Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Career vs. Purpose vs. Ministry


Career vs. Purpose vs. Ministry 


As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I wanted my Pinky Promise sisters to share what the Lord placed on their heart. And, my sister (and cousin by marriage), April Wesley shared something so powerful.
Check it out.
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I was prompted to complete this blog when one of my well-respected friends (an entrepreneur, non-profit organizer, world traveler, speaker, and preacher) recently sent a message for well wishes on my birthday and ended with "Purpose looks good on you." She is well-versed in the dynamic nature of purpose, but her statement made me think of an open issue or misconception in the Body of Christ. It is a topic and thought process that I've had to work through in my own life to understand God's plan and pathway (purpose) for my life. "Do people always equate purpose to something 'ministry' related, such as writing books or starting an organized ministry; or, do people recognize that purpose is multifaceted and can result in many purpose paths (outside of what is commonly perceived as 'ministry')?" Also, "can my job or career be my purpose? Is it a part of my purpose? Am I really living in my purpose if I haven't left my job and started my own ministry or business?" Affectionately, I started writing. I began to develop what you're currently reading in hopes to address these misconceptions. This post is for those that struggle with where their career life fits in with their purpose and how it relates to ministry.

Let's start with the title...career first, purpose in the middle, and ministry last. It's strategically placed in that order, not to put career over purpose or ministry, or say that ministry is underneath it all, but to say that purpose is the glue that motivates these endeavors. God's purpose for your life can indeed be experienced in a career, but it is likely not the only way that He will reveal His intended gifts through you. It's a purpose pathway in your life. Because your career or job is a part of your daily life, it is apart of your ministry. Your life is your ministry, period, including every activity, task, action, and interaction within it. Don't be confused. We have unfortunately secluded and regarded ministry to be what happens on a stage or impactful to a larger audience when we should know there is only an audience of One (God) that we serve and produce for.

In this Christian moment in time, it appears to be an overwhelming consensus that if you're working a 9-5 job or career, you're not truly following God's will for your life. I believe we've gained this perception because we've looked at someone else's path and concluded that if "purpose" was birthed when they left their 9-5 jobs, that should be our story too. Not so. If God appointed you to that 9-5 job or career and you KNOW you're supposed to be there, stay there! I believe we've equated purpose as the "blossoming of opportunity" that happens after we've obeyed God and possibly left our jobs without really consulting God. No, purpose is obedience to WHATEVER God has ordered you to and not measured by who's looking, clapping for us, or agreeing with us. Now, I'm not saying that it's okay to stay in a job or place where God has not ordained you to be and you're remaining there to satisfy your own fleshly desires. I'm telling you to be where God has equipped you to be and wants you to learn. You're clearly there to further your spiritual, personal, and professional development. Even for those who have been told to leave their jobs to explore and act on a new purpose path, I'm absolutely positive that if you were to sit down with them, they would tell you that their ministry is the life they lived before there was a spotlight or newly found purpose opportunity. It didn't start or stop with their decision to be obedient for probably the umpteenth time. Their purpose started at their very first "Yes!" to God!

Everybody is on a stage, whether we realize it or not. God is looking to see how we perform in the purpose pathways He's assigned to us. Purpose does not equal fame or fortune. It equals obedience. Thus, if God placed peace in your heart to pursue a career as a physical therapist, an attorney, realtor, blogger, or musical artist, that's what you must do and do it unto the Lord!

Again, purpose is multifaceted. It is not one particular event, business, passion, or desire in your heart. It is EVERY piece of talent, passion, and God led appointment that He has divinely placed inside of you. When you are led by God, nothing goes wasted. NOTHING. Stop allowing people to put purpose in a box and say that it's only "ministry" if it is packaged and presented a certain way. NO. Your ENTIRE life is ministry! You're constantly being watched by someone and either representing God or not representing God.

