Take Control Of Your Body Composition

Take Control Of Your Body Composition

There is definitely something to be said about our NATURAL body disposition. Read about Ectomorphs, Mesomorphs and Endomorphs here. You could be naturally pre-disposed to one type primarily, or like me, maybe be a mixture of all 3. I love this information because it really tells us how our body builds muscle, uses macros to fuel us and really helps us design effective workouts for our body types! HOWEVER, I really felt the need to share something with all of you today- YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR BODY COMPOSITION. Meaning the way you eat and the workouts you choose will determine your results. There is not a one size fits all! You have a blueprint for YOU and what you eat and how you move your body is up to you. And let me warn you, I am feeling all fired up just writing this! 

So, I am basically going to break down a couple of ways you can start to change your composition. And to be clear-I mean composition in terms of the way you want your look, ASSUMING you want a lean and strong build.  I should probably also mention in regards to the info above about body types-you need to know that you cannot fundamentally change everything about the way you look. For instance, I am a 5’2  ecto/meso who has had 3 babies. My body is not going to morph suddenly into a 5’10 supermodel who is super skinny, NOR will I have had a J-Lo build. BUT there are things you can do right now to make your body leaner, more muscular and have a much higher metabolism! 

1. YOU HAVE TO LIFT WEIGHTS. 

Do you even lift, bro? I know it sounds so meat-headish, but this just isn’t a debate. Ladies, especially as we age, we can no longer rely on our metabolism to trim us up. That is a thing of our teens and 20’s and hormonally speaking, I firmly believe we are remiss to think we can have a good metabolism without lifting. Having children, menopause, lack of sleep and damage we have done to our metabolism with “restrict, then binge” mode can really be turned around with the iron. Muscle burns fat. Period.

And ya’ll hear me say this with all LOVE and RESPECT in my message–you CANNOT do this by using 8 pound weights over and over for years and years. You really need to use progressive overload  to get stronger and grow your muscles. I already hear it coming…”but, I am afraid of getting bulky.” Listen, I get it. But truly, “bulky” is so subjective. What is bulky to one woman is not to another. Honestly, I am not really into super bulky body either-I want to be trim with defined muscles and be able to knock out 100 push ups no problem. I have a good friend who totally is into being muscled up and that’s what she aims for–she wants to have bulging biceps and quads, so she does a ton of traditional weight lifting (bench press, barbell squats, deadlifts, etc.). Let me tell you either way, having muscle doesn’t necessarily mean hulking out. It means you are growing your muscles to an extinct to prevent atrophy-which means you have to challenge your muscles all the time! This is turn, revs your metabolism and puts your body into a fat burning mode. So, pick up the weights-you can start light, but you MUST increase and challenge as time does on. This will change your body.  

2. You Need To Eat More.

This is so huge, you guys. We are so sadly misinformed as a culture that deprivation is what it takes to be fit. A calorie deficit works for a time, but always leads to plateau, re-weight gain, and effed up metabolism. It is absolutely ESSENTIAL to be eating the proper amount of macronutrients. I am not going to go in depth on this right now, because I am actually in the middle of writing an e-course on it (which I am DYING to share with ya’ll!!!), but you need protein, fats and carbs. And you need healthy amounts in healthy food. Not junk, but good food.

And for the sake of simplicity, I want to give you a take away to work on. You need more protein. Women are so often clueless when I tell them how much protein they need in their diet. Protein is the assistant to building that muscle I am so freaking passionate about, it makes you full and it makes you lean. When I coach my clients thru how much protein they actually need in one meal, they literally almost choke to see the amount of food on their plates and how much protein supplements I suggest to them throughout the day. BUT, they see the difference in weeks over their cravings and bad habits. It becomes clear to them that their deprive-binge eating has been the cause of their fat gain all along and it becomes a habit. It’s a beautiful thing, you guys.

As a rule of thumb-try to eat your weight in grams of protein per day. So not to be overwhelmed, start with breakfast only for 2-3 weeks. See what it looks like, see how you have to shop, see how much more satiated you feel. Then, from there, move on to lunch, then dinner. Don’t treat this like a sprint or “quick fix” fad. It’s a marathon! Take your time!!

