A study in positive.

Yep, I'm pretty behind on blogging, and have several promised posts that need posting. . .but the this topic is very dear to me right now, so I'm going to take a few minutes and type up my thoughts. As Christians we hear a lot about contentment. It is a word so easily thrown around, a concept that seems easy to grasp. . .until the next--"yeah, but it STILL isn't fair," and "but she is so much more popular than me!" and "why can't my circumstances change NOW?"--creep in. Negativity can ruin your life. Take it from an expert. ;) A few situations over the last few years have pretty much destroyed my self esteem. Not to have a "lets all pity Michaela" party, but it happened. That, combined with all the Pinterest-Perfect online-lives, has created a bubble of bitterness that I desperately want to pop. Its a constantly ongoing journey, but I think I've finally hit on the solution: think positively. Ok, so for some of us, that is the hardest thing in the world. Especially when everything seems shrouded in the depths of  despair (borrowing some drama from Anne Shirley. :P ) However, nothing is impossible through Christ. My mom is always so good about reminding me of that. :) Contentment comes with faith. Moaning over life-circumstances or wallowing in self-pity changes absolutely nothing. If anything, it prolongs the misery, and unfortunately. . .some folks give up. You don't have too. I promise. :) Whatever is going on in your life. . .never forget: a thousand years is but a day to God. WOW. Chew on that awhile. Life may stink, you my be blind to the road ahead, you may be searching for yourself. . .but think. As Christians, we are commanded to trust in God. Without trust, our faith is a hypercritical slap-in-the-face to the One that Saved us. Its saying He isn't enough, He doesn't know best, He's failing. He failed. God never fails. Find the nerve to trust again. . .find the humbleness to call-out for mercy. Go to Him with your problems. With your fears. Hey, I'm not saying things will change overnight. Magic star-bursts won't fall from the sky. Right now you may even be angry with God, frustrated with life, with yourself, with the people around you. Don't give up. Keep looking for Christ. He is the answer. Often, God's miracles are so subtle, that in all our complaining and bitterness. . .we miss the  blessing of a new day. A new start. A fresh, unwritten chapter. That in itself is a beautiful, awe-inspiring thing.

"Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security." --Elizabeth Elliot

