Showing posts with label positive changes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label positive changes. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

19. You Are So Blessed - "Living in Light" Series

It's easy to think of all we don't have at times like these. We may not have employment right now. We may not have toilet paper right now! We may not have our favorite restaurants, social venues, or just our usual day to day activities that keep us going in our normal lives. We could be in total isolation from our family and friends, separate from our support circle. And even worse, battling this virus head-on, fighting for our lives.

As COVID-19 rages on, it can wear on us mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and even spiritually. But with Christ, there is always hope...

So first, let's say a prayer for those who are genuinely suffering: "Dear Father, we pray that you provide health and healing to all those with COVID-19. Please provide them with everything they need in such critical times. We know You can heal the sick, comfort the mourning, and deliver the suffering into peace and safety. So blessed are You, Lord, to give us Your blessings when we need them most, which we are so grateful for. In the name of Your son, Yeshua (Jesus), our faithful Messiah, Amen."

Focusing on everything we don't have right now can leave us feeling helpless, vulnerable, insecure, anxious, stressed, and downright scared. However, with the special power of gratitude, we can focus on all we do have. Blessings are sometimes the smallest things around us that we tend to ignore. Sometimes even the things we usually take for granted. If you do have toilet paper right now, consider yourself blessed!

I think hard times can help us evaluate our lives in ways we're not used to. They can help us identify our true priorities more clearly. We can start to recognize what we truly like about our lives, and even delve deeper into the things we want to change. I encourage you to use this time to think about what it is you really want in life. It may be the perfect time to make some positive changes.
1. Blessed are those who know what they have and are grateful for it. 

I encourage you to focus on all the things you do have at the moment. Especially blessed are all those that still have their health. Our health is so important to our lives since we cannot fulfill our destinies without it. More than ever, stay aware to protect yourself and others. Use wisdom and discernment to make the best possible choices for your health in this critical time.

Let's just say, if you have a roof over your head and food on your table, you are so blessed. This is the time to appreciate our basic needs to the fullest. Constantly look for things that you can be grateful for. Make a list if need be. It's amazing how through the perspective of gratitude, our whole world can change for the better.
2. Blessed are those who are always provided for.

God blesses us in good times and in bad. Sometimes I'm amazed by how well He has taken care of me and my family in our most desperate times. Somehow, someway, we were always provided for through the poorest of times. I'm reminded that in the wilderness, God always provided for the Israelites. It may not have always been what they "wanted" by it was always what they needed.

Complaining may be a common trap in these times. Constantly thinking of all we don't have and venting about what we want. Whenever I feel a complaint coming on or if one dares to escape my mouth, I try to replace it instantly with (a) gratitude directly related to the exact issue. 

For instance, I could say, "I didn't get a good night's sleep, but I'm grateful for the sleep I did get," or, "They didn't have any apples at the supermarket, but they did have bananas." Then thank God for bananas! Constantly replace your complaints with gratitude. It will change your perspective toward the positive regardless of your circumstances. 

*Remember, the Israelites' journey through the wilderness would have been a lot easier if they had stopped complaining.* 
3. Blessed are the believers in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

It makes God so happy when we thank Him for all that we have. And we are so blessed to have God in our lives. It makes life so much easier. Remember to thank God for anything and everything, and you can just feel the love pour into your heart. Sometimes we can just blurt out, "Thank God!" without actually thinking about it, but I encourage you to take the time to actually thank God, wholly and specifically for all the blessings He has given you. It honors Him and shows Him that you acknowledge His specific blessings that only He has added to your life. 

With God as our strength, we were built for hard times. It doesn't mean that we truly understand everything that's going on all of the time, but we can trust in God that He knows, He is in control, and we don't have to worry. If you've read the end of the Bible, you know - it all turns out just fine.
4. Blessed are the ones who bless others.

It's very important to be kind to one another in difficult times. We can choose to bless others in need. Let people know that you're there for them. Just offering a helping hand can be such a blessing, so they know that they have help and support just in case they need it. 

A good way to get ourselves off our minds is to help others. It's easy to get locked in our own minds and in our own worlds. Giving to someone else can be so rewarding as it helps our perspective to recognize our bountiful blessings to such an extent that WE can be a blessing to others. Being selfless when people need our help the most will not be forgotten by God. 

