Has it Ever Seemed that Contentment is Like an Elusive Butterfly?

Has it just seemed that when you have contentment in your sights that it just zips away, never to actually be realized? 

It may seem like you are playing a game with contentment. Sort of like basketball. You think I'll go left and I go right. You go right and I'll lean left and the opportunity for you to get the ball seems like an illusion.

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. We may constantly hold a belief when we get to this place or that situation happens or this is complete, we will find contentment waiting like a supportive friend. 

The problem with that thinking is that is always future-focused. And that makes it elusive. Because the future will always be... the future, and not the present.

So, how do we find and enjoy contentment here and now, where we live?

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?
 
Practice delaying gratification. Yes, you can do it! 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. To the one whom much is given, much is required.

Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend some time each day reading something from the Bible, an inspirational author, or other areas of interest. Spend some time several times each week journaling about experiences you have or about things you've gleaned from what you read, personal encounters you've had, a movie you've watched or perhaps something that came to mind while you were 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 event or endeavor or are facing a personal trial. Research has shown that our happiness is much more about how we treat others, than even how we are treated by others. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

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 or gardening 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 and to reflect back on in the future. Create some new plans or adventures trying some things you may have never done. You may find a new and better lifestyle that fits who you are in the current season of life that you are in.

Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can be living instructional aids to learning how to do things in a different, possibly, more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things with those who can gain a lot by your experiences or teach a class that will be beneficial to others who may not have had all of your experiences . Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share. I especially enjoy spending time with young children and mature adults. The wealth of information and the creativity amuse and inspire me.

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, have dogs to walk, or at work, someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you. When we consider what the feeling of 'home' is like, it has as much to do with the community where we live as the actual home we live in. It's wonderful to have the neighbors and friends that check in with you if they notice things that are out of your normal routine of coming and going. Host a night of dinner and games or even a neighborhood clean-up. It will radically increase your feelings of connectedness and the contentment of knowing you can make a difference right where you are.

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 issues and personal challenges and be an encourager to others. This goes a long way in developing strong friendships. And, when you build relational capital by listening, you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of sharing your heart.

Practice these steps on a regular basis for 30 days and judge for yourself if you don’t have a life that can be defined as being more content. And the good news is that if you are around people who are discontent, you may be the one to influence them to a more positive stance.

The one you encourage today, may be YOU!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo 

Hey! I'm excited to invite you to a new and free online community for Christian Women. It's a safe place to connect, share, encourage and be encouraged and deepen your relationship with God and others. And, unlike social media platforms, there are not ads, data collecting or other distractions. I'm providing a link for you to join! I hope to see you https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Have You Missed Unique Opportunities Because they were Disguised as Challenges?

When we are faced with a crisis or struggle, it is tempting to despair. Despair often makes us feel immobilized.
But it’s in this struggle that the best opportunities emerge, if we are looking for them. 

A crisis is an opportunity to change, grow, learn, reflect, and become better. It’s where we discover who we are and how to find opportunities that were unimaginable before the crisis.

When I experienced divorce, I had to venture to find myself and learn to reinvent. It led me to an opportunity that allowed me to eventually have my own business.

When I failed at communication in my relationships, I learned to improve and grow better.

When I ended up closing the business I had purchased, it led me to start one in light of the current season in life where I can coach, mentor and provide insight in things I’ve learned.

When my children have experienced difficulties and I am powerless to change anything, it has helped me develop more patience, learn the power of raw emotions and what can happen when you alter your perspective.

When my husband and I have arguments it is an opportunity to learn more about each other and grow closer and become better at finding common ground. I’ve learned that conflict, once resolved, brings intimacy.

When my daughters grew up and left to meet their appointments in life, I learned to grieve the loss of a simpler life when they were with me and to be vigilant to watch them soar as I cheer them on from where I stand. I am so proud of all they do because I have a big piece of my heart invested.... their wins feel like my wins too! And their challenges often feel like bigger challenges than my own, because there is little I can do to make things better... like I could when they were little girls and experienced a bump or bruise or a careless word spoken in haste. I felt more assured and confident to help them recognize good things then, in spite of only struggles. It seemed much easier when a kiss or hug, ice cream or a lollipop could quickly help them to get up, dust themselves off and get right back into whatever they were doing.

