Category Archives: Self-Esteem/Insecurity

Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character.

Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Proverbs 31 is one of those chapters that I think a lot of women sometimes read and then feel deficient. It’s almost like we can never measure up to her. I mean, really, who can do and be proficient at ALL of the things that she does? Talk about a Renaissance Woman!

However, recently I had some different insights while reading Proverbs 31 in The Message translation. As I read through the verses about the Proverbs 31 woman, I jotted down her characteristics in my journal. It dawned on me that it’s not necessarily the activities that she does that matter, but the character and traits she possesses are what are truly important. That should be our primary takeaway from the reading. Thank goodness because I don’t think I’ll EVER be proficient at sewing!

In Proverbs 31, verses 10-31 form an alphabetic acrostic, used here as a type of Hebrew poem about a woman who exemplifies godly character and wisdom from A to Z. J.A. Motyer says, “In the common form of acrostic found in Old Testament Poetry, each line or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. This literary form may have been intended as an aid to memory, but more likely it was a poetic way of saying that a total coverage of the subject was being offered — as we would say, ‘from A to Z.‘”[1] So in this case, the Proverbs 31 woman exemplifies godly traits and wisdom throughout and completely. She’s the full package.

Proverbs 31 is not just for women

In part of my recent study of the Proverbs 31 passages, I came across a really good article by Rachel Held Evans. In her post, she mentions that the “target audience” of Proverbs 31 is actually men. I did not know this! Rachel mentioned that she learned from a Jewish friend of hers that in the Jewish culture, it’s the men who memorize the passage, not the women.

In fact, the men actually sing or recite it to the women as a way of praising and blessing them! This special “Eshet Chayil” song is typically done each Friday night before the Sabbath or Shabbat meal.

Here is a video of a traditional Eschet Chayil song with the Hebrew lyrics and English translation shown:

I LOVE this English rendition by Ari Lesser as he sings to his wife:

I also realized these are NOT just characteristics that a woman should possess. Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character. 

Proverbs 31:10-31 in The Message Translation

Below is a look at my takeaways about character from the passages. I use the feminine pronouns “she” and “her” when describing her characteristics, but read through them keeping in mind that we should all endeavor to display this type of character in our lives. Continue reading

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

Why are teen and preteen friendships so hard sometimes? Especially with girls. I know young girls who insist on remaining in unhealthy friendships that aren’t good for them. They stay friends with people who hurt them on a regular basis, over and over. Hey, I’ve BEEN that girl! Sadly, this wasn’t just as a teen either!

I currently know a few young girls who are struggling with healthy boundaries in friendships. My precious niece has given me permission to publish a letter of advice and perspective to her in hopes that others may benefit in their own friendships as well.

Dear sweet niece,

I’m so sorry that you’ve been having a hard time in some of your friendships lately. It breaks my heart to see you get hurt. Sometimes I wish I could let a few of those girls have a piece of my mind. On the other hand, there are times when I want to scream at you too for letting them treat you this way! Then I remember that I’ve been where you stand, even in my adult years. So, I get it.

But why do we continue to endure these harm-inflicting relationships? It’s because we don’t want to be alone. We’d rather be with people who, deep inside, we know aren’t good for us, than to fathom the pangs of loneliness. The problem is…we’re still lonely.

I mentioned a quote in a blog post that I wrote a while back… “There’s only one thing worse than being single and lonely.  It’s being married and lonely.” The quote referenced being married versus being single. However, this can pertain to unhealthy friendships too. Just like marriage doesn’t exempt us from feelings of loneliness, neither do friendships. Booker T. Washington once said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

I’d like to give you a little bit of advice from my perspective about what I’ve learned and what God has shown me about some unhealthy friendships.

Continue reading

Tips for Spending Time With God

Tips for spending time with God

Tips for Spending Time With God

On occasion readers post comments on different blog posts that I feel deserve more attention than just a reply at the bottom of a post. This week is one of those occasions. A reader recently posted a comment with some questions on my post “How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted”. I’d like to take some time to answer her questions and provide some additional resources that I think might be helpful for her and others struggling with spending time with God.

This might also be a timely message for others too since the start of the year is a common time to evaluate spiritual growth and set some goals to grow stronger and spend more time with God. You might find some good tips within the post or other resources to help you kick start and/or maintain some of your spiritual New Year’s resolutions.  You can also check out Tips to Start Reading the Bible on a Regular Basis for some extra help and encouragement too.

A comment from Tina

“As great as this article is, I still can’t grasp the concept that “God” loves me…I know partly this is due to me not spending enough time in his word, but for me I never really got much of a true understanding of the Bible and his Word 1. How do I know what to read? 2. What is enough time to spend with God?

I find comfort in being around others… amongst other things, but I want to find comfort in God. 2016 was a very very hard year for me. For the past 4 or 5 months I have felt so UNLOVED, lonely, and rejected…I have prayed countless times for God to just take me away, because the pain I feel on most days has become the norm.

