10 Ways to Quit Comparing and Build Community | Dawn M Owens

10 Ways to Quit Comparing to Build Community Instead

It’s hard to quit comparing to build community. Just last night I was on Instagram and I realized I was doing it, again.

Thankfully, I have learned a thing or two about comparison and how the enemy likes to tempt us with this to pull us away from our relationship with God and with others. So now when this happens, I have the arsenal needed to help me to recognize the devil’s schemes and respond accordingly.

How about you?

Do you know when you have fallen prey to comparison? Have you found yourself putting the phone down and feeling more anxious, maybe even depressed over the view on the screen compared to your life? Does that trigger the need to change your hair, body size, makeup, eating habits, or house? I have been there and done that.

Or are the times that you not only are finding yourself comparing online, but also when you show up to work, or the mommy-date at the park, perhaps at the event you went to last night or the store you were last shopping at in the mall.

It’s not difficult for any of us to get caught up in the trap of comparison. But how do we respond to it when we do.

As an approval addict in recovery, I can find myself caught up in this if I am not aware or careful. Doing so would send me into a downward spiral, and before I knew it, I had torn myself to shreds in my mind. At which point I decided I couldn’t do anything, be anything, or engage in anything because I was less than the person I was comparing myself to at the moment.

However, now that I lead a faith-based non-profit, that temptation to compare becomes even more challenging. Because now it’s not just me, but its just as easy to get caught up in comparing our ministry to another, which is the complete opposite of what God has given us as a vision for our community.

The reality is that for every truth there is about God and His desire for His people, the enemy has a counterfeit. Comparison, aka coveting, is that counterfeit. https://wp.me/p7HNJY-zY #quitcomparing

And the enemy is pretty dang good at it. Coveting is what got him kicked out of heaven in the first place. He wanted what he couldn’t have, and so God said adios to him and a bunch of his friends.

But we do not have to fall prey to that same scheme. We can choose a different path, and in doing so instead of sinning against God (coveting is a sin, which means comparison is too), we could choose a path that brings about unity in the body of Christ and therefore honoring and glorifying God.

10 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

10 Ways to Quit Comparing and Start Building Community | Dawn M Owens

Accept-Repent-Re-Focus

1. Accept what you have done
The first step in stopping any cycle, addiction, or struggle is to accept the fact that you have done the very thing you were trying not to do. Without this step none of the others matter.

2. Repent
As I mentioned before, comparison is just a nicer word for coveting. Coveting, being the 10th commandment is a sin. The quicker we repent, the sooner we can get into right relationship with God. He can use a repentant heart.

3. Re-focus your thoughts
Another issue with comparing is that our thoughts are often running wild. The Word says that we are to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we are set on a path to compare ourselves to others, our thoughts have a mind of their own. They are no longer focused on God, but instead on ourselves.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Prayer is Powerful

 4. Stop comparing and start praying.
I have found that the quickest way to stop myself from comparing, and therefore focusing my thoughts on me rather than God, is to change my focus.  I start praying for the person in which the comparing began.  It might look like this,

“Lord, I love the way you have fearfully and wonderfully made ___________. You have created ________ to be beautiful in the sight of man. I pray Lord for blessing over ___________________ gifts, talents, and passions. That you would give ___________ favor, where ____________needs it. Bless ___________ hands and feet as _________________  does the work that you have called ______________ to do.”

5. Speak God’s blessing over you
We must keep our focus on God and His perspective during this process.  We not only need to pray a blessing over the person we are comparing ourselves with but we also need to pray a blessing for ourselves. When we compare ourselves to someone else, we also start to tear ourselves apart. But we are created in the image of God, He sees us as daughters and sons, and as heirs to His throne. We certainly do not want to speak against who God created us to be. So try this:

God, I thank you that you created me in your image, with your own two hands. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. You know my inmost parts. I thank you God for how you made me and that there is no one else like me, which means I can not be compared to anyone else, I am unique in my own right. Lord, I ask you to keep my thoughts pure, to align my heart with yours, to help me see me as you see me, and to be quick to respond to the Holy Spirit’s voice when He tells me to love who you created me to be and not compare myself to others.

