My Journey to Matured Confidence

Welcome to the part of my blog where I share raw unadulterated details about my personal journey. Not because I want to, but because I must. Sharing our story, no matter how great or small, is part of being human. It’d be selfish of me to experience such self-transformation and not share and inspire others.

So here we are! I already talked about 12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy and Self Confidence | 3 Ways to Feel Beautiful. Today, I want to talk about my journey to matured confidence and illustrate that confidence is like a muscle that needs to be built and strengthened.

My journey to self-confidence started when I was a little girl. I wasn’t what some considered to be a particularly “beautiful” child. I was timid, had dominant Nigerian features, and wore thick glasses that made my eyes look like tiny seeds.

Before I go any further, I am NOT in any way saying I wasn’t beautiful because of my Nigerian features. What I am saying is that the people around me could only see ONE type of beauty—and my “Africanness” certainly didn’t fit that mold.

As a small child I never really thought much about my looks. My mother, who is very fair skinned, talked about how much she loved brown skin tones. She gifted me ethnic dolls and did her best to portray the message that brown is beautiful.

I was beautiful to her, and that was all that mattered.

Until I became interested in boys. I found out very quickly that I was the ugly friend that no one wanted to date.

That’s when I started to take notice.

I noticed I didn’t look like the leading women in romantic movies. I noticed I didn’t look anything like the “cute” girls at schools. I even noticed that, although I shared a similar skin tone, my features were much more pronounced than the dainty features on ethnic Barbie dolls.

Nike Anderson Quotes

But do you want to know something interesting? I wondered, even as a nine-year-old, why I couldn’t be beautiful, too. I mean, I knew I didn’t resemble what everyone else considered to be beautiful, but a small authentic part of me knew that beauty didn’t have to be so one-dimensional.

What would happen next would be the thing I’m most proud of. I just threw my hands up and decided it didn’t matter. I may not be beautiful to other people. I may get overlooked in the dating department. I may even get called names like four-eyes, African booty-scratcher, ugly, and coke-bottles (kids are so lovely, aren’t they? LOL). But, one thing that no one could take away from me was my intelligence. My knowledge. My wisdom. My joy.

I probably didn’t know I was being this deep in the fourth grade, but looking back at it, I knew that physical beauty wasn’t everything. I put more focus and energy into being one of the smartest kids in class than into what I looked like. In this, I experienced a different type of beauty, a different type of confidence that couldn’t be uprooted. To others, I lacked physical appeal, but they couldn’t deny that I was disciplined, hardworking, determined, and creative.

And then this happened:

Sometime during middle school, I suddenly bloomed. Maybe it was because I ditched the glasses for contact lenses. Maybe it was my overly-developed teenaged figure. But, as if out of nowhere, everyone started to see what I’d been seeing all along—beauty. It was a different kind of beauty. An interesting kind of beauty. But beauty, nonetheless.

For the first time people started referring to me as “beautiful,” and it felt good.

So good that it became addictive and I started entrusting my self-worth to validation from pubescent boys. I became full of myself. Yes, I was still a “gifted” student but it became more important for me to fit in and be accepted by the “in-crowd.” To the outside world, I looked like a young lady oozing with confidence—I was smart, pretty, and popular. But only I knew the truth—that deep down I felt this void because these external things were all that I had to bank on. If I was no longer considered pretty or popular my entire teenage world would shatter.

I don’t remember the exact year, but there was an impactful day I’d spent hanging out with my aunt at a friend’s barbecue. As my aunt introduced me to her friends, some of them had kindly complimented my unique beauty. My aunt’s response? “Yes, she’s beautiful, but she’s also very intelligent.” I talk about this moment often because it awakened the nine-year-old in me—the little girl who knew that beauty was subjective and that I had other things going for me beyond what the eye could see.

Nike Anderson Quotes

I had the right idea as a nine-year-old but later learned that even intelligence could be subjective, a confidence crutch if you will.

I needed something more.

Yes, my teenaged self could think of several positive adjectives that described me. But who was I? Who was I truly? And why was I here? Thus, started my journey to what I like to call matured confidence.

I wasn’t raised in a religious household, but that didn’t stop God from reaching me. I didn’t need a sermon, an altar call, or any of that. I knew His voice. I knew He was calling me. And I knew only He had the answers to my pressing questions—that He would show me who I was and what I was doing here. So, I made the unpopular decision to give my life to Christ, not to live a life of religious rules, but to live a life powered by faith and love.

You see, religion and faith are two separate things. Religion subtracts and divides. Faith adds and multiplies.