3. SLEEP.  

Well, isn’t this a treat? I am telling you to sleep more. Sleep is not an luxury-like we have been told. Sleep is essential. And ya’ll, it’s not just for your sanity (thought that is a huge part), it is for your BODY COMPOSITION. Hopefully, you have read my e-book, 10 Habits of Lean People. If you haven’t, please close out of this when you are done reading, and re-visit my site to get your FREE copy. If you can’t get it, shoot me an email and I will send it to you. This e-book breaks down why you need sleep a little more in depth than I will here.

I am so very passionate about sleep. Lack of sleep causes your body to produce cortisol. Cortisol tells your body to “STAY ALIVE” and get nice a plump! Sort of like whale blubber protects a whale from the cold! HA! It also messes with your insulin, which then affects the way your body breaks down carbs. It’s a cyclical nightmare and I write about it all the time-I’m so passionate about it! The first thing I look at when I coach women is how much sleep they are getting. And before I instruct a step further I tell them to find an extra hour and take naps. I realize our mama and work lives are incredibly stretched and it seems like sleep is the first thing to give, but I am here to urge you…say “no” to something else. Would you ever leave your precious Iphone on low battery mode for more than a few minutes? HAAAA! I know the answer to that-NEVER! Treat your body the same way-it’s got to get re-charged and sleep is the only way.

I do a LOT more in-depth coaching on how to work on all 3 of these body-composition changing factors in my Fit & FREE program. You can find out more about it HERE and sign up for our next sessions starting APRIL 3rd!

xoxo, Nic

Fill Your Cup: Getting Out of The Mom Martyr Mindset

Fill Your Cup: Getting Out of The Mom Martyr Mindset

I’ve been talking a lot to friends and clients lately and it seems like many of us are in a season of exhaustion. I have been been encouraging them to find some non-negotiables to put back into their life. A non-negotiable is something that, no matter what the circumstance, you try to have as a daily or weekly part of your life to function effectively and with sanity. Let’s face it ladies, we have a crap-load to do on the daily. And the list seems to multiple as the day goes on! There is always something to do and add to the to-do!

Somewhere along the way, especially observed {for me} in Southern, Christian areas {tho I know it is everywhere}-there has been a great deal of pressure put on women. Heaped upon us, has been the notion that if we are to be a good wife and mother, we have to be last in line and constantly in servant mode and if we aren’t living in constant service to the needs of our children, our spouse, our jobs, our kid’s school, our church…we are “bad” or not fulfilling our womanly duties. Worst part, it’s not really been heaped on us by men or our children–it’s heaped on us…by us.

We are our worst critic. And I think we are critical on ourselves and each other because we feel guilty and not 100% sure in the decisions we have chosen. If the stay-at-home mom scoffs and the working mom-it’s likely because she has felt a sense of loss in herself. If the working mom is touchy about the SAHM-she probably longs for more time at home. Our guilt overcomes us and warps our senses. So, we often feel that the way to justify our decisions is to put ourselves and our self-care on the back burner. Tending to everyone else while running on fumes. This is no way to live. This is what I call The Mom Martyr Mindset. The MMM leaves us exhausted, weary, bitter and often isolated.

So, if you are living in the MMM, I want you to consider a few things. First, I want you to rest in grace. Give yourself a break-emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. It’s ok to not do all the things. It’s actually very ok. The pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect is going to leave us spinning our wheels for a very, very long time. So, speak grace over yourself! Secondly, I want you to think of a few non-negotiables that you have not been allowing yourself to have. Typically, I find that people martyr their sleep first. This is a horrible long-term issue. It’s one thing to have a newborn and be up all night–that is just a rite of passage we all have to get through. It’s another thing to constantly burn both ends of the candle-staying up late to “get everything done” or waking up early to do the same. You need sleep. Your body doesn’t understand what to do when you choose to not sleep. It pumps you full of cortisol to rescue you, and thanks, but no thanks-cortisol makes you gain weight. One of my non-negotiables is to get enough sleep. I wake up at 4:45a three days a week, but I will make sure to nap on at least two of those days. And my weekends are sacred to sleep in. Sometimes, it even means going a few minutes late to my son’s 8am football games. Gasp. You know what? He survives and he knows when mommy shows up, she SHOWS UP ready to cheer her head off for him! My other two NN’s are: time with Jesus on the front porch swing every day & coffee. Together always! I will even put on a show for my 3-year old is she is already awake so I can spend time in the word and re-center. If I don’t, my day is much more likely to crumble. webnicki21

