Life: A Balancing Act?

Sometimes it seems that life balance means simply juggling plates and successfully keeping them all up in the air. Consider what balance means in other processes. In accounting, things must add up. In physics, what goes up, must come down. In life, we can’t live like a gazelle being chased by a cheetah all the time — we’d be a code red, high adrenaline, super stress, possible heart attack or stroke waiting for a place to happen.

Balance is more about a calm and stable mindset that allows us to make decisions based on personal values helping us learn to be intentional in the moment. Life balance may best be defined as the calmness and security of being able to manage the things we treasure, i.e. feelings, thoughts, talents, attitudes, behavior, personal well-being, etc. so in effect, we are able to assertively confront issues in life without an ongoing feeling of being overwhelmed.

A consistent balance allows our lives to continually improve, not necessarily with more money or more stuff, but by simply having an awareness that every day holds challenges and successes, and that truly what we look for is what we will find, be it good or bad.

As for me, I choose to live with the mantra, that indeed, Life is Good and, I’ve got the tee shirt to prove it! 

What does your t-shirt for the way you do / have done life read?

Sheri 

A Tribute to My Father

This weekend we celebrate a wonderful day to honor our dads. I love Father’s Day and that may sound strange from someone who grew up without a dad.

My dad, who was career military was overseas quite a bit of my young life. He came home in May of 1970 for what was to be a long season stateside.

Five short months later, just 2 weeks after my 9th birthday, Daddy lost his life in an auto-train accident. It wasn’t so strange at first because I was accustomed to him being away most of the time.

But as I grew up and witnessed other kids interacting with their dads, I began to sense the true weight of the loss of my dad. It would take some 30 years before I would come to realize that I hadn’t grown up without a Father.

I had merely overlooked the fact that although I grew up knowing and loving God, I had not fully realized that He was the Father who had observed every tear that I had cried, any time disappointments left me with a broken heart and dashed dreams. He had been there all the time to remind me that I was loved and supported. He had given me hope and courage when my strength would fail.

So although I don’t have lots of memories of an earthly father, I loved my daddy deeply and know that I will see him again…. the Father who loves me more than life … the one who dries my tears, watches me dance when no one else is watching, and understands when life doesn’t work out to be fair, is my Father God.

So Happy Father’s Day, to my Eternal Father, God, and King! And thank You, Lord, for a lifetime of love and hope that I will be able to share with You for all eternity! I could not ask for more….

If you are missing a special “Dad” this weekend, remember, God is with you!

Sheri 

How Can I Avoid Relational Conflict?

Avoiding conflict seems like it would be the best thing to do to keep peace in our relationships. However, in my experience as well as coaching / mentoring others, I have found that ignoring tensions or avoiding conflict in relatinships, often becomes more painful than facing them. And facing conflict, with a goal to resolving it in a healthy way, can be considerably more pleasurable than avoiding it.

The biggest difference between a person who enjoys success and peace in relationships, and those who do not, is typically determined by how committed he / she is to managing conflict and resolution.

Negative options for dealing with conflict may include: avoiding it, giving in, becoming passive-aggressive or bullying the other person.

A positive, more beneficial way of resolving conflict may be to collaborate and problem-solve together, while committing to learn and grow by honoring the other person.

Sometimes the best way to avoid issues escalating, is to face them early on. Resolving conflict in your life is the pathway to intimacy, growth and peace in all of your relationships!

It never hurts to add a little humor….

Sheri

How can we handle people we are close to who have very different opinions?

Being easily offended or defensive when someone has a different opinion that does not support our views is a negative response that hinders emotional maturity.

Allowing respectful diverse view points into our thinking helps us grow and gain insight from different perspectives. Limiting ourselves to ideas only from people who agree with us can inhibit or destroy significant relationships.

Assuming that we are being rejected if others do not perform as we desire or show support in our endeavors results in unhealthy thought processes.

If we work to communicate with one another with kindness, patience, and understanding, we can cultivate ways to operate in love and empathy, opening opportunities for growth and strong relationships that impact us personally, spiritually and professionally.

Might it be possible that God intended diversity to mature and teach us how to love in a way that transforms us as well as others?

I believe it is worth pondering… 

Sheri 

How Can I Live a Life of Passion?

How Would You Describe the Speed in which YOU Do Life?  Life balance isn’t about having it all or how many plates you can juggle, but more about relinquishing what doesn’t work for you so that you can be rightly aligned and fully intentional with what does.

Resisting the Hindrance of Resistance…Growth requires becoming an expert at navigating inevitable life change by learning to accept what you cannot change and eliminating excuses for not changing the things you can. Reflecting on where you and how you are impacted by things outside of your control is an excellent exercise for some super new habits!

