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  • Tammy Arlene

Are you discouraged? Facing a complicated task? Does a goal you set for yourself suddenly seem unattainable? Your current situation may feel overwhelming. Take heart, it isn't. Please be encouraged, you can handle what is in front of you. During my time in insurance sales, I was able attain or exceed the quota I was assigned by reminding myself that I could accomplish goals if I would “eat the elephant one small bite at a time.” When I focused on the big number, I became stressed and my progress stopped. My health suffered, too. This concept works for our personal issues too. Commit to making one small change, taking a step, even if it's a tiny one, toward your target. You will begin to see things move in the right direction if you are consistent and remain positive. Keep your focus on the "one thing" at hand, while acknowledging the end result you desire. Once each step is complete, focus on the next one.

Your tiny step can be something as simple as keeping a Bible verse or affirmation (3X5 card) in your pocket to help lift your spirits. Reading and journaling a Bible verse or chapter at the end of the day can be refreshing too. Bonus: this will also bring you closer to God. Perhaps your self-esteem is low. Remember, you are highly valued! How about taking a moment to pamper yourself with a two minute foot rub before bed? In sales, one more sales call added to the beginning or end of your day can make a huge difference. If you are a writer, set a timer and focus on journaling/scribbling for five minutes (even if you write "I am a highly skilled writer," over and over) before tackling writer’s block. This may be what is needed to get your creativity flowing. If you have a cleaning or organizing task you have procrastinated on, how about setting a timer for five minutes? Focus on one drawer (or a corner of one, if it seems too overwhelming). Celebrate your progress, then keep moving forward.

Speaking of clutter, sometimes the first step to take in cleaning an area of your home is clearing the clutter and negative noise from your mindset! If we are frazzled, the task before us may seem larger than it really is. I'll post more about this in the future.

Here is a good verse to ponder if you are feeling overwhelmed:

Ps 61:2 (NKJV)

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,

When my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

It often becomes necessary to remove a small obstacle from our paths. Let me explain.

You may think one small task/object can’t make a difference. Yes, it can. See the photo of the little rock in my hand? That tiny thing was in my shoe. I felt a small irritation near my ankle and kept walking. After all, I told myself, “I am busy.” I was in a hurry, with important places to get to. Since it felt like a small thing, I didn’t think it was a big deal and left it alone. Within a half hour of rushing around, this tiny rock shifted and became a big deal. What I thought was a tiny pebble quickly turned into what felt like a razor sharp boulder, I knew I had blister to deal with. It took me 30 seconds to remove my shoe and get the rock out! I felt instant relief, and also embarrassment because I knew I should have removed it before it caused discomfort. Later on, I had to take time to clean and put a bandage on two blisters because of the irritation. I put the pebble in my pocket and now have it on my desk as a reminder: Something small can become something “big” if it is not taken care of right away.

Question: Is there a pebble of negativity or a habit that you need to remove from your shoe? If so, can you replace it with a positive step and keep walking toward your goal?

If we take a small step in the right direction, we will see big results over time. These results will be multiplied if we remove negative thoughts and distractions in the process.

Sometimes we don’t do that one small thing we know would make us feel better. I know I am guilty of this. I make excuses—my most common one is thinking that I am too busy to take care of my emotional and physical health. I tell myself, “I don’t have time” to do whatever it is. In the long run, not making important yet tiny changes (adding or removing something) could end up costing more time and, and in the example above, pain.

All my best,

Tammy Arlene

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  • Tammy Arlene

Let’s not look in the rear view mirror at past mistakes. Together, we can look forward and press on toward the goals we were designed for by God.

If something is important, we will make time for it. For example, if we have a favorite television program, we may record it and make time to sit and watch it. It brings enjoyment, so we spend intentional time watching, even binge watching. Likewise, if we have a friend that we value, we make time to spend with them in person, virtually, writing letters, or talking on the telephone. Time equals value.

Shouldn’t our spiritual and physical health goals have value as well? Let’s follow the example set by Paul when he wrote to the young Church in Philippi.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV) – “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Do you have something important that you feel God is drawing you toward? Something that you often say to others?

