Relationship with Self

 

In the hustle and bustle of life, many Christian women find themselves yearning for a deeper connection with themselves and with God. Are you one of these women? The journey of personal and spiritual growth and development can be both invigorating and challenging, especially when we feel stuck in the routines of daily life and when try to change because we just want more out of life.

My Client’s Story

I was sitting with one of my coaching clients. Let’s call her Tina. For weeks she had been doing so well, reporting how good she felt, telling me about her focus on self-care, eating better, exercising, meditating. She had been marveling at how connected she felt with herself. But that day she was distraught. I could see the tension on her face and in her body language as she judged and criticized herself for not doing enough. The “old Tina” was back.

Tina and I have been working together for some time, and I have witnessed her beautiful growth and transformation into a more self-caring, self-confident woman who is creating the life she really wants. As we began to unpack what had transpired over the past couple of weeks, she began to understand what happened that caused “old Tina” to re-emerge.

Tina has always been a list-maker with high aspirations about what she should be able to accomplish. I had seen her go through many cycles of setting goals, starting to take action, then getting derailed. Over the previous several months, Tina decided to shift her focus to self-care based on things she was learning in coaching, and it was truly paying off. She was recognizing and honoring her own needs in a new way, and her internal obstacles were falling by the wayside. It was a delight to witness.

When the new year rolled around, Tina decided it was time to set new goals and began in earnest with her detailed list making. In our previous session, she shared her goals and action steps and asked me to be her accountability partner. However, over the next couple of weeks she began neglecting her self-care needs in favor of what she thought she “should” be doing. Once again, she got derailed.

Once Tina realized the ways she had abandoned herself, she was able to regroup and get back on track. By the end of our session, she seemed more relaxed. Within the next couple of weeks, Tina was her “new self” again. Learning how to scale her goals back to a level where she could maintain self-compassion and self-care allowed her to start moving forward again.

Does this sound familiar? There always seems to be a tension between what we think we “should” be doing and what we can actually do because of the demands of life or because of our own expectations. WE are the common denominator, and the quality of our relationship with ourselves is the key to discerning the balance that will keep us moving in the right direction.

In this month’s blog post, I delve into the theme of “Relationship with Self,” addressing some unique pain points that Christian women may encounter in their quest for self-discovery and fulfillment. I encourage you to use this as a month-long exploration, as there is a separate focus for each week.

Week 1: Self-Reflection and Awareness

Understanding Your Core Values: This week’s journey begins on Monday with a foundation of understanding and aligning with our core values. As Christian women, our values are deeply rooted in our faith. Take a moment to reflect on what principles guide your life. Are they in harmony with the teachings of Christ?

I encourage you to engage in prayer and self-reflection to identify the values that define your character. We all have them, though we may have never consciously thought about values. If you’re getting stuck, try Googling “Christian Values” to find this topic addressed from a variety of helpful perspectives. What would you consider your top five core values?

In the chaos of daily life, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. This week, why not commit to incorporating your core values into your decision-making processes. I’d love for you to share your experiences and insights with us as we all navigate the path towards a more purposeful life guided by our faith.

Embracing Self-Awareness: On Wednesday, let’s look at self-awareness as a powerful tool for personal growth, allowing us to recognize areas that need improvement and to celebrate our strengths. This week, take time to explore the connection between self-awareness and your spiritual journey. Engage in prayer, meditation and mindfulness practices to enrich and deepen your self-awareness.

Share your self-awareness revelations with us, and let’s support each other in this transformative journey. Remember, self-awareness is never about perfection but about progress. Though it is not always easy, we can learn to embrace the growth that comes with self-discovery, acknowledging that God’s grace is with us every step of the way.

Breaking Through Limiting Beliefs: On Friday, let’s begin to think about our limiting beliefs. To become the women God created you to be, you must learn to recognize and confront the limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential.

