Earnestly Praying & Wrestling with God

I woke up with an earnest prayer of God: I need you. There is darkness… there is confusion… I need you. Where am I going? I have desires and needs, when will those be answered?

I was tired of wandering in the wilderness and tired of feeling confused and then I ran across a blog about earnest prayers… the word EARNEST peaked my attention, for though I have always talked to God – prayed to God, I began to question myself of the intensity with which I had prayed.

I had never thought to ask God to hurry! I had never considered requesting God to come quickly. For I always assumed that the time should be left to God to decide… until I became so desperate for God’s deliverance, that out of my despair, I was asking God to COME NOW!

As a result of residing in a miserable place, a friend suggested that I read the story of Jacob. You see Jacob spent an entire evening, well into day, wrestling with an angel because he believed that his blessing and healing would come by that very angel’s touch. He refused to let the angel go until he was blessed. His desperate actions reflected his yearning for God to come at that very moment!

god-remembers I found comfort in reading about Jacob’s story. It consoled me to know that God answered his plea because of his desperate demands!

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 4.39.32 PMAnd what’s more… I was encouraged that amidst the struggles God will not only swiftly answer the cries of his children, but he will use the very same struggle to strengthen our character, and guess what else… to bless us (and others).

 

So you be encouraged and don’t give up! Because healing, blessings, and your anointing are just a desperate prayer away!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

P.S. If you’re curious in reading more about the value of earnest prayer, take a look here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-benefits-of-asking-god-to-hurry

 

Are you going to TRY? Life lessons learned while surviving a teenager…

I sit here watching my stepson play basketball and a thought pops into my head: raising a teenager is like a test of wills!

This idea was triggered by a recent exchange we had. The discussion began when I prompted him to put on a hoodie to temper the evening air. He grunted, complained, and mumbled under his breath “I don’t even wear those”, but he complied, knowing that this discussion was not open for debate.

That exchange occurred last night, and was forgotten by the both of us, until this afternoon. He was readying to begin his basketball practice. Before he took to the court, he removed his hoodie; yes the very same one of last night’s discussion. However, even more shocking than him wearing the garment again, was the comment he tossed at me: “I’m keeping that hoodie, I like it”, as he trotted off to play basketball. 4d210a5dbfc13fef15421664d28a8f3a

It was in that moment I knew for sure that children are sent to DRIVE US
NUTS!!

I immediately sent an SOS text to a few close loved ones:

“raising a teenager is enough to drive anyone to drink. Pray for my sanity”, the text read.

But now I sit here reflecting on my stepson’s stubbornness and his rejection of things before having all of the facts. If I were honest with myself and with you, haven’t we all been guilty of the same thing? Rejecting something, just because it’s new or unfamiliar.

How often have you missed out on things simply because you weren’t willing to try?

2015 is rapidly coming to a close and I am pleased to report that in this year, I took several risks and opened myself up to the new, including:

  • Trying Flying Trapeze

And

  • Taking an aerial silk dancing class (think Cirque Du Soleil)

And

  • Writing and self-publishing my first children’s book

However, the BEST news is that the year is not YET over! We still have two and a half months to make it count!

Take some time to think about something new that you’re going to try…

raising-teens

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Need help starting? Consider what Nike & Bishop Paul Morton have in Common…

I was recently listening to an old favorite gospel song and for some odd reason one line in particular echoed through my mind: greater is the ending of the thing that is beginning!

As I sat and pondered that line from Bishop Morton’s song ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, I thought about the merit of it. It makes sense, doesn’t it… think about how awesome you feel when you complete something, when you cross that finish line. “I made it!” you might shout! However, if completion is so awesome, what is the stumbling block holding most of us back?

It would seem that the greatest stumbling block is the actual starting of the thing…

Psychologists often say that the anxiety/fear of doing something is often greater in the anticipation of the feared experience, as compared to actually going through the feared experience. In other words, as so aptly stated by former president FDR: “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself”.

This all leads me to ask – So what great ending are you denying yourself because you’re afraid?

If you would challenge yourself to push past your fear, you might discover a new experience that is worthwhile, fulfilling, and eye-opening.

So get going! Or as the Nike slogan prompts: JUST DO IT!just-do-it-bbb

And I’m not just giving you advice – I have actually pushed myself to do the same that I am suggesting to you…

One year ago (2014), I made the decision to write a children’s book. Although I have worked with youth my entire career, writing a book for them – was unchartered territory… Naturally, there were moments of doubt, uncertainty, and FEAR.

