Leaping Faith… A New Journey Begins.

Have you ever found yourself in a place wondering: “what am I doing here?”

Well, that was me, this past week… I was going through a mini existential crisis, wondering why certain desired things had not yet entered my life. It took everything in me just to be able to go to and from work. I was out of energy, as a car whose fuel tank was on empty. It wasn’t that anything new had occurred; yet somehow the dark cloud of depression had found a way to blot out my sunshine. I guess I was experiencing scripture firsthand because Proverbs 13:12 says that a deferred dream will make one sick… and sick I was feeling indeed.

From this place of feeling like an emotional train wreck, I showed up to volunteer for the Catalyst Conference. For those of you not familiar with the Catalyst Conference, it is a national conference intended to provide education, resources, and tools to leaders who love the Church. From this place of emotional brokenness I had to dig from within to keep a smile on my face as I greeted the arriving guests.

After the second day, all of that smiling on the outside (but not the inside) depleted me. When my duties were done, I fled the conference to sequester myself in my bedroom. But something miraculous happened on the third day of the conference. My duties were done strangely early that morning and I was free to sit in on the conference activities. As I sat there in an arena filled with 8,000+ Christians, I initially watched but then joined in as we sang about the awesome power of God to free us from past hurts, from disappointments, from broken hearts. I realized that I had found the answer to my initial question of “what I was doing there”. It struck me that I was in the right place, at the right time. And it felt good, awesome in fact!

So much so that I see it as a pivotal point in my faith walk with God because two days after the conference ended I decided to give my body back to God. I am now choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Go figure, me? Seems ludicrous yet as I was reminded, during the conference, we serve a God of the IMPOSSIBLE… not the difficult… the Impossible!

And it is in that God I place my faith, all of my future hopes and dreams.

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I am in a new season and it is one that is hope filled. May my story of courage and bravery, in the face of doubt, fear, and tears give you the strength to take your own leap of faith!

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Peace in a WORLD turned upside down! Learning the Art of Inner Contentment & Happiness

I sit here reflecting on this season of life that I’m in… and it is good…

✖ Not because life is perfect

✖ Not because there is an absence of life stressors

✖ And definitely not because I have everything I desire

In fact the amazing thing is that my life feels good in spite of the negative situations I’ve had to face!

How could that be you wonder?

Well, I’ve arrived at this very interesting space in time where I not only truly love myself but I know, I accept, and I appreciate my life purpose – my reason for living – the contribution/mark I intend to leave on this earth.

This place that I’m in is pretty awesome, particularly when I reflect on just a few short months ago I was struggling with the waiting:

https://donnadoctora.com/2015/04/30/spring-anticipation-patience-and-strength/

In that previous blog from Spring 2015, I mentioned the song ‘Conqueror’ by Estelle and Jussie Smollett. At that time, I needed the song to encourage me and help push me in the direction I desired to go. Now I listen to the song, and I smile… it is a smile acknowledging and confirming – YES indeed, I am a Conqueror!

I am a conqueror because I learned the secret…

Would you like me to tell it to you?

Here goes:

You can truly have happiness and peace NO MATTER WHAT is going on around you –

once you’ve found inner contentment!

It took me many, many, MANY, did I say many – years to get here.

But here I am… I finally understand and LIVE the true meaning of inner peace.

Here are two quotes about inner peace:

  • Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Saint Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Saint
  • My faith helps me understand that circumstances don’t dictate my happiness, my inner peace. Denzel Washington, Actor

I leave you with a final word… Namaste; which you will hear Yogis (practitioners of Yoga) say as a form of greeting to one another. It means the spirit within me, honors the spirit within YOU!

May you come to know the inner spirit that dwells within you, so that you may find peace, happiness, and inner contentment!

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

Faith in the Next Step…

This morning I listened to a song called ‘Lord You’re Mighty’ by a group called Youthful Praise. The lyrics continue to echo in my head as they repeatedly chant: “Lord you’re mighty”…

There are so many reasons that I could cosign with that tune, but right now I just want to hone in on one point – the Lord is MIGHTY because GOD IS EVERYWHERE! I mean literally everywhere! Just look for God in the church and out of the church. You will find God in the flight of the birds and the waving of the trees. God is even on our jobs and in our neighborhoods.

You may be wondering why I’m on this God Love Fest? Well… it’s because this weekend I was struck by the seemingly random yet synchronous events of life! Only GOD could take the seemingly accidental happenings of life and string it together so that it reveals a little bit more about this journey called life.

Let me share what happened.

On Friday, of last week, I decided to participate in a webinar on total body health. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a health nut and the eternal nerd, so I am always seeking to learn something new! While listening to the webinar, the speaker shared that true health involves not only physical health but also mental and spiritual health. She went on to elaborate that health begins with a desire to be healthy and even when we don’t know the next step we have to trust that our desire will guide us in the direction of the information that we seek.