Religion and Faith Quotes, Inspiration, Memes

I’m not going to preach. That is not my intention. But in order for this post to be most authentic, I must include this detail of my life. Where this journey to confidence really took off.

My life wasn’t perfect after accepting Christ. In fact, I made some poor choices in high school and even poorer choices in undergrad. It was a struggle to live authentically when a huge part of me just wanted to do what everyone else was doing because it was easier.

Yes, it was so easy to fit in. Standing out took courage—and it was also very lonely.

When girls in my high school were out having sex and getting their hearts broken, I made the bold decision to wait until marriage. I knew that any guy who saw my value as God saw it—and as I saw it—would be willing to wait with me. But that choice didn’t come without opposition. Guys made up stories to slander me and girls poked fun at my virginity.

In my adult years, when my coworkers chose to sit around and gossip during lunch breaks, I chose a quiet table outdoors to sit and read. I saw no point in bringing others down to make myself feel good. I already felt good about myself. But, of course, this meant I’d eventually become the subject of their gossip. I was even overlooked and lost promotions to colleagues who habitually came to work late and did more talking than working—but they fit in.

I mention these examples not to appear self-righteous, but to reiterate my point. It would’ve been easier for me to “fit in.” Why? Because standing out meant getting called nasty names, losing friends, and being subjected to rumors made up about me. To a mature woman, this might not have been a huge deal. But to a young woman growing in maturity, being an outcast was a real struggle.

Looking back at my younger years, as a woman now in her thirties, I can see clearly the levels of growth in my confidence. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide “I love me—truly love me.” Self-love was, and still is, a process.

Where does my confidence come from? It comes from knowing who I am. Who I truly am. The core of my being deeply rooted in Christ that you must experience for yourself to truly understand. It comes from recognizing that true confidence does none of the following:

  1. Compares itself to others.
  2. Tears others down to lift itself up.
  3. Puts its energy into hatred.
  4. Places itself above others.
  5. Strays from its authentic self.

True Confidence Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

No. People who walk in true confidence acknowledge and respect that everyone has different levels of gifts and talents, is on their own journey, and has a significant purpose to realize. Confident people build others up, put their energy into faith and love, and never place themselves above others. Most importantly, they never stray from their authenticity.

To this day, some will never see me as beautiful enough, smart enough, popular enough, or whatever “enoughs” they can think of. But I will never know it because I’m not paying attention. I’m too busy focusing my energy on who I was created to be and what I was created to do.

And can I just say that acknowledgment of one’s own beauty, gifts, talents, accomplishments, intelligence, etc., does not make a person conceited or vain? Conceited and vain people have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.  There’s a difference between someone aware of what God has blessed them with and someone who thinks they’re better than other people because of what God has blessed them with.

I want to close by saying I have no intention of posting this because I’m not sure it even makes sense. You’d be surprised at how many things I’ve written that I never post. But if you see this post that has been hiding in my documents since May 2018, that means I finally did it.

Until next time, friends…

 

Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

12 Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

Hi! I’m Nike. If you’re new to this blog, my family is entering our fourth year of homeschool this year. I can hardly believe it!

My husband and I live in Middle Georgia where we homeschool our two boys, ages 5 and 8. They are entering kindergarten and third grade this upcoming school year.

I love blog posts where homeschool moms keep it real. I know that, for most of us, we enjoy homeschooling our children and want to highlight the many positives of being a homeschool family. However, not sharing the unglamorous side can be crippling for new families who may think they’re the only ones experiencing tough moments.

So, to all the moms (and dads) experiencing any of the following, you’re not alone. Here are my twelve confessions.

1. It’s challenging.

Contrary to what people, who haven’t a clue about homeschool, think, homeschooling is not an easy job. When done properly, it takes a great deal of time, research, knowledge, preparation, discipline, patience, coordination, and proficiency. Whether purchasing a curriculum or making your own, the work that goes into ensuring your children are well educated is extensive. Some bad eggs may give homeschool a bad name, but for the rest of us, we put in that work!

2. It’s uncertain.

Truthfully, I believe there’s a season for everything. I don’t know when our homeschool season will end. Whether it ends after high school or next year, only the good Lord knows. Anything can happen. My kids may want to try out traditional school. Homeschool may be outlawed (Lord forbid!). Or, it may just stop working for us. All I know for certain is, at the moment, we’re enjoying this time and hope it lasts as long as God allows it to.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

3. It’s lonely.

I’ve been blessed to meet and befriend other homeschool moms who invite our family out for parties and playdates, but at its core, homeschool is lonely. That’s because at the end of the day, it’s just me, my kids, and their curriculum. Being the primary teacher in my children’s life means that sometimes I’ll feel isolated and overwhelmed. And while the truth is I’m not alone and this is the plight of every homeschool parent, it sure doesn’t feel that way during those tough moments.

