was a nightmare for me. I loved being in charge and I took on way too much because I couldn’t leave my grade in the hands of a stranger. Then I would be stressed out because I had so much to do. Change the scenario to marriage & family. I relish the systems I have in place and border insanity if someone in my family veers off from the way I do things. I want my kids to put the clean sheets on their beds; yet, when the bed covers aren’t as taught as I like them, I have to fight the urge to re-make the bed! Friends, if you are nodding your head right now in understanding, here is some sage advice. STOP IT. Seriously, save yourself from unnecessary anguish. There are people who love you and want to see you succeed; they want to help you in any way they can. Let them help and feel the burden of your tasks lighten.

  • Ask for help (and let out a sigh of relief)

  • Work in your strengths- these are things you should hang on to! This is your voice and your addition to your work

  • Pass things on which don’t require you personally to be accomplished-these are things that aren’t necessarily your strengths and can be better handled by someone else.

4. Manage your health

This is the part that most business people push to the back burner, especially if you are pretty healthy to begin with. When we get busy and put our heads down in our work, the last thing we think about is how much exercise we can get in and how many whole food meals we can consume. Yet, this is the part of our life that we should take the MOST serious. I have seen way too many executives that are on the verge of burnout because health has just not been the priority. Success is on the rise, so we continue to push harder towards greater success. Or maybe the numbers are not in alignment with the goals, so we drive ourselves to do more. We start work earlier and stop later. We start losing sleep, become dependent on caffeine and sugar to keep ourselves awake, eat food on the go and at our desk or in our cars. It doesn’t take long to feel the energy drain and the chronic fatigue to kick into high gear. What you may not be considering when you tell your health to please hold, is that your health is what drives success. If you feel terrible, you can’t possibly do quality work. You don't think clearly, you don’t have the extra drive to give when it matters, you miss details, you aren’t prepared or organized. You allow the competitor to have an edge because you are not at your best. To prevent the burnout, health must take priority. The good news is that wellness doesn’t have to be complicated:

  • Plan exercise at least three times a week (do anything you enjoy)

  • Plan your meals ahead of time-minimize sugar and processed foods

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night

  • Schedule your wellness exams each year

  • Write in a gratitude journal each day, highlight things from your day that you are thankful for or which brought you joy.

5. Rest and Restore

Rest is necessary to recover and revitalize. Planning rest time is just as important as planning your time to prospect. Make time in your calendar each week to do absolutely nothing that resembles “work”.  How each of us experiences rest will differ so try out new things and see how you feel. Some people love tackling home projects while others like to be outdoors to experience nature. Try these on for size to recover during your week:

  • Read a book

  • Work on your hobby

  • Take a walk, a nap or a bath

  • Have lunch with a mentor

  • Take a day trip or plan a long weekend

Grasping these five points will give you stronger business acumen and push burnout to the outer edges. Let’s take charge of our success by managing our stress and letting go of the standards that society says we must have in order to gain success.

If you want to take your business to the next level, then you need to join the waitlist for my program Revitalized Wellness. I give you the roadmap to avoid burnout, increase energy, feel revitalized and increase your productivity. Join the waitlist here



 

Stress Management: Hormone Imbalance

Stress Management: Hormone Imbalance

As I coach women that need help to manage the stress in their lives, we often discuss some of the "clues" or symptoms that drove them to work with me. Number 1 reason: weight gain. As we dig in, I have been able, with help from friends like Candace Burch, to uncover a hormone imbalance. Stress can play a HUGE piece of hormone imbalance that leads to so many symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, irritability, mental fog, melancholy, and a TON of other not so special things. I decided to interview my friend and trusted hormone advisor, Candace Burch from Your Hormone Balance. This interview is LOADED with helpful information and I promise you that you will want to get your hormones checked right away. Spoiler: Candace gives a GENEROUS code to my friends, because my people are the best!! 

I dare you to NOT love Candace! You just can't!! No way! She is a wealth of information and so very awesome-she truly understands what each of us struggles with! 

If weight gain IS a struggle, hormones could be the bozo to blame! There could also be a few other tricks that you are playing on your body making weight loss difficult. Download my guide, "5 Critical Mistakes Preventing You From Weight Loss" to find out what could be keeping weight loss at bay. 

