Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?

Today on my lunch break, I decided to make a quick stop into the local CVS for a few necessities (shaving cream and something to battle these terrible summer allergies!). I usually make at least one stop into the store each week because I get great customer service and the employees are always so friendly.

As I was standing in the checkout line, the man behind the counter begins to tell me how he sees me in the store quite often and asks if I work in the area. I tell him yes and we begin to chat about the city, community, church, local activities, etc. We discovered that we had an “acquaintance” in common, and the man goes on to praise this acquaintance as such a wonderful person that he held in high regard. I stood there shocked and almost speechless because my thoughts about the common acquaintance were…let’s just say, definitely less admirable. So what caused the stark difference in opinion? This man went to church with the common acquaintance, and I knew who the person was out in the world – beyond the church doors. I smiled and nodded, thanked the man for his help, and went on my way.

 

I left the store with a mix of emotions. How could our opinions be such complete polar opposites? Do people view ME that differently outside of God’s house? Am I truly the same person – with the same integrity, same values, same morals, same smile, same heartfelt concern for others, same positive attitude – that I am on Sunday? Would people who know me outside of God’s house say the same things about me as the ones that see me in church each week? I sure hope so. And if not, today is a great day to get my attitude in check and be intentional in living out the person that I strive to be EACH and EVERY day. I don’t want to be the person that puts on her “church face” on Sunday.

My prayer today is that each of us live out our Christian lives on a day-to-day basis so that others may see Jesus in us and through us. We are to be a witness to everyone – the sinners and the saints. Sometimes we forget that people are watching us. Who are you when no one is looking? I want to live out my days like God would have me to live them – for Him and for His glory. I want my friends to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know Jesus. I want them to come to me when they need to be lifted up in prayer. I want strangers to know that I am authentically, genuinely concerned for them and their salvation just by my actions. I want my life to be a walking Bible for the world to see. I want to treat people as Jesus would treat them.

 

So who are you? Are you the person people know on Sunday? Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?

Worth the Wait

I can’t believe it’s been a year. It seriously seems like just yesterday! Almost one year ago, on February 6, 2016, on a hiking trip by a waterfall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jordan asked me to be his wife. I honestly don’t remember everything he said that day because I was too busy smiling and nodding and happy-crying.

I had waited a long time for him. I had honestly reached a point in my life that I had given up on finding a husband. I had finally given everything over to God and told Him that I was content and at peace with it, but if He had other plans, then I would gladly follow. Only a few short weeks passed by, and then I met Jordan.

I had been on some terrible dates before I met him. I had also been on dates where everything “should” be right. You know, where the guy has a great job, nice house, goes to church, treats you well…but you just aren’t feeling it. I would get so discouraged when my family or friends would ask how my dates had gone because I never had good news. I felt like something was wrong with me. Eventually, though, I realized (after lots and lots of prayer), that you just can’t force those things. If a relationship doesn’t come from God and God is not in it, OF COURSE it won’t feel right. God is trying to tell you something when a date (or relationship!) doesn’t go as well as you hoped – He isn’t in it, and that man is not the one for you. I truly learned patience through this process. I learned to trust God and I learned to trust HIS timing.

I feel that so many young ladies settle. They settle for the one they “should” be with according to material matters. They never wait and find the one that was MEANT for them. The one that God made especially for them.

If you are still waiting on your meant-to-be, I encourage you to keep waiting. He’s out there. God has a plan for both of your lives, so the decisions you may make trying to force something that isn’t right will affect not only you, but the man God made for you. I’ll share with you the verse that I clung tightly to during my waiting period.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4.

Cling to Jesus during this time. Wrap yourself with His love, stay in His Word, and surround yourself with His people. Your time will come soon enough. Right now, delight yourself in Him, and He will hold true to His promise to you. Your meant-to-be will come and you will KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is from the Lord. I did. And I am so glad I waited.

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10 Years Later: A Time of Reflection

My ten year high school class reunion will be held on Saturday. THIS Saturday. Wow, how time flies…

10 Year Transformation

Although I won’t be attending the reunion, the mere thought that it’s actually occurring made me begin thinking of just how much has happened in those short ten years:

  • I went to college and after FINALLY deciding on a major graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • I met some of my very best friends
  • I finally got rid of those 90s bangs…
  • …and clothes…
  • I have a career and work with a fantastic group of people
  • I bought my first car
  • I bought my first house
  • I lost 45 pounds and grew to love fitness so much that I became a health coach
  • I am engaged to a wonderful man who truly is better half, and I get the privilege of marrying him in September 🙂
  • I found out that I get to add “Aunt Rachel” to my title this fall!
  • I have learned that “success” is defined in many ways and I continue to strive for it daily in everything I do

Life is just beginning. Sure, it seems like an eternity and just yesterday all at the same time that I walked across that stage in May 2006 and received my diploma, but the truth of the matter is that life has truly just begun. Reflecting back on these ten years makes me realize how precious time really is and that we should not waste a second of it. So my question to you today is this: “Are you spending your time doing the things that matter?” Will you look back ten years from now and wish you had done things differently? I challenge you to stop to take a moment and be honest with yourself. Are you being intentional with your time, or are you just getting by? These ten years have gone by in the blink of an eye.  I can only imagine that the next ten will go by even faster.