Before I even knew about "purpose" and how it is currently presented/appears (along with its associated pressures), I knew about God's peace. I knew when I was 16 and entering into college what my major would be because God gave me peace about the choice. It was for His purpose. When I was 20 and applying to graduate school, God gave me peace about which schools I was to apply to as well as gave me peace to not be anxious about being accepted because the original peace at 16 had already prepared the purpose of acceptance. At 23, I followed the peace to move to a city that God wanted me to not only develop in my career but most importantly, my character. At 27, I followed God's peace in moving to my current city in which every plan and piece of development prior purposed me for His current plan here. From there, I've written two books and started Queenship Restored but that's still not my ultimate and final purpose. I KNOW he has many more purpose paths to take me on and develop!  But guess what? You won't have to force other purpose pathways that don't align with what you know to do now. For example, for the longest, my focus was solely fulfilling my career goals and responsibilities, thinking that was my only reason on this earth. As I started growing in God, He showed me that my passion for design and travel were there for a purpose and would not go to waste. Fast forward about 5 years later, I've been invited to lead design for Pinky Promise and my pastors have welcomed me to travel all over the world as their Director of International Affairs. How's that for never going to school or having a "plan" for either one! Your gifts WILL make room for you! Talk about God fruitfully creating and fulfilling your purpose paths. Nothing goes to waste!

If you work a 9-5 or career and have peace about currently being there but know that God has more for you, you ARE currently operating in purpose and God will eventually reveal that new pathway of purpose (whether it's to start your own consulting firm, non-profit in your current area of work, or go and get that PhD). Again, purpose is NOT just one thing, talent, passion, or desire....it's the combination of these (that is God-ordained) that makes you, you and fulfilling to your time here on this earth. It's literally your "purpose" of being here on earth, to do all of it. We shouldn't stop striving to fulfill everything (whether a career and/or small business and/or media, and/or whatever else God has given us) until we literally DIE. Then we're done fulfilling our purpose!

Just because you're only "practicing" a certain talent or passion in one thing at this moment does not mean that it will be your last and only. So don't be quick to forfeit a part of your purpose to match your faith journey to someone else's. If God has ordained you to go to school and be an attorney, computer programmer, engineer, physician, or HR personnel, do that purpose as unto the Lord! Some people are truly called to work these positions for the rest of their traditional working years or lives. I cannot tell you how many medical professionals' stories I've encountered where they literally worked daily in their careers until their dying day. They believed they were called to their careers and literally served as unto the Lord. It makes sense. We need all of the many career paths for this world to operate, from the CEOs to physicians to environmental services personnel to the professional tree cutters!

As a neurologic physical therapist myself, I KNOW I've been called to my profession. It was the first organized purpose pathway I was called to and has taught me great discipline, specificity, and compassion that carries on into all of my other purposes God has created me to do. I may not do it for the rest of my life, but its training and practice daily prepares me for each new thing God stretches me to do and places on my plate! See, my career is purposeful! Moreover, it serves a purpose as provision for any new thing (writing books, starting a company) that God may assign to my life. If He purposes you to do something, He already provides purposeful provision as well! This is why we must not get weary! ALL THINGS work for the good of those that are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)! Stop comparing your life to someone else's!

In conclusion, I provided the many purpose pathways of my friend at the start of the blog to show how multifaceted purpose can be. It is not one path and is supposed to be a unique all-encompassing, individualized plan for you. Allow God to begin to reveal how your God-given passions and desires are a part of your purpose and faith journey. He knows how to mold the specifics into unimaginable ways and actions. Continue to allow Him to appoint you, direct you, and keep you content in His Will. All things will continue to unfold in its proper time (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Love you!


-April D. Wesley
(IG: @aprildwesley)
#QRWisdom


Before I chime out of my sister/friend/cousin's AMAZING blog, I wanted to introduce and update you on a few things present and upcoming on my end!

1) I have 2 books out currently. My first release, "Queenship Restored: The Reconciliation of the Alpha Woman" is properly titled to address the need for women to have a transformed mindset restored to a Godly queen (what God has called for women to be) vs. pursuing and continuing the often demanded societal alpha women mindset. My latest book is entitled, "Severing Soul Ties," a book that addresses the many ungodly soul ties we can be bound to, including people, ideals, positions, roles, tasks, material possessions, and even our own insecurities. This book is for the person who wants to identify the Truth about soul ties, is tired of living bound to them, and desires to be eternally severed from every type of soul tie. Each book can be found on my website, queenshiprestored.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble! Shipping is available WORLDWIDE!