Get to the Root Cause

6. Ask yourself, “Why?”
There may be a reason that you are comparing yourself to others. It may be because of how you currently feel about yourself. It may be that you have become disconnected to God. Perhaps you are harboring anger or bitterness against God, yourself, or another. There can be lots of whys in this scenario, but asking the question will help you get to your root cause.

Join the Movement

7. #Cheerheron
I want to start a new trend. Every Wednesday I am showing women on my Instagram and Facebook accounts that I think my followers should follow. I am using the hashtag #womentofollow, but I am adding the hashtag #cheerheron. Because it’s great to mention women that others should follow, but I want to do more than that. I want to change our culture. I want us to build each other up and realize when we are tearing each other down.  So in sharing that woman to follow, I also want you to speak words of encouragement over her and her calling, (recognizing that God has all called us live worthy of our callings).

Dawn Owens | Live Worthy | Do you have a calling?

8. Celebrate our different gifts and talents
The best part of being in a community is that we are not all the same. Could you imagine what life would be like if everyone looked, acted, loved, served, and thought like you?

Although different can feel difficult, can you imagine how dull and mundane that scenario could be? Oh, I would be over myself fast.

The apostle Paul was extremely passionate about unity in the body, and we know this because he talked about in almost every one of his Epistles. In every message he shared with the local churches he was telling them over and over again, honor each other in the gifts that you have received. Stop comparing one gift, talent, or passion to another. Celebrate the fact that we are all created differently for different purposes.

Balancing Social Media

9. Take a break from social media
The best way for you to stop incessantly comparing yourself to others is to take a break from social media. Yes, you can certainly find yourself in a comparison trap off of social media, but it is not as in your face or this case, screen. If you find yourself in that scenario off-line as much as you do online than I would say stay away from those places, situations, or venues for a time if you are able. Giving yourself a break will also help you give your thoughts a break. Those times will bring clarity and focus.

10. Use your feed as a prayer list
The best way to change the way you think is to go into it with a different perspective. Instead of scrolling mindlessly and finding yourself caught in a trap, use your feed, (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) whatever your social media of choice may be, as a way to pray for others. When we are focused on lifting up friends, family, acquaintances or celebrities, we may or may not know about God, our perspective changes. It’s difficult to compare, covet or have feelings of jealousy when we are lifting up those people to our Father. 

There you have it, 10 ways to help you when you find yourself comparing your life to another.

I have got one more, we’ll call it a bonus, way you can help support someone else and dig into this character flaw a bit further.

You may know that my book Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction just became available for pre-order last week. If not, you want to go check out all the great giveaways and downloads available.

LMON Facebook Pre-Order

Apply for My Launch Team

But now I am inviting women from all over to apply for my launch team. This is an excellent way for you to start learning how your need for approval will affect your relationships. In turn, this keeps us in a place of comparison and effectively taking us out of community. In fact, chapter 6 in the book addresses just that issue.

If helping yourself so you can help others sounds intriguing, then be sure to apply today. We will only be accepting applications until April 2, 2018, and spots are limited.

Join My Launch Team

Questions: Which of the 10 ways was most convicting to you? How will you start to implement it in your daily life?

 

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Secret to Never Feeling Alone | Dawn M Owens

Uncover the Secret to Never Feeling Alone

There are times we can just feel alone in this world. But I have figured out a way you and I can never feel lonely again.

The secret is understanding how you are never alone, because God, who knows you, is always with you.

To that you might wonder:

But, does God know me? Does He really know who I am and everything happening in my life right now? Does He hear my prayers, know my struggles, see my pain?”

These are all questions we wonder about no matter where we are in our faith journey.

If you are at the beginning of your journey I want you to know that this is a safe place for you and I personally welcome you here to explore. If you are a believer but are struggling with those questions, my guess is there have been some significant challenges you have been wrestling with lately. I understand and hope we can walk through this post together.

Or maybe you are thinking, “Of course He does, God knows everything.” I hope you too will continue on with me as we talk about this topic and what it means in our relationship with Him.

Now that we have an understanding of who might be here in this space with us, let’s dig into this idea that you never have to feel alone or lonely because God not only knows you, He sees you and hears you, too.

The Secret to Never Feeling Alone | How to Not Feel Lonely

There are times when we can think we are all alone in this world, even when we are standing in a crowded room. There you are, people swirling around you, a buzz in the air, and yet, you stand unknown, unseen, blending into the wall.