There is more opportunity for reflection, growth and sustainable change during adversity than any other time.  We can focus on finding the “more” of life. It is the place where we can find renewed hope when all else seems bleak.  It is here that we often renew our faith in God who uses challenges to lead us to greater purpose in life.

We have the opportunity to find the good in the struggle, if we choose to look. I have learned that we will pretty much find whatever we expect to find.  If we look for the good, it is evident in places we may never have considered.  If we look for the bad things, they seem to multiply and be enlarged in every direction we seek.

Life is about perception. What do you perceive to be the good that can come from your present set of circumstances?  If you feel you’ve hit bottom, there is only one place to look ~ up!

Be careful not to step on the orchids while searching for the roses. Rare are the opportunities that come tagged with a guarantee for success.

Life as you know it may change. Who said it would be easy? But who’s to say it won’t be good, even better. Let go of all that isn’t working for you and step up to opportunity that may be the thing you would’ve never imagined. When we relinquish what isn't working and what we can't control, we open ourselves up for unlimited options. 

So when life as I knew it changed and I felt paralyzed, I purposed that each day I will get up, show up and do the best I can with what lies before me.  

I never knew how well life could work until I decided to do the next basic “right” thing and allow the opportunities each day to be treated as something of value as opposed to something I would dread.

The irony is that I have learned that when I work to overcome that which cripples me with fear, the unknown, I find things really do happen for a reason!

I have a friend who has recently suffered a number of serious challenges with the loss of two family members, a serious health crisis of another family member and just exhaustion and weariness from it all. Yet, her light shines brightly and it inspires me to keep on keeping on despite some challenges I've faced in the last few months. 

What a joy it can be to allow God to use what weighs us down to be something that helps another to soar. 

When it comes to adding joy in our relationships, often when we can share our burdens and are assured again of those who are there for us, it reorders our priorities and we can again celebrate the gifts we have in those we love that we may lose sight of on occasion. 

As we head into the upcoming holiday season of thankfulness, spend sometime reflecting and journaling about the real opportunities you have that may have felt like challenges at one time. Be sure to share your thankfulness with those who sprinkle the joy and their sparkle just when you need it most.

And then go out and leave your own kinds of sparkle.... your light, just like my friend's, may be just one someone else needs to find the next step they need to take. 

Blessings and peace!

Until next time.....

-Sheri xoxo

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider checking it our and signing up now (during the developmental stage) and receive huge discounts before 2024! 



Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Do You Ever Wonder if it's Even Possible to Reduce Your Anxiety?

Recently, I woke up with the thought that God tells us not to be anxious (Philippians 4:6). Our willingness to live out this guidance principle from His Word allows us to meet the challenges of life in a more purposeful, less-stressed frame of mind. 

Patience is a huge piece of emotional wholeness and comes from our living intentionally, or as I like to coin the phrase, “Life by Design, not Default”.

Later this same day, I decided it was time to untwist the cords on my plantation blinds on two windows upstairs. They had been left in a tied-up, tangled-up state due to the fact that they are not in my typical line of vision as I am mostly downstairs. Also, the fact is, they are in the middle of my husband, Jeff's office, and it's not a task I would want to have him watching over my shoulder... LOL!

At first, I was letting thoughts of irritation invade my peaceful mindset and not utilizing patience. I was focusing on not wanting to do this right now because it was too warm in the room and the fact that there were many other things I could be doing that would be of more value than standing there untwisting the blinds. 

As soon as I recognized that these negative thoughts were actually making the project more distasteful, I challenged my thoughts to reflect back on my early morning musings about patience and anxiety. I began to focus on how thankful I am to have a nice home and to have the opportunity to delight in making it a cozy and peaceful home.

I often get a front-row seat to moderate anxiety, with my beloved fur-baby, Max. He is a 5 year old golden retriever who really has a challenging time accepting change. He wants to be fed and walked at the scheduled time his internal clock dictates to him. If I move a chair or a lamp, he has to review what has happened and be given time to adjust. 

If my hubby, Jeff, who is Max’s best bud, is away, Max may pace a while, whine at the door or lounge with his big head and beautiful puppy eyes, resting on my lap. He likes sameness. He is incredibly anxious and pants fairly loudly when he isn’t having his routine to go down the way he expects.