2) I will be going on tour with my company, Queenship Restored, to 6 major US cities for the 2017 "Severing Soul Ties" Book Tour & Lecture Series! The tour will be traveling to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, and Los Angeles! Registration and details are free and can be searched on the eventbrite.com search bar under "'Severing Soul Ties' Book Tour & Lecture Series-enter respective city." The tour will be traveling to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, and Los Angeles (refer to the flier below for further details)! Each tour location will have individual experiences, but the consistent schedule of events will include book excerpt readings, lectures on Spirit-led soul tie topics, discussions, Q&A, book signings, and product purchase availability! If you are in any of these cities or surrounding areas, please register! There will be limited seating and availability for attendance so register NOW! I can't wait to see everyone, sever soul ties, and continue freedom from soul tie bondage in the coming months!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How Your Social Media Can Influence People Away From Jesus



This morning in my prayer time, I was studying Galatians. I came across a story and it made me ponder this question, "How are we living? And, what are we posting on social media?" Who are we silently influencing away from Christ with our example?'
Check this out:

Galatians 2:11-21
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 
When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 

Ok, let's first look at that scripture. Peter just switched it up on the Gentiles! His goal was that he was SUPPOSED to show Gentiles AND Jews that we are all one through Jesus Christ now. But, because he was afraid of what his friends thought, he compromised and wouldn't eat with them anymore. How many times are we compromising when certain friends come around? Maybe, you're cussin' a little bit more. Maybe, you're talking about the guys you're dating when you know good and well you are trying to be single and focused on God. Maybe you show a little extra cleavage when you are going out to dinner with certain friends because they always stay "turnt up." Maybe you gossip and bash othe people that you really love, just to fit in. You do these things because you don't want to seem "holier" than thou -- and plus, you aren't hanging out with your Pinky Promise small group. Those are a different type of friends. You gotta turn on the "Christian" language around those friends because YOU know that those friends will convict you to do the right thing. So, because Peter was AFRAID of what people THOUGHT of him, he adjusted his position. He didn't want to deal with the criticism for doing the right thing. He was literally undoing his role in ministry in that moment. Which, takes us to the next scripture.

13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Whoa.

AS a RESULT, other Jewish believers FOLLOWED after Peters BAD example. Did you know that what you post on social media and how you live is influencing people? You are literally showing people that "its ok" to show your boobs and your butt off. It's ok to go on vacation with my boo and stay in the same hotel room. (which is another blog that I will do later). It's ok for me to turn up. It's ok for me to talk about gettin' this money non-stop. It's ok for me to sin openly. Not only is your sin hurting YOU but it is hurting all 5,242 followers that are watching you. You may be thinking, Heather - what does that have to do with me? We are all responsible for doing our own part, I cannot force them to follow what I'm doing." But, love, some people may be BABIES in Christ. And, they may be looking at you as an example and they are confused by your scriptures one day and why you are posting photos in your t-shirt and your panties the next day. You are planting seeds.You are influencing people. We are ALL influencing someone.

Lets keep reading:
14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
15 “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.

Ahh! What FREEDOM! We are made RIGHT by our faith in Jesus Christ. So, here, Paul is rebuking Peter by telling him that he can sit with the Gentiles because we are all made right by Jesus Christ and our faith in Him, not keeping the Jewish law. I LOVE that Paul lovingly called him out. Are you willing to pull your friends aside in LOVE and share the truth with them?

Now, you may be thinking - Heather, I have faith in Jesus! I do! But, why are you coming for my photos and my little boyfriend? Why are you coming for me? I can gossip here and there! It's ok to bash people! I can create fake profiles on social media and tell people "how I really feel." Heather, I can do what I want to do.

