Currently browsing category

mentoring moms

Five Essentials Steps for Real Life Change (Guest Post)

If you follow me on Facebook, hopefully you were able to join in Winter: A Journey of Stillness.  Together, we took ten days to start the new year by quieting our hearts and listening for what God had to say to us about our new year.  You may have felt a prompt to make some life changes, and if so, my friend Elisa’s thoughts for us today will be right on point.

Five Essentials Steps for Real Life Change (Guest Post by Elisa Pulliam)

 Do you know what the secret is to experiencing real life change?

Oh, yes, there’s a secret. It’s not a magic pill. Nor is it something that you should hire someone to accomplish for you, although that would be ideal. It’s not even something that you can demand of God, although submitting to Him will make the process a whole lot easier.

The secret to real life change begins with the “ah-ha.”

What’s an “ah-ha”?

As I learned through my life coaching training, and have come to see time and time again in my own life along with working with clients, the secret to real life change happens when we we reach the magical “ah-ha” moment. It’s in that moment when we discover the heart of the issue and our part in it, with a desire to own the next steps. That’s because most of what we perceive as a dead-end, stuck-in-a-rut reality is not as hopeless at we think it is. We can change our approach. We can embrace a new mindset.

 

While we may not be able to “heal thyself”, we can certainly choose an attitude that lines up with a eternal perspective as we move through treatment.

We might not be able to change others’ behavior, which is causing havoc on our personal life, but we can choose a response that reflects the heart of Christ and the truth of Scripture.

We might not be able to erase the past, however we can move towards seeking God to heal our wounds and give us a new way of thinking that is in line with His Word.

 

See, the real life change we crave is often a matter of embracing a biblical mindset over focusing on our circumstances — that’s because most of our circumstances are out of our control.

 

essential-steps-for-real-life-change

 

While there are limits in what we can do to change the circumstances of our lives, there’s nothing stopping us from inviting God to change our character and countenance as He accomplishes His purposes in us and through us.

 

It’s a process of real life change that starts with harnessing the “ah-ha” moment momentum and then moving forward practically and purposefully in what I call the 5 Essential Steps for Real Life Change:

 

  1. Identify What Was and What Is: Clearly articulate the circumstances, mindset, and habits that need to be changed, even pinpointing how it all came to be, along with the “ah-ha” moment that invites real life change. Write it down as a reminder in the future.
  2. Count the Cost: Prayerfully consider what the cost is to not move forward in real life change. Consider what will happen if you stay “as is” compared to take the sometimes uncomfortable and scary steps forward.

  3. Own the Obstacles: Consider the obstacles that made change impossible in the past and may make it challenging in moving forward. Own your sin and be honest about temptations, as you make choices about what to do differently.
  4. Prepare to Persevere: Brainstorm ways to seek help and accountability for moving forward. Set a goal date or a “check-in” date to have a finish line, or lap marker, to press on towards.

  5. Take Action with Accountability: Share your desires to change with someone who is willing and able to support you in prayer and through asking honest, grace-filled questions. A life coach can serve you this way, most definitely, but so should a friend or a spouse.

 

 

God’s sustaining, transforming power is available to you, my friend. He’s just waiting for you to say “yes” to His sanctifying, abundant life-giving invitation.

Would you like practical and biblical encouragement in the process of real life change? Consider Meet the New You and the companion online course, Infuse: A Soul-Strengthening, Life-Changing Encounter with God.

 

elisa_pulliam_life_coach

Elisa Pulliam is a life coach, coach trainer, author of Meet the New You, speaker, and life-long mentor passionate about seeing women experience authentic life transformation for the sake of impacting the next generation. Her mission as owner of the Kaleo Agency, a life coaching and leadership development company, and as founder of moretobe.com, a ministry passionate about training and equipping women to mentor, is fueled by God’s redeeming work in her life and twenty-plus years in youth and women’s ministry. She counts it a privilege to connect with other women online and in real life, and strives toward savoring each moment with her husband of 20 years, Stephen, and with their four tween and teenage children.