I’m a lot like Max. I like to sit in my favorite place, which is near a window. wherever I am. I like to drink my coffee or tea from one particular mug. I like the bed made as soon as I get out of it. When I return home, I beat a path to place my purse in the same spot on the same shelf, time after time. I actually do not like to travel (yep, now you know my biggest quirk), because I like to sleep in my own bed! 

My reasoning for this behavior is that, more than anything, I absolutely detest having to search for anything or readjust to new surroundings.

I began to think of how God is teaching me to choose to be patient and work in a calm manner, rather than murmuring, and allowing my feelings of discontent to make me feel like I have a right to grumble. I thought how I have often been given a gentle nudge by Jesus, who loves me and wants the best for me. 

Left to my own devices, I would likely be the same person in 20 years that I am today.... never growing, never exiting my comfort zone. What a waste that would be, of a beautiful gift of life that I have been given!

In this and numerous other incidences, when I stop and listen to myself and overwrite my dislike for doing certain things or being in certain places, I can happily agree that the anxiety I feel around being dissatisfied can quickly turn to peace and a serene state of mind, when I choose to accept my situation and simply be patient.

My Grandmother would typically say about uncomfortable circumstances, “It came to pass, not to stay!” Yet my murmuring, complaining and finding fault certainly can make the staying part seem way too long!

Another thing Grandma often said was, "You will find whatever it is you are looking for in a given situation. If you look for the good, that's what you will find; if you look for the bad, that is all you will see!" This is certainly true in my life.

Anxiety is like being held at gunpoint while being robbed. It snarls around our present moments and blurs our focus. If that isn't enough, it robs our energy, our health and our hope for a brighter day. There is absolutely nothing good in being anxious. 

And the irony of the whole situation is that anxiety does not help anything. Worry, fear and doubt separate us from the peace God paid such a high price to provide for us. Nothing changes, improves or morphs into our ideal dream. We are left tired, angry, disillusioned and wrung out. 

It's like being in an unhealthy relationship with a narcissist. (This is someone who needs and seeks too much attention, wants to be admired, and does not have the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others). A totally toxic situation for those in relationship with them. But that's a story for another day and I digress. 

How do we take steps to overcome anxiety? 

As I see it, patience can help us to calmly assess situations in ways that can help us manage expectations in how we envision an outcome. Often, it's our expectations that things 'ought' to turn out in a certain way, that creates anxiety in the first place. We don't like the steps needed to get to a desired outcome, although, we have the ideal belief that the outcome will be like the grand finale at a Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

But it takes a whole lotta whole lotta to get there! We love to plan the party, yet the shopping, chopping, cooking, making lists, recruiting volunteers, answering RSVPs about directions, what to wear, what gift to bring yada yada yada, can be overwhelming at times.

Reflecting back on the beginning of my post, it was my underlying thoughts that spending the time in an uncomfortable, overly warm office to stand for half an hour untangling cords on plantation shutters would be a boring, waste of time and who would notice anyway. This was the actual culprit behind my anxiety and dissatisfaction. It wasn't the actual task itself. It was my underlying thought process.

There is a reason that Scripture teaches us in Philippians 2:14 to do all that we have to do without murmuring (grumbling) and complaining. It makes the job so much worse. And who wants to be an audience when someone whines about their tasks? Yep, go ahead and sign me up, right? NO! Thank you!

The opposite of grumbling would be gratitude. I have a lot to be thankful for in my home and the opportunity and good health to care for it well. It is a privilege that many do not have. 

I honestly believe there are three things that we can cultivate that will help us to reduce anxiety. They are to forgive when we've been wronged, be thankful for what we are given, and be content with the tasks that are ours to complete. After all, isn't this exactly how we would teach children to be?

If you haven't observed young children for a while, make a point to do so. They laugh a lot, throw a lot of energy (while smiling) into their tasks, and quickly forgive and move right on with their play time with other children.

What a beautiful example of what Jesus meant when He told us in Matthew 8:13 that, 'unless we become as little children we will not enter into heaven'.

And they delight themselves in their creative abilities and the tasks they have to do. They are often tireless in their efforts to build forts, create lego cities, cook in their play kitchens, and serve guests at their tea parties.