4. I get unmotivated.

I don’t jump out of bed every morning and greet the day like Mary Poppins. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes I dread the monotony that homeschool routines can often fall into. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m sick. Sometimes I haven’t slept well. Sometimes I doubt myself. There are many motivation killers that can throw me off course at times. But I’ve learned that perseverance is what you do long after your motivation has left you.


5. I don’t know everything.

The truth is, I still have so much to learn. In fact, my boys are becoming smarter than me by the day. They’ve become experts on topics they’re passionate about and the beautiful thing is they’ve also become my teacher in that regard. As a homeschool mom, I’ve realized one of the best things I can do for my children is not to teach them everything, but to connect them to the resources they need to teach themselves.

6. We have tough days.

Most days are great, but some days my boys just won’t cooperate. Sometimes there are tantrums. Sometimes there’s defiance. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Yes, crying, yelling, and everything in between can be heard on any given day. We aren’t perfect homeschoolers.

If these walls could talk, they'd tell you we're not the perfect homeschool.

7. Unschooling myself is hard.

Since I was trained by the good ol’ public school system, I constantly have to unschool myself so that I can open up more to the reality that we don’t have to sit in a classroom doing schoolwork every morning. There are other ways to learn. In fact, children are learning even when we’re not actively teaching them. Still, it takes time to accept that my children can learn even when I’m not standing at the whiteboard lecturing.

8. I don’t hate public school.

I am a product of public school. So is my husband. So are my friends. We all turned out just fine. I went to an excellent college, earned a degree, and even earned a professional degree. I’ve had some of the most amazing teachers and some not so good ones. I don’t hate the public school system. I thank it, because it was an option when my family couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I didn’t take my education for granted. I used it to my advantage, making sure I excelled so that I’d be a great candidate for college. Whether my boys are homeschooled, go to public or private school, I’d make sure that they excel, too.

9. The house gets messy.

You can imagine the mess that accumulates when a family spends most of their time at home. Hey, we live here! In fact, the only time our home is spotless is when we have guests, and everyone panics to “get the house together.” Yes, we have chores and cleaning schedules, but somehow at the end of the day, it seems like every single item we own is covering the tables and floors.

I cleaned my house today... memes, inspiration, quotes

10. I’m glad I didn’t buy a curriculum.

When we first started homeschooling three years ago, I used every free resource I could find for my then kindergartner. He learned to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic without a boxed curriculum. You can find the list of resources I used, here. Holding off on purchasing a curriculum offered more time to study how my son learns, which helped me choose a curriculum that best fit his learning style. Even better? The money we saved that year was put toward extracurricular activities and family trips!

11. My schedules are for show.

I have what I like to call my “ideal schedule” and then there’s reality. That reality becomes our routine. The difference? When I schedule things, it puts our family on a timeclock and makes everyone stressed. When I establish a routine, it invites spontaneity and allows the day to flow organically. Believe it or not, we used to have an alarm that sounded when it was time to move on to the next lesson, eat, have recess, etc. It wasn’t fun for any of us.

12. It’s rewarding.

This is such a cliché, but it’s true. I love learning more about my children, their strengths and weaknesses, their preferred method of learning, how they tend to deal with frustration. I love seeing and being a part of their progression. I love spending the day with them. They are my little buddies!


 

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s worth mentioning that even though some negative moments are highlighted here, the positive moments definitely hold more weight.

I want to hear from you: What are your homeschool confessions? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Is Homeschool Your Calling?

5 Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling

I fell to my knees. My hands cupped my face. Tears fell into my palms. And I finally cried.

I wanted to know once and for all, “Is this homeschool thing for me?”

It sure didn’t seem like it.

Yet, He finally had me where He wanted me.

God, that is.

For months I’d suppressed the question, “Is this homeschool thing for me?” I’d wondered if I’d just made this whole “calling” thing up. If this was really what God wanted our family to do.

Each day felt riskier than the last. Three years in and I wondered “What on earth are we actually doing? Are we actually trusting ourselves to prepare our BLACK sons for academic success?”

And because fear begets more fear, I started worrying about other things. Financing resources. Hiccups in the family business. Lack of security without a corporate job. Crazy healthcare costs. Taxes.

The light at the end of the tunnel grew so dim that anxiety was the only darkness I could see.

And I fell to my knees.