You Are What’s Eating You… How much sleep are you losing, or how many ways are you indulging yourself over unresolved issues, relationships or projects? The more baggage we carry, the sooner we show signs of aging. So travel light to find the fountain of youth.

Live Free… Give of your resources generously. The level of your ability to freely give is directly proportionate to how ‘free’ you truly are. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. Avoid the temptation to clutter your life or schedule with unnecessary weight. To the one who has much, much will be required.

Live Out Your Passion… Find ways to do what you love and share it with others. Express love as often as you are able. Do all that you do as if God were your employer.

Be intentional… All work and no play dulls our senses to the beauty all around us in the people love and the things we enjoy. Learn to adjust your speed of life to take time to smell the roses, experience the beauty of a sunset or the warm hug of a dear friend. The day may come, that you will be very glad that you made the effort!

Sheri

In Simplifying My Life, How Can I Learn Contentment?

Contentment is the fundamental pursuit in each area of life. We want to get the house painted or our certification completed or the kids grown or something that we are convinced will enable us to finally be content. However, it is really a condition of our inner person. Sort of an at-peace-with-me feeling. It is also a foundation to enjoying life and being intentional in the moment. Can it be done? If so, how?

1 – Practice delaying gratification. When you consider making a purchase, use patience and consider postponing the ones that are simply for convenience. If you end up purchasing the item later, it will be well thought out. If not, you’ll be happier to have saved the time and money.

2 – Evaluate the important areas of your life: spirituality, mate, family, work, friends, finances, health, personal development, rest / recreation, etc., and determine what defines your values in each of these categories. Such as, “for R & R, I need to be out in the fresh air and sunshine and I need unstructured blocks of time…”. This will enable you to establish a thought pattern around the way you make decisions in the important issues of life. The process for making better choices is made simpler because your values are defined and explain why you do things the way you do them.

3 – Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend 10+ minutes each day reading something that inspires you. Journal what you glean from what you read, personal encounters, a movie you watch or just what comes to mind while you are in the shower. You will be amazed at how you can gain such positive perspective from your quiet times. Invest in others by offering an encouraging word in the way of a note, text or call to them when they are working on a particular endeavor or are facing a personal trial.

4 – Unplug from the technology of life and plug in to the simpler paths. Change gears for half an hour each day by taking a walk or a bubble bath. Find a neat little hobby such as painting or woodworking that you can enjoy and de-stress from the working hours in your day. Write a blog — oh, I resemble that! — on something that you have learned in an effort to enlighten others.

5 – Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can offer guidance in learning how to do things in a different, possibly more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things or teach a class around what you have learned with others who will benefit from your time. Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share.

6 – Reach out and get to know a neighbor at home or work. Don’t worry, if you’re the new-bee you can still take the initiative. Every friend we have was once a stranger. Be observant in watching for common interests. Maybe you both have kids the same age or at work it may be someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you.

7 – Practice learning to be a great listener. By doing so, you will learn the true art of emotional intelligence and the high quality of “likeability”. When you work to listen to others at deeper levels, you communicate to them that you place high value on them and the time they spend with you. You will also learn how to take the focus off of your own personal challenges and you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of encouragement.

By putting these steps into routine practice for 30 days, you will be able to determine if your life can be defined as being more content. And, in turn, you can inspire others to do the same!

Sheri

Encourage Enlightenment 

Each of us has a powerful message in our hearts. God ignites a candle in all of us. Once we come to the understanding of ‘why’ we are here, our pursuit becomes to find the ‘what’ that we are to be doing.

We often have big dreams of doing great things! We imagine the view from the top and it is the finished project and in our ‘vision’ it is fabulous. Then we roll up our sleeves to begin the grunge work. Not as delightful as our envisioned view from the top!

How do we gain and retain the motivation to stay the course? To build the house, write the book, start the business, make the long term commitment?

I believe we do this by encouraging the process of enlightenment in our lives. We begin the process of establishing the small, often simple, daily habits that lead to success in our endeavors. This will be a different recipe for each of us based on our unique desires and personality. It’s the variety of life that opens us up to be enlightened.

These habits are established by drawing a firm line in the sand and determining our willingness to do whatever it takes to experience the growth we each need on a personal level. This is the grunge work! 

To be successful in implementing our daily plans (the series of simple daily habits), we must first breakthrough our resistance to the things that will be diabolically opposed to our success. These will be different for everyone because each one of us is a unique individual.

These little “oppositions” may come in the form of negative attitudes, self-berating words, limiting beliefs, fear and doubt, laziness, believing the things about ourselves that come from an internal or external critical evaluator, and a possible myriad of other factors.

Finding the support and encouragement we need requires pro-activity. This involves putting one foot in front of the other and diffusing every thought, word or behavior that begs to do otherwise.