Yet, all of these 'play events' require work and focus to complete. But they enjoy it and I believe one thing makes the big difference. It is found in their attitudes. They have 'chosen' to do their task and do it with a great attitude. Most.Of.The.Time. Like us, they do have their off days. And we love them for being so real and authentic.

So, where can we point our focus today to help reduce our anxiety and experience more lasting joy? It’s actually closer than you may think! 

When we are intentional with our attitudes, our patience, managing our expectations and being quick to forgive wrongs done to us, we catch many more moments that take our breath away!

I pray today will be a day just like that for you!

Until next time.....

Sheri xo

Btw....If you would like to learn more about my online coaching program kicking off on this Fall, my website is fully operational now.... JoyFilledRelationships.com

To see how this program may benefit you, feel free to schedule a free consult with me at: https://calendly.com/sheri-geyer/consult 

And please share this info with other women that you believe would like more Joy in their life and relationships! xo

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Have You Ever Seen the Real You?

Several years ago, I had laser surgery on both eyes as a preventative measure against narrow angle closure glaucoma. During the weeks of my procedure and healing, I had to wear my glasses during my waking hours and not use my contact lenses. 

Not so bad, right? 

Well, not anymore. But, it wasn’t always that way … At age 11, my already coca-cola bottle thick glasses were upgraded to bifocals. Pretty tall order for a little girl who weighed about 70 pounds soaking wet. 

Not the accessory that I wanted to add to my daily wardrobe. It didn’t matter how pretty my frames were, no one could see them for looking at two eyes that appeared to be a “uni-eye”.

The fun really began when I wanted to start wearing makeup. Guess what makeup does — it enhances your eyes so they can look larger. I tried every way possible to get mine to look smaller. 

I prayed often for my eyes to be healed.  If that wasn’t enough, I had overactive sebaceous glands and large pores.  So add acne to my list of “how do you see me now” wonderment and you get the idea of what middle school and high school were like for me. 

I was blessed to have cool, name brand clothes. But, no matter how I wrapped it, the package that I presented caused people to stare and whisper. And, of course, that made it a challenge for people to be friends with me because it meant they would risk also being considered, 'not cool'.

There were many times that I came home in tears wishing I never had to go to school again. (I homeschooled my girls, probably, in part, to feelings that I carried from this point in my life).

Fast forward to age 17 – I discovered benzoyl peroxide, got my braces off and found a doctor that would fit me for contact lenses. 

With an overall improvement in my appearance, and starting college, I was moving up from stay-to-myself-shy to Sheri-the-social-butterfly. 

Suffice to say, my life in college was much different than high school, except for the grades. 

I had been a bookworm for way too long – at one point, in life, around age 13, I would read a Nancy Drew Mystery every single day. I was probably the only kid who checked out the maximum amount of books at the school library and actually read every one!

Over the course of life I married and gave birth to three amazing and beautiful daughters! 

During my pregnancy with my oldest daughter, Angel, I prayed every day that she would have perfect eyesight, straight teeth, clear skin and curly hair! Everything I didn’t have… and she’s pretty well batting a thousand, apart from a little astigmatism. I prayed for AnnaLynne and Rachel too, but probably not with such fervor about their personal appearances. (If you've seen my daughters, you would agree that God sure did make them pretty! LOL)

I learned that my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth were not necessarily better because I had evolved from my caterpillar stage to the butterfly phase. Regardless of the outward changes, inside I still felt empty, unlovely and unlovable. 

I equated outward appearance to feeling loved, accepted, cool, and all the things. What a disappointment to find this wasn’t the case at all.

At 22, after having grown up in church and spending some years being the prodigal, I got my business straight with God and began a deeper journey to intimacy with Him. (By far, the best decision I've ever made by-the-way!)

At 39, I began doing a Christian weight loss program that focused on drawing closer to God so He was my comfort and not food. 

During this journey, I learned that God had been with me through all of those years.  He was and is the Father I need to teach me how to do this life well. It is beyond belief the difference having this knowledge made in my life. 

You see, I lost my dad in a car accident at age 9, I missed out on the valuable male insight he could have provided about guys, dating, not compromising my values to feel loved, marriage, car repair, career paths etc. I lived that loss numerous times like when I would attend a wedding and I would watch the bride walk down the aisle on the arm of her father. 

