Take Heart

take heart.

 Finding hope when the world is out of your control is hard. When anxiety and fear is knocking at your door, hope is fleeting. The tribe and I started the Hope Devotional this week and it’s so far July has been a learning experience emotionally and spiritually. There’s so much in the world in 2020 that it’s easy to allow our hearts to lose hope and fall into fear, anxiety, stress and panic. Focusing on hope helps the heart remember where home is.

Here are my thoughts after spending 5 days on the Hope Devotional Journey. Stick around to the end to download it for free.

Take heart

To “take heart” is defined as regaining your courage. Sometimes when we are afraid we lose our courage and submit to our fight or flight response. When anxiety kicks in, it’s easy to lose hope. Over the course of 5 days, the devotional takes you from a simple place of remembering that God is your Shepherd and friend through the concepts of protection, strength, loneliness and ultimately a place to find hope again. We can truly take heart in any situation because there are circumstances when we have to let go of trying to control outcomes and trust that God is in control.

What is Hope? Hope is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary “to desire with expectation of obtainment of fulfilment, to expect with CONFIDENCE: TRUST”. Hope is not as simple an emotion as the 4 letter word would have you fooled to believe. To have confidence in a desired outcome can seem impossible, but our hope is not in an outcome but in the God of the outcome. Sounds super religious, I know, but stay with me. A pivotal part of what creates hope is where we are either choosing to, or unconsciously, putting our confidence and trust. What I learned during the 5 day devotional journey is that my mind can know to put its confidence in the right place, but my heart is slower to follow. Some seasons of our life may seem impossible to work our way out of, and our logic causes us to fall into a false sense of confidence in things that ultimately fail us. The devotional journey, the reflection and the gratitude time and the intention created with starting it all was a great recalibration tool for where I find myself in life right now.

Be strong and courageous

It may not seem like it, but we have so much to be grateful for. There are so many things that could have gone wrong and so many battle scars we wear that no person could ever imagine. That’s the beauty of hope; our confidence and our trust lie in so much greater than the world and we could ever provide for ourselves. Our trust lies in the Creator of the universe. That’s why we can have courage even if the impossible seems impossible, that why we can pull ourselves up and have emotional and spiritual strength. We are never alone even when it feels like we are, we have a Greater support than could ever be imaged.

You can download the HOPE DEVOTIONAL here ⬅️

Crystelda

The beginners guide to Bible study: resources and apps

Beige Journal Workshop Collage Instagram PostThroughout my life and along my faith journey the thing that I have struggled with the most is creating a bible study routine. Whether it’s a devotional in the morning or in the evening, I usually just rolled over and went back to bed.
It’s not that I didn’t want to study, or that my intentions were elsewhere. I kept allowing excuses to get the better of me. Why? Well, I was just unorganised and overwhelmed. It’s been a process for me and I definitely haven’t gotten this down to an art form, but I have discovered that there are a few resources that I particularly enjoy and that make me look forward to study time. I’ve also stopped trying to “read the Bible in a year” or “read the bible in 6 months” because these plans don’t work for me. They push me to rush through information that I should be absorbing and I lose out on building a relationship with God.

There are a hundred resources available and it could be overwhelming knowing what will work for you. Just start by simply creating the intention and trust your instinct about what methods you generally enjoy – this may mean you prefer electronic methods over paper, you may be a more visual learner and like to get creative or you may be more of an auditory learner. If you’re a beginner at bible study, or simply struggling with creating the habit, I would suggest reading at your won pace. There’s absolutely no pressure to rush through reading the entire bible in a set period of time. Remember, It defeats the purpose if you don’t learn or absorb anything from your study time. Make this an enjoyable time spend with The Creator, not just a religious activity.

I decided to put together a few tips and resources that I hope will help you as much as they helped me ⬇️

Resources:

YOUVERSION APP

This is by far my favourite Bible app and the most convenient and affordable resource that you could get. It’s packed with great reading plans and devotions, you can connect with your friends and read together, a prayer list and expanding features. This is my favourite app because it offers various translations and it’s free. The convenience of having the bible and additional resources accessible on an app on a device that fits in your pocket is an incredible way to avoid any possible excuses you may come up with.