“What if I’m not good enough?” queried a small negative voice from within. However, I pushed past the negativity and fear, and today I sit here with a proof of my soon to be published children’s book in my hand!

Gives me chills!

I hope you find the courage to begin… so that you might experience the thrill and satisfaction that comes will completing something that you started. Greatness awaits YOU!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

God I don’t want to wait… Surviving the Incubation period.

It’s been said that you have to expect great things in order for them to happen… In other words, our life unfolds because of what we anticipate! Expectations are the root because expectations guide our actions, and our actions then lead to various consequences or results. This idea comes from the Law of Cause and Effect. This same concept is illustrated in science and spirituality. What you do will lead to various results…

But here comes the dilemma! Those results are NOT always spontaneous! Sigh…

This is a dilemma because most of us do things – wanting to see the CHANGE NOW! Sometimes I wanted and needed the change even quicker than NOW. How about RIGHT NOW!

Often when my actions are not leading to desired consequences, I begin to doubt, question, and contemplate faltering! What’s the point, I wonder. It seems to be a waste of time to continue doing something that isn’t working, right?

WRONG!

I’ve had to learn, the hard way, that putting forth effort doesn’t guarantee immediate results, it just guarantees results – even if those results are delayed and slow to come.

Recently, while reading Cindy Trimm’s book Command Your Morning, she shared the idea that before manifestation there is incubation. This means before we can see the results, there is a period that we have to WAIT for the results.

I found this concept so interesting that I decided to Google the word incubation and I came across this idea:

Incubation is time set aside that substantially increases the odds of solving a problem

This was very fascinating to me because in the past I have viewed my deferred dreams as a season of frustration, limitation, and lack. However, I now have a renewed perspective.

Instead of seeing the waiting as a negative, I could rejoice in the knowledge that my waiting is preparing me to be able to tackle the obstacles on my future path, as well as give me a greater appreciation of the blessings still to come!

So if you’re like me, and you’re WAITING, on something to happen in your life; continue to do your part – don’t quit. Remember that your efforts won’t be in vain. Not only do the laws of science support your actions, but God does too! 201208130500

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Dancing (Moving) to clear my mind – Getting Refocused…

I was single and that was not were I desired to be… an apparent disconnect between my wishes and reality existed. It was so apparent that I was awakened from my sleep with a sense of unrest! It was 2am and I was no longer in the oblivion of REM, which meant I had to face the truth. I was lonely…

The weight of loneliness began to get heavy and the disheartening bordered on unbearable. But then I had a thought! What if I started using all of the things I’ve learned about happiness? Now that would be something novel – to use the information I’ve amassed! So that’s what I set out to do. I combed my brain for remnants of something that could help me in this moment of despair. And that’s when I bumped head first into the idea –

WHY NOT FOCUS on where you are HEADED instead of where you are RIGHT NOW?

Eureka I think she’s got it!

The more I turned the thought over in my mind, the more I realized that it was indeed the answer. And keeping with the nickname given to me by my father (The Scientist), at 2am I went on a search to find evidence for my proposed hypothesis. Here’s what I discovered:

Elizabeth Gilbert – “You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings” – from the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ – read August 2008

Tracey McMillan – “you really do have to believe something before you can see it” – from the book ‘Why You’re Not Married yet?’ – read June 2014

Michael Singer – “learn to stop resisting reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey” from the book ‘The Untethered Soul’ – read November 2014

Ralph Carson – “See yourself getting better each day and use your mind to visualize where you want to be and how things will be when you get there” from the book ‘The Brain Fix’– read July 2015

Cindy Trimm – “Focus[ing] on the problem [prohibits you] from seeing the solution” from the book ‘Command Your Morning’ – read July 2015

After 1 hour I decided to stop, though I could have continued… The evidence seemed to be clear: what we think, see, and believe becomes what is. So I refuse to allow my current state to dictate what is to come. I will dance in advance, for I claim the victory as mine! 1768189e7a921e8ba2b9be1fb61ceb3c

My hope is that you too will find the courage to start dancing DURING your situation. See yourself successful, think about your next step, believe you’re going to WIN, and by God’s might it shall be.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How deep are your roots? Will you quit or will you persevere?