 

Stress Self-Care for Working Moms

Do you remember the commercials in the 80's of the frazzled mom who would exclaim "Calgon, take me away!!"? The next scene would show her up neck deep in a frothy bubble bath and suddenly all was right in her world.   When stressors present themselves in your busy life of running a business, raising a family, maintaining relationships, volunteering, and the list goes on and on...you may feel like you are going to lose your mind. How can you fit one more thing on your to-do list? That is when self-care is so critical. Taking a step backward to change your point of view. Evaluate the bigger picture. Taking a deep breath and asking God for guidance. Giving yourself the gift of self-care.   Yet, sometimes the stressors come in the form of environmental toxins and chemicals you knowingly put in your body and not from your schedule or obligations alone. Those toxins instigate a stress response because it is foreign in your body and causes inflammation. Eliminating those from your environment and, more importantly, your body will begin with self-care.  I invited my friend, Kristin Szerszen, to share her top tips for natural self-care that rejuvenate, reduce your inflammation, and minimize your stress. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to essential oils and the benefits for your health. I am so excited to share my blog with her!    

Do you remember the commercials in the 80's of the frazzled mom who would exclaim "Calgon, take me away!!"? The next scene would show her up neck deep in a frothy bubble bath and suddenly all was right in her world. 

When stressors present themselves in your busy life of running a business, raising a family, maintaining relationships, volunteering, and the list goes on and on...you may feel like you are going to lose your mind. How can you fit one more thing on your to-do list? That is when self-care is so critical. Taking a step backward to change your point of view. Evaluate the bigger picture. Taking a deep breath and asking God for guidance. Giving yourself the gift of self-care. 

Yet, sometimes the stressors come in the form of environmental toxins and chemicals you knowingly put in your body and not from your schedule or obligations alone. Those toxins instigate a stress response because it is foreign in your body and causes inflammation. Eliminating those from your environment and, more importantly, your body will begin with self-care.

I invited my friend, Kristin Szerszen, to share her top tips for natural self-care that rejuvenate, reduce your inflammation, and minimize your stress. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to essential oils and the benefits for your health. I am so excited to share my blog with her!    

Did you know... the average person applies 300 chemicals to their body every single day, and 80 of those chemicals before breakfast?!?

Most of these chemicals are from four things --- soap, makeup, shampoo, and hair care. The biggest pollutants in our home are fabric softener, dryer sheets, air freshener plug-ins, and candles.

Health & safety data only exists for 15 percent of all the chemicals out there, even though so many are known to cause asthma or endocrine disruptions! I highly suggest you open your cupboards and start researching the products that you are using and the ingredients that they are formulated with. I found the phone app called 'Think Dirty' to be very beneficial and helpful in my research. 

Essential oils are a safe and natural option to use in our homes and as a part of our care routine. There are some very easy and affordable ways to incorporate these products into your life. I am going to share some solutions that you can easily implement into your beauty and self-care regimen!

Aromatherapy:

It's amazing that scents can have such a powerful impact on our bodies! Therapeutic essential oils are extracted from plants. These oils help plants thrive and maintain wellness so by using them we are able to gain the benefits that plants do from having the oils inside.

Essential oils can help you stay above the wellness line as opposed to always be treating symptoms and putting a band aid on things. They support body systems the way that they are meant to optimally function.   

Using essential oils aromatically is an easy and effective way to get the therapeutic benefit of the oil that you are using. You can simply open your bottle of oil and smell it, wear diffuser jewelry that holds the oil, and use a diffuser to disperse the oil in the air in your home.

I use the diffusers in our home throughout the day. In the morning, I will use oils for alertness, focus, and to help wake our minds and bodies up for the day; my typical go-to selection is a citrus oil like Lemon or Orange. Throughout the day I will use different oils based on what may be going on for us; as a mom of a two-year-old, I find myself diffusing the oil blend called Stress Away most of the time! At night, I use calming and grounding oils like Lavender and Frankincense to help us unwind from the day. You can also use your diffuser during your detox Epsom salt bath, I often do!

Epsom Salt Bath with Essential Oils:

Who doesn't love a great bath? I have found that incorporating a relaxing detox bath with Epsom salt into my routine helps me destress and unwind. This is my favorite and most used thing in my self-care routine so I will go into good detail on this.  ;)  Oil and water do not mix so mixing the essential oil with Epsom salt is a great way to add two amazing products to your bath!

Find an Epsom salt that only contains magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) without any fillers or additional ingredients. Epsom salt has 7 amazing benefits: boosts magnesium levels, reduces stress, eliminates toxins, relieves constipation, reduces pain & inflammation, improves blood sugar levels, and volumizes hair.

Take about 1 cup of salts and mix with your preference of essential oils. I typically use about 5-8 drops per cup of salts. By using essential oils with the salts, you will also benefit from the therapeutic properties of the oils. Lavender and Frankincense oils are my favorites to use for when I want to relax. For those days that I have a tough workout or have worked hard in our yard, I use Peppermint to relieve sore muscles. You can even use Eucalyptus oil to help if your breathing needs some support! The oily combinations are endless so you can truly customize your bath experience however you want!

