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No Longer an Easy Target

I remember sitting at my friend’s house crying again about something someone said to me. I hated how I let this person’s comments get under my skin but here I was again. This was nothing new. The person had exhibited the same behaviors for years, yet I had a propensity to face it as if it were the first time. I sat in my friend’s kitchen, frustrated and defeated as I re-told the story. They listened and were very encouraging but they also challenged me with truth. “You are an easy target.” My friends words shook me…she was right and it made me angry. Seeing myself from that perspective was all it took for me to get up and take my power back. I was no one’s easy target!

“The way you see is stronger than any calamity.” Mark Batterson

In order to see myself differently, I had to change the narrative I was telling myself.  When we allow others words to hurt us, oftentimes it is because there is something we believe to be true about ourselves. Maybe you believe you’re not a good daughter because you didn’t get your Mother the perfect gift for her birthday. Do you believe you’re unattractive because a family member often reminds you of how you could look so much better if you just changed this.  Or do you feel like you’re incompetent in your role at work because your Supervisor never likes your ideas. Do you feel like you’ll never meet the right guy because you have been romantically disappointed too many times? What do you believe about yourself that is not true?

For years, I let shots land in my heart about my loyalty, my weight, abilities and romantic relationships and every.single.time. I was left feeling the same way which caused me to believe I would never be good enough. I know none of those things are true. I have been processed by the truth of who God says I am and His truth causes me to grow. Each time I recognize a lie, I call it out and build onto the truth.

This is how we grow.

This is how we add maturity to our faith.

We no longer have to start from square one when we get attacked. Now we can recognize what the attacker is attempting to do and get out of the way! When you make the decision to grow, your attackers plans will no longer work.  

I want you to think about something. When a hunter goes hunting, they do not simply shoot and kill their prey.  Their attack is calculated. They blend in with their surroundings, they are quiet, silently watching, studying to learn their preys habits, weaknesses, and strengths. The hunter can sit for hours taking in all this information and waiting for the perfect time to attack.  Y’all we have an enemy that is strategically setting up challenges to steal, kill and destroy us.  He believes that you are an easy target. What do you believe??

The following week the same person that I let upset me attempted to rile me up again but this time I refused to let it anger me. I called them out on their behavior. They didn’t apologize but they quickly backed down and tried to pretend they were just kidding. The behavior continued a few more times, but each time it occurred, I spoke up with more assurance until finally it stopped.  What happened? I was able to see the problem with a greater perspective which allowed me to build upon the information that I already knew.  This made it possible for me to face the challenge with more tenacity. I was done!

Philippians 1:6 says, “God has already started a good work in you and He wants to bring it to completion.”  

God wants to build upon what He has already done in you so that you can have greater influence to empower others.

Brave Tip: “Let your yesterday be a building block for tomorrow.” Priscilla Shirer

Candy

To Be Or Not To Be…You

This year has been about pursuing “This is Me”, my identity. Since I’ve invited God to show me who I am, it’s been a heavy battle of letting go of what I’ve believed about myself in exchange for the truth of who He has already created me to be.

If I’ve always been who He says I am, then the question I have to ask myself is: What has kept me from fully embracing it all this time? I believe that false humility has played a significant role in my denial of who I am. False humility hides behind an incorrect perception of humility. False humility is pride cloaking itself as humility. For example, do you often disagree with people when they pay you a compliment or have some kind of rebuttal? Yep, that’s false humility.

I think there is a constant underlying fear of either being perceived as arrogant or not being good enough. In reality, true humility admits the truth. Pride blinds, distracts, and slows down the process of growth. I’ve said in the past that it’s not the truth that hurts but the removal of pride that leaves a powerful sting.

While reading a book called ‘The Marketplace Paradigm”, I realized that I never gave myself permission to be successful. Some part of me withheld the possibility of actually seeing my visions come to pass. It was a turning point in my thinking. I decided that I’m finished pretending I can’t have it all. I am supposed to dream big and have the audacity to believe it can be done. I’ve had to admit that I’ve placed limits on my God-given potential.

It is never too late to get it. God has been waiting for this moment. He has been waiting for you to align yourself with the truth and allow it to set you free. In this freedom you don’t count yourself out and decide that someone else is more qualified. In this freedom you assume that He has set you up for success.

I finally admit that I am a gifted artist and speaker. I challenge you to no longer ignore the compliments and affirmation that come your way. People notice what you are good at and have a tendency to tell you. Ask a co-worker, friend or family member to tell you what they see in you. There is nothing that you lack in gifts. They point you to who you are.