I truly hope this blog is a blessing to you. 

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post! 

Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

14. Living the New Life - "Living in Light" Series

For as Christ is risen, He lifted all sins from Adam and beyond. From the dust Adam rose, then fell into the foul dust (the darkness of Satan's demonic trickery), however, Christ has ended such darkness within us because of His sacrifice, thus a bite to His heel will be no match for the Lake of Fire. Christ Almighty, the Savior, the divine Messiah, will get the last bite, and then us believers will live in the everlasting light.

- Inspired by 2 Corinthians by JoAnn A. Mears

It's so important that we understand who we are in Christ. As believers, we will be judged for our beliefs. We may even get cut off from friends and family. I have acknowledged, that once I became of full-bore Born Again Christian writer, I would lose followers. But I'm okay with that! I really am! Jesus lost followers too. What I'm doing might not be considered "on-trend" or "popular" but that doesn't concern me. It never has. I've always tried to stay as original as possible and create unique content.

But what about you? Are you having a hard time defending your faith?

Remember these words: "I will never leave nor forsake you." -  Deut. 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5

In Deuteronomy, it adds that we should not be afraid or discouraged. This is easier said than done, just like a lot of things. But I'm learning that when you start walking the path, your strength and confidence grows. It's like the Holy Spirit is a constant presence in your life so you don't feel alone, like an outsider or an outcast. On the contrary, you're a part of the Jesus club now! You can feel His presence within you.

People may want to judge us because they think we are the self-proclaimed "judges" of right and wrong. Although I can't speak for all Christians, but the Bible clearly states, "Judge not, lest you be judged." - Matthew 7:1.

I will admit to you that as a "newborn baby Christian" at first, I did have problems with judging other Christians. Especially people who would say that they're Christians, but don't act like "Christians" however we choose to define that. But I quickly came to the realization that I am not the Judge of this world. I have no place passing judgment on others.

And now I'm extremely careful about every "judgey" thought that enters my mind. I quickly, like a mirror, turn it back on myself. I ask myself, "Have I done this? Or am I doing it now?" and use wisdom and discernment to examine my own inner and outer life. I realized that before I started walking a narrower path, people could have said the same thing about me! "Well, she calls herself a Christian, so who does she think she is?"

Now I know who I am. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Amen! And you can be TOO.

In 2 Corinthians 7:4 (TPT) it says, "With an open heart let me freely say how very proud I am of you. In fact, when I think of you my heart is greatly encouraged and overwhelmed with joy, despite our many troubles." I love what Paul is saying here about encouragement. As Christians, we should be constantly encouraging each other, not judging each other. And if anybody judges us, Christians or non-believers alike, that's on them, it's not on you!

Judging other people steals our peace. We live in a world consumed by the judgment of others. Like in social media, at first glance of a picture or statement, we decide in seconds, "Do I like this post? Am I angry at this post? Am I sad about this post?" or better yet, leave a comment, "This is ugly," or "This is wrong because..." Judgment is a hard thing to escape!

But here's the Good News (Gospel), in Ephesians 2:15, "When His body died on the cross, Christ took away the power of the Mosaic laws and rules (and proclaimed condemnation). In that way, He made the two groups join together as one new group of people. As a result, He caused them to have peace," and in Romans 8:1, "Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

It's not our place to judge or condemn for God wants us to have peace. He wants us to focus on ourselves so we can live our best lives and simply obey Him because we love Him.

Tell hate, judgment, and condemnation to get out of here! You are living a new life in Christ full of love, happiness, and peace. No one can take that away from you.

Like in Colossians 2:12, "When they baptized you, it was like God buried you with Christ. And God also raised you to a new life with Christ. You believed that God has great power to do that. You believed that God raised Jesus to life after He died. Because you believed, God raised you to have a new life."

We get to live a new life free of criticism! And what a great freedom that is! I encourage you to examine your critical, judgemental thoughts and start anew. It's never too late to cut out the "stinkin' thinkin'" as Joyce Meyer states, and start letting thoughts of love, joy, and peace resonate in your mind. For this, is how we truly live in light!

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!


Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 10, 2020

13. Getting Comfortable with Uncomfortable - "Living in Light" Series

Most of us want to make positive changes for the better. But here's some honest, cold, hard truth, change is hard. If you want to change your thoughts, get ready for some constant painstaking examination and awareness of every single thought. If you want to change your body, get ready for some physical rebellion! If you want to change your life, get ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone altogether...

The truth is: change is uncomfortable

So knowing this, how do we get "comfortable" with uncomfortable?

Let's start with how strong your desire is to change. Some things may sound good "in theory" in your mind. We can say, "It would be nice if..." or "Maybe someday I will..." but the power to change comes from your choice, and how deeply rooted this desire is, will ultimately determine how long you can stay "uncomfortable".

Two things are involved, our acceptance of how things are and our awareness of needing to change how things are.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time, we can placate and rationalize our acceptance to death with, "Oh it's not so bad" or "This is just the way I am" or even, "That's life". We will do everything we can to stay in our comfort zone no matter what. That's when awareness needs to step in!

Only when we have awareness of needed change, is when we can accept that how things are right now are not how you want things to truly, really, deeply, be. 

Ask yourself, "How badly do I want this?" "Am I willing to go through hell to get it?" or does the "If it happens it happens," mentality kick in?

For your changes to really succeed, your desire for these changes better be deeply rooted, well thought out, and relentlessly pursued no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Now I'm not suggesting that you have an all or none mentality, a leap off a cliff idea, a throw yourself into a baptism by fire situation, in fact, it's just the opposite. You can read a previous post called "The Power of Baby Steps" here on how small, incremental changes lead to big results.

What I am suggesting is that before you choose to make changes in your life, you should be mentally prepared for those changes and remember that the mind, the body, even just life itself, will resist change to no end, simply to remain comfortable.

So once you've decided to quit drinking, lose 50 pounds, move half-way across the country or whatever your needed changes are, how do we get comfortable with uncomfortable? (All these things I've done and let's just say, it wasn't/isn't so comfy!)

Let's delve into quitting drinking alcohol. This is a tough one in our society. Your friends and family may drink. You may go to restaurants that serve alcohol. Every holiday or special event seems to breed intoxication. This is when your deeply held desire to stop drinking better be really, really deep. You will be tempted, put in really uncomfortable positions by saying something like "No thanks, I'll just have water." You may even make others feel uncomfortable because your not drinking can feel like you're judging them for drinking. (Let that go.)

This is when our choice to be comfortable with uncomfortable must kick in: We must rise up, above our emotions and feelings, and use wisdom to tell ourselves, "I deeply want to stop drinking and stay sober, and even though this is hard, I know it will be worth it for what I want in my life, no matter what."

I love that quote from A League of Their Own, I'm paraphrasing, "They didn't say it would be easy, but they did say it would be worth it."

With the change you're thinking of doing, ask yourself, will it be worth it?

And here's a secret, positive changes are always worth it.

Let's look at weight-loss. Eating less is hard. It hurts. It's painful. The body especially hates change. It wants to stay exactly how it is and will resist whatever you try to change about it. There are times when you feel so starving. It can literally feel like you're dying, no lie! I really do believe in the power of baby steps when it comes to physical change, but regardless of how little the steps you take are, weight loss can be so uncomfortable. Or when you start working out, you get blisters, muscle soreness, sometimes fatigue, even added hunger! It's so frustrating!

But then all of sudden, you start feeling/seeing some benefits, and then you start believing... it is soooooo worth it.

I love when Joyce Meyer preaches on rising above your feelings, start making right decisions, then your feelings will catch up with your decisions. It's so true. If we always did what we felt like, we'd never make any progress. Feelings are so fickle and can lead us nowhere. But once we set our minds right, our feelings will have no choice but to succumb to our wisdom, and that's how we become wiser, stronger, and more in control of our thoughts, bodies, and lives.

What about moving halfway across the country? At first, our minds resist. "But I like where I live now," or "It's not what I really want right here, but it's okay," or "It sounds like too much work."

Sometimes even thinking new thoughts are extremely uncomfortable. We're creatures of habit. We're used to what we're used to. Fear can kick in telling all sorts of things like, the grass isn't always greener, what if I don't fit in, or how can I make it work financially.