Once your oil is mixed with the Epsom salt, pour into your bath under the running water and mix it into your bath water. I keep two glass jars of ready to use Epsom salt beside my tub with my favorite two oily combinations; this way I don't have to mix it for every bath. 

It is so much fun to be able to create your own spa experience at home! Enjoy!  

Skin Care & Personal Care Solutions:

26 seconds is all it takes for the ingredients in your personal care products to enter your bloodstream! Once I learned this statistic, it became more important than ever for me to make sure that the products we are using are safe for our bodies.

I switched a lot of products that we use to simple DIY options or researched safer options to purchase. Please visit my blog at www.KristinSzerszen.com for recipes to make things like facial masks, hand soap, makeup remover, rash balm, anti-aging facial serum, bar soap, sugar scrub, and a recipe that I am working hard at perfecting... body butter that is smooth yet not greasy! If I started listing all of my recipes and specific solutions in this post... it would be never ending, so I'll be respectful of your time and point you to my blog where I am posting all of my recipes. 

If you are not a DIY type person, don't fret! There are solutions available for purchase that will meet your needs.  I always suggest to research ingredients!  I am happy to make suggestions on our favorites so please don't hesitate to reach out!  

Essential oils are a very versatile and safe solution to use for personal care and beauty care. There truly is an oil for everything! The therapeutic properties of oils can be used to help make product swaps in the effort to achieve a toxin free lifestyle. I would be so happy and honored to help guide you and offer any suggestions in using essential oils. Please email me at Kristin@KristinSzerszen.com with any questions. 

Thank you to Ericka for sharing her blog and having me as a guest!  

 


As a gift to my readers, Kristin is giving away this awesome diffuser necklace to one of my lucky readers! Simply leave a comment below to be entered and I will pick a winner on 7/15/17. She is also offering a 10% discount at her website on any purchase with the code: ErickaEller. Yay!!! 

Surviving Stress

Surviving Stress

You’re exhausted. Burnt out. Done. You’re trying to do everything. All the things. All the time. But you’ve hit a wall. You wish for moments of complete silence. Time alone, doing nothing. How do you manage the stress?...

Happy International Women's Day!

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It’s about time. The world gave ME a day….today is International Women’s Day!! I have one day to bask in all of womanhood and delight in the estrogen flowing through my body. Break out the piñata! Fiesta! Such joy! 

However, the ironic humor is that this very celebrated (everybody celebrates, right??), festive, pinnacle of all peaks, day that the world has given ME…..is the day that nature gives me the swift kick in the pants and I get my period. Of course. Happy International Women’s Day to ME. To begin the celebration, here is the fiercest of cycles! Of course. I feel like my body turned on me. 

Nonetheless, I do celebrate being a woman. I celebrate all of my femininity each day.  I don’t need a day to celebrate or acknowledge that I have a uterus. I celebrate all the good and bad of being a woman. The best part for me was that God made me a woman because He knew I could do hard things. Each day I am given breath, I am thankful for the women who have gone before me and done hard things. I am thankful that I have gifts and talents and I can share those with others. I am grateful that I have a chance to impact my children in a positive way, especially our daughters. I am grateful for women who will come alongside and help mentor me to become a better wife, mother, leader, and friend.   

I celebrate the hormone shifts because it reminds me that even on my fiercest of days, when it seems as though I have no heart, I can still cry at someone being compassionate to another human. I celebrate my changing body, because I grew three babies inside and they are miracles! Who cares if it’s softer and I have stretch marks?!! Without this body, those amazing people wouldn’t be here….there are days I wish I could shove them back inside to give me some quiet, but they are still amazing and I love them with all my heart. I celebrate all that I have accomplished. Life is tough and we have each been knocked down. There were times that I thought there was no way I could get back up. But God. He has a way of leading us down the dimly lit path. I celebrate having courage. I celebrate having faith. I celebrate being bold. I celebrate being quiet. I celebrate being thoughtful. I celebrate being scared. 

 

We are busy. We are tired. We are overwhelmed. We are over-scheduled. We sleep too little. We worry too much. Sometimes, it’s just one day at time. And that’s ok. We are loved. We are precious. Take a deep breath. There is always something to be thankful for. 

Each day, I choose to celebrate and love myself so that I can also love others better. It’s a choice. I haven’t perfected it. Some days are easier than others. Each of us, as women, have gifts that we must share with the world. Don’t keep it to yourself. You are a gift. Celebrate it. Make a cake...You are THAT special!