Another much needed addition to our lives to be our best (read: ‘our best’ NOT ‘the best’ – usually a fear or characteristic that impedes growth and success), is accountability. Allowing ourselves to build strong and trustworthy relationships helps us set in motion the relational capital with significant relationships, whereby, we give permission to someone to raise the questions that help us to stay on track.

This whole picture equates to living the authentic life God has designed for each of us. Authenticity requires vulnerability and transparency. No more hiding and deceiving ourselves about the what, when, way and how our best life can happen!

As we live in authentic relationship with others, and they see our willingness to truly be ‘who’ we are, we give them permission to be who they are as well.

This is what I like to call ‘Encouraging Enlightenment’. 

If we give and receive acceptance and freedom to be the person we truly are (requires relinquishing what isn’t working), we give others the gift of strength to step into a growth plan that affords them the same opportunity.

Acceptance and freedom from pretense and judgment are key players in learning to live our best life. We create that for ourselves but not by ourselves, by choosing to lay down our resistance and step into the growth process.

And why, you ask. Because our relationships, work, business, and our world, will only grow as much as we do! 

What is it that may be hindering you from your best life? Find your encouragement and be open to enlightenment. 

You will never be the same! And you can thank yourself later 😊

Sheri 

Radical Obedience

I am a member of a church I love! It feels so much like family that I believe it provides a glimpse of what heaven will be like when we are all gathered in His Presence.

I delight in being a part of a fellowship that keeps me awakened to having a heart of mercy and compassion. My challenge comes when I consider how at times I have allowed myself to be lulled into thinking that what happens for God for good only happens inside the church building at a worship service.

Looking back at where I have been I am acutely aware that great things happen at church and this is where we are equipped and raised up to go into our little corners of the world and influence others to become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ.

Out of the brokenness in the journey of my life, I have a stronger sense of what I believe to be the call of Christ on us as His church. I like to think of it as radical obedience.

I believe this to be a call to love (reach out and get to know and connect with) our neighbors, in ways that would seem radical in our culture. This is a challenge to throw off the status quo and really make a difference in the world by seeking to be different. We are all busy and inundated with so many responsibilities that we are doing life but not necessarily enjoying it.

Some time back, I rode through a neighborhood of older homes which housed families of fixed or limited incomes. Many were gathered on front porches, children were playing in the yards and on sidewalks together and though the means appeared to be limited, the genuine care and nurturing of one another was anything but lacking. It made me smile to remember many such times gathered together with folks on my grandmother’s front porch.

This image in my mind has convinced me that this is the picture of the true church. It is connecting where we live, work and play and not just where we go and all sit in the same building on Sunday. This is how a true family is built where time is spent building genuine, loving relationships. This is where we gain vision, encouragement, and support. And much needed guidance.

In these relationships the love of Christ is evident as we seek to develop a fellowship first with God and then taking what we hear in our quiet places and sharing that message with the world.

I have tasted the mystery of this simple beauty of sacred fellowship that comes when two or more are gathered together and He is in the midst of it and it has added a richness to my life that I never again want to live without. It is a depth that goes beyond the tradition of the church to a relationship with an untamed God, who is radical in His great love for us! It is an invitation to live trembling with joy in the presence of a holy God with a radical obedience, having the experience of a radical grace that compels me to want to know and serve this amazing God all of the days of my life.

I have reflected on these ideas as a result of having a season of R E S T as I prepared for and said goodbye to my mother, as she recently passed from this life into the arms of Jesus. God wastes nothing and I’ve needed each season that He has allowed in my life, even the ones that are difficult.

So my challenge to you is, what is it that God may be calling YOU to be radical about? And what are you preparing as your answer to Him?

Radical things happen in our own lives when we say “Yes, God”!

Sheri 

7 Steps to Overcoming the Hurdle of Saying “No”

Learning to say no hasn’t been easy for me. My desire for a life balance that works for me has motivated me to learn to say yes or no out of the freedom to choose and not the fear of the reactions of others.

My biggest hurdles in learning to say “No” are:

~ A desire to help. I am for the most part, a kindhearted person. I don’t want to turn someone away even if it means allowing my time to be eaten up. (This can build resentment).

~ Afraid of being rude. I was reared to believe that saying “No”, especially to the significant people in my life, could be considered rude.

~ Wanting to be agreeable. I don’t want to alienate myself from others because I’m not in agreement, thus I’m tempted to conform to status quo.

~ Fear of conflict. I sometimes fear the reactions of another if I reject their requests. I’d rather avoid confrontation.

~ Fear of limiting my opportunities. I feel concerned that saying no may limit me from being considered for something in the future.

~ Fear of burning bridges. Some people take “no” as a sign of rejection. I don’t want to sever relationships. I’ve learned that if someone won’t respect my “no”, they do not deserve my “yes”.

