Monday, April 13, 2015

Your Story Heals

I believe that God gave each of us a story to be a testimony in order to help someone else. We have not been allowed to go through sufferering without a purpose. It is for our own personal growth as well as the growth of others.  I was a firm believer that if I live a good life that would be enough to be an example to others but I began to learn the healing power of sharing my story, firsthand. 

I admit this was not something that came easy to me as I never desired others to empathize with my pain but I began to notice it helped me heal through some of the most difficult experiences, when I shared my story. Initially, while suffering, I began to share with those close to me and their lack of understanding caused me more pain than the current suffering. Amazingly, while teaching Scrapbooking, I began sharing small pieces of my story in my own brand of Rae Of SonShine. It is my method of sharing a painful story and authentically demonstrating with joy, peace, and delight the goodness of Christ in the midst of my pain. This came about gradually as I taught others how to create "All About Me" albums that told their story.  I learned that no one could tell my story better than me so I stepped from behind the camera and began to focus on me. Doing so, even when I wasn't happy with my body (another story, another day) I found the beauty in me. Teaching this method of Scrapbooking and journaling your story was the first step to helping others heal through their story. I too was healing in the process. 

After many years of teaching and sharing, it was revealed to me that not everyone is going to understand your journey but there are many that do understand it. Those that understood were the ones that God had strategically placed in my life for me to share and even grow from. Becoming an author came from sharing the story. I remember my friend who saw a book in me before I did, yet  continually encouraged me to tell the story. Prayerfully, I worried who wanted to hear my story. God's response "tell it anyway." I admit I have not published the full story yet but my book As I Encourage You, I Encourage Myself! shares more than I ever imagined sharing. 

As a public speaker, I transparently share my story as I have learned that there is someone out there that my story gives them hope. We never know who's listening or needs to hear our story. I read on PsychologyToday, "Every time you tell your story and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins." 

There's healing in your story for you, as well as others. 

No matter what business you pursue, find a way to incorporate your beautiful story. God gave it to you for a purpose. Testimonies are meant to be spoken!

I encourage you to find and tell your story! Propel Your Problems to Potential!

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Joy in Pressing!

As a chronic pain sufferer, when I am asked "how are you today?" my response is joyfully "I'm pressing!" There is not a day I am not in pain some days are greater than others but I have learned to press on in spite of pain, in spite of problems, in spite of panic.  I have learned that peace, purpose and potential is on the other side giving me something to press on for with joy. 

I am reminded of Paul in the Book of Philippians who was experiencing a great deal of panic, problems and pains at the hands of others but specifically in the name of Christ. He desired to encourage the saints at Philippi on how to live a life pleasing to God despite the things we go through. He opens chapter 3 with "rejoice in the Lord!" His focus is joy in the Lord will help us make it through.  Our joy will not come from material wealth, as this will pass away. Our joy will not come from idolizing others as man will let you down. It will not come from the many titles you carry because the greatest title is "chosen." He continues by providing examples of how to find that joy. I rejoice when he says, "
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14 NASB) He identifies that there's joy in pressing.

So, how do you experience joy in pressing?
  1. There is joy in maturing – I often hear people say "I am not perfect." This is true as no matter how good we are we won't be perfect until, as Christians, we see Jesus face-to-face. In the bible, the word perfect means "mature, complete, bring to an end, finish, accomplish." I love the word mature as each day we are maturing getting more and more like Christ and we should find joy in this maturity by striving to living a life pleasing to God. No, you're not perfect yet, but you are maturing and growing to perfection, daily!
  2. There is joy is forgetting  – We all have a past but our past does not define us! Our past is only a tool to be used to teach us not hold us back. Paul tells us:  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13 NASB). He is speaking of perfection. He confesses he's not there yet but he forgets those things behind him to reach the things in front of him. My pastor says, "we can't move forward while looking backwards." Have you tried walking full steam ahead while your head is turned backwards? It's virtually impossible.  We have to learn to let go of our past.  Forget what you couldn't do last year! Forget what people said about you! Forget about the mistakes you have made! The joy in forgetting is it allows you to see the dream and vision fully. 
  3. There is joy in pressing  - Yes, we may experience pain! Yes, there may be problems along the way! Yes, it may not feel comfortable and we panic but imagine for a moment what you are missing out on.  There is an ultimate goal that each of us must keep in perspective.  Mine is ultimately please God.  I cannot do this if I succumb to pain or the things going on around me. The joy in pressing is that pleasing God brings us joy. (Art of Reciprocity). Yesterday in pain, I spent the day working my business side by side with my daughter. Watching her shine as she shared her business with others was worth the pain of getting out of bed and making the two hour drive. I share this because sometimes we never know what we are missing until we get up and keep pressing. Don't miss the mark of the higher calling! Keep pressing! There's joy in them there hills!
Remember the joy of the Lord is our Strength! Even when we are tired He provides us the joy to keep pressing! 

I encourage you to keep pressing in all you do knowing that there's joy! Propel Your Problems to Potential!

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Persevering In PAIN!