Lonely.

Because of it, we can apply our perception of people and assume it is the same for God. After all, if people who exist right before our eyes can pass us by so easily, wouldn’t it be true of a God who can seem so far away?

Perhaps. Or perhaps He knows everything about you…who you are, why you exist, what your purpose is, who you are meant to be.

Everything.

In fact, I’d like to suggest to you that there is nothing He doesn’t know about you including when you are feeling lonely.

You are Never Alone: He Knew You From Your First Breath

In Psalm 139: 13-14, King David says,

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,

God knows you because He is the one who created you, knitting you together you in your mother’s womb.

Can you even begin to conceive what it might be like to have God hand-crafting every essence of you — your veins and organs, your blood platelets and cells, your DNA and every molecular structure inside of you.

He created your skin and hair follicles, He decided on your skin tone. He chose your eye color, bone structure, and the color of your hair.

There is no part of you He did not put together for reasons and purposes only He can understand.

You are Never Alone: He Knew You As You Grew

And then when you were launched into this world kicking and screaming, later growing into a toddler, a teen and eventually an adult He watched you…your first steps, your stumbles, and falls. God knows when you are lonely even when you are not completely alone. He has seen it all from your first breath until your last when you’ll stand before Him in glory.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. (Psalm 139: 1-4)YNever Alone: He Knows You Now

Even now, as you sit and read this blog, wondering about His knowledge of you, He sits and watches you. As David said, perceiving all of your thoughts. It’s a wonder isn’t, when we consider the God of the Heavens, wants to know us and is that near to us.

The other day I was reading in Exodus and this idea struck me again, the reality of His holiness — a perfect God caring so much about us that He would even want to know us, want to hear us, want to consider our needs, our wants, our desires.

Even though we fall short of Him. Deny Him. Curse Him. Forsake Him.

He loves us so much, He pursues us anyway. Believing that we’ll turn from our sin and see Him.

You see He said that same thing to the Israelites who were in Egypt. They had thought God had forgotten about them. After all, they were being oppressed as slaves by Pharoah. Every day they had to do hard labor for Pharoah, helping him build up the city of Egypt.

In Exodus 3:7-10, NIV God is speaking to Moses, but it is an excellent reminder for us today:

 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard     them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

He sees, He hears, He knows and He rescues us

The God of the Universe. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Alpha and Omega.

He sees you. It says it plain as day in verse 7 – He has seen the misery of his people and He still sees your life today.

He hears you. Their cries reached His ears because of their slave drivers, their oppression, their struggle. Your cries, your prayers, your struggles…He sees them just as He saw the Israelites years ago.

He knows you and is concerned for you. He created you, in your mother’s womb. Of course, He is concerned for you. But in this case, in verse 7, He says in relation to their suffering. Whatever you are going through…in your loneliness, in your anxiety, in your marriage, or at work…He knows you and He is concerned for you.

He rescues us. In this case, Moses is the one He is sending to set His people free. But hundreds of years later He sent His Son Jesus to not only rescue us but to die for us.

You never, ever have to feel lonely, again. He is with you. 

Why Does It Matter?

All of this does beg the question – Why does it matter? What difference does it make whether I feel lonely or whether God knows me?

To that, I would say, EVERYTHING.

You see, understanding that God knows you changes things. It changes how you perceive the world. How you understand yourself, how you would interact with others.

And it has a direct correlation as to whether or not you feel alone.

I know this because I have experienced it first hand.

You see for years I had struggled with understanding who I am, what I was purposed for, why I was here. I used to wonder if my life mattered and if God even cared. And consequently, I felt very alone at times. At times I felt like being alone was the worst place I could be, left to my own thoughts.  I struggled with needing to have people around me to reassure me because my thoughts told me the opposite.

I was constantly trying to find my identity in other people because I wanted to be like them. It seemed as if they had life figured out way better than I did.

But now I realize, it’s not their approval that I needed. It was God’s.

Once I understood that God knew me, I realized I could stop striving to gain His approval because I had it all along. And then I realized being by myself was not the same as being alone. And worrying about what everyone else thought, was only keeping me from living out my calling in Him.

I can stop striving for God's approval because I already have it.
.

You see God placed in us a desire to be approved, to receive affirmation…but we warp that and instead of realizing we have received it from Him, we seek it from those around us.

In doing so we fall prey to people- pleasing, insecurity, rejection, and issues with control and anger thinking that we can figure it all out on our own, rather than recognizing the fact that who we are, our entire identity is wrapped up in Him.

Like Me Or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction

In a few months, my book Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction will be in the bookstores and you will be able to learn all about how to deal with the struggles of living in 2018 with all the beckoning of social media to make us feel valued, worthy, and wanted.

You’ll hear my story of how I learned who I am and how I had to overcome some pretty big hurdles in my ego and pride, to understand my addiction to people’s approval would have long-term effects on my relationships and my ability to live out my dreams.

You will be able to dig a little deeper and do a bit more self-analyzing of how this addiction has crept into your life and affected the way you view yourself and the people around you.

But if you are already wanting more, I have a special offer for you today.  Because right now, you have the opportunity to pre-order Like Me or Not, before it even hits the stores.

And when you do, you’ll not only get your copy earlier than everyone else at a discounted price, but you’ll get some freebies and a chance to win an incredible VIP Experience on the Fall Outcry Tour for you and a friend AND you’ll get to meet ME!

Now, this experience is so VIP, you cannot purchase it as it is not for sale…EVER.

But will only available until the book comes out in the stores on May 15th so you don’t want to miss out on this once in a lifetime chance to win these exclusive VIP experience for the Fall Outcry Tour.

And if you pre-order your book you’ll also get instant downloads of:

  • The first three chapters of the book
  • A choice of two lock-screens
  • A gorgeous print with 1 Peter 2:9

Like Me or Not Pre-Order Information
All you need to do is go to one of the online sellers listed on the pre-order page to purchase the book. Then, go back to the pre-order page, enter in your receipt and you’ll be entered in to win the exclusive VIP experience for the Fall Outcry Tour and you’ll get access to all those great freebies listed above!

Now here is the deal, the exclusive VIP experience from Outcry, isn’t even live on their site yet as they are still finalizing speakers and bands, but I can promise you this, you will not be disappointed! Outcry always has an amazing lineup. You can check out the Spring Outcry Tour here.

All Proceeds go to The Link of Cullman County

Oh and for every book that you purchase (pre-order or otherwise) all of the proceeds will be going to help break the cycle of poverty through The Link of Cullman County. You read that right, I have donated all the book proceeds to the cause of relational ministry to the poor.

In fact, while we are talking about it, if you want to donate a book for someone to take a Like Me or Not class with us from the jail or through our facilities you can do that too! If you decided to purchase (now or later) you can have it sent to 708 9th Street SE, Cullman, AL 35055.

My heart for the Like Me or Not book is to equip women all over the world (no matter who they are, what they have done, or how far they think they are from God) with a tool they can use to battle the enemy who wants to kill, steal, destroy what God has given them.

This book, whether in e-form or paper, is meant to be a weapon of destruction for the powers of darkness. Gifting this to someone who can’t afford it now, offers a chance at freedom, they may not have otherwise.

Pre-Order Now

You Never Need to Feel Lonely: God is With You

No matter where you are at in your process of understanding who God is and How He knows you, you can know you are never alone.

Hebrews 13:5 says:

“Never will I leave you, never will I  forsake you.”

Genesis 28:15

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

When you understand who you are and whose you are, you will never feel like you are alone again.

Question: Do you struggle with loneliness? If so, when are the times that it bothers you to be alone the most? On what occasions do you feel lonely? Comment below and let’s chat about how we can encourage each other to seek the Lord when we feel alone.

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Dawn Owens | Live Worthy | Do you have a calling?

Calling: How To Know If You Have One?

“Do you have a calling?” Better yet, what is a calling and how do you know if you have one?

When I was a child, I had two dreams: I wanted to be a Mom and a Teacher. I would line up my dolls and my younger sister in our playroom into desk lines and teach them a chosen curriculum for the day

Later, I would feed, bath, and dress the same crew and ready them for bed. The same way any mother would.

And though there is much truth in those early years of who I have become today, does that mean those roles have become my calling?

I’d like to suggest the answer to that is no.

But before I get to the reason why, let me share with you the scripture verse that will guide our conversation.