Now fast forward a few days… I was spending some time at my sister’s house and decided to peruse her bookshelf. My fingers for whatever reason stopped on a book entitled The Magic in the Extra Mile by Larry DiAngi. Wasn’t familiar with author, nor his work but for some odd reason I decided to skim through his book. As I peered into the pages, reading some but scanning most, my eyes fell upon these words:

YOU WILL KNOW THE NEXT STEP

How odd! The phrasing of the words in the book was almost identical to the words spoken in the webinar.

It was as if those particular words were being repeated because it was intended for me to not only receive that message but to do something with it!

I now share these same words with you hoping that they inspire you to trust your life path, trust the journey, trust God to give you the next step!

Believe and never stop…

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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

Who do you TRUST?

Where do YOU place your TRUST?

Do you ever wonder who has my back? Have ever questioned who is GENUINE and TRUE in your life? Or maybe it’s not the people in your life that you wonder about, but the path that your LIFE appears to be on…

For me, the issue is definitely the latter… I often sit and think about my day to day, as I try to make this journey the best it can possibly be! See, I believe since I’ve been given the gift of life, I should make the MOST OF IT, each and every day! But, I must admit, I wasn’t always this positive and I definitely didn’t always think this way.

There was a time that I would become engulfed by the negative pressures of the world. I let the gossiping whispers of detractors – distract me. I allowed the uncertainty of tomorrow – to worry me. And I let the regrets of my past – weigh me down in sadness. However, I am happy to report, I am that woman NO MORE.

But, yes there’s a But… I am still human. So some moments, I do worry, I do care about what others say/think, and I do get sad. In those times I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that I am only worrying, sad, or distracted because my trust has wavered.

Let me explain…

The gospel singer Fred Hammond (I’ve always loved me some Fred Hammond) has a song called I Will Trust. In the song he says:

Some put their trust in earthly possessions

But in the end it won’t bring them through

I will not lean to my own understanding

But with my whole heart here’s what I’ll do

I will trust (trust in the name of The Lord)

I love those lyrics because they remind me that nothing on the earth will be able to consistently make me happy, so why put my trust in it… Instead, I should put my trust in the Lord.

So on the sad days I remind myself – (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

On those worrisome days I tell myself – (Matthew 6:31-34)

31 “Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about. Don’t worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need. 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries.

And when the detractors (yes those haters) attempt to do their thing I keep in my heart – (Matthew 5:11)

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

I hope you will take comfort in the fact that our trust in God will see us through each and every time!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

http://www.donnadoctora.com

Are you Alone or Lonely?

ALONE but not lonely

It seems that the fear of being alone is something that starts at a very young and continues well into adulthood. We perceive loneliness as a punishment, so it’s used on children (in the form of time out), and it’s even used with adults (in the form of solitary confinement within the prison system).

So why are we so afraid of being alone? Where is the fear coming from?

Maybe it’s the realization that when we’re alone we are stuck with and have to actually face our own thoughts, our own fears, our own SELF.

So we’re afraid of being alone, but IMAGINE the FREEDOM that is possible if the fear could be conquered.

Well that’s the space in life where I now find myself… I can be all by myself, without feeling lonely. Alone but not lonely! And I must say, it’s a pretty awesome feeling.

The realization of being alone but not lonely hit me when I was unexpectedly granted a Saturday to do absolutely NOTHING! I was scheduled to work, but the client needed to reschedule, so that left me adrift. My 13 year old was with his dad, I had no dates on tap, and so I pondered for a bit how exactly would I spend this day.

As I contemplated a few options, I settled on changing into my favorite pair of lounging pants and curling up in my bed with a favorite book, my laptop, a writing pad, and a pen. The hours melted away as I alternated between writing, journaling, and catching up on a few favorite shows, saved on my DVR. Before I knew it, the sun was starting to set and the day was nearing a close. As I stopped to reflect on the day, that’s when it struck me that I was alone but not lonely.

So how did I stumble upon this place of peace, you wonder? It seems that the secret to feeling wonderfully happy, even when you’re alone, is to be able to feel a sense of inner fulfillment. Getting to the place of fulfillment is so important that I will discuss it in a future post. But for now, just remember that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely.

Theologian Paul Tillich expressed it best when he said: “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone”

My wish for you is that you find some time of aloneness, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. And may that time refuel you to accomplish all of the tasks and responsibilities that bombard you.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

P.S. reply to this post by sharing how you spend your “alone” time.

Addicted to Trauma – Learning to Let Go

I recently watched the movie Addicted, which is based upon the fiction book by Author Zane. Although both the book and movie contained a lot of sexual content, it wasn’t the graphic material that grabbed my attention. Instead, it was the underlying message about the role that trauma plays in our lives.

What is trauma?

Trauma simply refers to an injury.