How to maintain a positive outlook*~

  1. Attitude. Wake up refusing to believe that things are upside down. Tell yourself the moment your feet hit the carpet that, "yeah, so yesterday stinks. . .the whole week stinks. . .but this--this is a new day. The day that the Lord has made. I'm alive, I'm breathing. . .Jesus loves me. Creating me was a huge compliment. Because He has a purpose for my life. He wants me to succeed. He wants me to find joy. No matter how dark, no matter how uncertain, I really have no idea what this day will bring." A verse that has been really encouraging to me lately is 1 Corinthians 10:13--"There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
  2. Replace negativity. Prayer is your best outlet. Pray for others. Focus on their lives. Get the attention off yourself. Remember, as we already discussed, there is always hope. Nothing ever stays the same. Try smiling more. . .even when you don't feel like it. Laugh as often as possible (totally, even if your not nominated, take the Ice Bucket Challenge. One of the awesome-est things I've seen in a long time. ;) )  Feel those negative thoughts or words crowding out your joy? Crush them, change them before they have the chance to escape your lips. Refuse to let negativity dictate your mood, personality, or day. Of course, you aren't always going to be positive. But, like anything, practice makes perfect. Make positive the new you. 
  3. Minimize caffeine and sugar intake. Ok, so before you freak out on me! There are substitutes. . .you'll get used to them after awhile. Honestly. (cough. . .though I should prolly take my own advice and go cold turkey. :P ) Caffeine, sugar, gluten, and many other food-sources can play into emotional and mental health. Learn what your body needs. . .and doesn't need. A few life style changes can revolutionize your outlook. For ie, I decided to switch to decaf coffee recently, and ok, so the energy rush is gone, but the taste is the same, and besides, I'd rather have a healthier-energy-source. We'll discuss that next.  
  4. Drink green. Green smoothies are the trendy-but-amazing powerhouses for your brain and health. (did someone say kale?) They are naturally energizing, vibrant, and just a lot of fun. There are some great recipes online, but hey, if you have some fruit and random leafy greens in the fridge, go ahead and experiment for yourself! Be creative. Sip it through a straw (because straws make everything better.) Oh yeah, and if your watching your weight, smoothies are awesome meal replacements. 
  5. S-T-R-E-T-C-H. Ok, so I totally don't like coming right out with "ohhhh my word, I LOVE Yoga." It has bad connotations to a lot of people, and I am so not into the New-Age-mediation-mumbo-jumbo. HOWEVER, God wants us to exercise, stay healthy, and um, there is nothing at all wrong with stretching. Ditch the name if that helps. . .its a modern term anyway. You may be surprised at how clear-headed and rejuvenated you feel, after a few simple stretches. In fact, your body may even visibly detox. Go ahead and check into some of the great Pilates stretching routines on Youtube. Pop Pilates is my favorite. Lately I love jumping out of bed and straight into my "Stretch and Relax Routine." Does wonders. 
  6. Find a listening ear. Moms are generally good at this. Sisters and close friends are next on the list. Of course you don't want to dump all your emotional-trash on the world, but confiding in someone you trust--especially with life-experience and Godly wisdom--is the perfect retreat. Let them share your burden, but don't overwhelm with constant complaints. Mmmm. . .tea and downtime with mom. Refreshing. Or maybe a coffee shop with a girlfriend. Whatever you do, regrouping and growing together is truly a beautiful thing.
  7. Keep busy. If you are home a lot or just in between jobs, its important not to fall into The-Couch-Potato-Slump. Lazing around all day over-reading, obsessively pinning, Instagraming everything, (Selfieforthe100thtime) or constantly watching Netflixs is a hugely-potential breeding ground for laziness, discontentment, and even depression. Get up and get busy! FIND A PROJECT, even if seemingly insignificant or small. (The dishes DO need washing. ;) ) Walk the dog. Join a gym. Find a hobby that uses your brain and hands. Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Is your life going nowhere? Is the Land of Fiction your scape-goat? Ladies! These things are all temporary. Try making a dent in an otherwise boring day. It is worth it. 
  8. Essential oils. So I am still exploring in the area of aroma-therapy, but I am really excited to begin my collection and see the results! I already tried peppermint oil on a throbbing headache yesterday, and voila! It went away within maybe 30 minutes. Amazing, right? If any of you have more experience with essential oils, comment and let me know what you think. 
  9. Music. Its a language. Something with inspirational or uplifting lyrics can really help lift a dark mood. 
  10. Dress up. Take a few moments every day to do your hair, put on a little makeup, and a nicer outfit. (nothing overly fancy, but something that makes you feel pretty.) Looking in the mirror at a fresh, put-together you does wonders for self confidence. Messy top-knots and baggy sweatshirts have their place, (um, hello rainy-day-Twilight-Zone-marathon!) but sometimes ya just need to dress up.
  11. Make a place for you and God. This definitely should have been first, but as I wrote the draft for this post in a notebook. . .it kinda landed where it landed. . .and stayed there. :P Your place with God can be anywhere, literally. A nook in the woods or the field behind the house. A cubby hole in the basement. A quiet corner of your bedroom. A closet. Get quiet, get alone, listen for His still, small voice. Cast your burdens on Him, but don't demand instant relief or results. How can we say "thy Will be done," while meaning "MY WAY NOW!" Don't expect anything. Trust that He knows what He's doing. Christ is the Overcomer. He has won the victory. He is fully capable of caring for each of us. And He does care. Because in Christ, there is hope. There is life. Find God, let Him have His way. . .and the puzzle we call life will finally fit together. Give it time. Give it to God. 


  1. Love this post so much. ❤ ❤
    As you know, contentment has been a struggle for me over the past couple of years. And it's a struggle, sometime daily, to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. To CHOOSE an attitude of contentment. It's a choice, and not one that comes easily. While I wouldn't *choose* to experience difficulty, I am learning that it is necessary and beneficial for growth in Christ.