Love, Galatians 5:24 - "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. You are not the lusts of your flesh. You are not the lusts of your past. You are not a money chaser. You are not led by your feelings. You are not who you used to be! You are a new creation in Christ Jesus! Praise GOD!!

Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

You are not your past. You are not how you used to dress and the places that you used to go. Most times, we hold onto bad ways of thinking and we tag scriptures to our disobedience. Did you know that even demons believe in Jesus? It's not enough to just KNOW, but it's time to really LIVE this thing out. How you're living RIGHT now, whether privately or publically, MATTERS. Peter influenced so many people in that ONE act. So, I challenge you today to look at who you follow on social media and who you are in relationship with in real life. Some of us will be quick to go on a unfollowing spree from bad examples but we will keep a man in our bed that ain't supposed to be there. Or, we will sit in our marriage, complaining about everything that our spouse isn't doing while exalt ourselves higher and higher. Unfollow those people on social media that are negatively influencing you. Turn off those hot mess TV shows that ONLY plant seeds of drama. Turn off that secular music. And, tune into Jesus. Grab your word and sit at His feet. A tree is idenified by it's fruit and if you find that you don't have any fruit of the spirit, it's time to change that and start developing some fruit on your tree.

Social media has proven to us that we absolutely have time for Jesus, we just don't have the desire. If you can scroll on social media for 2-3 hours a day  - you can carve out an hour to sit at the feet of our Daddy. He longs to lead and guide you. He longs to help you to renew your mind concerning marriage, children, courtship, work, life and your purpose!

Stay focused. God is with you.

Just a few things:

1. Find my (5) books (including my NEW book, "The Purpose Room"), purity rings, shirts & all that good stuff via www.pinkypromiseboutiques.com!

2. We have developed an APP! Think: daily post notifications + weekly devotionals, recipes and so much more! It's out NOW for iphones + Androids. Under: Heather & Cornelius Lindsey: Today With the Lindsey's

3.  If you live in Atlanta, I want to invite you to our church. Join us on Sundays at 10:30am. Our churches name is: "The Gathering Oasis"  215 W Wieuca Rd NW Atlanta, GA 30327 - The Galloway School in the Amiptheater

4. Register for the 2017 Pinky Promise in Atlanta, GA! It sold out last year so you don't want to miss out! We are almost SOLD OUT! www.pinkypromiseconference.com

5. As always, you can join a Pinky Promise group locally! There's about 50,000 ladies that have joined! Find a group near you by joining & checking out the intro page! Join here: www.PinkyPromiseMovement.com

6. We are headed on a Revival Tour to London and Capetown. Register here: www.lindseyevents.com 

7. I have a TV Show on the Word Network! Make sure that you tune in every Saturday at 6:30pm EST! Also, download the (The Word Network App) You can stream it live there. You can find all of the playbacks of the show on my Youtube channel HERE.
God loves you like crazy,
Love always,








Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Travel the World For (Almost Free) - Part II


So, I had to post this one, because I've found a few more ways to travel for free!

Who doesn't want to travel the world for almost free?? Let's be honest, I travel ALOT. Because I travel so much for ministry, I wanted to make sure that our family trips were affordable, comfortable and STILL be a good steward over our finances.
Black sand beaches in Maui!

So, my first blog, How to Travel the World for Free, was a complete success! But, since then, I have found more tips to share with you. So, I will be sharing some oldies, but a lot of new stuff!

If you don't know, I'm a huge planner. I am constantly thinking of ways for my family to GET AWAY and enjoy each other. We literally work 360 days a YEAR (yes, even on vacation.) We rarely take time off of work. Don't worry, I have my days of rest but even in the midst of that, I'm chasing down 2 kids, answering emails, getting the house together, on conference calls, writing books, blogs, etc. :). Nonetheless, while I am at one trip, I will start planning the next trip. I think what is key to any trip that you take is to PLAN ahead. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Most times, we think that traveling is unreachable because we don't have money or whatever else. Well, I pray that these few ideas help you and encourage you to save, plan ahead and ask the Lord for wisdom!

So, let's get RIGHT into it!