Learning how to say “no” can make all the difference in how it’s received. It is about respecting and valuing our time and space.

7 Simple Ways To Say “No”

1. “I am unable commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”

This lets the person know my plate is full and this is something I am doing “for” myself (managing my stress/life balance) and not “to” them.

2. “I’m in the middle of something at the moment. Can we discuss it at a better time?”

This method is helpful to hold off the request and also, to allow me the time to consider if and when I can commit to it. It is important that I consider the feelings of others, but that doesn’t mean I should allow them to dictate my choices.

3. “I’d love to do this, but …”

This allows the person to know I like the idea but it just isn’t feasible for me at the moment.

4. “Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.”

This is the method I use when I really am interested but need to evaluate my schedule to see if it is truly doable. It is always easier to turn a “no” into a “yes” than to turn a “yes” into “no”.

5. “This doesn’t meet my needs now but I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.”

This is a considerate way to not lead someone on when I’m truly not interested at the moment. Here again, if there is even a slight level of interest I can easily turn “no” to “yes” if it becomes workable.

6. “I’m not the best person to help on this. Have you considered speaking to John/Jane?”

If I’m not qualified to help in the particular request, I try to point the other person to someone who may be able to assist them or continue to route them to the right person.

7. “No, I can’t.”

It’s easy to assume the worst case scenario when I need to say no. Sometimes straight to the point is the simplest and best method. Things usually work out for the best, at least for those who are willing to make the best of the way things work out.

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom

 

Growing up the little child within …

Within every one of us is a little child who has leftover childhood needs. Many times our parents did not listen to us. Our boundaries [personal limits] have been violated and often result in anger, resentment, procrastination, promiscuity, various physical ailments, introversion, perversion, and even self-destruction.

We lose our ability to communicate during childhood by often being told the “appropriate” thing to do, (what to think as opposed to how to think) therefore, not allowing us to express our true feelings and emotions. As we become adults, the rush of unchecked adult passions, frustrations, and anger can run rampant within us. We may feel ready to explode, yet unable to even cry. We’re hurting too bad to laugh. We may experience rage due to the inability to turn thoughts into words. It is crucial that we develop safe relationships so that we are able to vent emotions and frustrations through appropriate channels.

From childhood, our feelings of not being loved and validated especially from our parents, can leave us tempted to use sex, food, drugs, alcohol, shopping or a host of other vices to temporarily self-medicate the pain we are too afraid to face. We hesitate to grieve the true losses. Grief and acceptance of what we cannot change are the stepping stones to healing and freedom from damaged emotions. It requires courage and a true support system to develop the skills needed to learn to grow from our experiences.

Distorted childhood perceptions and conclusions often bring consuming thoughts of inadequacy, and have the potential to produce a lifetime of insecurity. Fear and insecurity can prevent us from developing an intimate relationship with God. We try to impress Him with our performance, struggling to realize that it is not our “efforts” He is seeking. He is pursuing us with the love we’ve looked so far and wide to find, in order that we can be healed and whole. Our wholeness brings us to a place that we become the conduit whereby He is allowed to love others through us.

“All that I express, speak, and understand is relative to my childhood. You will never understand the man / woman I am on the outside until you have touched the child within me. If you never develop empathy for the little boy or girl in me who is holding a blanket and sucking his thumb in a doorway, watching everyone leave, then you will never understand my erratic behavior on the job, in bed, or with my own children.” (“Loose That Man and Let Him Go” by T.D. Jakes) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child… [1 Cor 13:11]

There are hidden things in us that we belittle other people for. We carefully conceal what lurks in the secret and dark chambers of our hearts — but they are there. Under difficult circumstances, those secret weaknesses can erupt with terrible results. We can be incredibly hypocritical, often strongly condemning others for the very things we are most guilty of. The greatest and most lethal weapon I am challenged with, is ME.

Who I am when no one is looking is who I really am! I am alone anytime I am surrounded by people who don’t know who I am. Anytime I am in a situation where I can’t fully be myself, I am alone. Anytime I have to put on a facade or camouflage who I really am, I am alone and isolated.

God has been calling us through the problems we experience. We may avoid it because we assume that open confrontation with God will be negative. His plan is for us to surrender to His will and purpose for our lives. Regardless of how rough or tough we act, a real friend will look us in the face and say, “I hear you, but you are STILL wrong.” A true friend loves you enough to stand up to you. God comes to stand up to you and to move you away from mediocrity.

True friendship and intimacy are achieved when we feel so comfortable around others that we can be who we really are. We need to stop hiding ourselves and from ourselves. If we don’t, we may lose our true selves and become the lie we’ve pretended to be. We will be more than pleased as we discover the true depth of relationships we can enjoy as we allow our true selves to emerge. The best part is the stress that is reduced when we just “get real”!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom