Coping with Stress and Pressure

“When you are feeling under the pressure of life, be careful not to lose your way, your faith or your identity.  When I see the word “pressure”… I see two (2) words, PRESS and SURE.

The heavy weight of maintaining your family, business, ministry, job, studies, finances and meeting deadliness can PRESS down on you so hard that you can begin to question God and yourself.  You could begin to ask, “Are you sure God I’m supposed to be doing this? Are you sure I am anointed, blessed, talented, covered, called and destined to do this?  The phone isn’t ringing. The sales are slow. My progress is slow.  I feel stuck.  No one seems interested in keeping the family, the team, business or ministry together. You may begin to question yourself under the pressure and ask yourself, “Am I sure I can do this?  Am I sure God will show up?  Am I sure things will work out?  Am I sure I am qualified and ready? I’m not sure I can cope and handle this difficult situation.

When you are confused and discouraged because of the pressures in your life you could begin to give up.  You could easily give up your calling or decide to change your direction and do something different because your identity in God has been stolen.

These questions under pressure can cause you to experience Identity Theft.  External and internal voices, feelings and situations can cause you to lose your confidence and trust in God and trust in yourself.

   The term “identity theft” comes from the escalating criminal acts of finances, identification and credit being stolen. Those who fight against identity theft and arrest the criminals, warn people to do three (3) things to avoid identity theft.

I think the three steps can also be applied to protecting your spiritual identity. 1) DETER – minimize risk and safeguard important information and documents.

2) DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.  3) DEFEND your identity and alert creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts.

Everyone needs to realize they are vulnerable to financial and spiritual identity theft.  Thieves are cunning.  They study your habits and routine.  They look for easy access to your information.  The enemy knows when you are feeling down, discouraged, hopeless and dePRESSed.  The enemy knows when you are vulnerable.

When it comes to proactive steps to protect your spiritual identity 1) DETER – minimize risk by protecting your heart and who you share your time, dreams, goals and conversations with.  2) DETECT suspicious activity by monitoring on a regular basis your relationships, what you say, how you feel and what you believe. Check your spirit to avoid depression, pity parties, sabotaging behavior like shame, guilt and procrastination.  3) DEFEND yourself.  Block the enemy from stealing your joy and purpose.  Before you slip into darkness and want to give up, remind yourself who you really are in God.  Speak your declarations and affirmations.  Proclaim again that you are worthy, qualified, blessed and resilient. Go for it.  Stick with it.  Don’t let internal or external enemies discourage you with doubt. Defending your dreams and goals is like hiding a priceless jewels so potential robbers won’t find them and steal them. Defend your purpose and those dreams and goals which are precious to you.  Defend and protect your identity in the Lord.  You are who God says you are. Encourage yourself and defend your worthiness, talents, dreams, purpose and faith in God.  Read Psalm 139:17-18 and remember how precious you are to God.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always  be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” ~ by Jewel Diamond Taylor

Jewel’s book “Thank You Lord I Don’t Look Like What I Have Been Through”

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EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Helplessly watching my son fade away in pain from cancer so quickly, I know we were all in a battle to save his life. We were stressed, weary, in shock, sad and felt helpless and disoriented. These are the same symptoms that describe what military soldiers feel when they return home from battle, especially when the events felt unpredictable and uncontrollable. Their anxiety is called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I don’t look like what I have been through.  Because of God’s grace I have “post-traumatic strength.”

The amazing gift of grace that I have experienced and want to share with you is that…even though I went through the most stressful and painful battle in my life (my son dying from cancer), I have not experienced post-traumatic stress. God has given me post-traumatic strength! I am resilient. I’ve been able to remain productive through my tears. Yes, there are overwhelming moments of feeling empty, nauseous, sad or bewildered… but I’m still standing. My faith was not robbed. I realized that the Lord can be with us where family and friends cannot. When you have grown in God’s grace through a spiritual battle you receive the gift of spiritual transformation. You begin to realize bad things do happen to good people. We will suffer in life. Strength comes from realizing you don’t have to suffer from your suffering. My spiritual transformation and feeling raw in my vulnerability revealed some insights which gave me strength instead of stress.

Through the bitter and sweet, the joy and pain, the bad and the good… we must learn how to ACTIVATE our faith in and out of season. We must learn how to MOTIVATE ourselves so the enemy does not overtake our gratitude, joy, health, peace, faith, hope, praise and trust in God. We must learn how CELEBRATE each day with thanksgiving, love, service to mankind and forgiveness. ”
Each time that I’ve been stretched to grow beyond my comfort zone, God was there. Each time I was stretched; I tapped into my power of creative problem solving, my flexibility, my sense of humor, my intelligence, my ability to let go, my inner strength and yes, stretched to give, be and do more than I ever knew was possible. I don’t look like what I have been through. And you don’t have to look like the abuse, dysfunction, grief, stress, sickness, struggle or heartache you have been through.