Have you ever stopped to reflect back on your life?

April and May of 2015 were really tough months for me. There were many moments of doubts and questions about the path of life I had chosen. Some of the questions arose because this year marked 10 years gone by since the Commencement ceremonies for my doctoral degree. I silently wondered why life seemed so vastly different from how I imagined it would be. The things I pined for in 2005 were in such stark contrast to the wishes of 2015…

I questioned: How did life evolve in the way that it had? And as I glanced around at my struggles of present day I wondered why was my health failing, debt accumulating, and life seeming to move on forward without me?

This can’t be the life of a child of God! Wasn’t I promised abundance, dominion, and lands of milk and honey? If I am blessed, shouldn’t my life reflect that? I started to become so disheartened at the efforts I’ve made to create the life I wanted. The seeds I had planted appeared to be in vain, so shouldn’t I JUST QUIT?

And then I came across a quote by Evangelist Billy Graham:

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”

That quote was a necessary reminder to me that being a Christian does not mean I won’t have struggles. In fact, it appears the closer I strive to follow God’s word the more obstacles that seem to cross my path. However, I am encouraged by the knowledge that I am not on this journey alone. God promised to never leave, nor forsake me!

It was from this place of feeling encouraged that I decided to research the idea of bearing fruit.

I found an image that mentioned the importance of planting roots. take-root-bear-fruit-11-638

After seeing that picture, it was as if a light bulb turned on. Of course! It makes sense that the deeper the roots – the greater, the stronger, the more lush the fruit. I realized that this same idea could be applied to my life… I was dreaming BIG, shooting for the stars – which meant it would take time, energy, and effort to plant sturdy roots.

Although we live in a world of instant gratification… I remind myself that the works of God are often not instantaneous and as Christians we must toil, work, endure, and persevere despite what is momentarily seen.

So although my dreams have not yet happened, I trust that if I don’t quit – I shall one day bear fruit and reap the benefits of my labor!

Will you have the courage to plant deep roots within your own life?

Which dream will you pursue without quitting?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Frowners never win… Coping with the Blues…

Coping with the Blues…

Have you ever wondered how to feel the SUNSHINE in your life? How to bring HAPPINESS, LAUGHTER, and JOY into your everyday? It would seem that SUNSHINE, HAPPINESS, LAUGHTER, and JOY comes when you let it in

I came to this conclusion as I sat wrestling with my own “blue thoughts”. I was feeling sad, restless, and incomplete. Nothing new had occurred to trigger those emotions, but there I was facing the same old struggle. My initial thoughts were “things will never change”, “I will never get better”, and “I will always struggle with depression”. Those first three internal judgments did nothing but pull my mood further down.

Then a fourth idea struck me! From somewhere within I remembered the saying “once an addict, always an addict”. I toyed with that idea for a bit… could it be true? Would I struggle with depression for the rest of my life??? That was a frightening thought!

However, the fighter in me… my rational side refused to give in to, to believe the defeatist side in me. The warrior within reminded me that no matter the emotions, I am not my emotions which meant – no matter how long I suffer with sad emotions, that is not me. Reminding myself that I am NOT sadness, and I am NOT depression, helped to elevate me out of “my funk”. I was lifted up enough to also remember that because I am not my feeling; I was the one who could decide how to handle those feelings.

So what did I decide to do?

I chose to refer back to an old childhood song that I remember watching on an old episode of the Flintstones, Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In.

Do you remember the song? Here are a few lyrics to jog your memory:

When you are unhappy the devil wears a grin

But oh! he starts to running when the light comes pouring in

I know he’ll be unhappy ‘cos I’ll never wear a frown

Maybe if we keep on smiling he’ll get tired of hanging round

So let the sunshine in.

So let the sunshine in face it with a grin smilers never lose and frowners never win

So let the sunshine in face it with a grin open up your heart and let the sunshine in

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Find and Work your Purpose

Purpose is the reason for one’s life. It’s often said that our purpose on earth is to help one another. There are an infinite number of ways to help. But we are all different. Therefore, our unique purpose is identified when we find our individual way of helping others.

Purpose is such a central piece of who we are that most of us spend life trying to identify our purpose.

Do you know your purpose?

Do you know what special contribution you were created to do in order to help others?

If you’re wondering how to identify your purpose, the first place to start is to consider your gifts. For when we find a way to use our talents to help others, we have discovered our purpose.