It is Ephesians 4:1-3 which says, 

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Dawn M Owens | Live Worthy | Ephesians 4:1-3

The author of Ephesians, Paul, is making a huge statement here to the church at Ephesus and us as believers today.  If you put this verse into the context of defining calling by our dreams or the careers we might someday fulfill, it would be a particular and finite use of the word calling. However, I don’t think Paul was implying a vocation, as much as he was suggesting something much more significant than that.

The Worth of Your Calling

I’d like to offer that the value placed on the word “calling” is much larger than we may realize. Check out the words prior to the word “calling.” Paul says, “live a life worthy of the calling.”  The word “worthy” has a value associated with it that we can skim by if we are not careful.

When translated into Greek, the word “worthy” is axios.  This means weight, assigning a matching value (worth-to worth), and my absolute favorite definition:

as the assessment in keeping with how something “weighs in” on God’s balance –
a scale of truth.

This statement implies that your calling is on a balance of the same equal value or worth to God’s truth.

Worthy Image_FB Cover

I think it is safe to say, though it is important to us to have a vocation, Paul is speaking of calling that has much more worth than a specific job.

Your calling has more worth than a vocation. #calling #purpose #worth

The Blessings of Your Calling

So what is Paul telling us about the calling that we have received?

Let’s go check out that word calling in Greek too. Why not, right?

(And by the way, you can do this on your own. I am using a great website called Bible Hub. I love it for all things translation. Little secret, I get a little geeked out about finding words that have a more substantial meaning in the Hebrew or Greek than what we use in English.)

In the Greek klésis means:

calling; used of God inviting all people to receive His gift of salvation – with all His blessings that go with it

Oh.my.goodness. I love that so much.

Do you hear what God is saying to you and me in the definition of calling? Oh to be able to speak Greek, always.

God is saying to us; I am inviting you to accept my gift of salvation, that one where I sent my Son, Jesus to live a sinless life. He lived fully man and fully God. Then He took on all the suffering and all the sins of the world so you could LIVE. And not just live, but live eternally with me in Heaven.

But that is not all! Oh no, there is MORE.

Not only do you get the gift of salvation which includes eternal life, but He also washed your sins away (you know that gossip you said yesterday, those little lies you told the other week, maybe that big sin you committed in the past). And if we stopped there, that would be more than enough. But He also clothed you in righteousness AND gave you ALL His blessings to go along with it.

Say what?! It’s like winning the 5.3 million dollar jackpot, and then them saying, wait there is more, and more, and more, and…

Because here is the deal, God’s blessings…they are abundant.

Which brings us back to why there is no way that Paul is only suggesting your vocation. You’ll find the same word in several other scripture verses where the use is broader. Here are a few examples:

Romans 11:29, NIV
…for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable

2 Thessalonians 1:11, NIV
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The Character in Your Calling

Now that we understand there is immense worth in our calling, there is a blessing beyond our calling; we need to know in what ways to live our calling.

This may be the most challenging part.

Because I don’t know about you, but what Paul lays down here are the ways you and I should exhibit, some pretty high standards:

He says in verses 2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Humble, gentle, patient, bearing in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…goodness, I am out of the game starting at humble.

I mean, I don’t know about you, but these are not natural character traits for me to accomplish every day.

And if you thought you might be able to get away with the “bearing with one another in love” let me just mention in the NLT it says it like this “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Yeah, I’m out too. 

So what are we to do?

Allow me to offer a few suggestions.

Living Your Calling

First of all, this is not a do-them-all-or-you’re-out deal for you Type-As out there. So take a deep breath.

Second of all, Paul said he is urging us to live a life worthy of the calling. In his urging, he recognizes the struggle. I mean, he is the one who talked about the thorn in the flesh, right?!

Third of all, we can use these as they are needed. The more we recall these words in our mind and speak them out of our mouths, the more they will start to be exhibited in our lives.

Making Your Calling Worthy

My words of the year this year are LIVE WORTHY.

When I felt God leading me to those words, it was out of the verses here in Ephesians. But months before that, I wrote a book, and in the sixth chapter, I talk about how we get stuck in comparison rather than building community. I used Ephesians 4:6 as my scripture of teaching.

God had planted the seeds for this scripture verse and then later was going to hold me to it.

