Do you have your head in the sand?

headinsand

Do you have your head in the sand when it comes to your health, finances, career, marriage, future, or even a family conflict?  Why is it so easy to hide instead of facing our fears?  We think if we hide and ignore the problem it will go away, but in the long run it only makes things worse.  That fear of one thing tends to spill over into other facets of our lives and sucks the joy right out of us.

Recently, I decided to run to the roar rather than away from it.  Warning, soul-baring ahead.

As part of my phenomenal SmartSuccess training with Chalene Johnson (and my hold me to the fire accountability group and friends) I was challenged to come up with a clarity statement based on my current priorities.  This brought to light what fears or challenges keep me from my priorities.  After a few days of soul-searching I realized (or admitted) that the way I viewed and managed my finances kept me from enjoying the rest of my life.    By avoiding my debt and finances it was easy to pretend it wasn’t there….except it ruled over EVERY part of my life.

I started looking around my environment; the half finished home repairs, the unorganized stacks of bills/bank statements/401K summaries/important documents, the relationships I pushed to the side because I didn’t feel that I was valuable enough to be a part of them, the fear of a ringing telephone, or the hoards of stuff because I was always worried I may not be able to afford new things so I kept EVERYTHING. I realized that I based my self-worth and identity on my finances.  If I was late with payments I would feel like a failure….in everything.  If I couldn’t afford a newer vehicle or the constant repairs to my current one I was somehow less of a person and not valuable to anyone.  My debt was running my life.  I became a servant to debt and it became my master!

It took a few days, but I wrote my clarity statement.  It is long and private, but basically it states that I will make decisions that honor my priority to get out of debt and release myself from that false master, build wealth so that I am comfortable and able to “relax” so I can continue to follow the calling God has placed in my heart, focus on the blessings that God has given me every single day, and to be PRESENT in the lives of family and friends.  It is a slow process, but I am learning to NOT equate my financial situation with my value to this world.

This morning I pulled my head out of the sand and faced my scary monster.  I requested a copy of my credit reports to check for errors and start a plan to get in control and properly manage my finances.  No one is going to plan my future for me!

So, what can you do to start on the road to financial peace?  First, get a copy of your credit report.  You can get a free copy from all three credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) once a year.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action  and fill a few quick forms to get started.  Be sure to print out your report before you go to the next agency because once you close it out you lose your free access to that particular report (for a year).  After you print them out compare and check for inconsistencies or incorrect information.  Some things can be disputed right there online. FYI-When going through mine I found one fraudulent address, one incorrect place of employment, and a mortgage application that I never did.

Next, sign up for a free credit counseling service or enroll in a class such as Financial Peace University at www.daveramsey.com.  Your church may even offer the Dave Ramsey course!  Make a plan and take ACTION!  Make a budget EVERY month to track incoming/outgoing and decide what non-necessities you can cut out so that you can pay down your debt.

Are you hiding your head in the sand from something else?  Face it!  If you feel you aren’t strong enough to face it alone grab a friend or family member to give you extra support or accountability.  God provided me with a fabulous support group with BIG flashlights to shine light on my fears so I can conquer them and live the abundant life that He wants me to live!

Trust the journey!

IMG_6773 If you would have asked me two years ago if I ever thought I would have run a 5K I would have doubled over with laughter (right after I took a bite of my fourth slice of pizza).  Fast forward two years later and not only have a completed five 5Ks, but I also train others to go from the couch to a 5K in 10-12 weeks.  In a year and a half I managed to lose 50 lbs and become a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. My mantra….slow and steady wins MY race.

How did I get here? It was NOT an overnight process.

A few years ago I took a Spiritual Gifts (S.H.A.P.E) class at my church.  I was a bit taken aback by the results.  Apparently, teaching, administrative, and encouragement were my top three gifts.  This class also takes into account our heart, passion, and experiences in order to determine where we can Serve our community with our gifts.  After the class I met with the instructor and told her 1) my house and office are a cluttered mess and I have no organizational skills, 2) I love to look at health/fitness/nutrition magazines and dance, but I weigh close to 200lbs and I don’t see where I can help people or how that plays into my spiritual gifts, and 3) I don’t teach so something must be wrong with my results.  Her response was, “Maybe you are just fighting your gifts and that is why you struggle”.  I thanked her and went home shaking my head and filed the class notebook away on the top of a bookshelf…..and forgot about it.

Over the next year I struggled!  I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy.  I gained MORE weight, struggled with finances, alienated myself from family, burned out at work, and just felt defeated.  On top of that, I was being called to help others with fitness/nutrition.  I asked God how in the world did He expect me to not look like an idiot trying to help others achieve their fitness and nutrition goals when I now weighed over 200lbs?  He helped me realize it was about Trusting The Journey!

So, at 235 lbs I joined an online accountability group (which I now call my family) and took off down the path.  I have wonderful family and friends that have supported me along the way and are my biggest cheerleaders!   I had to get over what I thought others may think because this is MY journey, no one else’s.  The journey was about learning how to make me a priority so that I can be stronger in Mind Body, and Spirit while helping others.   I still want to lose another 60 lbs and I will get there!  I am stronger than I was yesterday.  Recently, I went back to that notebook on the shelf and was stunned to see my notes.  I wrote a statement in the margin of my results sheet on my confusion over God placing in my heart a need to help others get healthier and more fit through exercise, nutrition, and a balanced life.  Huh!  That is exactly what I have been doing this last year!    Trust the journey.