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D.I.V.A. Blog

Dr. Bre's Blog focuses on topics related to destiny living, pursuing purpose, living in peace, finding one's path to success, and living an authentic life -  personally and professionally.

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Maintain the Joy of the Season!

Posted on 12 December, 2020 at 1:25 Comments comments (3747)


In the first volume in the series on maximizing the joy of Christmas during the pandemic, we reviewed how to appreciate this beautiful time of the year when some find it difficult to genuinely enjoy this wonderful Season. In this volume, I want to talk about how to maintain that spirit of joy and why it is so important that you do so.

 

During this pandemic, fear and worry have become a normal part of everyday dialogue. These two detriments to real joy are the body’s human reaction to situations which you can’t control that negatively impacts your life, your family, or your well-being. Some say these two responses are unavoidable and just a fact of life. I don’t take that position or accept that as truth for those who say you serve an almighty God.

 

His Word tells us clearly, “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Joshua 1:9 says, “have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Translation…He’s got your back! So, allowing fear and worry to become your constant companions and long time friends is not something you have to endure. These negative companions not only undermine your capacity to truly embrace the joy of life and the amazing spirit of this Season, dwelling in these emotions long term will have negative impact on your body and health.

 

When you are in a place of fear and worry, automatically your beathing rate increases, your heart rate escalates, peripheral blood vessels (which includes blood vessels outside of your heart) constrict, and your muscles tense. These responses can result in aches and pains causing headaches, back pain, as well as pain and weakness in the extremities, especially your legs. It speeds up the aging process, often leaves individuals prone to depression, and leave the body feeling tired and stressed. Long term, these negative responses weakens the body’s immune system, increasing the body’s risk to infections and viruses, including the virus that causes COVID19. Needless to say, dwelling in a place of fear and worry about this crazy pandemic, may very well increase your risk of the very thing you are worrying about. Believe it or not, this is only a partial list of the impact of these negative emotions.

 

It is imperative during this Season that you position you and your family to embrace and maintain a spirit of joy, not fear and worry. So how do you find and maintain joy in all you do this Season and beyond? Here are a few ideas:

 

1. Start with an attitude of gratitude - Count it all joy knowing the trials of your faith will magnify your patience. In other words, know that life’s trials are not meant to beat you down, but grow and strengthen you. Start and end each day with at least three (3) reasons to be grateful. And don’t say you have nothing to be grateful for. If you are reading this, reason one is that you woke up this morning with a functional mind. This gratitude check will improve your mood, your mindset, your physical health, and usher in a positive feel to your entire day. Consciously think about and be grateful for the things in your normal day that have not changed during this pandemic. Those things, no matter how small, are also thing you should be grateful for.


2. Spend time with the God who made you – Take time each morning as you think about the things you have to be grateful for to remember who you should thank for those things. Take time to listen to music that ushers in His presence. Read a scripture that brings you assurance that you are already victorious over all adversity. Pray…and take time to listen for His response. Be still, be quiet, and feel His loving presence that is So very comforting.


3. Take pleasure in the small things – I’m a quarter Blackfoot Indian, so I study al little bit about my Indian heritage. There is an Indian saying that there are 2 keys to enjoying life…1) Don’t sweat the small stuff; 2) Everything is small stuff. When you think about how big your God is, that needs to be your greatest truism in life. Remind yourself that no issue or problem is bigger than the God you serve! When worry or fear try to sneak in, do small things that make you happy and bring your joy, especially during this season of sheltering in place.  That simple action will get your mind off of the problem, and focused on the joy of life.


4. Maximize your online interactions – As I said in last week’s blog, get over your hesitation and fear of the Internet. During this time of the pandemic and sheltering in place, use social media to connect and stay connected to family and friends. Online can be better than face-to-face when you think about the number of connections you can make. Schedule times to talk, to celebrate, to come together, and to do fun things. Be creative; step outside of your comfort zone.


5. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t - Keep the ‘glass half full’ versus ‘glass half empty’ mentality. Realize that for any negative thought you have, there is always a positive. You just have to care enough to find it; and meditate on it. This will quickly become a mindset that you won’t want to let go of. It will help create a constant feeling of joy and gratitude.


6. Get outside of yourself - Become other-focused rather than you-focused. How can you help others during this Season, and where can you serve? Although you can’t interact now the way you could last year, there are still organizations that need volunteers. Call them and find out what you can do to give of yourself. It gives you such an amazing feeling of appreciation for who God made you to be. It could be something as simple as sending hand-written cards to nursing homes, first responders, or healthcare workers. Again...think outside the box!