    One book I recently read had an excellent chapter on contentment. The whole book was about attitudes and how they affect us, and that chapter on contentment was just so, so, good. I realized just how many times I wasn't *truly* believing and trusting what God has PROMISED in His word. He WILL provide for all of our needs, and yes, even wants at times. But I wasn't trusting that His way was perfect. I wanted more, thought I needed more. But then one simple verse really struck me. "But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." (1 Timothy 6:8). That's it! If we have food (check) and clothing (check), we have what we need to be content. Wow, kind of puts things in perspective, right? How little we actually need to be totally and completely happy when Jesus is at the center.

    By the way, I loved your list of things to do. Sometimes it helps so much to make a list and stick to it. I'm reading more, taking an online photography class, and trying to get in the kitchen more. Filling my time with things that don't require the computer are what I find helps the most with discontentment. The internet has its benefits, but it is also a huge pitfall for me, so the less time I spend on there, the better. :)

  2. btw, I'm really enjoying learning about essential oils, too. :) I haven't quite found something that touches my headaches, but I do really like Lavender for it's calming affect when I can't settle down before bed and a blend called Thieves for its immune boosting powers!

  3. I love this post so much. Thanks a million, Michaela. :)

  4. I am nearly in tears as I write this. Michaela, thank you SOOO much for posting this! I reallllly needed to read this today. You see, I got some rather scary news today about my health (I have a bacterial infection in my blood) and have been somewhat discouraged because of it. I'm the type of person who lets stuff like that really get to me, instead of resting in the joy of the Lord. However, I must say that I can already see God's hand in this hard time. He is always faithful-- I just sometimes need a reminder (your post was a reminder).

    Thank you again, sister! God bless you always!

    In Him,

  5. As to essential oils, I have used them a lot and have found them to be very helpful. I've put lavender oil on chigger bites and they've disappeared within 4-5 days (I usually have them for over a week). Peppermint oil is great for headaches or just to refresh oneself. During this illness of mine, I've had multiple skin outbreaks and we've applied lavender with coconut oil on the spots and it has a great soothing feel to it.

  6. Wow! What a good, good, good post. High-five. I'm nominating this post at Miss Dashwood's blog. Well done!

  7. Thanks so much for these tips!!!
    I especially needed to hear numbers 7,10,and 11.

  8. Some of my darkest days was in taking care of my mom until she passed away from cancer. Positive seemed impossible and I did not want to see 2014 because I knew my mom wouldn't be with me. BUT, I have never felt such purpose and it has led me to take a Certified Nursing Assistant class and I know that this is the right course for me right now. I cherished every moment with my mom and I know that working in a nursing home will be extremely tough, but with God's help I'll have a positive attitude. People in a nursing home need hope.

    There's a big question mark hanging over the end of this year--will I pass my exam? Will I be able to find a job? Where will I live? Will my Jeep make it that long? But God has shown great mercy to me over the last year and I'm learning to have faith in Him. It's scary, but I have to trust Him even if things don't turn out like I want.

    Over the summer I am so grateful that I was able to write two books--great project for me since I didn't have a job or school. So you are definitely right. However, I am so glad to be back in school and learning a new skill. I'm one of those weird people who are comfortable in a classroom. :-)

  9. Thank you for posting this. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today!

  10. Peppermint oil is also really good for itchy skin; I have eczema, so the peppermint oil has really helped my skin.

  11. Michaela! Your writing style inspires me so much! I should keep up on this more than I do cause we totally could be like sisters. I understand everything you said about negativity and depression. I have struggled with this for at least three years now starting at 22/23 years old. That whole trusting God thing does play a big factor in mental health as I have learned. Jason has been working with me on this. I don't want to have another very bad year this year when Fall and Winter hit of seasonal depression so I've been working on developing better habits to get into a better place. I also am trying very hard to get into a regular exercise routine too. I find stretching does feel amazing. Haven't tried pilates. I'll check that out. Thank you for sharing all these tips! Also, I really want to know how you made your buttons, graphics, and blog header. They're adorable.