A few examples from my own life include:

Reading the Bible daily

Writing/Journaling about what I learn from my bible reading

Praying to God with thankfulness throughout the day, starting when my eyes open in the morning

Creative writing for publication

Writing Bible Studies to encourage women

Healthy mindful eating

Daily exercise

The primary reason I’ve struggled to accomplish goals is because I didn’t make time for them. If I had to be honest, the things that I didn’t accomplish were not goals at all, they were wishes. It boils down to the fact that I didn’t see value in the thing I wished to accomplish, therefore, I was not intentional about spending a few minutes or more a day to devote to turn these wishes or desires into true goals. I’ve used lack of time as an excuse, yet I’ve spent minutes to hours watching silly animal videos on social media. I placed priority something other than what God was drawing me toward. That is embarrassing to admit, but sadly true.

In some cases, I’ve let others discourage me from following God’s calling just when the ember of passion for the goal started to heat up. Beware! That is Satan’s attempt to put out the passion and purpose filled fire that God gives all of us! Many of us have been discouraged and hurt by family members or pious appearing religious people. That internal injury may have left us doubting our callings. This is a topic that I can and will explore more in the near future.

What reasons do you have for not pressing toward turning God’s encouraging whisper into a goal? Do you see others who are doing the thing/things that you wish you could do? Do these people have more minutes in their day that you do? It may seem like they do. They don’t. They just have placed value on the task, and therefore, dedicated time to it.

Do you want to press on, making progress toward a goal God has placed on your heart?

If so, I’ve listed a few steps that have helped me. Pick a goal. Let’s do this together.

1. Name it. What is one thing that you hear yourself saying out loud, or in your head, that you would do, if only. . . For example, “If only I had more time, I’d devote 15 minutes to quiet time reading my Bible and listening to God first thing every morning.”

2. Write it down! I like to use 3 x 5 cards. Anything will work. Write “Starting tomorrow morning, I will devote 15 minutes(minimum) daily to reading God’s word.”

3. Be intentional ahead of time. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual. Prepare yourself to dedicate time to this goal. Using the example above, place your Bible and a journal on your bedside table. Or, if you are a coffee drinker, put these items next to the coffee maker so you grab them when you get your first cup of the day.

This is what I like to call an intentional chain reaction. I grab my coffee and read the Bible. I am already in the habit of getting a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, I just add another step to what I already do. Having my Bible right there serves as a reminder and eliminates the excuse to go get it if I am tired!

4. Do it, rain or shine! There are many theories about how long it takes to create or break a habit. I know that it is easier to break a habit than create one. I am a firm believer that we need to press deeper within ourselves than just creating a new habit. We have to prioritize what God wants us to do, know deep inside that this is important for our Christian walk, and dedicate ourselves to reaching toward the goal.

5. Reward yourself. Maybe hanging a paper calendar on the wall and putting a big check mark on the dates you accomplished your goal will motivate you. Or, even better, you can list the passages you read on the calendar so you can see the progress made at a glimpse.

6. Accountability partners are great. Is there someone that you know that has a similar goal? You could report in daily or weekly on your progress. If you don’t have an accountability partner, you can email me and let me know how you are doing. I’d love to encourage you.

7. Don’t be hard on yourself. Remember how I mentioned above that others may discourage you from pressing toward your goal? We can do that to ourselves and stop progress in its tracks. If you miss a day, pick up the next day and keep going. There may be a morning that the alarm doesn’t go off and you need to rush off to work. Or a family emergency disrupts the schedule. Grace, my friend, is a free gift from God. Trust me, He knows what you are going through.

Here is another much needed reminder from the Apostle Paul. Philippians 3:13 (NIV) “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

Let’s not look in the rear view mirror at past mistakes. Together, we can look forward and press on toward the goals we were designed for by God.

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  • Tammy Arlene

I am excited to announce that I will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio to speak about my book later this month and participate in the Author Academy Awards. We made it to the top 10 in General Fiction! I can hardly believe it.

I have a favor to ask.

If you haven't voted for my book, can you take a minute to do so? Coming Home is on Tab5 / General Fiction and I've added the link below.

I appreciate your support!

You can also register to watch the award ceremony online as it happens!

Here's the link:

#AuthorAcademyAwards #Finalist #AAE

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