Non-negotiables don’t have to be huge. They can be tiny. Sometimes a nice walk after dinner with the family or alone is all you need a few times a week. Maybe you NEED to READ a book. I talk to women all the time who say, “oh, I used to read, but now I can’t ever find the time.” My advice-find the time! These things that make us tick, fill our cups! The more full the cup, the better you are at your role as a mom! webnicki31

Thirdly, back to the guilt thing. I am in no way asking you to be selfish and put yourself first in every scenario, or go on extravagant vacations alone or indulge your every desire! What kind of a monster would I be to do that {wink}? Finding a non-negotiable will sound and feel so selfish at first if you are deep into Mom Martyr Mindset. Thinking of even ONE non-negotiable will feel like you are asking too much of your family-it will feel self absorbed and indulgent. So, I want you to start in a place where you feel the most depleted and think if there is any way to fill the cup. If you feel like you have been neglecting your body and hate having to put on clothes every day-I want you to consider squeezing in a workout for 30 minutes a few times a week-you can do that by starting with me HERE. If you feel like you are no longer able to be creative as you once were and are missing that part of yourself-I want you to consider politely telling your kiddos that after dinner, you are going to sit in your room for 30 minutes and journal {draw, paint, blog} while they finish homework or get themselves ready for bed {BTW-you will be surprised at what even your littles are capable of on their own}. Put on make up. Get a pedicure once a month. Take a nap once a week. Buy expensive coffee just because it’s your favorite thing–but fill your cup. webnicki25My desire would be to see all mamas out there being ALL IN. I think you can be home all the time and your mind is somewhere else. Or be gone from your family all the time because you want to escape your mistakes and feelings of failure. Either way, I think we are doing ourselves a disservice when we don’t tend to our souls. Small tending-to’s are really going to be helpful to everyone in the end. Remember, we can’t have it all at once-there is always a season for things to let go of certain things and focus on another. Balance doesn’t exist (I wrote more about that HERE). Let’s get out of this mindset that we are martyrs, take care of ourselves and in-turn be ALL IN for our family!

ANNNNND if you REALLY want to journey further along with me, get my FREE downloadable checklist #ActionOverPerfection and join our FB Challenge Group that will begin MAY 1st! Once you sign up, you will receive a THANK YOU prompt with the link to request to join our FB group. For 10 days, we will be spending time in 5 different areas for as little as 5 minutes-taking small steps to consistency in showing up 100%, but not feeling the need to be perfect! My hope is that you will see some significant joy in your daily life as a woman, mama and wife!

 

4 Postpartum Mistakes To Avoid

4 Postpartum Mistakes To Avoid

img_7257The first weeks at home after a baby is born are so sweet…and scary…and exhausting. It’s a virtual reality game with no instructions, no manual and no one blueprint matches everyone. You are just literally taking everything-every question and concern day by day or even moment to moment! And this is not just for first-time moms, it’s for second, third, fourth, etc! Postpartum days are just another way that I marvel at motherhood and the instincts God gave us to nuture. 

Along with all of the new challenges and life changes, come changes in the body. The changes in our body can be totally overwhelming. Trust me, you are not alone. Often we look down and see a stomach that isn’t recognizable anymore-one day it is huge and stretched to the max and literally the next it is a heap of mush! Everything looks AND feels out of whack and I don’t think any amount of preparation reading or advice really prepares you until you are living it. Because of all of these changes, it’s so tempting to want to jump back into a drastic and punishing regimen to get your body back to what it was pre-baby. Honestly, sometimes I think people want their body back in order to gain some semblance of control back in their life- your sleep, daily schedule, work, marriage, relationships, and many other areas of life are unrecognizable. Your body often becomes an object of control {how’d ya like that piece of psychology?}.