Traveling

Our Logan swimming in Turks & Caicos!
1. Airfordable - Airfordable is a super cool website where you buy your flight with Airfordable for a deposit upfront and pay off the rest in an easy, flexible payment plan before your departure date. So, if you cannot afford the flight right away, then you can book it through Airfordable. And, just by clicking on this link, Airfordable to sign up, you will get $25 to use towards your next flight! This is super cool because you can save up and make payment plans to literally travel the world! So, if you're planning on coming to the Pinky Promsie Conference, it's in 8 months!! You can make payments and come on! :) No excuses!

2. www.SecretFlying.Com  Yeah. So, this website is pretty much going to be your new best friend. I found flights the other day to Italy from Atlanta for $300. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I was tempted to book the flight, but then I realized that I have two kids and an overbooked travel schedule. lol. So, if you're single in this generation, what a TIME to be single! What a TIME to travel the world in an affordable way! My friends booked through secret flying to visit Capetown, London and Italy. Total cost one way? $405. Exactly! I just check it daily for good deals.
Kisses while still trying to hold on in Dubai! lol!

3. Free Housing? Yes. You heard it. Well, not completely free. But, you can always book through AirB&B (P.S. if you click that link & book, you will recieve a $35 credit!) when you're traveling with friends for a cheaper option. There's another option called Mind My House.  There IS a $20 sign up fee (I think it's annual) But, you would take care of someone’s house, pets and gardens while they’re away. Websites like this one help play matchmaker for homeowners and home “watchers” around the world. Even though there's a $20 fee, I think it's pretty cool that you can house-sit for FREE on an amazing property in some other country for pennies per day!


Coffee time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
4. Free Housing + An Organic Farm? Now, if you're really adventurous, you can join WWOOF. It's an organization connects travelers with organic farmers who want to trade room and board for an extra hand. So, essentially, you would choose what country that you want to visit and learn how to farm and grow your own veggies while experiencing an entirely new country!

5. Do you want free entry? So, say that you have kids and you want to get into Disney for free? Email them! Tell them that you would love to post about your trip on your social media. The reality is that you're going to post ANYWAY. You may as well get a couple free tickets to do so! It doesn't hurt to ask and I've known people that got into the park for FREE in exchange for a few posts!

6. I signed up with www.hotels.com. So, when you do stay at hotels, book those hotels on your points card AND rack up free nights! I just purchased a $400+ per night 5 star hotel for $5.00! I simply booked through that website and my nights added up! Perfect staycaction!


Ok, Heather, some of these things are not free. I need a way to bring in extra income!

Thankful for these sweet memories in Miami with my family!


Savings towards your Travel Fund!

1. I shared this before, and I have to share it again! IBOTTA!  This is another site that I use that allows you to make money off of things like your groceries! So, I clicked on the link, signed up, downloaded the app and then I would go to the grocery store. After shopping, I would go home and then "unlock" rebates based on what I purchased. So, you can go on there and unlock things like "pasta" for $2.00. You scan the item + verify your receipt by taking a snap shot of it & then bam - the money is in your account that can be transferred to PayPal! Isn't that cool? So, I take that money as well and transfer it to our vacation fund. So, this is another way to make some extra money to save, give, or do whatever that the Lord leads you to do!
Remember, these are basic, everyday purchases that you're already going to make! 

2. Again, I LOVE EBATES!!  It allows for you to get cash back on items that you already purchase. So, I refuse to go directly to any website to book anything. Instead, I go through Ebates, search my store and then I get my cash back, coupon codes! The Christmas season is coming up and do you know what that means? It means that you can get even more back on your purchases! At times, I will order on stores like Target or Toys R Us and then do the "Pick up" option to get the cash back! It may seem like an extra step, but those little extra steps give you FREE cash back!
Our sweet Logan in the Bahamas! 

3. Have you heard of the "Let Go" App? Simply download the app and go throughout your home and SELL the stuff that you don't need! Your items will show up and those in your particular area can purchase right from your phones. This is a great option to get rid of things quickly. Also, you can also sell your items to local consignment stores like Once Upon a Child, etc. 