Life circumstances may be pressing you right now. Are you going to allow your challenges to stop you, stress you, strengthen you or stretch you?

Life circumstances may be pressing you right now. Are you going to allow your challenges to stop you, stress you, strengthen you or stretch you?
Miracles happen every day. Don’t let the spirit of defeat, depression and disappointment rob you of the wonder, blessings, favor, love and supernatural breakthroughs God can bring. God has given us the divine power to demolish strongholds. He is Baal-Perazim. He is the God of Breakthroughs. He wants to see us free. He wants to see us victorious, but we have to “grow” through the process.

I have been a Life Coach to hundreds of women over the years. I have heard painful stories of dysfunction, divorce, debt, disappointments and dreams deferred. Some of their stories sounded like mine. So many women, including myself, became burned out and had to WAKE UP to sadly realize we have been; asleep… living on auto-pilot… sleep walking through love-less marriages… struggling with child-rearing… grieving the loss of a parent child or friend… being silent suffers never speaking up… settling for a part-time relationship… tolerating selfish friends/relatives… walking on eggshells people-pleasing and just getting by hoping our man would change, our job would get better or our lives would just magically get better. Waking up and recovering from an emotional hangover is bitter and sweet. You can feel shocked and ashamed. But you also will feel free and finally exhale. You begin to breathe new oxygen. You begin to create a new normal for yourself.

Spiritual Mood Swings

At some time in all of our lives, we will experience suffering, inconveniences, heart ache and stress. If our faith is not built up, we can find ourselves bi-polar in our faith.
I admit there are times when my faith is extremely strong and unwavering. There have been times when my faith swung to the extreme and doubt, fear and worry crept into my soul and attitude.
I can relate to the apostle Paul who wrote in Romans 7:19 how he felt confused and double minded about his actions and faith. Do you ever go from one extreme to another extreme in your moods, feelings, beliefs and faith? Have you ever gone from peace to stress in 0 – 60 seconds? Have you ever said you were going to forgive someone, stop feeling angry or stop worrying about your children, health, finances or job? Have you ever thought that because you were in a season of suffering that God had forsaken you? Has trouble ever knocked on your door but your faith did not open the door? Have you ever started the day off in peace and then something happens on your job that causes your mood and faith to swing to the extreme? Do you only have faith and peace when everything is going well in your life? When “shift happens” in your life, does your faith shift to doubt, anger and worry? Does your “pendulum of thought” swing back and forth exhausting you and robbing you of rest, peace and faith in the Lord?

James 1:8 reminds us that being double minded and indecisive makes us unstable.
As I encourage myself each day…I want to encourage you also to avoid being bi-polar in your faith. If someone is diagnosed as mentally bi-polar they are usually given some medication (which has side effects). However, to be spiritually bi-polar I prescribe meditation, not medication. When we meditate and pray, the only side effect is that our peace, rest, joy and faith are restored. We must practice this daily not just when we are in a storm or on Sunday at church. Daniel prayed three times a day and was delivered from the lion’s den.

The benefits of prayerful meditation are many;
. Strengthens your relationship with the Lord
. Deepens your faith and ability to surrender to the flow of life
. Increases gratitude and strength to endure difficult times
. Gives you insight and clarity to see purpose through your pain
. You are able to hear from clearly from God what should be your next step.
. You are able to self-correct any negative thoughts or feelings
. Lowers high blood pressure.
. Relieves stress and anger.
. Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks.
. Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems.
. Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior.
Improves the immune system.
by JewelDiamond Taylor, author of “Shift Happens“, conference keynote speaker, women’s retreat leader, women’s life coach “The Self-esteem Dr.