What visions have God played on repeat all your life? What are you passionate about? Take a moment to wholly accept who you are and give yourself permission to just ‘be’. Don’t let false humility get in the way. It’s time to finally admit how truly incredible you are.

Receiving Grace

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm clock went off and I fumbled to quickly silence and get those last few seconds of peace before another hectic day begins. As I started to wake up, I soon realized that this was my backup alarm and I missed my workout, the second time in the past week. Now, if you’re any normal person, this is not a big deal, you dust yourself off and go on with the day. For me that morning, however, it was a bit of a meltdown. I couldn’t believe how I had failed yet again and that this was totally NOT living the hard way (like I had committed to do here), and how was I ever going to reap those long term rewards if I couldn’t even get up for a simple workout. As I ruminated on this, the stress of other events came into my mind and I connected my failure in waking up late to having a negative effect on the rest of my life as well, like my studies, work, relationship, and overall wellbeing.

Stress can do this odd thing to people, where it makes them crazy and overreact to everything. I did it to myself. I was getting too stressed that I forgot that I was blessed. I had tried too hard to lean on my own understanding and my own power, that when I failed, I had no where to go except to beat up myself and “try harder next time.” My closest friends and family told me I was being too hard on myself, and I excused it away in the name of being “disciplined.”

I couldn’t accept the grace that was extended to me, because I couldn’t even give myself grace. It was like I was unworthy of grace and kindness because I had failed. The grace that God offered, and the grace that his children were offering me was undeserved. But that’s kind of the point.

Sometimes you have to be brave enough to humble yourself and receive. Receive the grace that others have to offer, even when you can’t give it to yourself. Receive the service of others, because sometimes you have to be served instead of constantly serving. Receive the love and joy that comes from the forgiveness and kindness of others, especially when it is undeserved.

Receive the grace… even when you can’t give it to yourself.

When I could finally accept that God and others could have grace for me, I was able to have a little more grace for myself. Life is hard and gets stressful sometimes. However, that we can still accept the grace that is extended us to live out this brave journey we are on.

This journey is not meant to be lived alone and most definitely not within your own power. The grace of God and others can bring such joy and depth! Accept the grace today. You don’t have to have it all together.

When the Hard Way Gets Hard

“I was wrong.

I was weak.

I am sorry.

I chose what was comfortable instead of the Hard Way this time.”

This year, the theme that I chose is “The Hard Way.” After reading a book on entitlement and experiencing a hard year in 2015, I knew that living the hard way now would set me up for greater success in my future and a way to live easier in the long run. Creating disciplines and habits now would be hard, but this had the potential to set me up for the rest of my life.

Like any new endeavor, it started off well, and though it was hard, it seemed that it would pay off because I had that vision of the long term in mind. Fast forward a couple months and a week with little sleep and I thought it could get easier soon. However, after a few more weeks with lack of sleep, I started to fade, and the desire to seek comfort grew.

As a result, I chose the easy way, I dumped responsibilities that were mine onto a friend and made her stressed and confused in the process. I chose to have the attitude of entitlement, that for some reason, because I had a “busy schedule” or “lack of sleep,” I had an excuse to not handle my fair share of the responsibility. Anti-entitlement (choosing the hard way) thinks of others first, and understands how personal actions impact other people. (Tweet that!)

By me not choosing the hard way, I made it harder for other people.

My lawyer neighbor while I was growing up had this saying on his wall and every time we would go into his office we would read: “Poor planning on your part, does not constitute for an emergency on my part.”

Yet so often, as entitled people, we think the opposite is true. We say, “Because I didn’t plan well, you will do the work for me.” We push our own responsibilities onto others.

After realizing the hurt and stress I had caused my friend, I knew what I needed to do.

Sometimes bravery is admitting we were in the wrong, exposing our vulnerabilities or weaknesses and asking for forgiveness from those we hurt. I had not chosen bravery. I had chosen comfort and what I thought seemed to be easiest at the time, yet it ended up wounding the relationship with my friend, causing the need for some repairs.

Thankfully, she forgave as soon as I apologized, and we are on good terms, but I can’t help but think what it could have been had I chosen the Hard Way to begin with.

It’s YOUR turn!
When did you choose comfort over “the hard way”?

How have your actions of entitlement affected other people?

Is there someone in your life that you need to make amends with today?

Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser

In a previous post I talked about how 2016 will be the year of “This is Me”. My hope is to finally see myself the way God sees me and unashamedly live my life out loud. My turning point came after being pressed to look back at one of the most uncertain times of my life: My parents’ divorce when I was 10 years old.