While it is tempting to “jump back in”, let me caution you to pump the brakes. It is very true that you can begin your journey back to normalcy too soon. Postpartum is a time of re-centering and re-adjustment. Often times, in certain cases, it takes many months to find your footing. You really need to listen to your body on how it needs to be fueled, recharged and tended to in these tender months.

Here are some mistakes for you to avoid in the early postpartum months:

1.  Too Much Exercise Too Soon.

The postpartum body is a precious and fragile thing. Your body has been through the proverbial “ringer” for nearly a year. There is no reason to expect it to perform to your standards. Even with the 6-week check-up go ahead, your body STILL may need some time. Things to consider: Do you have diastasis recti? Do you still feel a lot of pelvic pressure? Are you totally sleep deprived? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may not be ready for traditional exercises even after the OK from your doc. This is one of those things you have to feel out for yourself. If you have diastasis recti, you cannot do any traditional abs or planks or push-ups, all of which force even more pressure on your separated abdomen. I see so many women years later who could have avoided a bulging tummy if they would have been properly educated!

Suggestions: Take is SLOW. Go on daily walks with the baby in a stroller when you feel your pelvic floor is strong enough. Ease back into your normal routine after 3 months if you can wait that long. Mostly, get sleep. Your body will be producing cortisol and other hormones at a rapid pace, so try to get in ZZZ’s whenever and wherever possible! Sleep trumps exercise in my opinion for AT LEAST 6 months! And always, always, always check yourself for diastasis recti!

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2. Restrict Your Diet.

Notice I didn’t say eat a pint of ice cream every night at dinner either, but especially if you are breastfeeding, this is not the time to go into a caloric deficit. EVEN IF you don’t lose weight {I never did} while nursing. It will be so tempting to eat less, but you really shouldn’t. Your body needs the calories for milk production and hormone regulation.

Suggestion: Eat as you normally would, but add lots of veggies and protein. Experts would say, 500 additional calories. I’m not into the numbers game, but that’s probably a good measure. I like to thing of it as a large protein with EVERY meal, a carb and a lot of vegetables. Have high protein snacks available to you as breastfeeding causes drops in blood sugar levels! img_8892

3. Over-Scrolling On Social Media.

Nothing brings a sleep-deprived, new-bodied, hormonally charged mama more grief than social media. All the women who are in a bikini after leaving the hospital, all the moms who do all the things while you are sitting in yesterday’s jammies eating yesterday’s dinner for breakfast. We are too hard on ourselves. And we don’t want to admit it. The worst is the middle of the night breastfeeding scrolls on Instagram! You are not in your right mind to be comparing yourself to these filtered people!

Suggestion: If comparison and self-doubt is an issue for you-avoid social media for a while while you figure out what works for you. Post your pics of your adorable baby and log-out. This is more of a self-control thing than anything else. Don’t mistake your “likes” for human interaction, which leads me into my last point…

n-194. Staying Home With The Baby 24/7.

Being home caring for others round the clock is a lot of work. It’s also a lot of time to think and dwell. Don’t get me wrong-staying home with littles is one of the gifts of life–FULL of joyful and fun times! I am simply observing that we can loose a little perspective on other areas of our life when we are in constant diaper, tantrum or mini-meal mode. It’s pretty important to find some time that allows you to fill your cup so you are able to continue to pour out all of your might!

Suggestion: This is not to say leave your baby in someone else’s care round the clock-who wants that? I am saying for an hour a few times a week, get out of the house ALONE. Ask your husband, mom, friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your littles for an hour. Spend time in silence with Jesus, exercise, lunch with a friend or your husband, talk on the phone in your car {I do this all the time as a treat!}, go on a walk and listen to something other than Praise Baby…SOMETHING! Your well-being is essential for you to do you. And all though it often feels scary or un-allowed-you have to! I believe a healthy mind leads to healthy habits.

Remember, take your time to get things in order! You will find your groove soon enough-motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint!