SHE READS TRUTH APP

This is a great app if you’re looking for something targeted specifically at women. The app has some great free plans available as well as a community that you can engage with, beautiful wallpapers that can be downloaded and a companion app (HE READS TRUTH) for your partner. There are also daily readings that can be found on the website and merchandise that you could purchase should you be interested.

A GOOD BIBLE

Find a translation of the bible that you find comfortable to read. This is key! There’s no pressure to try and read through the King James Version if that’s not your cup of tea. I would suggest a bible that is single columned with ample space for taking notes along the sides. This means you can doodle, use decorative stickers and write note what stands out to you. I recently purchased the Scribe Bible featuring the Message translation and I’m so happy with the outcome. I’m enjoying reading through this version much more that I had the KJV and even the NIV. I’m looking forward to a full translation of the Passion becoming available (It’s insanely poetic and I love the English used). In the mean time, my Message bible is serving me well and meets my specific requirements.

STATIONERY

If you’re apprehensive about actually taking a pen to your bible, or simply would prefer working with an app then I suggest investing in some stationery that will make your bible study experience more enjoyable and something that you could look forward to. This could mean anything from notebooks and highlighters to pens and markers. Invest in items that will attract you and make spending time in the Word a creative and enjoyable experience for you. Remember that you are an individual and spending time with Him could be different to you than it is to me. There is no specific approach that is guaranteed correct. If flourishes make you happy and edify your study process, go for it.

What works best for you? Any advice to share? Please leave a comment and let’s chat!

Crystelda

In isolation, send help!

person holding white ceramic mug with black liquid

“I’m in isolation, send help!” During this pandemic, we’ve been asked to “socially distance” ourselves from people to flatten the curve. I’ve spent most of my life believing that I could live with social distancing and not slip into the sense of loneliness that isolation brings. The last few months have been a revelation of how we really prioritise our time, how much we invest into ourselves and how much value we place on the people around us, how we relate to our fellow human. 

Feeling lonely?

What does it even mean to be lonely? Merriam-Webster recounts loneliness as “being without company, cut off from others, sad from being alone, producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation”. If you had asked me a year ago, I was convinced this was the life I was destined to have, unable to accept the idea that God actually heard my prayers for companionship (naturally, after much prayer, I can say there’s someone amazing that’s changed my opinion on that). I do not believe that we were created to live in isolation or without companionship. The truth is that we were created for relationship, we are relational beings created to be in community with each other and with the Creator.

It’s easy to allow the isolation to take us to the extremes of loneliness. We’re physically cut off from the world we know, from the people we love and from routine activities that make us feel more purposeful. I know better than anyone how easy it is to allow myself to get comfortable being cut off from the world and slip into a quiet isolation, slowly “waiting out” the isolation period and letting the loneliness seep in quietly in the hopes it will be over soon. Maybe you agree with me, or have your own story of how isolation has affected your mental, physical or spiritual health. All things considered, it raises the question of how we sustain our calling to be in connection with each other now, and in the future.

Social distancing vs Physical distancing

Something that I’ve learned during lockdown is that there’s a huge difference between physical distancing and social distancing. During this time, it’s important that we maintain the required physical distance to ensure that we keep our community safe, but that doesn’t mean that we should socially distance from each other. To become disconnected socially is to cut ourselves off from the people we care about, detach from our community and alienate ourselves from the people we love.

In the panic of a pandemic it’s easy to get caught up and forget to connect with those we care about and the things that give our life continuity and joy. Human nature pushes us to take care of ourselves and not those around us (remember the whole panic buying phase?). It takes intentionality to remain connected to your community when you can’t physically be near them. Whether that means you’re staying connected to your friends, family, partner or church community, it’s important to stay in touch with the building blocks that you’ve built your life on.

If you’re looking for ways to keep socially connected, why not try one of the following:

1. Text a friend
2. Group video call
3. Church online
4. Plug into online communities that are supportive
5. Call a family member
6. Try to get some sun if possible
7. Try a devotional with your partner
8. Unfollow social media accounts that disturb your peace

It’s within our control to ensure that being physically apart doesn’t mean we break our social connections. Connection is something unique to each relationship and each one is a way we can grow and learn and have our love tank filled in different ways. What we allow into our lives, what we allow to disturb our peace and what occupies our personal space is all within our control – all you need to do is take a step out of your comfort zone and reach out.