Again, ask yourself how strong your desire is to move there. Is it deeply rooted? Do you really want to be closer to your family and friends? Do you really want that new job? Do you really want that fresh start?

Make the right decisions for yourself, and your feelings will catch up with your decisions.

"What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens--skip like a lamb, if you like!--for even if they don't like it, I do... and all heaven applauds." - Luke 6:23 (MSG)

If anyone truly knows what is uncomfortable is, it's Jesus. Walking in truth, in our truth, can be very uncomfortable. We know what good changes we need to make. Yes, you do. Yes, you do know! And with Christ as our strength, all things are possible. In our most difficult times of change, let's rely on His righteousness, perseverance, and glory to carry us through. For He knows, it is really worth it, and the rewards will be heavenly! Let's rejoice in our good "uncomfort", for it means that we are truly changing for the better. And when we walk in our truth, we can truly live in light, and light will never, ever, fail us.

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!


Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 22, 2019

8. The Power of Baby Steps - "Living in Light" Series

Most people want to make positive changes in their lives, but the truth is, change is hard. Most of the times it's uncomfortable and it makes us step out of our comfort zone. I've learned that the body hates change and that the mind resists change. We have our work cut out for us...

So what can we do to make change easier? Take it little by little. Small changes that are sustainable and repeatable. The secret is consistency. Consistency is the only way to achieve true success. The building blocks to get to the top of your mountain, whatever that mountain may be.

Some have a tendency to have an all or none attitude. (I know I used to be one.) We can work ourselves up, trying to convince ourselves we can do anything and we can do it now. We can feel so empowered, that we want to go full-bore. Then we can go full-bore off a cliff. I've thrown myself off that edge so many times, hoping to grow wings on the way down, but guess what? Never happened.

Recovering from falls, the disappointments, the self-loathing of our grand plans not going through, gets harder and harder. We can become more and more discouraged, leading us further away from our goals than we originally were.

So first, we have to change our mindset. If we acknowledge the fact that full-bore can sound exciting and tempting, but in most cases, it simply doesn't work in the long run. You don't want something that's just going to work for a day, a week, a month. You want these positive changes to take root in your life, your whole life, so you can compound your progress and live to your fullest potential.

The secret is making small changes that you can do again and again without taking yourself so far out of your comfort zone that you'll quit. Set some more easily attainable goals.

It's the little things that add up to big results.

One example that I'll use that most of us can relate to is "dieting". If your body is used to consuming 3,000 calories a day and being mostly sedentary, chances are abruptly changing to a 1,500 calorie diet and working out 6 days a week will be a big shock. You'll be hungry, if not starving, and probably exhausted by doing a lot with so little than your body's used to. There's probably no denying that the latter diet is healthier, but is it sustainable? Are you going to stick with it, no matter what, no matter how bad you feel and tired you get? Chances are you're not.

However, let's say you only cut out 300 calories a day and start doing some walking for 30 minutes twice a week? Do it for a month straight. Is this more sustainable and easily repeatable? You know the answer. If we use this mindset for all the positive changes we want to make in our life, we will have a higher rate of success. And once you see yourself making progress it's more likely that you'll want to continue and advance that progress.

Smaller changes are easier to make than big ones. 

With this method, there is tremendous importance on patience. I'm not a naturally patient person. I have to work to be patient. When I make a change, I want the benefits instantly. But I've learned it doesn't really work that way. When I have a hard time being patient, I remind myself of all the ways I think and feel when I'm not patient. I'll ask myself, "Do you want to feel anxious, frustrated, angry? Or do you want to feel at peace with your choices and decisions? Is slower progress, but progress nonetheless, going to be better than no progress at all?"

This is the power of baby steps. Setting small goals that are easily attainable and sustainable. Stick with your new goals until they become your new comfort zone, then make new goals. Go slowly and be gentle with yourself. I've made major changes to my life using this method and I know it can work for you! Consistency is key! Give it a shot, what do you have to lose?

And what does this have to do with living in light? Most of us want to have a life full of joy, peace, and progress. This takes time, energy and effort. So if we can make positive changes that are sustainable and consistent, we are more likely to have and keep a life of fulfillment, contentment, and overall well-being. Living in light is about living life to the fullest and doing our best, not more than our best. All we can do is keep striving for light so the darkness doesn't stand a chance!

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