Here are a few quotes on the idea of purpose:

  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others – Philosopher Albert Schweitzer
  • I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation – Pastor Joel Osteen
  • I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste – Author Srikumar S. Rao

I mentioned earlier that identifying one’s purpose is an important part of life. Not only because it allows us to help others, but also because with purpose we experience an increased sense of fulfillment, joy, and peace – in day to day life.

So are you willing to discover your purpose? If you’re needing a resource to help you figure it out, take a look at this quiz from Oprah’s website: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz

This year, may you endeavor to find more fulfillment, joy, and peace in your life!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Living my Dreams… Courageous, Determined, and Patient

I was in the midst of writing a new blog post and ran across these three quotes. Although the quotes were off the topic of the post I was crafting at that time, I had to save them and decided to share them now:

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties – Erich Fromm, Psychologist

When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go – Carol Burnett, Actress

When you have a dream that you can’t let go of, trust your instincts and pursue it. But remember: Real dreams take work, they take patience, and sometimes they require you to dig down very deep. Be sure you’re willing to do that – Harvey MacKay, Entrepreneur

All three quotes resonated with encouragement to continue pursuing my dreams! However they also provided the reminder that my dream chasing would require courage, determination to never let go, and patience. Ah patience… definitely not my strongest character trait. But at this stage of my life I am so certain about my purpose and so adamant that I am destined to make an important contribution, that I will patiently and persistently keep knocking on doors until my dreams come true.

Some may say I’m hardheaded…

Some see me as defiant…

And both are probably spot-on, but I see it as I was made for a purpose and it’s my job to bring that purpose to life.

Back at the start of 2014 I created an online vision board. There were many images that I included but one in particular I wanted to share. The picture says: “I am a social emotional leader”. Which is kind of funny, because at the time of creating the vision board, I didn’t consciously think of myself as a leader in my profession, nor did I have any idea how I was going to manifest that outcome. However, they say that there is power in the tongue! So because I not only spoke but also acted in ways to support what I was speaking, doors of opportunity started to open. And now that picture doesn’t seem so far-fetched. In fact, it seems to be a foreshadowing of what’s to come. Go figure!

So that somewhat explains why the 3 quotes at the start of this post grabbed my attention!

But a question remains… will YOU be courageous, trusting, persistent, and patient enough to follow your heart’s desires? The choice is yours…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Getting emotionally TOUGH!

Just take a deep breath… DEEPER.

One minute I’m smiling and chipper. But in the next breath, I am melancholy, as I burst into tears. Sounds like an emotional roller coaster or an unpredictable storm!

Am I pregnant? No. Am I losing my mind? At times it feels like it, but no I’m not.

So then what the heck is going on?

It’s as if my emotions are going haywire or there is an emotional short circuit.

There I stood tears streaming down my face, and a little voice reminded me to “breathe”. I took a breath. Then, the reminder came to “breath deeper”. This time I made sure to inhale and completely fill my lungs. As I took in that breath and oxygenated by body, and then let out that same breath – I could feel the tension lifting as the carbon dioxide left my body.

The breathing helped to lessen the intensity of my emotions, which was good. Because though the stressors were still there, I didn’t feel as erratic or ‘on the edge’. And in this calmer state I reminded myself that this hectic season I am currently in shall pass and I will make it.

Whenever I begin to doubt the certainty of my success, I remind myself of my mother’s words: “Donna all things pass” or my grandmother who insisted that I was made of tough and undefeatable stuff. “You are a Trojan [warrior]”, she said. Their statements are nicely summarized in this quote by televangelist Robert Schuller: “tough times don’t last, but tough people do”.

I will admit, there are many days that I do not feel tough, AT ALL. However, I’ve learned that toughness is not based upon my emotions. Instead, my toughness is based upon my decision to keep striving despite my feelings. In other words, I am tough because I have made success my only option!

So how exactly can YOU get tough, when you feel like life is beating you up? This, is what I intend to share in my memoir. It is entitled: Shedding Perfection: A Psychologist’s Journey to Self-Healing © 2015 Donna Gardner. All rights reserved. The memoir is still in progress, but I eagerly anticipate the day it shall grace the bookshelves. Until that time, I want you to remember that:

Sometimes you just have to allow the tears, take a breath, and remind yourself you’re going to make it!