Breaking Barriers: Lies Women Tell Themselves {Part IV}

Breaking Barriers: Lies Women Tell Themselves {Part IV}

Today I am leaving with you the final installment of my Breaking Barriers series! I have to tell you, it has been an emotional journey for me to dig into these. I feel like at times, even writing them, the Enemy sprung at me in attack on the very things I was fighting to bring to the surface! So lame and so predictable, he is. I hope you have been able to search your own soul and be set free of the lies that have been creeping in to your own life. I hope in the past couple weeks you have made a few small steps to freedom. That is why I write this stuff, it’s so much more to me than the fitness. It’s the breaking free and seeing a seedling bloom. I get such pleasure watching my sisters to their thing and do it well. With that said, let’s dive into our last lie, expose it, and move beyond it.

Lie #4: You Are Not Enough The Way You Are. 

I feel like my mid-twenties to the about the age of 33, were a little disappointing. It was the beginnings of motherhood, which was beautiful and sacred. But it was also a time of my life where I felt more inadequate than I had ever felt before. It wasn’t the children who made me feel that way, they were charming and perfectly innocent. It was a new part of my life of staying home. Previous to mommy life, I was a social worker and it was quite a fulfilling time for me, actually. Though I saw some of the most disgusting and treacherous, unbelievable life situations-things that I could not believe happen in my own city-I was seeing people be set free and changed every week. People in my agency were pouring into people. It was life-giving. Draining as all get-out, but at the same time, so peaceful and challenging.

The surrounding elements of staying at home was the hard part. There was so much information that I was unaware of, information that I am still to this day not convinced is even necessary. Information of how-to’s and what-to’s and don’t-dos with your children. And there were moms around me creating beautiful decorations and picture books and healthy snacks and blogs. Blogging had just become a “thing”. I started a blog and I instantly loved it. Obviously, writing is an outlet for me. All my life it has been. I found a poetry book from Jr. High and High School at my parent’s house the other day and ya’ll I was about as dramatic as any episode of 90210! The blog sort of consumed me as I quickly saw it was a SAHM’s way to journal and document pictures of their families. Nothing wrong with any of that. I still love my blog. But the depths of insecurity I now realized it caused me, is pretty insane. It isn’t blogging, or other mom’s or their precious families who were to blame, it was my own inability to realize that I was enough the way I was. I turned into someone who I never really was created to be. A crafty, party-decorating, shallow-speaking woman.  I was constantly striving for approval from other moms. Seeking friendships that were not two-way streets and not loving people the way they needed to be loved.

Rejection

I don’t know if men feel rejected as much as we do. Maybe they do. Girls, for whatever reason, have a natural need to “herd up”. Find the people who will accept and love you and latch yourself on to those people. Sometimes those latches are unhealthy, but the feeling of acceptance is the most important thing, so you can’t unlatch because that would be scary. And what if you venture off and get rejected. A little rejection goes a long way. And have you ever felt rejected by people who are not even people you know? People on the internet, who just seem to have it all together–seems like they are screaming from the screen that you’re not part of this club!  It’s madness. Rejection for me in my twenties and early thirties, was not being able to present myself as I was. Loud. Rap-music loving. Opinionated. And honest without reservation. One time, I shared my feelings with a fellow mom about how much I actually DID NOT enjoy the newborn phase. My first kid cried for 16 hours out of the day until he was one. I am not kidding. I candidly spoke up about this and this particular mom looked at me like I had a 4 heads. She nervously laughed and said, “I think it’s the best time I’ve ever had in my life.” Point taken. Mouth closed and from then on, it was FakeTown, USA with me. I would keep up the facade that I was perfectly sweet and free of any sin or hurt or any thing “wrong”. OF COURSE I was not alone. OF COURSE she was just one person who was at the wrong place at the wrong time and OF COURSE there are thousand upon thousands of people who felt just like me who were just waiting to shout “AMEN!! We are PRAYING for the crying, spitting upping phase to be over too!” But, she was the person I divulged to and she rejected me. And at that time, I wasn’t enough. My wall was up for years after that. I was unable to really go deep with anyone for fear that I would eventually be rejected by them when they saw me for who I really was. Imperfect and flawed. Sadly, I think that is truly the way we go about living most of our lives. Loving people at arms length, because what really happened when we all let our guards down?

