A recipe for PEACE.

We interrupt the continuous process of you replaying over and over again in your head, the same scenario or problem that is causing you anxiety, with this urgent message:

interruption

You can stop anxiety dead in it’s tracks when you start focusing on the only person who can actually do something about it and promise you peace in the meantime.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philipians 4:6-7 

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
Anything.
Everything.
and lots of Thanksgiving.

Steps:

1.Bring anything and everything to Him in prayer.
2.Add thanksgiving.
3.Let it simmer for as long as necessary until desired consistency.

And BAM! Peace!

Thanksgiving is not just a day with turkey and all the trimmings…it’s an attitude that will change the direction of your life and bring you peace that goes beyond your own understanding.

I’ve recently found myself obsessing over things that I don’t have the power to change. When I do that I lose my joy and my peace (and have heart palpitations!) So, I write this blog to remind myself and hopefully someone else who needs reminding.

thankful

We must take the time to practice this verse and really focus on being grateful for the good in our lives to help redirect our thoughts. And the bad…well we can be grateful for that too, knowing that God is working on our behalf behind the scenes brings us peace that the situation does not naturally provide. Jotting it down on paper or in a journal can be a great reminder.

The holidays can be stressful. Peace can be hard to come by for a variety of reasons. Take time to practice gratitude and watch your anxiety transform into peace!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Caught in the Undertow

I grew up on Long Island.  Although I have lived on the west coast of Florida, which boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches for the past 20 years, Jones Beach will always be the most beautiful beach to me because it is home.

If I close my eyes I can feel the gritty sand in my toes and hear the seagulls and the waves crashing to the shore. As a little kid I would play on the shore line, building sandcastles and jumping over the remainder of the breaker waves as they rolled up towards the beach.  As I got older I became more adventurous and learned how to ride the waves in as they broke.

It is an exhilarating feeling to catch a good wave at precisely the right moment and get a nice clean ride in. But occasionally you can be blindsided by a wave and get pummeled by it because you weren’t expecting it. Sometimes in an attempt to ride a wave you can jump in at the wrong time resulting in being creamed by the force of the current. This is a scary experience.  In a matter of seconds you are being spun uncontrollably and it is incredibly difficult to find your bearings. It feels like the ocean is sucking you downward. If you are not accustomed to navigating the unpredictable activity of an undertow it is easy to panic.  I have been caught in some crazy waves that in the moment have made me wonder if I would survive.

Fortunately like most kids who are raised by the beach, I was taught at a young age how to handle such situations and even though it could be frightening I knew that if I followed some simple rules of survival the wave would eventually subside and I would once again rise to the surface and be able to breathe.

The first rule was HOLD YOUR BREATH AND DON’T PANIC.  The duration of even a huge ocean wave is shorter than the amount of time you can hold your breath. The tendency when we panic is to gasp for breath but if when the wave hits you just hold your breath and don’t panic in time the waters will smooth out and the air in your body will cause you to rise to the surface.

The second rule was DON’T FIGHT IT – GO WITH THE FLOW. Our natural reaction when we’re being knocked around and feel out of control is to fight to regain our footing but this is actually counterproductive when trying to react to a wave. All you will end up doing is completely exhausting yourself.  Instead the trick is to relax your body and let yourself go with it until the wave passes.  The force of the wave is far stronger than you are and fighting against it is futile. If you can calmly wait it out you will soon be released, your feet will find the ground and you will be able to push up to the surface and find your bearings. This is easier said than done when you are being tossed about by the waves!

Some kids (and grown-ups for that matter) having been pummeled by a wave once decided it was not worth the risk and do not engage in the joy of riding the waves. They didn’t learn the survival tips for managing the undertow and so they settle for just playing in the shallow breakers. They are missing out on the exhilaration of swimming in the ocean.  It is an incredible feeling to be carried by the rise and fall of the ocean swells and something thrilling about playing in the vastness of the sea.

Life is often like this. A series of waves, some invigorating and awe-inspiring and others downright frightening and disorienting. But it shouldn’t stop us from engaging. If we want to experience all the joy and wonder that this life has to offer we need to pack up our coping skills and dive in deep.

crashing waves, panic, depression, coping, fear
This is not me – but what a great picture!
photo credit
Young girl in the waves, Jones Beach, New York. July 1951, by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
http://www.entertaininghouse.com

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Instead of playing in the shallow breakers I am ready to dive in.  This is an unedited, first attempt excerpt from a short book I am writing. Stay tuned!

If you are in the swirl of an undertow please know that this too shall pass.  Hold your breath (or since you are not really in the ocean – take some deep breaths) ~ don’t panic.  Before you know it you will be in smooth waters once again. 

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. ~ Psalm 107:29

My journey to BRAVE.

photo
A journal given to me by my sweet friend who is one brave chick!

In July of 2012 a friend and I took our girls to see the newest Disney movie. We sat chatting through the previews and then without much notice the movie started.  The movie had already been playing for a few minutes when the one-word title exploded onto the screen and as it did something inside of me leapt.  I know that sounds strange. It seemed strange to me also but I knew immediately that there was something significant about the word…BRAVE.

Part of my role at For the Girls International is to cast vision and lay out themes our conferences and events.  When we went to see the movie we were smack dab in the middle of the planning for our 2012 conference but in that instant I knew the theme for 2013 just had to be – BE BRAVE!

What I didn’t know was that a few months from then I would experience a life event that would begin an unraveling that I could not stop no matter how hard I tried.  I have been through episodes of depression in my life before but despite every effort to pull it together on my own in October of 2012, I came undone.

I didn’t realize back in July that God was about to require me to embark on a brave journey.  That in order to inspire others to be brave with their lives I would first have to be brave with mine.

I have always believed that our stories are not for us to keep to ourselves but to share. We are all connected on this journey of life.  I know very well that it takes time to work up the courage to share parts that may make us feel vulnerable and exposed.  But it is there, in that place of transparency and vulnerability that real connection occurs. It is there that hearts heal together.

There is a time and a place for everything and I believe it is time for me to share more of my story. And my hope is that it can help someone else heal.  So here’s to being brave together!

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Inscription inside my journal

A little heart to heart

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul. Psalm 23: 1-3

Can we have a little heart to heart?

It has been a crazy six weeks for me.  Within that time I lost my mom and then headed straight into FTGI’s biggest event of the year, our Awaken Conference.  Both events had their own brand of stress.  Losing my mom was an emotional roller coaster. I was happy for her, sad for me and lots of other emotions in between. The conference (which was amazing by the way) was an emotional and spiritual high – a good kind of stress, the kind I love and crave, but stress nonetheless.

And now…

I am in need of rest. In need of renewed strength…body, soul and spirit.

So I’m waving the white flag and retreating for a little bit. I just wanted to let you know where I went. I’ll be taking a short break from blogging and other things in order to recharge. You understand, right?

We all get weary.  We all lose strength at times. Thankfully we have promises to hold onto and therefore we have HOPE.  You may be weary too, for your own reasons.  Take heart and know that renewed strength is promised but sometimes you need to slow down long enough to grasp it.  Allow Him to lead you by the quiet waters and restore your soul.  That is where I will be.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40: 28-30

I’ll be back soon…

Lots of Love,

Tracey