“Lord!” I cried. “Show us…Show us that we’re walking on the right path. And if we’re not, give us the courage to walk away.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t cry anymore. It was as if peace had forced its way into my troubled spirit. I kneeled there, hands still cupping my face, and listened.

And then a voice said: “Deep down you know that putting your boys into public school isn’t the answer. Deep down you know you weren’t called to live life like everyone else.”

And that voice was right. I wanted to be “normal.” I wanted our family to be “normal.” But I also knew that “normal” came with its own set of problems. That I’d just be trading my current set of problems in for new ones—trading my current fears for new fears.

No. What I truly wanted was peace. Not to be “normal.” The peace of knowing that whatever happens, God works things out for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I tried to sleep that night, but I just couldn’t. I was thinking about this blog post. First, the title popped into my mind “Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling.” Then, I went through all the points in my head, as I lay there desperately attempting to enter into rest.

“Get up!” I felt a voice saying. “You said you wanted to know if homeschool is your calling, and now I’m giving you the concise reply you are seeking.”

So, I rolled out of bed at 1am and headed to the office with my notebook. Now, here we are: 5 Ways to Know If Homeschool is Your Calling. I hope this post blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

 

1. You have a vision.

Without a Vision Meme, Quote, Inspiration

Vision is everything. In our case, it’s what my husband and I couldn’t see that made our vision plain. When we started discussing our vision for the future of our son’s education, we couldn’t see him in public school. In fact, we’d initially planned on placing him in a private school once he reached school age.

It wasn’t until I’d stumbled upon a text illustrating the rise of homeschool that a lightbulb went off. I didn’t know anything about homeschool, but it seemed like the perfect fulfillment of our vision.

Homeschool seemed right. But it also seemed far-fetched considering we were in no position to homeschool at the time. Still, we envisioned the places we could travel with our children, the types of subjects we could teach them, the freedom our boys would have to learn at their own pace, and the freedom they’d have to be themselves.

Little did we know, after five years of flirting with the idea of homeschool, we’d finally take that leap of courage. But it started with a vision.

God always provides a vision, even when the calling isn’t meant to be fulfilled until decades later. God gave Abraham a visual reference to His calling on Abraham’s life when He told him his “descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Gen. 26:4). It took twenty-five years for that promise to be fulfilled.

Similarly, as a young man, Joseph had prophetic dreams that someday he’d be in a position of power and reverence. He could envision his family bowing down to him even though it didn’t make perfect sense at the time. More than a decade later, that vision was fulfilled when Joseph became second in command in Egypt.

It all starts with a vision.

 

2. It intimidates you.

If it scares you it might be a good thing to try. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

I remember the mental struggle I went through right before submitting my Declaration of Intent to homeschool. The year ahead seemed very intimidating. I wasn’t sure if I could teach my son how to read, and I wasn’t even sure if I could teach him anything at all for that matter. I weighed the pros and cons in my mind. The cons scared me greatly and served as the foundation for my many objections.

What if my children don’t learn enough? What if they don’t make any friends? What if they hate it? What if they don’t get accepted into college? To ease my anxieties, I bargained with myself—and God—that I’d be brave enough to “try homeschool” for one full school year and see if it’s truly a fit for our family.

You know who else bargained with God when they received an intimidating calling?

Moses.

You’ll read in Exodus that during the exchange between God and Moses, Moses had objections to leading the Israelites out of Egypt. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He asked (Exodus 3:11). That was his first objection. His second objection doubted the One who sent him. His third objection doubted the people he was called to lead. His fourth objection doubted his qualifications. Finally, Moses just outright denies the calling and asks God to, “Send someone else” (Exodus 4:13).

 

3. You have to make sacrifices.

True Success Requires Sacrifice. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

Financial sacrifice is among the most popular challenges of the homeschool lifestyle. After all, in a typical homeschool family, one parent must either refrain from working or cut back on work hours.

Our family is no different. The decision to homeschool meant we’d be taking a financial hit. That meant we wouldn’t be able to indulge in the luxuries of life without penalty. Dining out, family vacations, new cars, new gadgets, and other luxuries were few and far between. Instead, we put money toward homeschool resources, enrichment activities, and other necessities.

And that was just the beginning.

Essentially, we sacrificed our comfort zone—the ability to call ourselves a “normal” family. Nothing is “normal” about homeschool. It changed the trajectory of our life. It changed our thought-patterns. It changed the way we saw ourselves. It changed the way we saw the world. It forced us to connect with people who don’t look like us, think like us, or believe like us.

But there is nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to sacrifices and callings.