Today, I write from a different prospective. Instead of providing insight from past pain, I write in the midst of pain, prayerfully, helping someone that maybe going through emotional or physical pain. For the last four days, I have had a headache that has gotten progressively worse each day. As I write, I am at my worse but find this process of writing healing as I focus on helping and not pain.

I do not deny that pain has been a major culprit my entire life but I refuse to allow it to steal my joy, my purpose, and my dreams.  There was a time in my life where I would become so deeply depressed because of the chronic pain. I know it hurt my marriage and ruined many family days when my daughter was growing up. I have learned to cope with the pain and live a productive life in spite of it. I now write journal entries for to help other sufferers that believe there is no hope or that doctors are not listening. I believe it's important for sufferers to know that they are not alone.

 I have been suffering since I was a little girl. This was during the time when it was believed that the pain was in our head, literally. This was during the time when it was considered a "female problem." Statistic show more men have headaches than women yet more women choose to seek medical attention. 

I have chosen to share my story because there are too many sufferers that are misunderstood. Including myself. We are survivors! All pain sufferers no matter what type of pain you're enduring. Even as I type this through blinded pain my prayer is for silent pain awareness. 

Do not feel sorry for me! I thank God for the journey! He has chosen me for this journey for a purpose and that is to be a testimony of His goodness in the midst of my pain.  

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Power of Reciprocity!

In recent years, I have been intrigued by the Art of Reciprocity. First, I had to learn how to say the word which intrigued me because it was a tongue twister. I thank God for online dictionaries where you can hear a word because this word is not one that could phonetically be sounded out. Ok, I digress. 

The Rule of Reciprocity, rec·i·proc·i·ty,  can be defined as "a conditioned response where people are compelled to return the kindness of a gift, even if they really don't want to."  Anytime I see the word compelled, I get even more intrigued as I am reminded of Jesus being compelled to travel to Samaria where He encounters the woman at the well. "He had to pass through Samaria" (John 4:4) identifies that He had a strong need to go there to bless this woman. When we are compelled to return the kindness of a gift, it is a strong desire inside of us that we either want to do something in return, say thank you or tell someone else about it.

When we think of the Art of Reciprocity, it takes this compulsion even further because not only are we desiring to return the favor but others in return are compelled by our actions. This seems so simple that if more of us incorporated this into our every day lives the world would be a better place. We would have better relationships with family, friends, strangers, and business acquaintances. We would have better marriages, friendships, and partnerships. If we built our business on this foundation, we would not have customers but relationships between our clients that are long lasting and mutually beneficial.

Wouldn't it be amazing to have someone you did business with come back forever instead of purchasing from you just once? Imagine, you are a coach and you delivered a one time service but did not engage in reciprocity. The next time the individual needed a coach they hired someone else. It probably is not because you did not provide good service but you failed to build the relationship as a give-take-give. This can be applied to any type of business as well as in life.

So, how do you exercise the Art of Reciprocity?
  1. Be Willing to Give – Giving is sometimes hard but it is so rewarding. We are often afraid of giving because we will not receive in return or be appreciated.  Jesus tells us "It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Interestingly, the word blessed in Greek is happy! Wow, it makes you happy to give. Begin by challenging yourself over the next 10 days to give without the thought of receiving in return and let me know if you feel happier. Your problems will not go away but you will have a renewed sense of peace. As business owners, try giving in your business instead of selling. Social media training advises that you should provide 90% give and 10% sell. This applies here. Give of yourself 90% before you ask for the sell. You will be surprised that you will not have to ask for the sell. It will come back tenfold. Not only are you happy but you are blessed, materially and spiritually. Give a little, you might like it!
  2. Be Open to Give with No Return  – As I help younger people, I often hear "I'm not doing anything for them they never do anything for me." Ouch! First off, recognize that it is important to do for others without looking for anything in return. Watch what comes back to you from places you least expect it. This is called Indirect Reciprocity. Person A does for Person B and Person C does for Person A. This is more common than A to B then B to A. When we realize that individuals that we help may not be in the position to help in return does not mean that they do not have a circle of influence who can give. Never doubt that you will be blessed in return for your giving. Person B may share what you have done and business may come your way. More importantly, it requires that we give without thought of getting in return. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying give away all your talents. I am saying be open to give to get, you will get more than you imagined!
  3. Be Prepared to Receive - One of the hardest things for me is receiving, but I'm learning. When I wrote my book,  As I Encourage You, I Encourage Myself,  I really got a grasp of what it meant to give to others even if its encouragement. When I began to encourage others in the midst of my personal struggles, I was greatly blessed and encouraged in return. I recognized that my struggles were not that bad. Also, my words to others actually strengthen me. I received immensely more. Once you begin giving of yourself, the Power of Reciprocity takes effect and you will begin receiving. Your business will grow. Your marriages will be strengthen. Your relationships will be intimate. Your life will change. Receive ON!!!!!
Give a little, you may be surprised that it doesn't cost you much but the blessing is amazing!

I encourage you to enjoy the Art of Reciprocity! Let me know how it goes for you!  Propel Your Problems to Potential!

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