4. Learn a craft & sell on Etsy! What do you do for fun? Painting? Writing Scriptures on Canvases? Making jewelry? Sell on Etsy and stores like it! Take ALL of the profit and as the Lord leads you - put it in that travel savings fund! I like Mint because you can see your bills and savings all at once! 

5. Host a community garage sale! If you're able, write on a post-it-note and stick it on the mailboxes of those in your community Tell them to contact you if they are free on a certain date for a community garage sale. Find a Saturday and then organize it! Put it in the paper/craigs list! This way, you can sell everything at once and bring more customers in knowing that it's a community garage sale! Not only that, it's a great way to get to know those in your community and to further spread the gospel of Jesus!

5. Umm. POSHMARK is where it's at! I just started my own poshmark account! Download the app + use my invite code for $5.00 to get started! HFUJI. What I love is that I can sell items from my closet that I no longer wear. They do take more than Ebay but I'm thinking it sells faster because it's linking all of your social media accounts. 

Ok, I have to share how I traveled for $22.00 to a state and stayed for a couple nights. 


Turks + Us.

As I have shared before, I have a couple credit cards through American Express. So, I charge those things from Ebates, our life insurance, car insurance, etc on our credit card monthly. Then I pay it off monthly so that I can get points for my trip. If you sign up for a card and spend a certain amount within three months - that is an automatic 50,000 miles or two round trip plane tickets (US). So, I definitely took advantage of that option and booked my flight and my hubby's flight. The beauty in having these cards (if you can discipline your flesh) is that they constantly have benefits and deals, cash back, etc. Find a card that will give you some time of benefit! I know Chase has some great ones as well. You may feel like, "Heather, I am not a business owner! I don't spend enough. Well, did you know that your points don't expire and your miles won't expire (with Delta anyway.) So, be patient. Little by little, add to your travel fund. Add your miles. Convert some of your American express points to airlines. And, get to traveling for free!

Next, make sure  you sign up for ALL hotel and airline loyalty programs. Find your favorite one and try to stick with it. I have found that when you are in a loyalty program, you get cheaper hotel rooms, more incentives and free food! In our case, we are apart of a certain hotel loyalty program. But, we haven't used it in a year or so. So, I honestly didn't think that we had any points. I happened to check our account and found that we had about 30,000 points! WOW! When did this happen? Well, the hotel nights were 12,000 each so we were able to stay in a $400 a night hotel for absolutely nothing. We have had this loyalty program for YEARS and we didn't think that it incurred so much over the years! What a sweet surprise for our $22 trip.

I have to be honest, my heart exploded as I wrote this blog because I got to look back at all of the sweet memories with my family. There's NOTHING like the memories that traveling create in your family! And, it changes your perspective, allows you to think outside of the box and gives you a chance to spread the gospel of Jesus in an entirely new country. 

What a sweet honor. 

So, I pray that your travel wheels start spinning! Do you have any tips for traveling? If so, share them in the comments below! 

Just a few things:

1. Find my (5) books (including my NEW book, "The Purpose Room"), purity rings, shirts & all that good stuff via www.pinkypromiseboutiques.com!

2. We have developed an APP! Think: daily post notifications + weekly devotionals, recipes and so much more! It's out NOW for iphones + Androids. Under: Heather & Cornelius Lindsey: Today With the Lindsey's

3.  If you live in Atlanta, I want to invite you to our church. Join us on Sundays at 10:30am. Our churches name is: "The Gathering Oasis"  3600 Snapfinger Rd Lithonia, GA 30038

4. Register for the 2017 Pinky Promise in Atlanta, GA! It sold out last year so you don't want to miss out! www.pinkypromiseconference.com

5. As always, you can join a Pinky Promise group locally! There's about 50,000 ladies that have joined! Find a group near you by joining & checking out the intro page! Join here: www.PinkyPromiseMovement.com

6. We are headed on a Revival Tour to Kenya, Nigeria, London and Capetown. Register here: www.lindseyevents.com 

God loves you like crazy,
Love always,


Heather Lindsey















Monday, April 3, 2017

Overcoming Depression, Anxiety & Mental Health



So, I don't run Pinky Promise alone. I have a "Dream Team" of about 15 women that help me and it was on my heart to ask a few of them to share their testimonies of an area where they overcame. My sweet sister in Christ, Wynter Dean is sharing her story on Overcoming mental health - Depression. I truly believe that this is a silent area that people deal with so I am excited that Wynter is sharing her story.  I pray that it ministers to you. 


"Toughen up!" "You just aren't praying hard enough!" "Black girls don't get depressed (anxiety), you come from a strong family!" "Girl, you just too sensitive!" These were just a few statements I got from some well-meaning people in my life when I tried to discuss my mental health concerns.
Long before I was formally diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and Dysthymia (mild/chronic depression) I knew something wasn't right. I knew that my moods were greater than "worrying" or "stressing". I knew that shutting myself off from friends and family wasn't healthy. I knew that trying to operate on less than 12 hours of sleep a week wasn't making me the most productive or pleasant person and I knew that not leaving the bed for days was not necessarily the best thing to do. There were many days when I literally could not move. I had zero motivation to do anything but sit up, let my dogs out and habitually go over scenarios that either never happened or were totally out of my control.
I knew that I needed to talk to someone....but that meant I wasn't trusting God...right?! I mean 1 Peter 5:7 clearly says that we are to "cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Going to a doctor isn't the “Him” this scripture is referring to so clearly going to a psychiatrist or therapist was bad right?! I was so confused and had fully isolated myself from everyone that cared about me. I had a mind full of very scary thoughts and started quickly spiraling out of control. I thought about how many pills I needed to take to sleep because I was so exhausted, 10? 15? Anything to help me sleep and quiet my mind down. It was then that the same God I was so worried that I was not trusting or that I was disappointing nudged me to seek help.

Action Steps:
1. Seeking help doesn't mean you don't trust God:
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT

The first thing you have to do is realize you have an issue, while also remembering that God placed doctors, therapists, social workers etc. in those positions to help. Find a therapist you like and trust. You’re going to be real transparent during your sessions, so be sure you feel safe with the person you select. There are tons of services that help you narrow down someone, take your time. Your mental health is really important so you want someone that will hold you accountable and really listen to you. I knew my psychiatrist was the right person for me as soon as I met her. When she talked, I was at peace and I felt that God gave her the desire to serve people that were hurting. I know that God was in control and ultimately gives her the tools to say exactly what I needed to hear. Lastly, remember that going to a therapist or psychiatrist is a partnership. They will give you advice and possibly prescriptions that you are expected to take. Be honest with your therapist, if the prescriptions make you feel groggy: Tell them. If you are having new struggles: Tell them. Honesty and transparency goes a long way in this process. How can you expect them to get to core issues if you don't discuss them? So I encourage you, as you build this relationship to be as honest as you can about how you feel. You play a huge role in your mental health, seeking help is the first step, doing what your clinician suggests and keeping them abreast of what is going on in your life is another huge move towards healing.