It hurts the most when the one person you love, says one thing but acts different….the same person that I once was all he ever wanted and because I have felt so unloved my entire life, once the triggers started happening it made me become clingy and probably push him away (although he never said it)…My point is not to get advice on the above, but instead I feel the most unloved when things like this happen.

I wish I had the belief, peace, joy, and faith, but honestly it is hard for me to fathom that there is a God…I am very skeptical, logical, and need to be in control and those 3 things are disastrous to truly believing. I get so discouraged about this. I have prayed endless prayers to stop my unbelief and doubt, to prayers about understanding, etc.

I can’t take any more on my own the stress, sadness, and heartache is making me sick. It is so hard to see and understand God when you feel like everything is against you. I truly wish I was stronger, more confidence, and self-esteem. I wish someone (outside of God) would love me like I love. I am so genuine and all that’s brought me is heartache. I sit in my room or in my car with just with tears flowing wondering what I could have done in my life to feel like this. I am hurting and can only hope that I can find happiness and joy inside of me.”

Dear Tina…

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Is There A Secret To Looking Young?

Is There A Secret To Looking Young?

Is There A Secret To Looking Young?

This week I celebrated my birthday. The thought of getting older hasn’t really bothered me too much yet. I guess because I still feel so young? Hopefully that will continue! Another positive is that many people seem surprised when I say my age. I guess I look younger than my 40+ years? Bonus! I know, I know. Looking young is a vain conceit…but hey, I’ll take it as long as I can get it! 🙂

A lot of times I’ll get people asking me what my secret is to looking young. I usually half-jokingly say “I use good skincare!” Which is probably partially true. I do try to take good care of my skin using mostly natural and/or botanical products. My skincare regime often consists of a lot of sunscreen, coconut oil, shea butter and essential oils. I try and steer clear of mineral oil or petroleum-based products as well as other harmful additives.

Additionally, I try to take caution with other products too even down to my housekeeping. I can be found making my own laundry and cleaning products to keep myself and my family from receiving constant exposure to toxins. I also try to eat fairly healthy, reducing as many processed foods as reasonably possible. We eat relatively clean, but by no means are we die-hard about it.

Other factors to stay looking young

Aside from skincare, diet, and other products though, I think there are probably some more important factors to stay looking young. I remember picking up on something when I was quite a bit younger. I heard people using the description “He/She must have had a hard life.” They were describing a rough-looking man or woman that was quite visibly aged. I’ve also seen people talk about a woman that looked older than her age as being “bitter”.

I remember thinking “I don’t want people to describe me like that!” This initiated some talks with my mom and dad about what those things meant. They explained how a “hard life” and being “bitter” (i.e. harboring resentment, hurt, anger, and unforgiveness) could affect our appearance and the ability to stay looking young. Constant harsh emotions affect our facial expressions, leaving deeply wrinkled lines and hard countenances. Also, poor life choices and our environment can alter our appearance.

Now that I’m an adult I notice Continue reading

God Is Our Rock

God is our rock. Learn the characteristics of rocks that God displays and how they are helpful to us in times of need.

God Is Our Rock

“No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 (NLT)

We are living in a time where so much is going on around us. It’s a world of change, unsettling events and circumstances, and things going awry all around. We face disturbing political conditions, natural disasters, crime, death, racial tensions, unstable economies, moral corruption and breakdown, and the list could go on and on. Quite honestly it’s pretty depressing. We need something steady and calm to ground us in times like these. We need a firm foundation in a shifty world.

Quite honestly the same could probably be said for many generations. I’m sure they felt much the same in biblical times as well. So, we can lean on the same principles that gave them rest and peace in unsettling times. One such principle is that God is our rock. He is strong, dependable, never shifting or changing, always there to protect and shield us from the storms of this world. 

Here are some of the characteristics of rocks that help us understand how God is our rock:

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You Are More Important Than You Realize

You Are More Important Than You Realize

You Are More Important Than You Realize 

On the topic of your gifts and your purpose, I think it’s notable to mention that it is highly likely that you are more important than you realize.  I would venture to guess that your gifts and the roles that you play probably hold far more weight in the kingdom of God than you probably give them credit for.  One day when we stand before God and give an answer for how we used our gifts and fulfilled our purpose, it will be exciting to see the magnitude of our influence here on this earth.  I believe that God thinks that YOU are a pretty big deal! 😉 

You see, God has given each and every person here on this earth a unique set of gifts and a purpose to fulfill.  Each gift and purpose is vital to God’s plan.  In fact, the bible uses the analogy of a body and its different parts to demonstrate this point.  Each part of the body is necessary in order for the body to function properly (as God intended), and each God-given gift, role, and purpose is necessary in order for God’s kingdom, or the “body of Christ”, to function properly.

We are the body of Christ, and just as a body has many parts, so does the body of Christ.  The parts are placed exactly where God wants them (1 Corinthians 12:18).  Our gifts are part of this body.  There are a lot of them, and they all have different functions.  They all work together as part of a whole.  Every part is necessary.  We need all of the parts, just like God needs all of our gifts.