 

Legacy Leaving | Intentional Grandparenting

Their hands rest side-by-side as they chat over my mama’s life story.  Gently, she fingers each charm of the bracelet she’s had for decades, and she tells of each memory represented by a small charm, determined to pass these  along and leave a legacy, this portion through the trusted heart of her only granddaughter.  My girl listens intently, jotting notes in her scrolled but neat handwriting, precisely documenting so she won’t forget.  This act of legacy leaving is intentional grandparenting, and more, it’s intentional relationship that is a gift to each one of us.

connecting-generations-spiritual-legacy

 

As I watch from the adjoining room, I’m ever-so-grateful for the gift that is memory, the intentional way in which my mom uses pockets of time to instill in her grandkids the story of the past, so they can carry it to the future.  I’m thinking of the moments we’ve made together, the spoiling I’ve had in friendships with older women than me.  It’s bittersweet to realize there are moments lost, but it renews my commitment to foster friendships with those in my season and those well before me, to share what I’m learning with those who are yet to walk the paths I have walked.  I want to connect with those who are like me and those who are different, because I know I have something to give, and something to gain, in doing it.

 

Sometimes, it’s hard work to connect with those who are in a different season of life from ours.  But it’s oh-so-important, because each one of us has something to teach, and something to learn.

 

leaving-a-spiritual-legacy

 

On the issue of grand-parenting, I’m thankful that our kids have family who is intentional about building genuine relationship.  From cross-country visits, to annual hunting trips, to trips back to the growing-up-home of their grandpa, they’ve been blessed to build memories.  Those memories teach my children what is forever-important, and I know they will impact their own parenting, their friendships, and their marriages.

 

My second son has moved to another state to work and to explore what God has in this season and the one to come.  He’s independent: fiercely independent.  But as he stretches his wings, he’s also reaching back, keeping ties strong as he knows how.  Recently, he texted me and asked about my family.  In talking with a new friend, he realized he didn’t know as much as he’d like to know about my aunts-and-uncles-and-cousins-and-sibling.  It was so cool to have a few moments to share those with him, to do my own legacy leaving, and I know there will be more stories to come.  I hope even more, that he will build strong ties with his own siblings, and create beautiful stories to pass down to those who’ll come after them all.

 

Legacy leaving is sometimes uncomfortable, but as we stretch to give to others a piece of ourselves, we grow, too.

 

legacy leaving

 

I had to twist arms (almost literally!), but recently, my mom and my daughter sat down with me and shared live on Facebook about intentional connection with others in different seasons of life (click to view).  For my mom, doing anything “live” and on camera, is an act of sacrificial love… and in this case, one of intentional grandparenting.  I’d love to know your thoughts, and how you’re learning and growing with others in different seasons.  Share your own thoughts below?  And be blessed!

 

dancing signature divider web

 

 

 

What Are We Selling? | Christians in Direct Sales

I’m afraid I may ruffle some feathers here.  If I do, that’s ok with me.  I hope it will start a conversation, and we can agree, or disagree, but either way, we’ll all be challenged.  I’ve been wrestling with thoughts on this issue for a while, and to be honest, I’m still wrestling.  But I can’t not talk about it any longer, because I think it’s an issue that really needs to be discussed: the issue of Christians in direct sales.

 

christians-and-direct-sales

 

It’s a fine line.  We want to be women of purpose, and we want to accomplish.  We want to help provide for our families, and we want to impact our world.  If you’re a Christian, you may also be challenging yourself with the description of the Proverbs 31 woman, who ran her business and her household with equal success and drive.  There’s so much pressure on women to do it all and be “it” all.  And there’s beauty excitement in being able to bring income into our homes, and in doing and sharing something we love while we’re at it.

 

But I’m seeing a disturbing trend, and it concerns me.  It’s a confusing trend of selling ourselves to make a profit.

 

By that, I mean that often, mamas I know discover the “magic” of direct sales, through multi-level companies.  Sometimes these opportunities are a blessing because they allow flexibility and the opportunity to work from home.  But what seems to happen is that building those businesses on the fast-growing-pace often advertised, relies largely on “selling” the seller.  That means, in some cases, lots of before-and-after pics of thinning bodies.  It means zealous promotion of the product, the program, the lifestyle.  Soon, they’re adding me as a friend and offering me discounted product to review.  They’re posting scripture and they’re posting links to group info calls.  I’m never sure whether I’m reading a devotional thought, or a promo for a new shake deal.  And that’s where, for me, the confusion comes in.

First of all, is the product and/or lifestyle we sell really what God promised, or desires for His followers?  Of course, He may choose to lavish us with worldly riches.  But more often than not, biblical examples and real-world stories show us that He may just as well allow us to suffer physical poverty, struggle, or brokenness, for our good and for His glory.  So if we use His name to promise, with the purchase of our product, that buyers will get worldly wealth, we aren’t being truthful.