Comparison

The ol’ thief of joy. We compete as women. We compare as women. And we rarely cheer each other on. I’ve shared earlier how many times I have doubted my abilities because there are so many other people in my area who are doing it so well. They are fitter than me. And eat better than I do in spite of my attempts. Lord knows I try. Their tribe is bigger than mine and therefore, I will surely fail. And on the flip side, I know if they are woman like the rest of us, they feel the same kind of threat from me. Why are we doing this? Why can’t we all stand in unison, in a cheering chorus saying, “Go girl! I KNOW it’s hard and you are doing it! You are freaking doing it all the best you can! And I SEE YOU!!” How much better would that feel to just send a little message to someone who just succeeded in something? She doesn’t have to be your BFF, she can be a peripheral acquaintance, but she is in this too. And do you know what I have learned from comparison and not doing something because “she already is doing it”? There is always room. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is always a place at the table for more.

Status Quo Life is No Life

Hear me say this. That fire in you is who you are. I don’t know what it is, but it is who you are. You are meant to be a game changer and no rejection or comparison or nay-sayer is going to make that go away. If you are hiding in the dark, afraid of being found out, you will never get it, sisters. Do not be afraid of being you and using your gifting to pursue God’s glory.

I do not enjoy working with little children in church/school/teaching settings. For years, I also felt guilty about that. {You see this pattern forming}. “All good, Christian women are quiet, sweet women who enjoy teaching AWANA”. That is what I would tell myself at the sign up table every single year. So, I signed up finally, succumbing to the pressure. Let me tell you. I have never felt so drained and ill-equipped in my life. Suffering for the Gospel was right. And let’s be clear here, there were dozens of women around me who were total bad-A’s at teaching those little peeps the Word! They knew exactly WHAT to SAY and HOW to say it to make those kiddos stand in their tracks and receive. But honey, that was not me. The Lord used me that year. You know what He revealed to me that year? Children outside of my own home are not my thing. You know who are? Strippers. And pregnant drug-users. And young adults struggling through marriage. That is my gifting. And you’re welcome in advance for filling in that gap for those of you who would rather curl up in a ball than do any of that. And huge Thank You from me who will not be at VBS one time ever in the near future teaching the Kindergartners, or any other elementary-aged child! Not gonna do it. THANK YOU! We all play a part in this thing! “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭

We are all enough, you guys. We are all unique creatures. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. I do not want us to criticize each other any longer. I want to see you for your amazing talent and giftings. We do not have to be the same kind of mom as the one who seems to have it all together. Let her have it all together. Heck, maybe she really does!  We do not have to feel bad for liking to have a clean house-I love a clean house! But I also understand that it may not be a priority for you. It’s all good. We have to quit trying to be someone we are not in order to be accepted and heard and successful. We will fail every time. Plus, the things we tend to obsess over are really trivial things in the grand scheme of it all. And then…we all miss out.

So, as I close, I want you to recall every lie I called out and I want you to rebuke it from your life. I mean REALLY call it out by name and specifically state what the lie is. Out loud, in the quietness of your home when no one else is around. Cry out to the Lord that He can set you free from these lies. Here is a guide on what to ask yourself:

  1. How have you been trying to “Have It All”? How can you let go of that burden?
  2. How have you been obsessing over your physically beauty or appearance? What do you need to repent and move on from?
  3. How has your own self-doubt been holding you back from pursuing something you KNOW God wants you to do? It can be big or small.
  4. Who or What are you holding a standard to? If it’s another person, can you let that comparison go? Can you move past the lie that you have to “fit in” in whatever your life situation is?
  5. Is there a wall you can let down to let others in? The wall of not getting close to someone? The fear of being “found out”? Can you pray and ask the Lord to allow you to slowly break free of those walIs? IMG_2714
Breaking Barriers: Lies Women Tell Themselves {Part III}