And by then, I can only imagine what items will be added to the list! 😉

Stress Management: Tips to Reduce and Manage Stress

To say that I have been a little stressed over the past few months would be an understatement. Between planning a wedding, getting prepared to move, working two jobs, keeping up with the constant housework, and trying to squeeze in time with my loved ones has left me feeling stretched a little thin.

It is during these times that it’s so important to step back and remember that this season will pass soon enough, and I need to enjoy these moments because I will never get them back. Yes, it is busy and chaotic and STRESSFUL, but learning how to manage the stress is key to finding some balance through the busy! Today, I want to focus on my top stress management tips.

 

  1. Get moving!

Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood and make you feel better in general. Spending hours at the gym is not the only way to get your body moving. Almost any form of physical activity can help relieve stress and melt away frustration. To experience maximum stress-relieving benefits, you should strive for 30 minutes (or more) a day of active exercise. If this is too much for you, start small and work your way up. Spend 10 minutes doing speed bursts, such as sprints, jump rope, or just chasing after your kids! Once this becomes easy, add a little more time each day. You can also add in little “hacks” throughout the course of the day to sneak in some exercise, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking your car at the edge of the lot instead of the first available space you see. You will be amazed at the added energy and more positive mind frame you develop!

Once you have incorporated physical activity into your daily lifestyle, try taking on a regular exercise routine. Walking, running, bike riding, swimming, Zumba (or other dance classes), and various aerobic and/or HIIT classes are great choices for beginners. Make sure to pick a routine that you enjoy doing so that you will be sure to stick with it for the long term. If you dread your exercise time each day, you are not helping to manage your stress level. Once you find that “soulmate” workout (for me, it is weight lifting!), you will find that you are more confident, happier, and less stressed overall.

 

  1. Find a support system

I absolutely do not know what I would do without my group! My wonderful circle of family and friends are there to raise my spirits, lift me up when I am down, and speak words of life and encouragement into me when I feel defeated. Sometimes, just having someone to listen to your pain points and problems helps to lighten the load of the burden you have been bearing.

Often times when we are stressed, we find that we isolate ourselves, making stress much worse. Be sure to continue building relationships and stay connected to your support system during these times:

  • Have a girl’s night!
  • Meet for a coffee chat
  • Go see a movie or attend a free concert to get your mind off the matter at hand
  • Call a dear friend
  • Schedule weekly “dates” with your spouse/significant other
  • Try a new fitness/art/dance class

Some of my favorite ways to engage with my “inner circle” is to meet for coffee on a week night with my girls, go out for Mexican food with a best friend, spend quality time with my family, and spend lazy movie nights with my fiancé! 😉

 

  1. Learn how to say “no”

Ok, so I admit – My name is Rachel, and I have a problem saying “no.” I always have. I am one of those “people pleasers” that does my best to be accommodating to everyone and everything and help everyone and on, and on, and on….

Taking on more than you can handle is a guaranteed way to add stress to your life – and can be easily avoided. Know your limits and do not stray from them.  I love to repeat this phrase when I am wondering whether or not it is time to slow down: “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” If you are running on empty, you cannot do anything to the best of your ability. Remove some things off you plate and do not take on more than you can reasonably do at one time. Invest in a planner and schedule out your days. That way, you know exactly how much time you need to do each task and how much time you will have left over in each day. Eliminating the feeling of being overwhelmed will immediately reduce your stress level.

 

  1. “There is a bright side to everything”

My family and friends have heard me say this time and time again, but it is so true. If you look for the bright side in every situation, it makes it much easier to handle. Challenging times will inevitably come our way, but looking for the opportunities for personal development and growth will better equip us when dealing with the same situation in the future. Learn from any mistakes made and move on. Sometimes our choices have nothing to do with the stressful situations in our lives, but we should still take the time to reflect on them and use them as a lesson learned.