2. Align yourself with strong friends. "Iron sharpens iron, such as a friend sharpens a friend" Proverbs 27:17 NLT
I have been blessed to be loved by strong family and friends. I recognized that God was beginning a pruning process very early on, however, pruning and isolation are completely different things. When God prunes you, he removes things/people that are unlike him, people that stunt your growth and the purpose that he has for you. Though pruning was never an easy process, I knew God was using it to make me better. However, when I isolated myself from my support group, it essentially made me weaker. Gone were the people that held me accountable, gone were the people that made sure I got my tail off the couch, the check-in calls were unanswered and the random texts weren’t responded to. It was a really lonely time and being/feeling alone can be really dangerous. It was during this time that I thought about how the world might look without me. I obsessed about EVERY bad decision I made in my life and how those decisions made me a failure in God’s eyes. This was a dark place, a scary place, this was a place the enemy loved seeing me in because not only did I push my loved ones away, but I also pushed God away. One night after staying up almost 24 hours, I looked at my phone, ignored the missed calls and instead looked at a message from my GroupMe. I saw a message from one of my Pinky Promise Dream Team sisters. Though short and sweet, it snapped me out of the haze I was in and I made a conscious decision to GET UP. The message said “Wynter, you were on my heart. God wanted me to encourage you to put up some scriptures and whenever you have a thought that doesn’t line up with the Word pull one of those scriptures out”. Belonging to such a wonderful group of women has literally been a Godsend. We laugh together, pray together, hold one another accountable, and most of all we LOVE each other. Outside of my Dream Team family I have a network of friends, family, and an amazing boyfriend that lovingly makes sure I never stay in a funk for too long. I also have to make sure that I do my part. My loved ones encourage me, but I have to make the conscious decision every day to make sure I don’t let my depression or anxiety take me over. I get out and walk, take pictures, write calligraphy, write things I am thankful for, or visit family; anything to make sure I get out of my funk. For me my depression and anxiety intensifies when I am idle, so I try not to sit around too much and try to get out of the house even when my brain tells me not to.
According to a 2014 report by the American Association of Suicidology, African- Americans accounted for 5.46 per 100,000 suicides in the United States with African American men accounting for 80.30% of the population. When I read this, the numbers were jarring and I saw how my situation could have went another way. If God hadn’t stepped in when he did, if my loved ones wouldn’t have been so persistent, I could have been a statistic. A young woman that people thought had it all together. They would probably say “well she was so happy on social media” not knowing that behind that smile was a lot of hurt, pain and silent suffering. I think that the most dangerous part of this disorder is that it gives you the perception that you are alone. It exacerbates little setbacks and makes you feel hopeless. When you a feel alone, the enemy can do a number on your mind, but God reminds us that we a NEVER alone. Deuteronomy 31:6 says “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Isaiah 41:10 states “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”.  One of my personal favorite verses that I continually run to when I am in a depressive or anxious state is Psalms 34:17-18The lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed”. 

These are just a few reminders out of several in the Bible that God never leaves us, He will never forsake us, and He is always present. If you know me personally then you know that I am a person that really can’t stand clichés. But one statement that I always remember is “if you feel far away from God, it’s you that moved”. For me this statement is cliché but very true. During my intense depressive and anxious state, God was there, I didn’t feel him because I didn’t want to. I was resting in my misery and I blocked him out. Even though I was blaming him for everything I thought was wrong during this time, even though I was being extremely ungrateful for everything he has done for me, He still saved me. God stopped me from taking the pills I counted out and He is still constantly reminding me how much I mean to him and how I have a purpose. There is something that I need to do or someone that I need to help and without God stepping in when he did, I would not be here to live the life He has for me.

I may always struggle with depression and anxiety, but I will never be in that place I was in before I got help. I still see my psychiatrist twice a month for check-in appointments and medication management. My loved ones make sure that I never go missing for long. If I don’t answer my phone or respond to texts after a couple of tries, I can count on someone being on my front porch.  As I stated before, I make the decision everyday not to sit in the house seeping in my emotions. When I am feeling like laying on the sofa or not to get out of the bed I push myself to get outside, even if it is to walk the dogs or sit in my backyard. Lastly, I thank God every day for never leaving me and for loving me in spite of myself. So if you are struggling with issues regarding your mental health here are a few resources and reminders that helped me.

You….yes YOU…. have a purpose, SO get out and meet folks that love Jesus, join a Pinky Promise group in your area and align yourself with women that are on fire for God and His purpose! Scripture says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken”. Keep your circle strong and all of your relationships intentional. Know that you are NEVER alone (despite what the enemy tries to make you believe) and most importantly know in your heart that the same God that created the heavens and the earth LOVES you like crazy!!
Lovingly,
Wynter D.
(@the_coldest_wynter)



Resources:

·       Mental Health Referral Line: SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline – 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 (1‑877‑726‑4727)

 

·       National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255)

 

·       http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/guide/resources/

 

·       https://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/resources

 

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13



Thank you Wynter for sharing your story! 
Love you dearly!
xo
Heather Lindsey 


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