In the Bible, Moses had to sacrifice his comfortable lifestyle in the Egyptian palace in order to fulfill his calling to lead the Israelites to freedom. Esther was willing to sacrifice her life and position as Queen of Persia to fulfill her calling to save her people from slaughter. Joseph unknowingly had to sacrifice his freedom to fulfill his calling to become second in command in Egypt, where he’d be in position to save many lives from a severe famine. Catch my drift?

Homeschool may not be as profound as the aforementioned callings, but it does come with its own set of challenges that will force you out of your comfort zone.

 

4. It ignites a passion in you.

Passion Memes, Inspiration, Quotes

Even with all the intimidation, the challenges, and the sacrifices weighing you down, something inside you keeps pushing you forward. I’ve realized that “something” is called passion. Passion is the reason I get right back up after a bad day (or a bad week!) and keep going. Passion is the reason I don’t quit even when I want to.

Passion is the reason I’m writing this blog post and sharing my experience with a hope that you’ll be encouraged to fulfill your calling to homeschool.

 

Think about it. There had to be something that kept Moses going when Pharaoh kept saying “no.” Something that kept Abraham believing even up to the twenty-fifth year after a promise was spoken to him.  Something that kept Paul going in the midst of ongoing persecution. Something that kept Jesus going until it was “finished.”

Passion gives way to unshakeable faith.

But it needs to be renewed daily.

If you find yourself losing the passion to homeschool, simply ask God to rekindle that flame.

 

5. It draws you closer to God.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

When God calls us to do something out of our league, we’re going to need Him! He puts us in this position of total dependency so that He can receive all the glory. So that we can never take credit for what we couldn’t possibly do without Him.

I once thought this homeschool journey was essentially about my children’s education. I was wrong. Everything God calls us to do is always about advancing His Kingdom—about drawing us closer to Him so that we can draw others to Him.

For me, drawing closer to God means that I’m growing in love, character, perseverance, and faith. And I know with certainty that my children have front row seats to my walk with God—That I am teaching them through my actions how to respond to challenges, disappointments, setbacks, fears, blessings, mercy, and favor.

I love Solomon’s plea to the Lord, asking Him for more wisdom and knowledge to govern His people (2 Chron. 1:10). But where did this plea initiate? During his father, David’s, reign, Solomon observed the value of divine wisdom and wanted to lead God’s people as faithfully and successfully as David had.

When I think about this scripture a question comes to mind: Are my children inspired by my walk with God or discouraged by it?  After all, they are the future of God’s kingdom.


I want to end this post by saying all callings have a season. Some of us are called to homeschool for the full eighteen years, while others are meant to homeschool for less than half that time. However long or short your season is, remember that God is with you through it all and He will give you everything you need if you just ask Him.

Obviously, these aren’t the only ways to know if homeschool is your calling. I want to hear from you: What inspired you to homeschool?

 

Self Confidence | Three Ways to Feel Beautiful

Self Confidence | 3 Ways to Feel Beautiful

Hello beautiful people! I’m back!

Can I just say for the past few weeks I’ve been stumped on what to write about? Or rather, I’ve been writing, but have been stumped on what to actually post. Much of my writing never makes it to this platform because I believe everything must be done in divine order. Therefore, when it comes to posts like these, I must feel a conviction to share them.

That conviction came after realizing there’s so much self-transformation that I went through as a woman of God that can help other women who are where I was. Confidence is something we all struggle with. Some of us to a larger degree than others. But over the years, I’ve learned some things that helped me mature in this area of my life.

It’s important to remember that confidence is one thing, matured confidence is another. Many of us have confidence but aren’t growing in it as we should. After all, confidence, like many other virtues, is a muscle that must be built up and strengthened overtime.

Today, I’m sharing three simple strategies that transformed me into a woman of matured confidence. These methods aren’t just something to check off my list, but are meant to be followed and lived out on a daily basis.

Self Confidence | Three Ways to Feel Beautiful

 

1. Turn it off!

My journey to matured confidence began when I turned off the television.

That was 8 years ago. During this time, I eliminated all distractions in order to grow spiritually. I realized continually exposing myself to images that narrowly portrayed beauty, and cosmetic commercials that prayed on the insecurities of women, was harmful to my self-esteem and spiritual growth.

Not only did I grow spiritually, but I also grew in self-confidence. The lack of exposure to “one type of beauty” helped me focus on what makes me beautiful, rather than what doesn’t make me beautiful. For years, I was oblivious to fashion, makeup, and hairstyle trends—and it was so freeing to be out of the loop. I just did me.

Years later, I would come to do the same with social media.