Crystelda

Book Review: Bathsheba, Angela Hunt

bathsheba“She stood in front of me, her keen gaze travelling from my new sandals to my emerald-green tunic. She studied my face, her expression still sharp and assessing, and then our eyes connected and affection softened her countenance. “A tob woman,” she whispered.”

This book was a rollercoaster! As I said when reviewing Delilah by Angela Hunt, I absolutely love biblical fiction. Be sure you have scriptural knowledge before delving into any type of biblical fiction.

Bathsheba: What did I know?

I’ll be honest, my knowledge of Bathsheba was wildly limited before I went into this book, hence I was repeatedly shook to the core. I’ll definitely be delving into the scripture now that I’ve gone through this book, found an entire references section at the back of the novel and had to correct my thinking more than once while reading.

There were 2 things about Bathsheba I was sure of:

1. She was the wife of Uriah, a loyal soldier in David’s army
2. Her beauty was enough to tempt King David into sinning

Little did I know how beautiful and important her role was, far surpassing the simple external beauty of a woman and the story I thought I knew. Little did I know how beautiful the story of redemption truly is and the incredible parallels in her and David’s story to Christ redeeming and forgiving us. More importantly, I was not ready for the personal revelation that even out of David’s moments of weakness and failure came one of the greatest stories of redemption and purpose.

What about Nathan?

Much to my surprise, the second character in this book is not King David, but the Prophet Nathan. Nathan succeeds his mentor Samuel as prophet and we get a unique perspective of life in the palace from someone I’d think of as relatively outside this story. The narrative we receive from the prophet is one that is truly seeks to have the will of God prevail. I had very little knowledge of Nathan outside of him being a prophet, but he is introduced to us as a very human character that serves God and learns his place in the grander story along the way.

Nathan also gives us a well balanced male perspective in the story that really has nothing to do with the men, but everything to do with redemption and, personally, it parallels how beautifully God redeems His people. Nathan serves as an ongoing reminder that God is present, keeps His word, and knows better than we do.

Thoughts on the book?

Hunt writes brilliantly! I’ve become captivated by her style, how well referenced the book is (seriously, there’s an entire section for references) and how unexpected the perspectives were. This book truly gives you the story of God’s grace and redemption all woven into the story of David’s life and journey as a king, all from the perspective of a prophet and a reluctant beauty. This book really made me take a moment to re-evaluate the way I’ve looked at this story and took me on a journey of personal revelation.

Along the way, I learned that Bathsheba was not just a beauty. She was politically aware, headstrong, prayerful, wise to counsel but seeking God for herself, resourceful and wise. I learned the importance a mother plays in being observant of the world around her and raising her children to ensure that the next generation does not continue the same mistakes. This book established Bathsheba in my mind as so much more than just a reluctant beauty.

I enjoyed this book even more than Delilah and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Esther (as soon as someone has stock). I would highly recommend this book if you have any interest in the story of David or finding out why this woman was chosen to be one of the few named in scripture. This is not the basic Sunday School story you think you know. I generally tend to enjoy Francine Rivers’ novels, but man have I been completely taken by Angela Hunt!

If you do pick this up for a read or have any thoughts on Bathsheba, let me know what you think!

Crystelda


Links for online purchase

Takealot.com | CUM Books  | Amazon

God, where are You?

green fields near brown mountain

The current pandemic has a lot of us asking a lot of questions about our faith and stretching ourselves to find answers. You may even go as far as to classify yourself in a wilderness season, I know I’ve been there. If you Google the definition of “wilderness”, the internet comes back with the definition as “a position of disfavour, an uninhabited and inhospitable region”. Maybe you have been or currently are in a spiritual wilderness season right now. I don’t claim to have the answers, but I can let you in on a secret: the best thing you can do is take a step towards God. The task may sound huge, but there are so many Christian resources that can help your journey mentally and spiritually.

Here are some resources that I think are appropriate for the current season we’re in:

1. Book: God, where are you – John Bevere

This is a book that I’ve been eager to read for a very long time. I feel like now is the most appropriate time, because a lot of us are asking the very question, “Where is God in this pandemic?” I picked up a copy of this book not too long ago and this is definitely the season to be reading it in. We definitely have a role to play during our wilderness season, and it’s not just to find a spot to wait in. I’ll be letting you know my final thoughts over on Instagram once I’ve read though the book in it’s entirety, but it’s definitely a timely read. It is a bit expensive, but we go through different wilderness seasons at different times in our life and I do tend to pick up books again for a re-read.