 

One of the biggest concerns I have in this is the area of selling self-help programs and products, and using our bodies to do it.  Photo after photo pops up in my stream of sexy abs and plump cleavage, of bikini bottom before-and-afters, and the complements and “likes” build to a frenzy as we imagine the perfection we think we can achieve. But aren’t we just using a way-scaled-back form of selling our bodies when we have to show parts of us we wouldn’t want our sons staring at to show off the power of a smoothie?  And is it possible there’s a way we can advocate for health and wellness without baring our bikini lines for the internet to appreciate?  Even further, are we advocating a double standard when we teach our daughters modesty, but then bare our bodies (or someone else’s) on our Facebook page?

 

Now let me make this clear, I know modesty is a very fine line and it varies greatly based on culture, and I (as a wife and a mother of four sons) am very passionate about men taking responsibility for their own eyes and minds.  So I’m not trying to heap on my sisters the sole responsibility for guarding men from what they see.  But, deep breath here… for anyone of us who’s starting from the assumption that our first priority is to honor our Creator by doing what He asks of us, we actually do have a responsibility to be concerned for them and to show it in how we dress.  Hear me clearly, sister.  What they do isn’t my responsibility, and I’m not saying it’s yours.  But whether I choose to help them, well, that is.  I just can’t escape it.  So it is important that I think about whether what I’m wearing (and posting) is for their good.  Will it help them think honoring thoughts about me and other women?  Or will it make it harder for them to honor their wives (or future wives, or others’ wives)?  Is what I share, in my sales and marketing, pointing to God, or is it pointing to a god?

 

Sometimes, when I look at the stream of a fellow entrepreneur, I wonder, is she promoting her God, or is she promoting (her), a god?

 

I ask this question with a humble heart, because it’s a question I ask myself often, and I’m ever-fearful of an answer that would hurt my Papa’s heart.  I have this blog and another, Sal et Lux, where I share home decor ideas, recipes, and DIY tips, with the hope to encourage gospel living through hospitality.  I often do public appearances in the food industry, and I LOVE being on camera.  I’m a professional photographer, and for ten years, I ran a business that grew to support my family (with the hard work of my husband when he joined and helped it take off).  I studied hard to learn the skills to be an artist, but also to be a good businesswoman.  I learned about creating a “tribe,” and making myself my own “mascot,” so that my clients would trust the brand, because they know and trust the woman behind the brand, and I ADORE the stuff!  I learned how important it is for people to see the best “me,” because then they believe I have something good to offer.

 

Currently, I’m in the process of writing my first book.  I’m writing it because I believe I have something to offer that others need.  I believe what I write will glorify God.  And I want to sell that book, because I believe I can add to our family’s provision.  To that end, I’m promoting myself in many areas, and I step back over and over and ask the hard question of what I’m promoting for.

 

For me, every step I take needs to lead back to the heart of my Savior.  I want to use the gifts He’s given me, and I do hope to contribute financially to my family.  But more important than any of that, I want to give Him glory.  I pray hard (and sometimes, with a lump in my throat, I’ve received the answer in the form of personal challenge from a friend who dared to say good-hard things) that I will be willingly accountable to make this my first goal, and the only one that really matters.

 

My life exists for one purpose: to glorify God and lead others to Him.

 

I want to run with joy in the experiences I’m given, but I always, always, want the path to Him to be clear and primary.  There’s a little restless feeling that grows, though, when the lines become blurred between my identity and my image.  I am in danger of being trapped behind that image, and I’m tempted to tweak that image, when I don’t think it will “win” those I want to “influence.”

If you are pursuing a business and promoting, I want to challenge you, especially if you are a Christian, to consider the message you’re sending, and the product you’re selling.

 

 

Is your product something that will truly benefit others, also pointing them directly to Him, or is there a muddle of confusion about what exactly is up for purchase?  If your customer buys what you’re selling, will it draw them closer to the call God has for them, or will it primarily add to your bottom line?

If you’re walking this path with intention and thought towards these questions, I want to hear your thoughts on how you keep “first things first.”  How do you make sure there’s no confusion in your message, and that all roads lead directly to the glory of God?

Disclaimer: This article is a daring one, and it’s written to sisters who want to be challenged to live more deeply, more bravely.  For me, bravely has meant, in part, learning to be willing to let go of some of my “rights,” for the sake of love.  It’s going to rub some people the wrong way and that’s ok… I want to open the door for purposeful conversation.  I know some who read don’t begin with the same assumptions I do that God authored our lives and that His word is our guidebook, so if you’re there, it’s ok, too.  If you’re here though, and if you’re reading, comment below and let me know your thoughts.  It’s through thoughtful debate that we stretch and grow, and it’s the whole reason I write.

I’m asking myself these questions, too, so I’m still thinking on this one with you…

 

dancing signature divider web