The divorce shook my world. When you come out of a divorce as complex and volatile as my parents’, it’s natural to find ways to cope. In the aftermath, I felt it was my job to keep everyone happy.  I used to work hard to please both of my parents. When I couldn’t, I focused on pleasing one. Approval seeking became a way of life. If I didn’t get it from one place, I somehow sought it from another.

I had become a people pleaser.

I had become a people pleaser. It was the only way I knew how to navigate in a world that had become unrecognizable. People pleasers have a way of living in the open yet remain hidden at the same time. I never wanted to let others down and tended to hide my true feelings to keep the peace. It was a deep-rooted mentality that subconsciously ruled my life.

For a long time, I’ve sought the approval of certain individuals despite my desire to seek only Gods’. Now I can see the many times I’ve said ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no’ out of fear of disappointing others or being perceived as uncaring. I know that I am capable of incredible things yet I have doubted my ability to be successful at them.  I’ve feared that I won’t live up to the vision that God has given me.

people pleasing quote

It’s difficult to break out of a mindset you’ve lived out of for decades. Despite the sense of familiarity and safety in it, I decided to make a choice and allow God to challenge my thinking. To search my heart and reveal what has held me back from truly living out loud.

I’ve never felt freer than I do today. I value myself and choose to no longer play down my gifts. I understand now that my ‘no’ is just as powerful as my ‘yes”. I recognize what has been within me: bravery. I want to shout from a mountaintop “I get it now”! As a recovering people-pleaser, I invite you to break away from the approval seeking that comes from self-doubt. Allow God to bring truth and balance to your world. When you set your heart on what pleases God, everybody wins including you.

The Year of “This Is Me”

this is me

This is breakout year!  2015 had uncovered some untruths about my personal value. Hidden in a small shadowed place was the belief that I was only valuable to people for what I could do for them rather than for who I am. Unwittingly, I’ve managed to carry this idea around and view life from its lens for many years. This deep hurt came from past experiences growing up in the confusion of divorce and other factors that I hadn’t fully acknowledged. It’s caused me to shy away and sometimes hide the best parts of me.

My freedom came in the form of telling God that I wanted my self-perception to match His perception of me. In 2016, I am still making that request to God. It’s painful to admit, but I need to find out why certain things bother me so much. When God searches your heart, He leaves no stone unturned. Thankfully our amazing Father knows how to transform us by taking us through different seasons.

This year, or season, is about my identity. It’s not so much about knowing who I am, but rather, understanding what that means. It’s about fully embracing how I’ve been created without apology. It’s about the phrase “I’m too much” no longer leaving my lips. 2016 is a picture of me raising my hands, laughing without embarrassment, pursuing without comparison, and slapping fear with truth.

What would happen if I owned up to everything that makes me who I am and no longer held back? What would my life look like if I valued my voice and shared my thoughts in the workplace? How much more would my business accelerate if I didn’t shy away from opportunities because of a fear of rejection? The exceptional life I want is possible. I want to see it. I want to know it.  I want to live it.

I am finally in a place where I see my value. Now, it’s time to lay it all out there because I am created with purpose. What I have is needed whether I realize it or not. Where have you held back due to a lack of self-value? What stifling lies have you believed about what you’re capable of? Knowing yourself the way God knows you will radically change your life and those who have the fortune of being around you. Choose with me to break out of the mediocrity that fear creates and pursue the real you. The world deserves someone just like you.

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Guest Blog Story: Where’s Home?

Where’s home?

For two weeks I’ve been home in Nebraska visiting family and friends for the holidays. Since August of 2015 I’ve been living in Costa Rica as a missionary studying Spanish. I’ll be studying Spanish and living there until August of 2016, potentially longer.

A month before coming back to Nebraska I could hardly wait to get back home to see family, friends, eat old foods, and do things that I couldn’t do in Costa Rica. Yet, after seeing my friends and family, and doing those odd and end things, I found myself missing my friends, food, public transportation, and daily habits in Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica I would try and explain my life in Nebraska, but people couldn’t really understand the stories and experiences I tried to share about my “home”. Now in Nebraska my friends and family don’t quite understand my stories and experiences from my life in Costa Rica. I feel like an outsider in both places.

Where is home for me? I thought that when I came back to Nebraska things would just pick up where they left off, but I realized that life has moved forward while I was away. At the same time, when I’m in Costa Rica I don’t fully fit in either because I’m not fluent in their language and culture yet. So…where do I fit in now? Where is home for me?