You can pick up a copy at CUM Books for R300,00.

2. Book: Adamant – Lisa Bevere

Lisa’s writing style has always appealed to me. If you’re questioning the truth and find that the world around you is causing you to question your foundations, let’s give this a read together! I’m only a chapter in, but I can tell you for sure that this book is going to remind us that the truth has a name and help us anchor ourselves in Him so we are not swayed by the world. Sometimes reading a book by someone you know inspires you may seem like a less intimidating task than trying to look head on at “building a stronger relationship with God”. Getting your truth right is definitely a great place to start.

Adamant is available for R250,00 at CUM books.

3. Switch APP – Dr Caroline Leaf

If you’re struggling with mental health this app is available to download on iTunes or Google Play. I’ve recently downloaded the app and will be working through it (hopefully)systematically. The app is based on Dr Leaf’s book Switch On Your Brain and is aimed at helping you find the root of your thoughts, eliminate it and rebuild healthy thought patterns. I personally LOVE apps that have the guided function as it allows me to use the program when I’m ready for it in the day as well as to stay focused on the task at hand. The app also comes with a prayer journal which I’m hugely excited about, together with other downloadable resources.

Free to download.

4. Church Online

The way we do church has changed for this season. Being able to gather online has made a huge difference in keeping me connected to my faith and community. Podcasts and Youtube may help keep you connected if you are not able to be connected to your home church during this time.  Whatever that looks like, stay connected to your community, this could look like a WhatsApp group or regular video calls. Even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone, simply sending out a text message to say hello could be all someone needs to keep you connected and grounded during this time.

5. Get yourself a Bible

I know, in a wilderness season this is the absolute last thing you want to hear, but the only way to find the answers you’re looking for is to search the Word of God. A Bible doesn’t have to cost you an insane amount of money. You can start by simply reading the Psalms or Proverbs. Perhaps a copy of the New Testament is more up your alley. If you’re able to, the YouVersion app is amazing if you prefer guided devotions. Reading the bible doesn’t have to be the big task we make it sound like it is.

The YouVersion app is free to download 

Crystelda

Lockdown Gratitude

Lockdown gratitude blogpostWe’re officially at day 21 of lockdown. You’ve probably had a lot of time for introspection, anxiety, productivity and personal growth. If you’re isolating with family, well you’re probably driving each other insane and already contemplated your route of escape. Let’s be honest, you’ve scoured the internet for every type of content you could possibly use to occupy your time. I’ve been there too, and honestly there’s a lot of content circulating the internet right now about productivity, using our time constructively, politics and mental health. I’d like to throw a little bit of gratitude into the mix. You may be the kind of person that keeps a gratitude journal, but lockdown may still have you stumped.

I’ve learned to be grateful for a few seemingly simple and overlooked things in my daily life. These are things I’ve come to overlook as part of my life and I’ve learned to be grateful for them during this time.

Stick around to the end and there’s a free downloadable worksheet for you!

1. Freedom to practice my faith openly ✝️
Freedom of Religion is not a right that every country constitutionally affords its citizens. As a South African, I’m incredibly blessed with the ability to be open about my religion and to practice it openly. I’m allowed to go to a church, read a bible, have access to worship music and Christian literature and to openly share my belief in Christ. Faith is something that many have to hide, whether for fear of persecution because of legality, or their families not accepting or supporting their beliefs. Faith is something that is rooted in who I am and forms part of the core of my being so the freedom to practice openly and without fear is something that I am incredibly grateful for, particularly now during lockdown when we have access to church online and bible and Christian resources in our home.

2. The ability to connect online 📱
I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful that I’m not stuck on a Nokia 3310 with an SMS bundle and limited call minutes. Technological developments such as Facetime, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. have allowed us to connect with each other online, keep in constant contact with each other and even have group video calls. If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, then you’ve had some kind of mild preparation for the isolation and separation the rest of the world is currently experiencing. I’ve come to be so grateful that we’re able to connect online by streaming church services, video calling my significant other, group video calls with friends and teams, online training and development sessions and even online counselling session. As much as you may feel alone and miss hugs (even my inner introvert is missing human contact), there is a way that you can reach out and connect with someone. I’m grateful to have the ability and the access to use these to keep in contact with the people I’m closest to. Friends, family and faith are at my core and I’m thankful to not be completely cut off from them during this time.