7. Usher the spirit of Christmas in your atmosphere - Make your home as festive as possible. Decorate…go overboard:). Try new baking recipes; let the smell of Christmas saturate your home; then share the goodies with family, neighbors, and friends. Blast Christmas music, make some homemade decorations for your tree, make a wreath. What better time of year to let your imagination soar with new ideas and possibilities. Fight fear and worry with joy, hope, and activities.


8. Embrace peace and remember whose you are – Let the joy of why you celebrate and who you celebrate saturate your spirit.  Embrace the first part of the Serenity Prayer as your lifeline to peace.  Let it resonate in your mind and spirit when worry or fear attack:


God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.


I hope this helps propel your spirit of joy despite the negativity. Focus on the good, and watch God magnify more good in your life.

 

Next week, we’ll get into creating and maintaining your traditions during the pandemic. If you have any ideas you would like to share with my readers, please do so. Connect with me at [email protected] Until then…be phenomenally blessed!

 

A Pandemic Christmas!

Posted on 6 December, 2020 at 22:40 Comments comments (10958)

Although it may sound like a cliché’; it is none the less true. Christmas is truly the most amazing time of the year. A time of joy, rejuvenation, celebration, and preparation for what’s to come. The pandemic has truly made this the most difficult season that many have ever experienced. The U.S. and the world at large have been hit with some massive, unexpected ordeals. The pandemic has hit the economy with lives lost and jobs obliterated. Racial unrest has shaken the core of our nation. And recently, the political chaos has most of us holding our shaking heads in our hands. Yes, the issues have left some with residue of sadness, confusion, and some fear. But these are the very reason, it is time for some real Christmas cheer.

 

Unfortunately, many have allowed the commercialism of the season to become more of a focus than the true spirit of the season. For a lot of people, if there is no money to buy lots of gifts or the possibilities of large scale face to face gatherings is limited, they are questioning if there will be a Christmas. Well, let me fist address that faulty thought process…and, yes, I said faulty. Let’s start with the gift giving. Although the season is about giving, we must put that concept in the right perspective. It is not just about wrapping a pretty store purchased gift, and getting it under someone’s tree. That is truly short-sighted. Those with that mindset have forgotten that the season is not about gift giving alone. It is so much more.

 

It’s about the spirit of giving, which may be a gift, but may also be your time, your talents, your love, your encouragement, or your assistance. It’s about family bonding and doing things together as a family that you don’t otherwise have a chance to do. I once asked my youngest son, who was a teenager at the time, to summarize what Christmas means to him. His exact words, “It’s a special time of year for family to enjoy each other, spend time together, be happy, and escape any bad things that happened the rest of the year. Too many people get too bogged down in the gift giving.” That, to me, sums up what Christmas should mean, especially this year, when we need a real moment to exhale and embrace joy.

 

So how do you have that family time and embrace joy in this season of the pandemic and social distancing? The answer is one of my favorite concepts in life…strategic planning:). I already see the frown on your face as you ask…what the heck is she talking about? It means you have to take time to plan out how you can think outside the box of what you might be used to; and figure out how you can enjoy each other and still be safe. That answer may be different based on your family dynamic. So, let me give you a couple of ideas to get the ball rolling on how you can begin to create the spirit of Christmas for family fun this season.

 

1. First…change your focus. Remember the true meaning for this season. It is not about the commercial side of gift giving. It’s about the ultimate gift…God showing His overwhelming love for us in sending us Jesus Christ. When we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating love in its truest form. We are celebrating hope and the possibilities in the gift we are given each day when we wake up with new opportunities. What the opportunities are is what you decide to make it. Start with a mindset of unlimited possibilities, and be willing to step outside what’s always been.


2. For those who have a phobia related to technology and all of the potential of your cell phones…get over it. I have a ministry to help individuals live empowered. Pre-pandemic, for the women’s leg of the ministry, we had monthly face-2-face women’s breakfasts that were so engaging and so much fun. When the pandemic hit, I realized quickly that suspending the fellowships was not an option. So, I had to pivot and figure out how to do something different. We shifted to having Zoom meeting and began to have them biweekly instead of monthly. It has been absolutely phenomenal! So, step one…have a virtual family meeting now and give everyone an opportunity to give their 2 cents concerning how to make this season’s celebration one you will never forget. You can use Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, or any other platform that works. Get a couple of the teen involved and have them research what might be best for the number of family members you will ultimately be planning for. They will love it!


3. Incorporate a virtual Christmas ‘Love You Fest’ as a possible activity for Christmas day. That’s simply a Zoom, Skype, or other platform family meeting to talk to each other, open one gift while in the meeting so joy can be shared with gift exchange.