The movie Addicted focused on emotional and psychological injuries as a result of a sexual trauma that occurred. Sexual traumas are estimated to impact about 10% of the population. However, trauma can also occur in other forms. Injuries can also be physical, emotional, or psychological in nature. And the number of individuals who will face some kind of trauma by young adulthood skyrockets to over 50%!

So half of us have experienced some kind of trauma, at some point in our lives. However, I would hazard to guess that many have never dealt with the pain, hurt, and suffering that resulted from the injury.

Most of us have found a way to create a life that allows us to side step and avoid the difficult situations that may annoy, frustrate, or trigger our old wounds.

However, you do have a choice… As Michael Singer states in the Untethered Soul: “you have to decide if you want to continue to walk around with stored pain blocking your heart and limiting your life”.

I want to remind you that you must choose to let the pain go so that you can become unblocked, no longer stuck in repeating familiar patterns and being triggered by predictable circumstances.

Here are a few quotes to inspire you to let go of the old injuries and allow true healing:

  • It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go – J. C. Watts, Politician
  • Let go of yesterday. Let today be a new beginning and be the best that you can, and you’ll get to where God wants you to be – Joel Osteen, Preacher
  • Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today? – Mary Morrissey, Life Coach

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Love means Accepting HELP…

Would I accept help?

I was down to my last dollar and running low on gas. I shared my plight with him, not because I wanted sympathy and/or assistance, but only to explain why I needed to bail on our plans due to monetary reasons. His reply – “will you allow me to help? Will you receive it?” I found his question somewhat baffling. I had never voiced that I was opposed to help, but I guess by not requesting support I inadvertently communicated that I didn’t want it.

This disconnect was somewhat perplexing to me… he wanted me to ask for help.

Why would I ask for help? It was so confusing and somewhat in opposition to my independent and go-getter personality. I rationalized that my struggles were my responsibility to handle. However, he clearly saw it differently. He believed that he was somehow responsible for my welfare.

I continued to mull over this situation, until I ran over this quote about love:

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

That quote reminded me that we are each here to look out for one another, that we are each responsible for one another, and that when we love – love won’t allow us to turn a blind eye to someone in need.

But I continued to ponder my discomfort with asking for help. And I finally realized that my resistance to asking for support was based on my unwillingness to be vulnerable. You see if I always did things for myself, then I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else. However, when I reflected further I realized that to refuse the hand of another was to keep myself separate and to make a decision based upon pride. If I were honest with myself, both are limited ways to live one’s existence.

So I decided to push myself to do something different. The art of growth – is allowing change and doing something new. In the end I allowed him to provide me gas money. He felt good that he could assist, and I felt better that I was continuing to be brave enough to be a new me.

“Generosity is giving more than you can…pride is taking less than you need” – Poet Kahlil Gibran

“It’s only in our minds that we are separate from the rest of the world” – Psychologist Gay Luce

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Healed Hearts in 2015

It was an interesting day. I had three different people thank me for my blog posts. While I was humbled and appreciative of their feedback, it was the phrase “thank you for allowing God to use you” that caught my attention. Those who know me know I don’t believe in random coincidences, and the repetitiveness of the message struck me, as this is more than just a fluke of nature. So I decided to think a bit more about their choice of words…

Thank you for allowing God to use you…

It seemed that they viewed me as a messenger conveying something from God through my blog. That’s a pretty awesome confirmation, as the focus of my message is always to share something that will inspire, uplift, and spread some love. However, as a writer you’re not always sure if you hit the mark, until you hear the reactions from the receiver of your words. It felt nice to be acknowledged – I was doing something positive and worthwhile. But even larger than that, I was doing something that people could see God from within me. Now that, for me, was mind blowing!

It blew my mind because my spiritual walk has not been a straight and narrow path. There have been many twists and turns, even some days where I wondered if God had forgotten me. But then the tide began to change, and with one touch I could feel God turning my life around. The shift was so GREAT that it prompted me to start penning my memoir; a memoir that I am still in the process of writing.

At times I wondered why did God seem to overlook me in one season, but then in the next I can so clearly feel God’s presence all around me and within me? And then, I came across a chapter in the Stormie Omartian book that talked about hardened hearts. She explained that God needs our hearts to be softened.

Wow… I wondered to myself “could it be that my heart had been hardened before?” Then I reflected on all of the hurts, disappointments, broken promises, lies, and all the other negative encounters I’ve endured. Yes, it would seem that I had sealed off my heart to protect myself from further injury. However, once I started to open myself back up – to seek God and to love God, it made it a lot easier to heal from everything I had endured. And I guess that why God can now use me.

My hope, for you, is that whatever blockages, whatever has happened to you that keeps you closed off and protecting yourself from hurt – I pray that 2015 is the year that you are healed from it. For in your healing, you will then allow God to make you a vessel of his message, so that you might then go out and bring hope, light, and inspiration to someone else.

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