3. Continued access to medical and food supplies 🍕
This one is a biggie! With the announcement of lockdown a lot of people were concerned about access to food and medical supplies (I’m looking at you, toilet paper hoarder👀). As someone that literally got out of hospital JUST before the pandemic hit South Africa, I’m so grateful to have access to food and medicine. Chronic conditions such as asthma require you to have medication on you and I’m so grateful that we have access to stores for groceries and a pharmacy and hospital within our community. I’m entirely aware that this is not something that everyone has access to and there is a great concern for the people that need assistance.

4. My own space 🛏
I cannot stress this enough – I am, shocking as it may seem, an introvert. I recharge by spending time by myself. Being in isolation means that we’re with our family ALL THE TIME. I’m acutely aware that this is an absolute blessing and I can’t imagine what it’s like having to spend this time completely alone. Inversely, I’m incredibly grateful to have my own space that I can withdraw to. My bedroom has become my Fortress of Solitude, my office (I am one of those people that can separate), my place of rest and also where my XBOX is. I’m really only seen at feeding times. The truth is, I’m grateful to have a secure roof over my head and not have to be worried about not having a place to stay (benefit of living at home). I am painfully aware that this is not a reality for everyone and that people are homeless, renting or have bonds they’re trying to pay during this time.

5. Technology and literature 📚
Finding a way to occupy your time being huddled indoors is tedious to say the least, particularly when I can’t just show up and my aunt’s house 🤦🏽‍♀️. I’m so grateful for subscription streaming services like Netflix and Showmax, Podcasts, games and all the books that we get to catch up on while we’re in lockdown. The advancement of technology has made the lockdown a bit more bearable and also allowed some of us to continue to work remotely. It also means that we have the ability to research and educate ourselves to avoid mass panic by spreading incorrect information.

I hope that you can agree with some of the things on my list of lockdown gratitudes. I’ve been trying to find something, 5 somethings, to be grateful for each day and it’s taught me to appreciate the little things in life.

Click the link below for a free downloadable worksheet to help you on your gratitude journey. Tag me in your posts on social media so we can chat. 

Gratitude Exercise

Crystelda

Lockdown Brain Boost

Grey Modern Coffee Themed Instagram (1)

South Africa going into lockdown is something you could never have planned for in your life. We’re all trying to keep occupied and let’s be honest, a lockdown houseparty is not really an option right now. Keeping your mind active is so important, whether that’s right now during lockdown or once we get back to normal life with daily activities that will keep your brain quick and nimble. Colouring has been an activity that has traditionally been reserved for children, but adult colouring has been on the rise. I was gifted Mind Delights and Brain Snacks, both by Mary Eakin, by CUM Books. Both books retail for R129-00 and I really believe they are an amazing investment into carving out some personal time for yourself.

Benefits of Adult Colouring

1. The process of colouring provides your brain with moments of quiet relief. These reflective moments with yourself allow you to really process the things you’ve been avoiding and allow you the opportunity to detach from the things that are crowding you while you practice self-care.

2. This is an amazing form of anxiety relief. As someone who has experienced anxiety attacks for a few years now, I can really say that adult colouring is one of the most therapeutic and relaxing things to do. It’s a perfect way for me to stop my brain from perpetuating a negative thought process by being creative in those moments and allows me the opportunity to think and rationalise the thought.

3. Anyone can colour. It’s an inexpensive hobby that can be taken up by anyone. You don’t need to be an artist or expend a lot of money. The books are affordable and it’s a hobby that you can take with you on the go. Whether that means packing it into your handbag on your way to work, in your hand luggage for a flight or on a road trip, you can pack this with you anywhere.

4. No screentime required. If you’re anything like me, you spend your entire waking day looking at a screen (phone, laptop, TV, iPad, the list is endless). I always have the intention of spending time away from a screen but have never managed to disconnect until I started adult colouring. This is an amazing opportunity to turn off your devices and have some quiet time.

Mind Delights & Brain Snacks Review

These books are a beautiful combination of simple designs and great brain activities. Eakin worked in simple crosswords, mazes and connect-the-dot activities into her designs making for simple yet entertaining pages.