Today, try these three things to celebrate yourself:

  1. Be thankful. Take time to write down 3 things you are thankful for right now. Anything. Gratitude breeds joy.
  2. Do something kind for someone else. Nobody ever feels bad after doing a good deed for someone else.
  3. Love yourself. Speak kind words to yourself.  Take some time for you. Take a nap. Whatever you need today. 

Don't just celebrate being a woman today. Celebrate every single day. Celebrate you. Don't forget the cake. 

 

 

 

 

 

Room To Grow

This past weekend I decided to tackle the most giant of tasks. The Goliath of tasks. I didn’t want to. I thought it wasn’t bad enough. I’ve procrastinated for months already. Life was still continuing to move forward without this task being finished. I was getting by. 

What was the task that made me feel a little nauseous every time I thought about it? Purging and organizing my closet. I can hear the collective groan from all of you too. I dreaded this task. But I couldn’t stand it anymore. 

Many of you may know that I became the happiest of brides last September. God heard my most fervent of prayers and blessed me with an amazing husband. Jeff moved into the house and it was a challenge to find room for his things. I didn’t realize the amount of shifting, moving, donating, and selling that we would each have to do! I thought he was coming with his toothbrush and a bag full of underwear and socks and we would live happily ever after. I figured I would give him my side of the bed (because it turned out we both slept on the left side of the bed on our own and I can compromise) and it would all be good. Then I see a moving truck pulling up. And it was FULL. 

Fast forward to the master bedroom closet. We needed to make room for his clothes! I let go of 5 tops and what felt like 1,000 pairs of shoes and it didn’t even look like I made a dent, but we carried on with the tight closet. I knew I needed to get rid of so much more but I just couldn’t. I’d sacrificed so much already! I NEEDED all of that stuff! I put it off and procrastinated. Then finally I decided it was time to rip off the band-aid. 

I had been inspired last week when I listened to this podcast on closet organization by Chalene Johnson. She inspired me to make the move I was dreading, my conviction and need flipped the internal switch and I began the dirty work. Within two days of listening to Chalene, I went through every single piece of clothing and purged what was no longer in style or fit. I was ruthless. It was liberating. 

Cleaning the closet made me think…how many times have there been things in our life that we are afraid to change? How often have we known that in order to grow, we need to move past something holding us back? How often have we let fear of the unknown prevent us from experiencing a “clean closet”? How many times have we told God, “not now”?

You see, there can’t be growth when things remain unchanged. In the same way, I couldn’t appreciate so many pieces of great clothing because they were being hidden by items that I would maybe one day wear again. Never mind that it has been over a year or more since I’d worn it, one perfect day, when all was right in the world, I would be glad I hung on the cardigan with layer upon layer of ruffles or that skirt or blouse! Those extra, unnecessary, items were preventing me from having an organized, open space. I was being greedy and selfish by holding on to items of material worth. I wasn’t willing to let go and allow someone else to be blessed by what I no longer used. I wasn’t allowing myself to dwell in the place of contentment of what I have. Cleaning my closet allowed me to see my blessings and find contentment. 

Similarly, we prevent our own personal growth because we allow the clutter in our lives to hold us hostage. We don’t allow God to use the old to bring forth the new. We don’t allow the growth. We seek “perfection”and acceptance through new things. 

We allow the fear to creep in, we stay safe. 

We don’t share that idea at work because nobody will care, or worse, they will think it’s dumb. 

We don’t reach out to that person because they probably aren’t interested or are too busy to have another friendship. 

We don’t participate in groups or activities because we probably wouldn’t fit in. 

We don’t change our diet and lifestyle because it’s too hard and we won’t be successful again. 

We don’t jump forward with the business plan because we would probably fail. 

We don’t leave toxic relationships because what if we end up alone?

We don’t join in conversations because what we have to say is probably not valuable. 

We don’t submit our resume because we probably won’t get the job. 

We don’t give up the addiction because it brings us comfort. 

Think about this. What if we did? What if we said yes to what God has placed in our hearts? What if we stepped out in faith and allowed God to work through us? What if instead of fighting the pruning that will come anyway, we submitted? 

I have had some hard lessons in life. I have regrets. I’ve hung on so tightly to things, and sometimes I still do. I’ve looked for people and things to fill my needs. Slowly, I am learning that when God says it is time to move forward, it’s at that time I need to obey. Letting God do what He needs to do while I have a willing heart is so much easier than acting like the toddler who you’re practically sitting on to get the medicine in their mouth because they NEED the medicine to get better.  If I just took the medicine or washed my hands so that I wouldn’t get sick in the first place, it’s much easier to handle. The medicine can still be bitter but it allows us to grow, regenerate, and stay healthy. 

I know, such a life lesson from a closet about to explode, right?  But God uses everything. And there lies the blessing.