As Christian women, we are called to renew our minds according to God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Sometimes we are the last ones to challenge our own limiting beliefs because they seem so real. This week, pick two prevalent limiting beliefs that hinder your personal and spiritual development and write affirmations or prayers rooted in biblical truths to refute them, or find scriptures that deeply touch you that challenge the limiting belief.

Then, whenever those beliefs surface (and we know they will!), ask yourself, “What if it’s not true?” as a way of simply ‘jamming the wheel,’ giving your mind an opportunity to consider something different. By asking the question, you aren’t looking for a yes or no about whether the belief is true or not. You’re simply asking your mind to consider a different thought.

Then, ask another question, “What if I replace it with a different thought?” Then repeat the new affirmation, scripture or prayer several times. Again, you are not forcing your mind to think something different. You are just offering another possibility. This is a simple but very powerful exercise if you are consistent and persistent. It is a good place to start challenging limiting beliefs in a gentle way.

Do you have personal stories of breaking through limiting beliefs? Please share them, as they will encourage all of us to stand firm in God’s promises. Through our willingness to challenge our beliefs and the power of faith and God’s grace, we can all begin recognizing our limiting beliefs. Only then can we continue in faith to take responsibility for dismantling them and replacing them with life-affirming beliefs. In next month’s blog about beliefs, I’ll be talking much more about how to start doing this.

Week 2: Self-Care and Nourishment

Holistic Self-Care Practices: As Christian women, caring for ourselves is not only a physical necessity but also a spiritual imperative. This Monday, consider holistic self-care practices that encompass mind, body, and spirit. From daily devotions to exercise routines, explore ways to nourish every aspect of your being. You are that important!

Share your favorite self-care rituals and how they deepen your connection with God. We can learn from one another. Together, let’s create a supportive environment where self-care is viewed as an essential part of our Christian journey.

Nourishing the Soul: Wednesday’s focus is on nourishing the soul. What kind of spiritual practices resonate with your faith . . . prayer, meditation, scripture study? Consider how these practices contribute to your spiritual growth and resilience in the face of life’s challenges.

Please share how you nourish your soul so that we can learn from each other’s experiences. By nurturing our souls, we strengthen our relationship with God and lay the foundation for a more profound relationship with ourselves.

Mindful Eating and Body Positivity: On Friday, think about the relationship between faith, self-image, and our physical bodies. It’s common for women to struggle with body image, but as Christian women, we are called to see ourselves through God’s eyes. Consider exploring mindful eating practices and think about how embracing body positivity aligns with your Christian values.

I encourage you to share your tips for cultivating a healthy self-image and overcoming societal pressures. This is a tough one for most women. We can all benefit from learning to be more self-accepting in this area of our lives, learning to celebrate the bodies God has given us, recognizing them as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Week 3: Overcoming Self-Doubt

Recognizing and Acknowledging Self-Doubt: This Monday, let’s consider the uncomfortable yet transformative process of recognizing and acknowledging self-doubt. The first step to change is fully acknowledging the thing we want God to help us overcome. Self-doubt is always worthy of being challenged. As Christian women, we are reminded in Scripture that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Take some time in prayer to bring your self-doubt before the Lord, asking Him to help you start seeing yourself through His eyes. We all struggle with self-doubt to one extent or another. The Adversary knows this human weakness and works very hard to convince us that our self-doubt is valid.

If you’re willing to be a little vulnerable, share one of your struggles with self-doubt and how God’s strength helped you feel more confident. Through these conversations, we can create a safe space where acknowledging self-doubt becomes a catalyst for growth rather than a hindrance. Your vulnerability may inspire others to embrace their imperfections and rely on God’s grace.

Building Confidence through Small Wins: Wednesday’s focus is on building confidence through small, intentional victories. As Christian women, our confidence is anchored in our identity as daughters of the King. What are a few small wins you can celebrate this week? I struggle with celebrating wins, but I notice that in doing so, even in small ways, my confidence is boosted. It is so easy to overlook all the small things we do that are so worthy of being acknowledged.