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…” Romans 12:4-6 (NLT)

I think sometimes it is so easier for us to look at the gifts and roles of others and compare and shortchange our own gifts and roles.  We shouldn’t compare ourselves and our gifts to those of others, and we shouldn’t discount our own gifts that we’ve been given.  In fact the bible says it’s foolish and unwise to do so… Continue reading

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

I’m going to tell on myself this week. 🙂 I had a lesson in dealing with adult bullies and therefore had the opportunity to show my kids a real-life example of how to deal with bullies.  We’ve talked recently about responding to people who offend you and scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted.  Sometimes the best way to respond is not to respond.  However, there are times when a response is helpful and/or necessary.  I felt like I encountered one of those times this past week.

I had an altercation in the parking lot at my son’s school this past week, but it didn’t start there.  To give you some background, there has been a lady that has caused a variety of problems all school year.  In my opinion, she is an adult bully.  I had never talked to her (and honestly didn’t even know her) up until this point.  We see her almost every morning at school drop-off, and we always notice her.

There are a few reasons she stands out.  One reason is that every morning she has a dog that sits in the front seat of the car and barks incessantly with an ear-piercing sound with its head sticking out of the open window.  We can actually hear it while we are driving down the road, even though our windows are up!  She’s also very noticeable because she has driven pretty erratically on occasion—or as my kids would say, “She’s a crazy driver!”  Frequently, she does not follow the school’s drop-off procedure to only drop your kids off at a certain, designated location (so as not to block traffic).  Each morning she instead ignores this sometimes inconvenient procedure, and she drops her kids off at the front door which holds up and blocks traffic behind her prohibiting anyone else from being able to pull in to drop their kids off until she moves out of the way.

Last, but not least, she stands out because she has been known on SEVERAL occasions to honk at drivers in front of her, myself included.  There is a particular route to school that has an intersection where it is extremely difficult to make a left-hand turn during the busy morning traffic.  If she has to wait too long at that intersection she starts honking.  Last week was no different.  I was at the intersection attempting to turn left.  She was in the car directly behind me (I knew because I heard the barking dog!).  Due to the high volume of traffic, I was having a difficult time turning left.

One thing you should also know about me is that I’m a “better safe than sorry” kind of person when driving, especially if I have my kids in the car.  I know this probably irritates some people because I don’t get in a hurry—to me it’s not worth the risk.  I guess to this lady it is worth the risk, because she started honking in a series of small honks at first.  She also kept moving forward acting as if she would hit me with her car if I didn’t hurry up and go.  Then, she proceeded to lay on the horn with a nonstop blast when I refused to rush in front of an oncoming school bus that had briefly stopped at a railroad crossing.  I was getting a bit flustered at this point.  I rolled my window down and waived my hand backward as if to say “stop it!”, and I pulled out after the school bus had passed.  I shook my index finger out the window as I drove on.  You know…kind of a “shame on you” type of move.

I decided right then that I was not going to put up with her bullying any more.  Continue reading

Everyone Needs a Warm Fuzzies Folder…

Everyone Needs a Warm Fuzzies Folder...

Everyone Needs a Warm Fuzzies Folder…

I was talking with my friend and fellow blogger/speaker the other day (Heather Meadows—go check her out.  She’s amazing!), and she was telling me about a note that her son wrote and stuck in her lunch bag (a bit of role reversal!).  She was telling me it was one she would keep.  I was sharing with her how I have a “Warm Fuzzies Folder” that I keep for just such items.  She then informed me that I MUST blog about this folder and the need for everyone to have one. 🙂

I can’t take credit for the idea of the Warm Fuzzies Folder.  I was actually encouraged to make one from an old boss of mine when I was a college advisor.  I had gotten a nice note from a student that I had advised.  Their note stated how much they had appreciated me and how much I had encouraged and helped them in their college career.  I shared the note with my boss because that token of gratitude had really made my day and meant a lot to me.

When I showed it to her she said, “You need to put that in a Warm Fuzzies Folder.”  I replied with, “A Warm Fuzzies Folder?  What’s that?”  She then asked me to follow her to her office where she pulled open a desk filing drawer and pulled out a folder labeled “Warm Fuzzies”.  She then told me that the Warm Fuzzies Folder was a place where she kept items that people had given her that had made her have a warm and fuzzy feeling inside—things that made her happy and smile.  She told me that it was important to keep those items so that you can go back to that folder on hard days for some encouragement. 

I took her advice and have kept a Warm Fuzzies Folder ever since!  I actually have a couple now.  I have one for tangible items like cards, notes, and even some old homework assignments from some of my students.  Now, I also have a digital Warm Fuzzies Folder on my computer to save e-mails, digital photos or even nice comments that people have put on my blog.  I can’t tell you how much it helps to refer back to those on days when I question why I do what I do…teach, blog, etc.  On those days when I get hateful reviews, comments or complaints, I can go back to those warm fuzzies, get encouraged and remember that I really do make a difference for some people.

I get such a boost when I read things that I’ve kept like… Continue reading