Breaking Barriers: Lies Women Tell Themselves {Part III}

I am married to a real go-getter. In every sense of the word. Brent is the most visionary person I know. He sees what he wants, makes a plan and goes after it. I mean really goes after it. He loves to take risks and doesn’t focus so much on the “what-ifs” and “maybe I’ll do it when…”, he just jumps in. And that goes for work, friendships, fatherhood, marriage…everything. And if he fails, he quickly picks up and keeps trucking along. It has made him an incredibly admirable person in my eyes. I love to watch him do everything with little reservation. He knows he is able. webnicki45

I wish I could say the same about myself. This next lie was the lie that the Lord placed in my heart to write about. My personal, biggest struggle. It ties to so many other lies, but this is one that sows the seed of fear to pursue just about anything. The thought and belief that you are not talented enough to actually proceed, not smart enough to do it, not loved enough to become. Self-Doubt.

Lie #3: You Are Unable. {Self-Doubt}

I’m always dumbfounded when people approach me to head up committees, speak at gatherings or lead anything. I feel the way you feel when someone is looking across the room and waves and you think they are waving to you. Who? Me? So you sheepishly wave back. No way was that meant for me. I sort of understand it, I guess.  I am a “loud” person by every account. I also love people. I love talking to people and including people. But that doesn’t mean I am able to stand in front of people, organize a lot of things that need organizing and be in charge. Who? Me?

This started at a young age. I didn’t want to play any sports because I watched the people around me, bigger, stronger, more experienced, I would surely be the laughing-stock of the 4th grade. I remember so vividly, watching my Jr. High classmates do multiple back handsprings in the gym. The cheerleaders. The popular girls. Only, I could care less of their popularity, I wanted to do the back handsprings and cheer and dance freely. I confided this in a friend, and she very simply suggested that I learn how to do one. Duh. Of course! So, in the secret of my backyard, I tried a few times. There had to be some trick to it, right? Were they born in a genetic freak pool of play dough? How on earth did they flip over. Defeated at my own attempts, lack of advice or counsel from someone who actually could perform one, I shoved the dream out of the way. I would never be able to train myself to do that. So, I watched on the sidelines for the rest of my adolescence always wishing I was bold enough to keep trying, but never did.

A lot of psychology would say self-doubt stems from people in your childhood telling you “you can’t”, or “you aren’t good enough”. This wasn’t the case for me though. My parents were nothing but encouraging to me. If anything, they always thought I could do it all and wanted me to. This was something the Enemy got hold of in me from the start and ran with. Something that until the past couple of years, plagued me. Somehow, I always felt the fear of stepping out on anything, because I felt I wouldn’t be able and I would fail. FAILURE. I doubted so much. I doubted I could go on to further my education because it would be too difficult, trying out for recreational things, making new friends, the list goes on and on. I doubted myself and feared failure.

Failure sort of gets a bad rap. Seriously, think about the results of failure. In certain bigger circumstances, like job loss, marriages and some areas, “failure” is incredibly difficult. However, how often is our “failure” such beautiful time of growth? A time of learning, self-evaluation, change? Yet, it is so incredibly scary to us to do something out on a limb that we give up before we ever start. We probably won’t succeed, therefore, we just don’t. And in the ‘don’t’ we are safe and sound. But are we fulfilled?

Do you know who my favorite person in Biblical history is {aside from Jesus}? It’s not Noah, or David or Paul, though they are all amazing. The most encouraging person to me, is Nehemiah. He was a cupbearer to the king. It was a job of importance because of the proximity you had to the king, but not exactly a highly acclaimed position. This man is grieved for his homeland when the wall in Jerusalem was torn down. This is something of utmost importance during this time. In his grief, he prays only to the Lord for boldness to return home and lead the re-building of the wall. This was an incredibly tedious process that required so much TIME and money and favor from people in charge. And if you read the story, there was incredible adversity from his enemies, but Nehemiah never once wavered. He never once doubted his ability to rebuild the wall that was of most importance to Jerusalem. He had full confidence in himself, because his leadership was ordained by the Lord. He had no choice but to follow through. From my vantage point, he had no self doubt. Even though there were more “important” officials and stronger men, and people with more architectural experience, he knew his abilities were of the Lord. So he went for it full steam ahead.  A calling (rebuild the wall) birthed out of a deep love for something (Jerusalem). While our callings may never be something of that magnitude, how much can we relate to Nehemiah? I think we are absolutely no different.