How to See Your Possibilities More Clearly

  “I remember laughing with one of my beloved spiritual Mothers about her vision. She told me that after finally removing her corrective glasses from her cataract surgery, she thought someone came in and repainted her home.  She said everything looked so bright and new.
     That’s what happens when we get our vision corrected.  We begin to see life differently.
     If you have no vision for your future, everything will seem dark and gloomy.  The word of God tells us that, “A man without vision will perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
 how we see things    Let me encourage you to get a new vision for your life this year.  Get clear about your priorities and goals to overcome blurry vision.  Begin to SEE your possibilities and abilities to create the life you want to live.  Begin to SEE that you do not have to allow your past to become your identity.  Begin to SEE that there is life after a break up, divorce, death of loved one, lay off or setback.  Begin to SEE that you can overcome the darkness of depression and hopelessness.  Begin to SEE that you are worthy and courageous enough to take action toward your goals and dreams.  Begin to SEE with your spiritual vision the car, home, graduation, health, loving relationship, recovery, business, ministry, etc.  Begin to SEE your beauty, strengths, gifts and talents.  Begin to SEE that God’s grace and power are within you.  God’s promise over life never changes.  Once you change how you SEE your life, everything will look bright and new.  It is a choice to correct your spiritual vision.    Jewel Diamond Taylor, www.DoNotGiveUp.net

21 Quotes to Get Through Tough Times

1. Tough times never last, but tough people do.  – Robert H Schuller

2. 

3.  Dream.  Let nothing dim the light that shines in you. – Maya Angelou

4. 

5.  Problems grab us where we are weak.  They’re a call to get strong and master that area of our life. – Tony Robbins

6. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. – Mary Engelbreit

7.  Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable. – Theodore N. Vail

8.  Our fatigue is often caused not by work… but by worry, frustration and resentment. – Dale Carnegie

9. 

10.  Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.  – Leroy Satchel Paige

11. “When you’re going through hell …keep going.” Winston Churchill

12.  This…too…shall pass.

13.  It`s not the load that breaks you down, it`s the way you carry it. – Lena Horne

14. Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it.  – Unknown

15.

16. The true test of a person’s character is how they stand during test of adversity.   Are you experiencing a crisis, conflict or unwelcomed change?  These are defining moments which reveal your true character and faith.  Will you be destroyed, defeated or determined to be resilient? ~ Jewel Diamond Taylor

17. The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.  It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

18.  God’s promises He will never leave you or forsake you.  “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19    Put feet to your faith.  You have to get up and walk by faith.  Fear leads to paralysis.  Action leads to satisfaction. ~ Jewel Diamond Taylor

19.

20.  Quitting can become a habit.  Stick don’t quit. ~ Jewel Diamond Taylor

21.
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I’m Tired – Lost My Joy

Pain and suffering are gifts nobody wants.  I’ve come to understand and embrace the fact that life is bitter and sweet.  If we never experience pain or loss, we never really experience joy.  If we never learn how to cope with difficult times, we become hard, cold, afraid, self-centered, defeated, hopeless, overwhelmed and insensitive to the pain of others around us.

We all experience seasons of pain,suffering, delays, loss, discouragement and change.  You may be overwhelmed with your own issues of poor health, financial stress, divorce, unemployment or worry.  Or you may be overwhelmed because you are a caregiver for a loved one living with autism, addictions, mental illness, cancer or in prison.  It’s enough to steal your joy and sap you of your patience, time, energy, faith and finances.  Only those who have a mustard seed of faith, a remnant of hope and strong in their resolve to press on, will survive tough times. Conquering your giants requires you to live with the realities in your life and then empower yourself to take action.  In your exhaustion and suffering, I pray you find a fresh reason to hope and hold on to your faith.   Recognize the need for healing and strength to endure.   For us to receive the healing of emotional wounds, we must first acknowledge that we are hurting (Matthew 9:10-13, Revelation 3:17). Many of us have lied to ourselves as well as to others. We have said, “I’m really O.K.” or “It really doesn’t matter that much.” Or “I am ashamed and don’t want people to know.” Denial can become a habit, your unconscious defense mechanism.  Denial wants to reduce anxiety, pain, thoughts, feelings, or facts that are consciously too difficult to face.

Sometimes life is not turning right, it makes a left turn.  Sometimes your life doesn’t feel just fine (like Mary J’s song says) and you want growth, stability, progress, love, abundance, joy, health and peace.  Awareness and acceptance are the first place to start if you want to be delivered from pain into peace.

What issues in your life are you trying to avoid? i.e. weight/health, debt, loss, anger, abuse, poor choices in your relationships, family secrets, the pain from your past, bad habits that have become addictions, disorder and clutter in your life, employment, your age or fear of being alone?  Assess your stress! You may be asking, “Why do I keep repeating the same mistakes? How do I break this cycle of depression, worry or self-destructive addictions?” Why do I try so hard to get people to love me and understand me? How do I find some peace in my life instead of always falling to pieces? Why am I always comparing my life to others?

If you don’t honestly look at your pattern of behavior and beliefs, your mind traps will become stronger.  You may realize in this season of your life that you are caught up in an emotional and mental trap. You may realize that the source of your unhappiness and stress is your inability to free yourself from the traps.