Turn it off.

Even though I’ve built a solid foundation for my self-confidence over the years, I’m still very careful to preserve it. That means spending more time living out my purpose and less time watching other people live out theirs.

Spend more time living out your purpose and less time watching others live out theirs.

This has been tricky since I use Instagram and Facebook to connect with all of you. But I’ve been able to master that art of balance by instilling a couple rules that I may talk about in a future post.

 

2. Give Yourself Permission.

Yes, give yourself permission to feel beautiful. I know many women who struggle in this area. They don’t give themselves permission to feel beautiful because they’ve got belly fat, stretch marks, cellulite, acne, dark skin, pale skin, or whatever else is in direct opposition with ideal beauty standards.

But who orchestrated this law that one doesn’t deserve to feel beautiful if they don’t fit the beauty standard? I’ll let you in on a little secret; advertising companies work diligently to ensure we hate the way we look. Why? Because then they can sell us weight loss pills, stretch mark creams, tanning lotions, lip plumpers, or whatever else we desperately reach for in an effort to fit the mold.

I remember conversing about body image with an old coworker of mine, who gasped when I shared my weight with her. Her response?

“I’d just die if I weighed that much!”

Not even kidding. Those were her exact words.

I was trying to make a point that numbers on the scale didn’t matter, considering I was pretty healthy and fit at the time. But in her eyes, there was something wrong with a woman being okay with less than ideal numbers on the scale. To her, I didn’t deserve to have body confidence. But, I let her commentary roll off my back. I loved the way I looked, and the numbers on the scale wasn’t going to change my perception.

After birthing and nursing two children, you’d better believe I have stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin, saggy boobs, and extra weight. But each day I give myself permission to feel beautiful, anyway. None of these things are “flaws,” but are a result of living life and birthing life—a privilege not afforded to many.

 

3. Build Inner Peace.

We’ve all had that moment when we looked upon a gorgeous woman, admiring her beauty, only to discover she has an ugly disposition. Suddenly, that woman isn’t so beautiful to us anymore.

Buy why?

Because inward beauty always trumps physical beauty.  A kind spirit, a joyful soul, and a heart at peace is the biggest enhancement we can make to our appearance.

Consider this verse: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

This verse reminds me of the first time I realized that walking with God was the best beauty treatment I could give myself.

It was a time when I should’ve been living in despair. Everything around me was falling apart. My husband became unemployed almost as soon as we learned I was pregnant with our second baby. We watched our resources slowly wither to nothing. It was a very stressful time for us.

But it was also a beautiful time.

Beautiful because our peace and faith remained intact. God provided for us in the most mysterious ways. Unexpected cash, checks, and money orders made their way to our mailbox, and we had a community of people that faithfully supported us during that season.

I remember during this time people would ask me, “What’s going on with you? You seem so happy. You’re glowing.” At first, I was confused by this recurring inquiry; I wasn’t doing anything differently with my physical appearance, our financial situation was still a wreck, and I went from being heavily pregnant to a visibly tired new momma. Yet, people were commenting on how radiant, happy, and beautiful I looked—like I was withholding some amazing news.

I could only chalk it up to experiencing the glory of God. The intimate time I was spending with the Lord offered me an inexplicable joy that revealed itself through my countenance and reminded me that true beauty is a heart at peace. That’s when I feel the best about myself.


I want to end this post by saying confidence isn’t something you just say you have. Rather, it must be nurtured, tested, and approved by God because in Him is where it truly rests. If your confidence depends on the material things of this world, it will waver. Why? Because “things” are only temporary, but our God is eternal.

I want to hear from you. What invaluable lessons have you learned about self-confidence? Let me know in the comments!

12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy

12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy  

No one ever wants to admit they get jealous. Yet, jealousy is one of the common strains in human relationships. There are many ways to define jealousy; envious, covetous, resentful, insecure, begrudging, the list of synonyms goes on. Today, I’m going to talk about jealousy in the form of envy.

In my post last week, 50 Random Facts About Me, one of the questions I answered was “Do you get jealous?” My initial response was, no. But I didn’t feel like that answer would set anyone free from the stigmas surrounding jealousy. Feeling jealous isn’t fun. And when we feel like we’re the only one who experiences this emotion, it makes it all the more difficult to defeat the green-eyed monster.

We all experience jealousy at one point or another. But if we never admit to it, how do we defeat something that we’re in denial even exists? Better yet, how do we help others who struggle with this “not so fun” emotion?