4. If money is tight, consider some type of limitation on gift costs or gift giving. Now we know children want something under the tree. So, limit the gift purchase for the children only. Grown folk can get over it. If you all decide to give gifts to adult family members, you can put a limit on gift cost; or you can agree to hand made gifts. This should be one of the topics in your virtual family planning meeting.


5. Use all your potential resources for children gift buying. If children gift buying is difficult, tap into all your resources. Not only organizations that might be able to assist in getting gifts for the little ones; but this might also be a good time to lay down pride and see if a family member who is in a good place financially, might be able and open to helping you put a smile on your child’s face. Now don’t go to anyone who is ungracious, unkind, or manipulative. You don‘t want anyone holding anything over your head or making you feel belittled. Pray for them, and keep it moving. If you seek God’s guidance on who to approach, you may find someone with a giving heart, who will feel blessed to be able to help you.


6. If you decide to have a limited family gathering in the home, be strategic in who is invited into the home and how interactions will be managed. Be sure that anyone who is invited is COVID19 free.

 

Christmas is a time for family and saturating each other with love. That does not mean that you all have to be physically in the same space. Over the next week, I’ll be sharing some other ideas related to celebrating this most wonderful time of the year and enjoying Christmas traditions, despite the pandemic.

 

If you have any ideas you have to help my readers maximize the season, I’d love to share them. Send your questions, comments and suggestions! Connect with me at [email protected]

 

May this season be your best yet!

 


The Right Focus in Chaos!

Posted on 30 November, 2020 at 23:05 Comments comments (1937)

Greetings People of Destiny!


I’ve taken a long break from my blog posts. However, there is so much going on in this season that has so many people with such greatness seemingly distracted and off focus, I realize it’s time to get back to what I do best…give encouragement and inspiration. So, I want to plant some seeds of inspiration to help you step into your greatness and get focused on what God has for you to do in the midst of what may seem like total chaos.


In this season of the overflow of negative impact events, it’s so easy to focus on the wrong things, and get stuck in a mindset of pessimism. Being focused on things that you can’t do anything about invariably leads to frustration, irritation, aggravation, and anger. Such negative emotional responses make it almost impossible to be logical, react with reason, or be mentally wise in decision making. It leads to actions and behaviors that will in no way result in anything good or positive in your life. Wrong focus leads to wrong outcomes. 


With the over-saturation of negative news clips, radio broadcasts, and internet articles, it is so easy to get distracted by those things over which you have absolutely no control. Now, if you have a skillset or knowledge-base that can be used to assist in any areas related to the pandemic, racial unrest, or our current political chaos…by all means focus on those things. But if you have no capacity to make a positive impact, DO NOT focus on that which you can do nothing about. It will only zap precious energy that you need to focus elsewhere. 


You need to put your time, energy, and focus on things you can do something about. What is that something? That is what you need to spend time focusing on, so you can truly see something positive happen in your life. Ask yourself what can you do to make a positive impact…in your community, with a special group, in this world? Where can you focus your energy to make any area of someone’s life better? If you can focus in these areas, you will not only improve someone else’s life better…you will also make your life better. That one of the many promises in God’s Word to you. 


So, here are a couple of strategies to consider:


1. Control the negativity. Be cautious what you allow in your ear, what you watch, who you allow in your personal space. When something negative happens, remember who you say you serve. If you serve God Almighty, He is bigger than your biggest problem. If you fall victim to negative thinking, you are already defeated; and it will only go downhill…fast!


2. As you strategize your next steps, be compassionate, but stand in faith. Pray for anyone negatively impacted by any of the issues we face in this season. Be there for anyone that you know, and do what you can to help. Do what you can, then leave the rest to the great God we serve. Ask Him to do what He does best…BE GOD.


3. If you have been negatively impacted by job loss or economic disruption, what can you do to refocus or think outside the box. As you revamp your resume’ for the job search, is there anything you can do to bring in a second income, start a new business, join forces with someone else to partner on a venture. Again, think outside the box.


4. If you need help, ask for it. With the sheltering in place, almost everyone you know is only a keystroke away. Getting help, starting a business, connecting outside of yourself has never been easier. Most individuals are open to helping any way they can. But no one can help you, if no one knows you need help. 


Without a doubt, 2020 has been off the chain. However, I can say without any hesitation that in the midst of the chaos of this year, I have experienced and witnessed God showing up in a phenomenal way in the lives of those who seek Him with firm faith. Do not let this season leave you bitter…let it make you better. Decide what your better will look like; then move and act to make it happen. What your 'new normal' will look like, is totally your call!


Would love to hear from you.  Drop me a line:)

 


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