As you begin to fully acknowledge that you are often ruled by a protective emotional mask and caught up in a trap to cope with life, your transformational process can happen. Do you genuinely want to make your emotional health a priority?  You can learn how to break the toxic cycle of poor emotional health which is destroying families, children, marriages, careers and even communities.

As you decide and commit to assessing, admitting, and reducing your emotional wounds, you will experience “aha” moments, breakthroughs, and new insights to free yourself from self-defeating mind traps. You will feel more clear, focused, alert, motivated, decisive, calm and centered.

The joy of sharing this information cannot be measured. I discovered so much about the mind and emotional traps through study, self-discovery, counseling, prayer and the courage to find my voice.  I began to discover some common mental and emotional traps.

     Rescuer Trap– Because of a parent’s weakness, absence orpush for excellence, a child can grow up fast and become the “little adult” and feels responsible for other family members’ welfare and comfort, and “keeping the family together. This trap makes one feel they must protect their caregivers and siblings because no one else will. This hinders the child from experiencing normal childhood development.

The need to help others even at the expense and risk of your own well-being is the mind trap. You can never say, “no” to someone’s requests. You receive emotional satisfaction playing the hero and the fixer role. The trap of a caretaker is feeling responsible for compensating for their personality-disordered loved-one’s behaviors, cleaning up any messes created by their actions and fixing any problems arising from their mental or emotional issues. Soon resentment, exhaustion, financial stress, poor health and isolation happen because of burnout.

     Martyr Trap– The Martyr refuses to indulge or enjoy even thesimple pleasures of life. As a result they are always victimizing and punishing themselves. The martyr type’s giving is often totally selfish, it’s not heart orientated giving, because the martyr is simply trying to get your attention by victimizing themselves – it’s an attention seeking strategy, selfish and dangerous. Martyrs are people who recognize they are being taken advantage of and choose to remain in the situation. Martyrs often seek sympathy for their plight. They seek support, advice and help from others.

The trap is believing you are stuck in a situation and seem to be unable to resolve it. Martyrs often believe it is their obligation to remain in their position in life. They would feel guilty if they let go of the current situation. They fear taking the risk to change the situation.

Martyrs are “professional” help seekers. They make the rounds of paid and volunteer helpers, advice givers, counselors/consultants–anyone willing to listen to their tale of woe. Unfortunately, they usually ignore the assistance, advice or direction they are given.

      Victim trap – People who are taken advantage of but areunaware of being treated as such. Victims are individuals whose rights are ignored and abused but were unaware that they would be treated in this manner before they entered the situation. Victims often suffer silently for long periods of time before they are able to verbalize the unfairness of their life situations. Victims frequently never seek help. They are often frustrated and lost as to what needs to be done to get them out of their current situation.

      Procrastinator Trap–This person is caught in a cycle ofavoidance. Their mind trap convinces them they more time or that they should wait until everything is perfect before starting. Or the mind trap will collaborate with your inner critic to convince you that you should wait until you are perfect before starting something new. This mind trap causes you to postpone unpleasant responsibilities and situations. This emotional trap is costly because you lose time and opportunities, your health deteriorates, your money, credit, integrity and peace of mind suffer. The procrastination habit is a thief!

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ABC’s for Success

ABC’s for Success

A ppreciate and value your life and dreams.  Life is too short to waste on complaining, procrastination or a pity party. Take consistent steps to create a life of purpose, meaning, success, peace, faith and inner strength to withstand the challenges in life.

B elieve in yourself.  Distance yourself from those who belittle and discourage you. Control that inner critic.   Putting yourself down damages your self-esteem.  Change the voice of your inner critic.  Perfectionism and self-criticism are sabotaging and non-productive.   Don’t be too hard on yourself… yet continue to push yourself towards the next level of improvement.  Sometimes you may not “feel” like doing what you should do; i.e. balance your budget, exercise, school work, build your business, get over the blues or fight the battle of the bulge.  Feelings of apathy, indifference, denial, procrastination, fear and doubt do not serve you well. Stand up and speak up when you feel someone is riding your back, abusing or disrespecting you, judging you, stabbing you in the back or simply doesn’t have your back.  Surround yourself with people who believe in you instead of people who belittle you.  Strengthen your confidence and self-esteem.  There is a difference between being cocky and prideful and having confidence.

C onsider things from every angle.  You have blind spots that can prevent you from seeing possibilities and solutions.  When you are faced with a decision or problem don’t think small and don’t get stuck with a limited perspective.  Practice creative thinking, communicate with others, be flexible, tap into your intuition, imagination and instincts. You can learn to see new ways of solving problems, creating solutions and resolving conflict.

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