Will you share a success story and the ways in which God has worked through your accomplishments? By uplifting one another, we can build a community that fosters resilience and confidence in the face of life’s challenges.

Cultivating a Positive Self-Image: On Friday, we shift our attention to the power of self-talk and its impact on our self-perception. As Christians, our self-worth is meant to be grounded in God’s unconditional love, but we tend to forget that and speak harshly to ourselves. Are you aware of what you are telling yourself?

Consider “Catching Your Thoughts” for a few days by recording anything negative you tell yourself. It will be illuminating, I promise you! Then ask the Lord to help you come up with a counter thought to replace each self-limiting thought. Write those down next to the corresponding negative thoughts. Also, consider finding scriptures that counter each negative thought, and write those down too.

Then, start ‘catching’ yourself in your negative thinking and intentionally replace the negative thought with the more life-affirming thought and scripture. The more you do this, the more you train your mind to focus more positively. I’ll talk more about this in next month’s blog post on beliefs.

Do you use other exercises for cultivating more positive self-talk? Or maybe you have some favorite scriptures that help you? Please share them and discuss how affirming biblical truths helps to reshape your mindset. Together, we can build a stronger foundation of self-love that reflects the love God has for each of His children.

Week 4: Setting Boundaries and Prioritizing Self

The Art of Saying No: This Monday, let’s explore the art of saying no graciously and setting healthy boundaries. As Christian women, we often struggle with setting appropriate boundaries because of our focus on giving and serving.

The subject of boundaries is a complicated topic, but it helps to be reminded that our ability to establish boundaries can be rooted in our understanding of stewardship. Learning to discern where our stewardship ends and another person’s begins is very important. We don’t want to deny ourselves or another person the lessons the Lord has in store for our growth.

I’d love to hear your insights about setting boundaries that align with your faith and values. Tell us about the freedom you experience with saying no to commitments that drain your energy, allowing space for what truly matters! By prioritizing our well-being, we truly honor God’s design for rest and renewal.

Prioritizing Your Own Needs: Wednesday’s focus is on prioritizing our own needs without guilt. That may be a challenge! As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31).Think and pray about how to balance responsibilities while placing a priority on self-care. That may seem impossible, especially if you are raising kids or have a very demanding job. But take a few minutes to actually consider what that might look like. Truly listen to what the Lord has to say, however He speaks to you.

Do you know someone who seems adept at balancing responsibilities with self-care? Can you take a lesson or two from her or him? Can you talk with them and brainstorm ideas? Sometimes, another person’s ability to do this might be just the permission we need to do it ourselves.

I would love for you to share your experiences of finding harmony between responsibilities of serving others and nurturing yourself. It is a delicate balance. Through sharing, we can learn from each other’s journeys of self-prioritization. By aligning our actions with our values, we can model a life that reflects the love and balance God desires for us.

Designing Your Ideal Life: On Friday, we conclude our month-long journey by beginning to envision and design our ideal lives. I emphasize the word “beginning!” As Christian women, we understand that God has plans for us, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). His dreams for us are always bigger than our own, and He often leaves tell-tale signs in our hearts, breadcrumbs if you will.

Is there something in your heart that you have been putting off doing or experiencing because of other priorities? Is there something that nags at you for attention, and you always make excuses for not going after it? Is there something that you love to do but can’t seem to find time for? Is there something you know you’re supposed to be doing but are not? Perhaps God has planted a seed in your heart, and it’s now time for you to water and nurture it.

Spend a few minutes in prayer and contemplation, asking God to speak to you through your heart’s desires. What is one thing you could start doing that, if you stayed consistent with it would bring you deep satisfaction or joy? Are you willing to commit to doing that one thing? Please share with us what that one thing is and what practical steps you will take to align your daily actions with that longer term desire. Let us be your accountability partners. God is so for you, and so are we!!

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