 

  1. Take some time for YOU!

As women, we are so concerned with taking care of the people around us, we forget to take time for ourselves. Self-care should be an essential part of our daily lives, especially when we need to alleviate stress. If you are not taking proper care of yourself, you cannot expect to take proper care of anyone else. Schedule your “me” time, even if it is only 10 minutes a day. Go for a walk, take a hot bath, appreciate a warm cup of coffee, watch your favorite TV show, read a chapter of a good book, listen to music – anything that brings you joy and allows you to relax and recharge.

In addition to scheduling your “me” time, make sure that healthy habits are part of your self-care routine. Eat a healthy diet full of real, whole foods and get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful and you are able to use them to eliminate some stress in your own life! Remember, you only get one life to live – make the most of it!

Unleashing Your True Potential (Part 2): Set Goals

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~ Michelangelo

 

I was never a big fan of setting goals. Oh sure, I would spend New Year’s Day writing out a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish during the course of the year. Then six months later, I would find the list and realize that I had not crossed off one single thing. I guess I never really made goal setting a priority in my life because I assumed I would not reach them and that would make me a failure. But the truth is I was failure for NOT setting goals and sticking to them. I was setting myself up to fall short time and time again by never striving to better myself. I was not motivating myself to live up to my TRUE potential in life. I was fine just standing on the sidelines letting life pass me by.

Until one day. One day, I realized that I am better than a bystander to my own life. It was time to get out and live it. It was time to set some goals. Then it was time to crush them.  And now it’s time for you to do the same.

The most important thing to remember when you sit down to set your goals is to keep in mind that these goals must align with your core values. What are the things that are most important to YOU? Spending more time with your family? Getting out of debt? Being a successful business woman? Whatever goals you set for yourself should be paving the way to accomplishing the things that matter most in your life. It is also imperative to keep in mind that these are your priorities – no one else’s. You will never truly be happy trying to accomplish a life that you are trying to live for someone else.

Keep in mind that your goals should be attainable as well. Set short term goals that will set you up for long term success. Make weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals and sit down to reevaluate them as needed. Are you goals still in line with your priorities? Are you still focused on the things that truly matter? If not, it is time to set new ones.

For me, goal setting has been the key to giving me the drive I needed to succeed. Once I sat down and made a list of the things I needed to accomplish in order to live out my purpose and maximize my true potential, I was filled with motivation to keep going. Once I accomplish one task, I cross it off and move on to another. I keep my list posted where I can see it daily to remind myself that I am striving for something more. I continue to dream big because I know that the possibilities are endless. I may not reach a certain goal within a certain timeframe, but that no longer makes me a failure. It pushes me to try harder, go farther, and unleash my true potential.

I encourage you to sit down sometime this week and write out your list of goals. It is never too late to start becoming who you were meant to be – to reach your TRUE potential.

Unleashing Your True Potential (Part 1): Take Risks

“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.”
― Tim Fargo

 

My personal story looks a little bit different from the typical entrepreneur. How?  Have you ever heard of a successful female working professional that started out with absolutely zero ambition?

Up until a few years ago, that was me. I wanted nothing more than to graduate high school, get married, start a family, and be a stay-at-home mom. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wanting those things. I just wanted them because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and that was the “safe” choice. That choice would not force me to put in any hard work. I would not have to chase crazy dreams. I would not have to face the fact that I may fail. For an introvert like me, this seemed like the road that would lead to the happiest destination.

By the time graduation came, I was not dating anyone seriously enough to marry, so college was my next best option. I started taking business courses, even though I STILL was not certain what I wanted to do with my life. I felt as if I was just wondering aimlessly. Not knowing my real purpose and continuing to “play it safe” in my decision-making for my life made it incredibly hard to focus in on finding my true calling.

A few years later after graduating with an accounting degree, I came across an opportunity to combine my love of fitness with my knowledge of business. I had no idea if it would work. I was honestly skeptical. I was relatively shy, afraid of rejection, worried about the opinion of others, concerned about making an investment into something that was not a “sure thing,” scared that I did not have enough knowledge to hold my own, and terrified that coming out of my comfort zone would result in yet another failed attempt at living out my purpose.

But I did it anyway.

You see, who you are tomorrow truly starts with the decisions you make today. Had I not taken the risk to invest in myself and realize just how much I am capable of doing, I would not have a viable health and wellness business today. I would not have met some of my BEST friends. I would not have made an impact on the lives of others by helping them reach their true potential. Taking a risk is scary. Not taking it is even scarier. Are you prepared to live with the “what ifs?” Imagine the possibilities when you step out on faith and see just what you can do. Find that confidence. Unleash your TRUE potential.

 

The greater the risk, the sweeter the reward.