Honestly, right now I don’t know the answers to those questions, but there’s one thing I know to always be true:

I can choose to trust the Lord and His plans for my life.

It’s hard feeling like I don’t have a “home” or a place where I “fit in”, but I am choosing to be BRAVE and trust the Lord through this season. You’ve heard the saying, “home is where the heart is”.

I give the Lord my heart so he is my “home”.

I know that no matter where I am or who I’m with I can always have a sense of home, as long as I place my trust in the Lord and keep him at the center of my life. Being BRAVE is a choice. I choose to be BRAVE!

Will you choose to be BRAVE and trust the Lord with your life? He wants to take you down the most amazing, life fulfilling journey. I dare you to be BRAVE.

Find out more about Myhiah’s BRAVE life in Costa Rica on her blog!

Twitter: @mdotzler

Facebook: Myhiah Dotzler

 

 

 

 

2016: Review and the New

Review:

As the Founder of Brave Avenue I (Candy) am truly thankful for the opportunity to curate Brave Stories from women who can speak into our natural ability to rise up and live passionately. “What’s your story?” has been my go-to question when I’m in a room full of strangers or simply just getting my oil changed. I have always loved hearing people’s journeys, but I never thought a platform would open up for me to actually share with others. Brave Avenue seemed to happen by accident. I was at work listening to Pandora when a group called Boyce Avenue came on. I was digging the song and went to find out more. I mistook the name as Brave Avenue and only found a street name located in a few cities I had never visited. After Google failed to give me a complete answer I went to the source. God let me know he was challenging me to be brave in 2015. To say “yes” when I wanted to say no to discomfort. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had asked God to help me raise a confident and brave girl who would grow up secure and fearless of any challenge. Of course, it’s only natural that he would present me with uncomfortable opportunities for me to tap into bravery. My daughter has an example that she can look up to everyday. We’re only 6 months in and I must say I am proud of the impact Brave Avenue has made. We’ve grown to four regular Contributors, the Brave Stories have been shared in multiple countries, and our Guest Bloggers and Contributors have been impacted by the amazing feedback they receive, even inspiring some to move forward in their passions. Although we are the foundation, we still get motivated to take the next step after reading your comments!

This experience showed me four things:

1-Women need empowered women to lead the way for our younger generation.

2- Our voices matter and are valuable. 

3- Our thoughts and Brave Stories are important and needed. 

4- Saying “yes” can lead you to incredible opportunities only found in your dreams.

The New:

We are so thankful and blessed for all that has happened in this past year. As we review 2015, we are also excitedly anticipating all that will come in 2016 and how we can bravely face it together. As the co-founders of Brave Avenue, we would like to share our intentions and some themes that we have chosen to focus on for this new year.

Ella: “The Hard Way”

In 2016, I will live the hard way. I will not retreat to a cave of easy comfort but will climb the mountain, no matter the weather, becoming stronger each day along the hard way. Clearly, the hard way will be difficult, but I will choose to deny present comfort for future reward while living a life of focus and purpose. “Happiness is a by-product to enjoy, not a dream to seize,” John Townsend.

Jennifer Diane: “This Is Me”

I am finally at that long-waited point of fully embracing who I am and everything that goes with it. Every day, I will openly and unapologetically express, laugh, create and pursue. When the fear of rejection rears its ugly head, I will punch it in the throat and side step it at every opportunity. I am confident that 2016 is a breakout year for me.

Candy: “I will pursue trust.”

This past year has taught me that I have a quiet strength that has the ability to greatly influence change that is bigger than me. In 2016, I will stop breaking promises to myself and confidently trust in Gods promises. It’s time to stop down-playing who I am. When fear attempts to take hold of me with its excuses or reminders of the past, I will boldly call it out. I will no longer be bound by the fear of actually seeing good outcomes.

Stating your intentions for 2016 is not just writing down your to do list for the year. It is about creating healthy lifestyle habits that develop and reveal the authentic you.

Your perspective on how you do things is everything. Your perspective comes from your ‘why’. Why do you want to do more in 2016? Why are you choosing that specific word or theme? Inwardly focused goals are not strong enough to bring about a powerful game-changing outcome. It is when we can step outside of ourselves and see the bigger picture and purpose of our actions when we realize we can truly make a difference and find happiness.

It’s YOUR TURN!

If you are ready to bravely achieve more this year, we challenge you to answer the questions below. Invite a friend to join you.

  1. What is your intention/theme for the year?
  2. How do you plan to accomplish that?
  3. What obstacles/fears do you foresee standing in your way?

 

Be brave and empowered on your journey!

-The Brave Avenue Bravenistas

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