When I sent out the question of “what are your dreams and goals” to a small group of women, so many of them were full of the “I’m not sure if I could ever do ____________. But if I could, that would be a dream of mine. ” Honestly, I never saw anything weird, or particularly paramount. All the dreams they talked about looked like something completely attainable with time and effort. And every single one of them was something I saw as a result of a NATURAL gifting that the woman possessed. Not impossible, not a selfish dream…these things are God-breathed. A manifestation of physical matter and gifting that ultimately glorify God.

Facing the Doubt

Like me, you probably have several walls you can re-build.

I faced one of mine a little over a year ago. I have always known I am a good fitness instructor, trainer, whatever you want to call it. It comes incredibly natural to me to teach people about their body and how they can move it. And I love to encourage people, and in the fitness world, this can come in the form of motivation. I know this is in me to glorify God. But I was in a place that was not moving forward. I was unable to be creative, had to succumb to crummy hours and take whatever was leftover from the “veterans” on staff. I was safe and happy. But I was wanting to bust out. The crazy part of the whole thing is that for a whole year previous, I had MY OWN TRAINING SPACE. A large, renovated, loaded space just waiting for me. Who can say that? Not many people. But ya’ll, the self-doubt was palpable. Even though I knew in my heart of hearts that I could do it, I was paralyzed by self doubt. I would never succeed because there were WAY more talented people in my area who already had large followings, people who were more liked than me, I don’t look like a bikini model, have surgical enhancements or the most muscular physique. I don’t think I can keep up with demands. What if the stereo goes out? The mic doesn’t work? The A/C goes out? I spill my water? Ya’ll the excuses were mounting. I was out. I was going to stay in my safe place. I am not good enough to do this.

The Lord had really been working on my heart for months. Just showing me places that I was ready to be, yet I would not relinquish control of. Have I shared with you all enough that I do not like change one bit? One day though, I read something that my mentor put on one of her social media accounts. It read something like this, “Your life will have many chapters. Don’t get stuck on one page.” Funny how weird little things like that can speak to you. I imagine God up there saying, “THAT’s what it took to get thru to you, kid???” Literally, in that very moment. I put in my notice, and started to make my own plan. Since then, I have been able to be creative, be available for my kids, and meet some of the greatest people thru the vessel of fitness. I still struggle with self-doubt on my own. There are days I feel like a total failure to be honest. I want to close up and run for the fear of failure. It’s so ludicrous how quickly the Enemy sneak into your thoughts. Be on guard for that! Don’t expect your journey to be easy breezy because it never is.

Fail Forward

Hear me out, sistas. Failing is ok. Holding back is not. If you sit quietly as your talents and ideas stay mustered up inside, only to be suppressed and feared and then to wither and die-that is not fair to anyone. I do not know what your spiritual state is, or if you have one, but let me tell you, YOU are creation. And YOU are given gifts and abilities specified only to you. It grieves your Father to hold back on your calling because you are afraid to fail. If you fail, learn from it, pick up, and move forward. We can’t all do it right every time, all the time. But how will you know unless you pick up that hammer and start to build the wall?

If you are plagued by self-doubt, I want you to take heart. Look at people around you and trust me when I say, they did not get where they are with the first try. Unless they are unicorns. Their children did not become well-mannered because they sent them to time out for talking back once. Likely, they have built a foundation for discipline and respect in their home. The woman with the successful career did not start at her dream job and wake up the boss. They all kept working at it. Kept going for it. Persevering. What things are going to come out of your moving forward in faith? What if it spawns someone else to brave enough, what if you touch someone’s life by example? So many things can happen when you set aside your fears.

So, what is it for you? What do you feel incapable of? What are you afraid to pursue because you feel too timid to fail? Do you feel something bubbling up inside that you just know in your heart of hearts you can do? Don’t believe the lie. You are so very capable. If you have the seed of a vision, He will carry you the rest of the way. Set fourth and do it. Build that wall without a doubt in yourself just like Nehemiah. Go do the back handsprings you were meant to do.