I began to ask God for the abundant life His Word promises. This would take me on a journey that led me to value people but to no longer be driven by my desire for love and acceptance from them.  

I began to see myself as God sees me. I saw that I am beautiful and that every struggle I have faced has served to draw me closer to Him and to the understanding that He has seen me at my best and my worst and loves me unconditionally.

All the while, He was patiently teaching me to love myself. He sent little messengers along the way, like the little four year old girl who put her hands on my face and told me that I was pretty, that Jesus loves me, and when I get to heaven He would heal all the “holes” (acne scars) on my face.  

Once after we had both attended a leadership training, a friend that I served with at church told me that regardless of the acne scars that I have, the more he had gotten to know me, the more they seemed to disappear and they in no way “detracted” from my true beauty. I was proud of him for his courage.

So today, when I wear my glasses and someone comments about how thick they are, I can respond without feeling embarrassed. I smile when I touch my skin and find that as my daughter Rachel suggested, by eliminating foundation makeup and simply using a concealer as needed, my skin has actually improved. I would have never imagined I could look in at myself in the mirror without a heavy layer of foundation makeup on my skin and see beauty. 

Wow, God! He can certainly change our perspective and our hearts!

Sometimes, I still ask God to heal my skin and eyes. I know He can if He chooses too. I am now happy behind my peepers, when I choose to wear them, and in my own skin. It probably helps me to be more considerate in my actions so that my inner beauty can shine through.

So at the end of the day, and in the midst of the many times I’ve felt embarrassed, having learned to love and see myself through my Father’s eyes truly has made the most amazing difference. I have stepped out of my shy-I'd-rather-be-in-the-shadows season of life and gone on to pursue much bigger things than I would have ever imagined I could do or have the courage to even try.

If you struggle with feelings of low self-worth, I hope you will take these to the Lord. (I highly recommend a journal... it's the best low/no cost therapy I've ever found). God has a wonderful way of reminding us of what a treasure we are to Him. 

Allow Him to whisper His truth to you and ask Him to allow you to see you through His eyes.... You will never 'see' the same again! 

Until next time,

-Sheri x0
Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Do You Get Hung Up On What Others 'May' Be Thinking of You?

There are certain laws in place that don’t change such as gravity. There are others that are fairly predictable such as reaping & sowing, and regardless of how you drop a slice of bread, it always lands butter-side-down!

Another seemingly predictable law that is set in motion is judgment. We as humans are always judging. We judge ourselves harshly based on how we 'feel' on the inside and compare that image of ourself to the 'outside' of another who we view when they have their best-foot-forward. 

We measure others up one side and down the other. 

How nice it would be to become more like my dog who is completely non-judgmental and loves me unconditionally as a result. Remind you of anyone??

It is amazing how often we have done something or have opted not to do something based on what we “think” others would say or think about our choice. This prevents us from being free to live authentically. 

How can we best choose where we believe God may be leading if we first have to check in with the judgment panel?

Now, I’m not saying we don’t need accountability and support in our lives. These are extremely important. 

People who know us well enough to be a source of support and accountability for us do so based on a certain level of permission we have given them to speak into our lives. They have listened to our hearts and shared in our joys and sorrows. 

They are in place because they have earned what I like to call “relational” capital and we seek the investment they make in our lives. We are better because of the check and balance system these folks share with us.

The point I am making is that there are some who really do not have our best interest at heart. They are self-appointed judges to determine and verbalize to us what we need to be doing or not doing or perhaps, doing differently. 

A good indicator of relationships with these people is that we basically feel like we have to be defensive to protect our treasures, i.e. our thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams around them because they “feel” they have the right to have a “say” in the choices we make.

Whether or not we have given permission for certain people to speak into our lives, we are training them that this is acceptable behavior unless we are pro-active. 

It may be necessary to communicate that we are able to make our choices and ask for help when needed, or we may find ourselves paralyzed to move forward based on what we “think” they may “think” we should or should not do.

This limits our ability to live freely and often to achieve greater things in life. 

I believe those we have invited to speak truth into our lives sometimes may need to tell us what we need to hear. This can greatly benefit us because the view they see may be more accurate than the one we 'see' or 'think' we see. 