PageHeader_LMONcomingsoon

A few months later, I was struggling with defining who I was as a ministry leader apart from my everyday role as the Founder/Executive Director of The Link of Cullman County. It can be a slippery slope when you lead something and allow your position to define who you are.  And God led me back to these verses yet again, to teach me that my calling has nothing to do with what I do in my vocation. It has everything to do with how I live for Him.

So the way this looks for me: I take one day at a time.

One day at a time where I am learning who I am in Him. In that one day, I can believe for all those blessings that are part of the invitation of the call. Blessings which includes being humble, gentle, patient, bearing with one another in love.

And then how I am seeking unity with others as I serve the world around me.

As I do that I assess if I am doing that with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with others in love.

Some days I get some of them right, other days not as much.

But tomorrow is another day, and I will try again. And so can you.

Your calling is so much more than your vocation, a dream to be a something or a someone.

Your calling is how God created you to worship Him, serve Him, honor Him, and give glory to Him in everything that you do.

What Will You Do With Your Calling?

How will you start to live out your calling today differently than you did yesterday?

Comment below and let’s talk about how we can all live a life that is worthy of the calling we have received.

7 ways to overcome discouragement

7 Ways to Overcome Discouragement

Normally I am an upbeat, happy-go-lucky, very positive person. But this past holiday season, I battled discouragement something fierce.

I am not sure if you have ever experienced times like these where you felt like you just couldn’t shake that feeling. That icky, I don’t feel like myself, but I don’t know why feeling?

In my case, it made me want to start isolating myself; steering clear of social gatherings. I wanted off social media because watching everyone’s life was only making matters worse. All the while I was praying, reading my Bible, and attending church. But, nothing I was seemed to do could shake off how I was feeling. I was stuck in a battle with discouragement and I could not fight my way out.

It was frustrating. Lonely. And emotionally draining.

So what happened? How did I overcome this overwhelming feeling of discouragement to start being able to be engaged in the world again?

Here are the seven ways I overcame discouragement:

  1. Tell someone. First of all, I took a leap of faith and confessed my emotional state to someone I trusted.
  2. Let them share the truth. Sharing how I felt with someone else allowed that individual to speak truth to my situation. As I shared my fears they reminded me my emotions do not determine my actions, nor do they always align with God’s truth.
  3. Encourage your faith. That, in turn, encouraged me in my faith in a God who was bigger than my circumstances in the moment.  In recognizing, God was able to overcome my situation, regardless of my emotional state, it led me to number 4.
  4. Make gratitude a habit. Discouragement is the exact opposite of encouragement. I knew God had done a lot in the last year, I journal about it all the time. However, when I started keeping a gratitude journal it helped me keep the highlights rather than making me dig. I have praise reports accessible and easy to access for the days that aren’t as rosy as others.
  5. Speak God’s Word over your circumstance. The Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21, KJV). As I read God’s Word and found promises of who I was or what He was capable of doing, I started speaking God’s Word over me and it caused me to believe God despite my current emotional state.
  6. Let them pray. A huge turning point for me was when I made a confession of my struggle to my team at work. Once I shared how I had been battling this for some time, and what felt like a very lonely place, they surrounded me and prayed over me. I believe God responded to my humility and brokenness with His love for me through the prayers of His people.
  7. Learn who God is. I decided at the end of the year to embark on reading the entire Bible in 2018. I have never accomplished this before nor is it a goal I usually set. I like to consume slowly and leisurely rather than for the sake of hitting markers. However, I decided if I was going to take this one it was going to be for one reason, to know God more. When I started reading the Bible to get to know God, my emotional state changed. The way I approached my day and the people around me shifted. I was no longer consumed with thoughts about me, but rather consumed with God.

So there you have it: Seven ways I overcame the battle with discouragement and you can too.

Overcome the battle with discouragement with these 7 tips. #hope

What do you think? Do any of those ways help you in your struggle? Comment below to share which one(s) help you the most.

Check out my last few blog posts:

Why I am A Professed Approval Addict

Hope: How Badly Do You Want it

Want to get updates on when my book, Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction (Worthy Publishing, 2018), will be released? Subscribe to my email list.

Why I am a Professed Approval Addict

I am an approval addict. There, I said it.

