I Gave Up Saying Negative Things About Myself For Lent Last Year And It Changed My Entire Perspective

I Gave Up Saying Negative Things About Myself For Lent Last Year And It Changed My Entire Perspective

Before anything else, find yourself, be yourself, and love yourself.
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Lent is a season many Christians practice during the forty days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. This year it starts on February 14th. It is a time of fasting and preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Different denominations have slightly different ways of practicing the season of Lent, but the main practice is giving something up to bring you closer to God. When you find yourself wanting the thing you gave up, you pray, which brings you and God closer.

Throughout my years of practicing Lent, I have given up many things (chocolate, buying songs on iTunes, cokes, etc.) What I gave up last year though, was quite possibly the most rewarding thing I've ever given up.

Last year, for Lent, I gave up saying bad things about myself.

It is sad, but we are taught to find things wrong with ourselves. Society tells us that we're not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. And when society is telling us these things, we start to believe it. It's not healthy for us, but we compare ourselves to others, and we wish to be someone other than who we are.

You might be thinking, "how can you give up something like this?' Here's how it worked- when I caught myself saying or thinking something negative about me, I wrote down one thing I liked about myself, and I could only write each thing down once throughout the season of Lent. This forced me to keep thinking up new good things since I wouldn't let myself repeat.

I wrote over 60 positive things, and there are only 40 days in Lent, so you can do the math to figure out how negative I was. I'll be honest, it was hard at times. It was difficult to think of multiple things a day that I hadn't already written down. We are taught not to brag, so thinking up these positive ideas was challenging. But, reading them back made it so worth it.

I learned that while I can always find things about myself I want to change, it is so much more rewarding to focus on the things I love about myself.

This is how we should live. We should all live a life that exemplifies everything great about us. Because here is the truth-even if our crush doesn't like our picture on Instagram, even if we have terrible skin, even if we don't get chosen for a job we really wanted, the fact of the matter is that Jesus loves us despite every real and make-believe flaw we have. That's the epitome of what I learned. I learned that despite the things I'd want to change, I'm pretty great. And so are you. And so is everyone.

I don't know if you already have something planned to give up for Lent, if your denomination practices Lent, or if you even consider yourself a Christian.

What I do know, however, is that negative thoughts only bring harm, but positive thoughts can completely change your outlook on yourself. If you need something to give up for Lent or are just tired of thinking negatively, I challenge you to give up hating on yourself from February 14 through Easter Sunday (April 1). You won't be disappointed, and you might even end up loving yourself a little bit more.

Cover Image Credit: @thelilacpress

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When God Says, “Not Right Now.”

“God give me faith to wait and not manipulate. To trust You fully, no matter how my circumstances may appear." — Lynn Cowell

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One of the most frustrating yet beautiful things is when God tells us “no" or “not right now."

At the time, you may have agony or desperation for this one thing to work out in your life, but it slips away from you. You may ask God why. Why does He want you to be unhappy? Why does He want to take away your dreams?

At the time, you cannot see how much God truly is working in your life, but He is. In my life, every time that I was disappointed that a plan or dream didn't work out, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in a position where I was challenged and tested. I wanted all the blessings to flow and to fulfill what I thought was my plan in life. But that's exactly what it was: my plan.

I did not see at the time that that is not what God intended for me and that He actually had far greater plans than I did for myself. He needed to mold me into who I am supposed to be today. Along the way I have met the most amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life, have gone through the most amazing experiences with God, and I wouldn't trade going through all the trials because it has truly made me into the woman I am today.

“What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for." – John Ortberg

God is continually, endlessly, working in our lives.

We may not see it, but He is. We may blame God for all the things that are going wrong in our lives, but we never see that in the end, we were supposed to go through the low valleys to get to the high, amazing, and beautiful mountains in our lives.

I truly believe that it's when you're at the bottom of the darkest pit in your life that you can actually see the light of God shining brightly upon you. During these times, pray to Him to lead you to understanding that this is all a part of His plan for you.

It hurts God to see that His child is suffering, but in order to carve out just the person that you are supposed to be, you must go through challenges. Where you are today is no accident. God is using the challenge you are in to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants you tomorrow. When it comes to God's plan, timing is absolutely everything.

Looking back on all the events that I had to endure before getting to where I am now, I know that I had to go through the trials in order to be just who I am today, which is happier than I have ever been because I know God and His plan for me. Waiting is the most difficult job of hope, but you must remain faithful and know that God is guiding you.

“When I wait, you strengthen my heart." Psalm 27:14

When you are waiting for God's righteous plan, don't lose faith in His goodness. He only wants the best for you, and in the end, you will look back and see just how much He truly was working in your life. Be patient and the blessings will flow.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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10 Ways To Take Care Of Your Heart

February is here and it's time to discuss its most important themes: black history and heart disease.

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February is both Black History Month and American Heart Month. Both are incredibly important, especially to me. It's so important for everyone, especially African Americans, to take care of their heart.

According to statistics, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, with one in four deaths being caused by heart disease. In the black community, the rates are much higher, causing 48% of women and 44% of men to die from heart disease. High blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes are all leading risk factors to heart disease.

These are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your chances of suffering from heart disease.

1. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!

2. Know your numbers.

Check in with your doctor to see about your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. If something seems a little high or a little low, don't freak out! Just make sure to ask the questions in order to get them to normal. On the other hand, if something seems high or low, don't ignore it, address it!

3. Watch what you eat.

Talk is very cheap people! We (meaning I) must do better about actually changing our diet and not just talking about it.

4. Take your meds.

5. Lower your stress.

6. Quit smoking.

I mean really, why is this even still a thing?

7. Cut back on the salt.

Yes, that means less processed food and restaurants, I know.

8. Know your family history.

Ask your parents and grandparents what your family health history is like. You never know what could be genetically a threat to your life!

9. Find a primary doctor.

I am guilty when it comes to not wanting to go to the doctor. I am not a fan of any doctors, but that doesn't mean I don't need to do better. Find a primary doctor, but make sure it is somebody you like! The experience is always much better when you actually enjoy your visits.

10. Spread the word. 

Teach your family members, especially your kids, how to take care of themselves and lower their chances as well. A healthy family is a happy family!

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