If those who are commited to our welfare will be refreshingly honest with us we can grow. 

However, if we have significant people in our lives routinely tell us what we want to hear, they really do more harm than good. 

If someone cares and respects us,  they will set their pre-judgments aside and truly listen with an intent to help us discern what would be best for us in the way of creating a life we desire. 

When we are making choices that align with our overall direction in life, they can cheerlead and urge us on. 

When we are considering a choice that is not in alignment, they have the courage and permission to remind us of our hopes and desires and question us on where we are in the journey.

The key difference is that someone who believes in us and respects our choices and our right to make them, will ASK questions as opposed to TELL us what they think. 

The “telling” part and the asking of “Why” often makes it seem we are backed in a corner. The result is that we may become defensive and make bad choices to “prove” that we can do whatever we want. Nobody wins in this cycle.

I believe God has ignited a candle of passion within each of us to pro-actively seek the purpose(s) He has for us. 

We will experience the greatest peace and contentment when we are actively pursuing the path that lets us live out the purposes that we are passionate about. 

It is also a journey of continual learning and growth. We are all designed for greatness in the things that matter most in our lives. 

We can best achieve this by aligning our will with God’s, having wise counsel and finding our gifting and passion by working and living within these areas. 

The best analogy I can have for going against our passion and trying to do life or work a job for some other reason, such as money, prestige etc. is that of certain hair types. (I was in the hair industry for many years!) 

Often people with curly hair spend countless hours and dollars trying to straighten and smooth down their hair. While folks with fine, straight hair are trying to color, perm and add volume to their hair, also at a great cost of time, money and frustration. 

I often recommended that they work “with” what they have and not "against" it.

In order to get over believing that what other people think about us is so important, it is wise to remember that their opinions of us are really none of our business. 

What difference do their opinions make? That all depends on whether we choose to allow it to make a difference or not. The freedom to choose is ours. The power to choose can be ours or we can pass that off if we listen too long to the voices of what others “think”.

I am reminded of a quote that I love from our pastor at our former church in the Atlanta area. He would say to be properly aligned with truth, we need to realize that we often struggle with: "I am who I THINK you THINK I am".

Since that's a tongue-twister at best, here are my thoughts..... If I am overly concerned (and over-thinking) what I believe you think of me, I begin to believe (and likely emulate) whatever it is I think you are thinking of me. 

However, IF I were to choose to let the "YOU" in that quote be God alone, my whole understanding can change.

I know certain truths about God... He loves me unconditionally. He says I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. He tells me He knew me before He formed me in my mother's womb. He gave His Son to take my place so I could choose Him and spend eternity in His presence. 

So, if I CHOOSE to take God at His Word, this can change everything about the way I 'see' me and I can joyfully align with "I am WHO I THINK God THINKS I am!" Wow, how refreshing is that?!?!?

What is the big fear of what others may judge us to be or not be? More than likely it is a fear of failure or a fear of rejection. 

But in reality, what’s the big deal if something doesn’t work the way we had hoped or the outcome doesn't look the way we envisioned? And what if, everyone doesn't love us like Jesus?

We can choose to simply try again, the next time we will have more experience. We never truly “fail” unless we quit trying to find a way to get to an outcome that we can be satisfied with.

And we can choose to accept that we are not going to connect on a deep level with some people. And that is okay. 

I believe if we have 3-5 really close friends that we connect with on a routine basis, we are among the richest people in the world.... rich in what truly matters!

The best way to face the fear of what others think and get through to living the life we choose is simply to visualize the worst case scenario and ask ourselves what would we do if this or that happens? 

We can play it out in our mind (or on paper) and often begin to see things that may not have been as clear when our idea was merely a dream.

My grandmother always said, “when people (the ones who judge) are talking about ‘you’ (or me) they are leaving someone else alone”. 

Meaning that the one thing that is certain is that as sure as people will always be talking, they will always be judging. This is something we have no power to change.

But we do have the power to choose. 

Do you want to live in the freedom you have to create a life you love, are passionate about and do not need to escape from? 

Or are you satisfied to let other people decide what you can or cannot accomplish?

The choice, either way, is up to you!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

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