Personally, it gives me an increased level of comfort to know that these are faith-based activities. Each time you sit down with an activity you’re allowed both a moment of calm introspection and moments of soul-searching around the scriptures or themes of the pages. I loved the moments of personal growth and exercising my cognitive skills. I have a range of adult colouring book and Eakin’s collections are some of my favourites! For only R129-00 both books have high-quality paper and beautiful gloss covers and a great mix of puzzles and scriptures.

I highly recommend this, whether you’re gifting it to a friend or adding it to your own mindfulness routine. If you have anxiety and are looking for a way to practice mindfulness I would suggest you pick up one of these books with some amazing colour pencils and really treat yourself. I’ve added this to my regular mindfulness routine and will definitely be picking up another book once I’ve completed these activities!

Leave me a comment and let me know how you practice mindfulness!

Crystelda

 

March 2020 Recap

apple device black and white business computer

Wow! March has really been an intense month. South Africa has entered a lockdown and, suffice it to say some people have simply not been cooperating. Our March has been riddled with watching chaos unfold as people “panic shop” even though there’s no real need, we’re endured the “toilet paper apocalypse” of 2020 and have watched as entire countries struggle to survive.

First, let’s talk about a few general March favourites

1. The Giver of Stars: Jojo Moyes
My sister gifted me this book for my birthday and I ended up starting it (albeit apprehensively) during my last hospital visit. I started this with mixed feelings, but ended up LOVING it at the end. The book is a period piece that carries you through some amazing character development entirely based on the times. If you’re looking for a cowboy novel with a twist (in this case the cowboys are a group of independent women) then this is the book for you. I’m not one to get attached to characters in a hurry, but Moyes has a way for pulling you in and getting you hooked. If you give this a read I’d love to know what you thought!

2. Detol Hand Sanitiser
I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory. We just have to have it around right now. I think this will go on to become a staple in my life out of sheer paranoia, but it’s created a really good habit of making sure surfaces and hands are clean.

3. Mac NW43 Studio finish concealer
This has been an amazing alternative to getting a full face of foundation on in the morning. It offers the right amount of coverage for me to spot conceal (and deal with my under-eye) and look put together for work from home without needing to do a full face of makeup.

4. Sorbet body scrub
I have super sensitive skin that reacts the ANYTHING and everything. I’ve loved adding in this scrub as a biweekly part of my shower routine. I was gifted a set of 3 minis so the tubs were too small for me to have an opinion on which line I prefer the best or to have seen any specific results (I was being a bit excessive with my application), but I loved the texture. It definitely wasn’t an aggressive exfoliator and I’d honestly repurchase a full size.

5. The Good Life with Stevie and Sazan
I love a good podcast. Stevie and Sazan have an amazing dynamic as a couple and give an incredible balance of faith and life development through their podcast. This is a great way to feel at home or out with friends while you’re on lockdown.

What about April?

Going into a new month, most of us are in some form of isolation, lockdown or quarantine. We can choose to have a positive intention for the month. Whether you set yourself up to change how you treat your body, your mental health or your spiritual growth let’s use the time we have to create a new sense of balance in our lives.

Take the things we’re learned in March and use them as a springboard to grow in April. The year may have started, but it’s still young and not over yet. We can grow despite our circumstances.

Let me know what your favourites in March were!

Crystelda

Love in a time of Fear

Dark Green and Red Public Service Announcements Instagram Post.png

Let’s be realistic, we’re living in a time of rampant fear. The world is in a state of panic and at a loss for how to keep moving and maintain some sense of lifestyle. I’ll leave all the “fear the walking dead” jokes aside for a moment and ask you a few simple questions:

1. How have you been coping?
2. Have you been panic buying, cleaning out the stores and hoarding canned food?
3. Do you feel trapped under the weight of fear and anxiety?

Panic /ˈpanɪk/ is defined as a sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety. Panic can often causing wildly unthinking behaviour. That’s what’s been happening in our world. Fear and anxiety have pushed people over the edge and that’s why there’s no food on the shelves. The media in general has been fuelling the sense of primal fear that’s pushing people towards the irrational, almost causing us to lose sight of our humanity.

Really, where has all the toilet paper gone?

Fear and trembling

I’m not asking you to be fearless. In fact, I’m far from it. It takes repeat attempts to calm me down and (even though I am wildly upset about cancelling my weekend trip to see bae) I’m still sitting in my little room freaking out!

