Speaker

The shot I didn’t want!

Yesterday I received my first (of two) COVID shots. It was the Phizer one. The shot itself was no big deal. It didn’t hurt, sting or burn going in. No after affects as I waited 15 minutes in a chair 6 feet away from other lucky recipients. But this wasn’t MY plan.

That seems to be how life goes a lot of the time. Our plans don’t pan out. I remember thinking I wanted to see for several months how it went. My plan was to watch and wait. Feeling pretty healthy and at low risk for complications if I did get the vaccine, I wanted to let others go before me. My dad is 84 with a serious heart condition and at risk for a stroke. He’s waiting for his turn to get a life changing procedure. If anyone should be vaccinated in my mind, it was him. My brothers and I have been trying to bubble wrap him to keep him safe so he can get this done.

I remember saying back in April of 2020, I am going to get COVID. I was prepared and wasn’t afraid. And I waited. And waited. Yes I wore my mask, washed my hands and followed all CDC, ABC, and EFG guidelines. We sheltered the first few months and then slowly, when I felt safe and we had more information, ventured out into the world for some social distancing events. We had a daughter who graduated high school during the pandemic and moved to college across country during it.

Having suffered from depression and anxiety on and off in my life, I knew one thing about being an introvert, I can’t stay isolated too long. It’s dangerous for me. Mentally, physically and spiritually. So I prioritized my mental health and did what I needed to do, in the most safe way possible to take care of me. Selfish, yes. But at the cost of others, no. I did my best to follow the rules. (It’s a type A and enneagram 3 kind of thing. #rulefollowers)

I think if COVID has taught us nothing else, it’s that everyone’s needs (emotionally, physically and spiritually) are different. These needs should also be respected. I am not asking anyone else to follow the same path I am, nor do I judge others for the choices they make to take care of themselves. It’s part of what God gives us, free will. Now I don’t think anyone should be reckless with their free will but there are so many long term effects this pandemic is going to have on not just me, but my family and friends.

Being in the mental health field has its advantages during a time like these. I need to practice what I preach and also show compassion for those who are suffering. While some fields are shrinking, the need for mental healthcare is not. It’s hard to hear and see the stories of individuals and families struggling. The blessing of COVID is that seeking help is becoming less taboo and more of a proactive step in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Which brings me back to why I got the shot yesterday.

I don’t know what all is in the vaccine, if it’s going to work, if it’s safe or if I’m going to have some sort of longterm side effects from getting it. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. That is not who God made me to be. He gave those gifts and talents to other people. So I chose faith yesterday. Not in other people, but in God. I trust that in order to do the work He has called me to, I need to be around people. And right now, for me, that means a shot. What else I do know is, I am someone who needs to be with my family and friends for support, encouragement and strength. I am someone who is in an office that has people I do not know coming in and out a public door. Many are desperate for help and they need more than a virtual telehealth visit can give. I am running a business that encourages, leads and guides women in their day to day lives and I want to see them face to face this coming spring. Therefore, I will do what I need to so that others feel safe around me. The vaccine isn’t about me. It’s not about what I want right now or giving me comfort. It’s about the gift I might be able to give someone else because I’ve taken a step, that was offered to me for free, to get a vaccine that will prayerfully eradicate this horrible virus.

My choice doesn’t have to be your choice. But we do need to choose compassion and understanding as well as respect for those around us. Last year was hard, this year needs to be full of Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Living day to day,

Jennifer


I Get To…

As we approached the stoplight I could see we weren’t going to make it to turn left.  According to my husband Ryan, we missed it because the people in front were “poking along”.  I looked at him and remembered a phrase my dad used to always tell me as a little girl in the same situation. Out loud I said, “We get to be first!”.  Ryan looked over at me and said, “We do huh?”  Me: “Yes, we get to be first next time” (insert cheesy grin on my face).  Ryan: “We get to”(said a little puzzled but reflective).  This obviously wasn’t the mindset he had or quite frankly I usually have in these situations.  I tend to react just as Ryan did by feeling we missed out.  For whatever reason it never dawned on me until that moment the optimism and lens my dad viewed life.  Instead of seeing missing the light as a missed opportunity, he turned it into a game of sorts and opportunity to be the one who goes first next time.  The heart attitude is drastically different between the two responses.  One is sad while the other is happy.  

I often challenge my leaders and clients to view potential goals, challenges and sometimes mundane tasks as “I get to” opportunities. Think about this with me for a moment.  What would happen to your attitude and heart if you said, “I get to call a leader today to check on them” verses “I have to make a call so I can get that over with?”  I ‘get to‘ offers encouragement to someone who may be feeling overwhelmed. I get to leave an encouraging voicemail for someone who may have only heard discouraging words that day. I get to share some information with someone who may have too busy to pay attention to resources available. Even in the mundane day to day chores it can work. I get to do laundry so I can wear my favorite pants tomorrow. Can you see the differences in outlook?  The way we choose to view our circumstances will impact not only ourselves but those around us. 

With my dad, I always thought going first was the best position to be in. It was much more desired to be first in line verses the last one to make it through the light.  I’m not sure where I lost my enthusiasm for going first but this Christmas season, I want to find it.  I want to view life’s moments as “I get to” and opportunities to “go first”.  Will you join me?

This weeks challenge, take a look around and see who you can get to bless.

Living day to day-

Jennifer


Stepping out in faith

Most of my audience and work in ministry has been done inside a church or organization with very little external reach. I was totally okay with that. In one sense, it felt safe and I was a bit protected. I cheered others on to leave the walls of ministry and to go out into the world and make a difference. In fact, I LOVED when I could see someone with so much more potential than I had. Now I’m not trying to put myself down but I feel like at 45 years old, I know myself now. I know what God has and hasn’t called me to do. I’ve learned to say “no” when others wanted me to say “yes”. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not in order to advance or gain position. Ambitious, yes, but I PRAY it is never to the point of sacrificing others or out of pressure to perform.

I realize today a few things I don’t want to give up in this next season of life.

#1 – Writing. I may not be a novelist like my brother, but writing helps remind me of God’s goodness in the little day to day moments in life. Encouraging others is a blessing to me. I hope I can do that in a small way through sharing stories.

#2 – Teaching. I love the word of God and feel like there is so much to learn even after 45 years. I believe every women has influence and we can use that influence in our homes, community and world if we pursue the Lord and follow His will for our lives.

#3 – Speaking. Nothing replaces the intimacy of being together with people. To see someones face, interact and encourage women has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I will love on you with the word of God.

As I step out in faith, I have found myself in a position I have never been. I am not a self promotor or loud gong. I have never felt the need to do more than the work that was set before me. But I am available in this season to step into new places and walk by faith down a new road. I feel God nudging me to do what I love for His glory. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. More than anything, I can promise you I will take you through the deep and not just shallow waters. It’s the little moments in life I don’t want you to miss. Let’s do this together! You can find me on Facebook, Youtube and of course here.

Stepping by faith, day to day-

Jennifer