“I AM AN APPROVAL ADDICT!!!” Goodness, that feels good. It’s empowering to own up to the things we struggle with, don’t you think?

Being an approval addict began as a child, for me and intensified over the years. Now, in the age of social media, it only exacerbates the problem. I have the constant temptation every time I make a post to see if people “liked” my post, left a comment, or the ultimate compliment, “shared” my content with their followers.

Maybe I am the only one to deal with being an approval addict, but my guess is on some level you too are challenged with wanting, really needing the approval of others.

How do I know this?

We were all created with a need for approval. As image bearers of God, He created us with a desire to be fully known, and fully approved by Him. But, here is the good news.

“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7)

Did you catch that last part? Let me repeat it, “God favors what you do.”

He. favors. you. Gosh, I love those three words.

But here is the problem, as much as He has set our hearts to be approved by Him, we get it all mixed up.

We take the desire God gave us for heaven, and we set our sights on earth. #approvaladdict

We warp the pure relationship we could have with Him which is healthy, honorable, and true and exchange it for one that will never be able to fully satisfy our needs.

We seek the approval of those around us. In our homes; at school; in our workplaces and online.

We put more value in what the person on the other side of the screen thinks of us than honoring the God who created us.

In the core of our addiction, we have a slew of challenges wrapped up in packages of people pleasing, insecurity, jealousy, control, and anger, just to name a few. When we let it all pile up we isolate and become depressed. (Fact: People in depression and taking depression related medication have hit epidemic proportions.)

It’s been years since I admitted I had a problem. Since then God has taken me on a journey to learn how to overcome this addiction to approval, and though I am not completely healed, yet…I believe I have some wisdom I can share with you. 

This is why I have written a book called Like Me…or Not: Overcoming the Addiction to Approval which will tentatively be in bookstores this summer (2018).

So why would a self-professed approval addict, ever go through the intense approval-seeking, platform building and editing-process of publishing a book and announcing this inner-struggle to the world?

You.

You are the reason why I am professing I am an approval addict to the world.

You are why I just spent the last year pouring out my heart over what was once 65,000 words, now chopped down to 57,000 words and by the time my editor at Worthy-Inspired gets through with it, it will be less than 50,000 words. (Talk about having to be willing to let go of your need for approval. Ouch.)

You are also why I am subjecting myself to the daily temptation of seeking approval by posting online, writing blogs, finding speaking engagements, and sharing some of my most vulnerable moments with the world.

I am doing all of this because I know there is strength in vulnerability. We can find unity in our weaknesses. And that maybe, just maybe, as I share my struggles you can feel the freedom to share yours.

Why I am a Professed Approval Addict @dawnmarieowens #approvaladdict

Does any of this sound interesting to you? Great! Because now, I am going to need your help. It’s one thing to write the book. It’s another feat to find an agent to represent you, and then to get a publisher that is interested in publishing the book. As if that is not enough, now I have to figure out how to sell the book.

But, that’s where you come in.

So, here is what you can do to help. If you aren’t already, start following me on one of my social media platforms through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I also am starting to have a presence on Pinterest.

You will also want to sign up for updates because I know you want to be up-to-date on all the new book information. So stop reading now, and subscribe to my blog emails. You can do that on the right-hand side of the page. That’s all I need you to do for now. (Unless of course, you would like to happen to share some of my blogs, my posts, my tweets, or pin images to your boards.) The key now is for me to start sharing with everyone that I can that I wrote a book and help others know they can find answers if they read it.

The key now is for me to start sharing with everyone I can that I wrote a book about overcoming the addiction to approval and how it can help others know they can find answers if they read it.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share with you the back story of how God opened up the door for me to get my book published and how I had to battle my approval addiction at every turn.

Even if you don’t ever want to publish a book, I promise you’ll learn a few things from my missteps, which will help you not only understand more about your need approval. But, it will also teach you how to deal with those everyday challenges us approval addicts need to learn how to face head-on.

Let’s start off our journey together nice and easy, shall we? Tell me who you are, where you’re from, and why you feel like approval addiction is an important topic for us to cover in this day and age. Share below so we can all engage together and we’ll know none of us are alone.

Want to check out my last few posts?

Hope: How Badly Do You Want It

5 Ways to Lose Hope