Here’s what my anxiety is all about (maybe you can relate):
– When is my next opportunity to see my boyfriend?
– What if we run out of food, or access to food?
– What if I get sick (after spending 3 months in hospital)?
– What if someone I love gets sick?
– What if we actually run out of toilet paper?

The list is quite literally endless, and often times irrational.

How are we navigating life in this time of social distancing?

Keeping some sense of normality in life may be a little more complicated than usual. Are you allowing your anxiety to control you or are you being a source of love, kindness and practicality in the world?

There are simple ways we can show compassion in rough times. It may be as simple as respecting your government’s instructions at this time, or staying home and curbing the spread of the virus. You may not be able to help anyone with their shopping (in which case don’t panic buy), but you may be able to share prayers online or your church services that are streaming.
Most of us are able to stay home and stay indoors, so our kindness may be spread through simply helping where possible and sharing love in a time of panic.

What do your eyes see?

While spending all this time social distancing, what are you exposing yourself to? It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the hysteria being spread by the media. The truth is we aren’t slaves to our fear. This is the best time to exercise faith and prayer. Not to say that this is an excuse to be irresponsible, listen to your authorities. But, this is the best time to plug back into the Word.

I’ve launched a marketing agency (Selah Brand Agency) and, in working from home, I’ve struggled to set a routine. After being sucked into “Morning Routine” videos on Youtube, I’ve realised this is the perfect opportunity to reset my morning. I’m about to get back into some bible study and I’m excited to use this time more constructively than just hanging out on Netflix or the XBOX.

During this tense time, let’s spread hope. Let’s spread love in a time of fear.

Do you struggle with self-worth?

72211871_660106997849120_3159280142237302784_o

 

Everyone in the world wants to tell you something about self-worth and self-care. How seriously do you take it? I’m the kind of person that struggles with this quite often, and opening up about it is an extremely vulnerable and uncomfortable for me (just ask bae). The hard truth is that the way you view your worth also spills into your life and into your relationships.

Read it in a book.

Since starting my new health journey, I’ve been reading Sheila Walsh’s book, It’s okay not to be okay (gifted by CUM BOEKE). There are some GREAT practical applications in the book to help you, whether that’s with a momentary doubt or with some more deep-rooted issues you may have. Where does your insecurity and struggle come from? What actually triggers your criticism?

In her book, Walsh gives a great explanation of what goes through our minds when we question our self-worth. The truth is that our minds look at a situation and rather than taking a rational approach to evaluating the circumstances our minds immediately jump to; “I’m not okay”. This irrational jump isn’t something that’s justifiable by any truth that we have built our lives on. By simply changing the way we think, we can have a huge impact on our relationships.

I have a huge problem being able to correctly communicate. My default is to shutdown and keep moving. You can fact check that with anyone that knows me. A part of my struggle, and likely yours as well, is fear. Fear can do one of two things to use; it can protect us or it can paralyse us.

The truth of self-worth.

One of the greatest things about doubting yourself is that you begin to believe that you are the summation of your failures, ignoring the victories. Becoming overtaken by the moments in life where you seemingly failed causes us to spiral out of control and lose sight of who we are called to be. The truth that we need to refocus our lives on is that we are loved by our Creator despite any of our failures and He wants us to be free from condemnation. Stop being so hard on yourself and remember who and whose you are. The truth of self-worth isn’t in what we can achieve through our own determination, but that we’ve been chosen despite anything we can accomplish on our own.

Correcting your thinking

There are a few small steps that you can take to correct your thinking. Placing value on your thinking can help you grow and develop in every area of your life. Correct thinking changes your perspective of the world.

1. Make note of all the areas where you’re holding on to unforgiveness.
More often than not a part of the flaw in our thinking arises from areas where we’ve been unable to forgive something that’s happened to us. This starts to affect the way we view the world and how we interact with it.
2. Journal down your thoughts.
Write down the negative thoughts you’re having. It’s important to be able to see and then replace the negative thoughts with truths (such as your identity in Christ).
3. Write down your fears. The best way to combat the things that you’re most afraid of is to face them head on. Replace every fear with a promise of God and suddenly your fears won’t look so big anymore.

If you’re struggling being okay, if you’re struggling with self-worth, know that you’re not alone. I highly recommend checking out Sheila’s website for more resources or picking up the book from CUM Books for only R290.

X