So, instead of answering no, I had this to say in my last post:

“Yes [I get jealous]. But I don’t stay jealous for long. I’ve learned strategies to conquer the green-eyed monster whenever it threatens to steal my joy. Perhaps I’ll write a future post about it.”

Well, the time is now to write that post! Today, I will raise my hand and say, “Yes, jealousy can be a struggle for me if I don’t check it at the door.” It’s not an everyday thing, but when it does happen, it can take anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple days to heal from it—maybe more depending on where I am spiritually. The great news is, the more I overcome jealousy, the less power it has over me.

Here are some methods I’ve put into practice that helped me put jealousy to rest.

 

1. I wanted to change.

And I wanted it badly. I hated “hating on” other people. It hurt. I can’t quite pinpoint when this desire emerged, perhaps my mid-twenties, but I can say it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Jealousy was a disease that I wanted no part of. It was debilitating. That’s why I’m writing this post; in hope that someone will take the necessary steps to be freed and healed from this dangerous emotion. But, you must want to change, first.

 

2. I realized jealousy has a root.

That root is fear. It helps to know this because I could then ask myself questions like, “Nike, what is it about this person’s accomplishments that you fear?” The answer? In my younger years, I feared that someone else’s accomplishments, beauty, spirituality, possessions, etc., diminished my own. In other words, I allowed myself to feel small in the presence of another person’s greatness—to fear that I’m not enough.

Never allow yourself to feel small in the presence of another person's greatness

 

3. I admitted I was Jealous.

Everyone knows that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. I used to mask my jealousy by putting it off on the other person. I would say things like, “That person is soooo braggadocious” (yes, I used words like “braggadocious,” haha) or, “That person thinks they’re so much better than everyone.” But when I closely examined the thought-process behind my words, I realized my assumptions were rooted in jealousy. It wasn’t until I admitted this ugly truth about myself that I could begin the healing process.

 

4. I made a choice.

Once I became honest with myself, I had a decision to make; I could continue to poison myself with jealousy by holding on to it, or, I could free myself and let it go. The ball was in MY court. I didn’t have to entertain jealousy. I didn’t have to STAY jealous. I could let it go. So, I did. It wasn’t always easy and still isn’t, but each time it gets easier.

 

5. I filled myself with good things.

What you’re full of eventually spills out of you. I’m a Believer, so I like to fill myself with scripture, focusing on this particular verse:

Philippians 4:8 Verse Scripture MemeThe power of thoughts is not some new-age concept, this notion existed since the beginning of time. The more I meditate on good things, the less room I have for negativity. Think about it; is it easy to pour liquid into a full glass of water? In the same way, it’s not easy to pour jealousy into a full spirit.

 

6. I recognized jealousy is a seed.

Once you entertain it, once you nurture it, it just keeps growing until it can no longer be contained. Remember when I said, “What you’re full of eventually spills out of you?” Trust me, you may think you’re hiding your jealousy well, but it WILL come out. When it does, it will reflect poorly on your character. It happened to me. That’s a story for another day. But I’ve learned what’s done in darkness is always brought into the light. It may seem like “just a thought,” but any thought, when meditated on long enough, has the potential to be carried out into action.

 

7. I became more productive.

I asked myself, “What are you doing with your disposable time?” Am I idly scrolling through social media? Am I binge-watching Netflix? Am I entertaining gossipy conversations? These things are not only breeding grounds for jealousy, they are thieves of time! Have you ever heard of this saying?:

The difference between the wealthy and the poor is how they spend their free timeI’ve found that being productive is a great way for me to mind my own business. When I’m minding my own business, I have no time to invite jealousy by seeing what she’s up to. There’s no time for me to meditate on the things I don’t have by watching shows where people are glamorous and live glamorous lives. And, there’s no time to entertain conversations that start off with, “Girl, you’ll never believe what so and so did.”

 

8. I monitored my self-talk.

Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself. Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns. Why is this important? Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others. In other words, we become jealous of other people’s confidence and seek to tear them down. After all, misery loves company.

 

9. I realized God doesn’t owe me anything.

Ah, entitlement. That dangerous feeling we get when we feel like God, or the world, owes us something. It seeps out whenever we see someone we view as “less deserving” receive something we want. A husband. A new car. A raise. Fame. Status. I can attest that it doesn’t feel good when you have to watch someone receive all the things you’ve been hoping for. But I’ve come to learn that God doesn’t owe me anything. It’s a tough truth to grasp, but we must all take hold of it, nonetheless. The sooner we do, the less hold jealousy will have over us. I can’t tell you how many times I must remind myself of this truth to this day. But when it sinks in, my inner peace is established.

 

10. I practiced contentment.

I’ll let you in on a little secret; if you don’t practice contentment, you will always want MORE. Why do we want more? Because we develop a habit of fixing our eyes on things other people have that we don’t have—envy.  I remember it clearly. I was discontent with the way things were going, sitting on my couch moping around. Then I had a vision:

I was sitting on an expensive couch, but in a huge mansion filled with beautiful things. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I was still dissatisfied. Still moping around. I could feel myself getting frustrated, asking myself, “Girl, why are you so dissatisfied when you live in this huge mansion?” It was then that this truth sank in: If you’re not happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.

If you aren’t happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.

11. I realized I needed help.

God’s help. I’ll always lose if I try to battle jealousy in and of my own strength. Trust me, there was a time when I tried and failed. No. My strength must come from God, and it begins with repentance—confessing my jealousy to God and seeking his strength to overcome it.

12. I worked toward REAL confidence.

When we place our confidence in how much we have, how much we’re adored, how good-looking we are, how talented we are, how famous we are, how educated we are, and how many titles we earn, we set ourselves up for failure. Real confidence does not come from any of these things—it comes from trusting in Who’s in your corner.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

When we take hold of true confidence, we experience true fulfillment. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for, anyway? Isn’t that why we run after material things? Status? Relationships? Power? To feel a sense of fulfillment? To fill a void? Isn’t that why we become jealous of others? Because their life seems more “fulfilled” than ours? Consider this verse from James 4:1-3:

James 4:1-3 Verse, Scripture, Meme


 

I don’t quite know how to end this post. But what I want to say is that no one is exempt from the temptation of jealousy. We can, however, choose whether we give in to that temptation. These are some of the steps I took, and still take, in order to stand firm against jealousy. I cannot take credit. All credit goes to God the Father, who is a wise and patient teacher.

If jealousy is something you struggle with, pray this prayer with all your heart, mind, body, and soul:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for my jealous ways, and direct me toward the ways of the Lord. I thank you, Lord, that you are a patient God who is slow to anger and abundant in love. I praise you for your mercy that is new every morning. Reveal to me all the seeds planted in me that gave root to my jealousy, so that I may be steadfast and alert of the enemy’s schemes. Help me to renew my mind daily, dear God, to reflect more of your truth. I praise you in advance for giving me everything I need to live a godly life that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

God bless you! Have any tips to add? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

Homeschool of Shame | When I Lose My Temper

Homeschool of Shame | When I Lose My Temper

Losing one’s temper looks different for everyone. For me, it looks like screaming orders at the top of my lungs when I get tired of repeating myself. I mean, why can’t my kids just listen the FIRST time, right?

I’ve quickly realized, I wasn’t the only one struggling to maintain my cool. It’s quite a hot topic amongst moms, especially the homeschool moms in my circle.

I’ve also quickly realized I didn’t want my emotions controlling me. It’s not a great feeling. So, I set out to be intentional about improving this area of my life. And I’ve discovered that 99.9 percent of this change required daily doses of tenacity, self-awareness, and mindset renewal.

Months later, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my temperament, and I want to share some of the things that have been working for me. Here are seven preventative strategies I use to keep me from losing my temper:

 

 

1. I expect my temper to be tested:

Don’t we all prepare for things when we expect it to come? A wedding? A new baby? A midterm exam? Similarly, I prepare for a test in patience because I expect it. Each day comes with its own challenges. I can recite all the positive declarations I want, but they will not stop the challenges of the day from coming. What these declarations WILL do instead is prepare me for the challenges of the day. They give me the mindset I need to better manage my emotions and resist the temptation to be quick-tempered. Here’s one of my favorite declarations inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered, or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere through the challenges that come my way because I know love never fails.

 

2. I realize that I’m in control:

Anger is part of being human. It’s a valid emotion. And, while it doesn’t feel good, the good news is that I get to choose whether it dictates my behavior. I’ve learned that anger is not the problem, but rather what I do with that anger that poses the real issue. I’ve learned my negative response to anger is nothing more than a bad habit that needs to be replaced with good ones. Here are some REAL ways I managed to adopt good habits to dispel anger:

  • Give it to God: If you live with me, or are a close friend, you’ll hear me say MANY times, “God, help me!” when I feel I’m about to lose it.
  • Start declaring love and peace: You’re probably tired of me mentioning “declarations,” but the power of the tongue is a mighty tool.
  • Find the humor in it: Yes, I’ve been known to laugh off anger. Hey, it works!

 

3. I let it out:

Even when I manage to keep my cool and the situation has passed, the anger can still linger. This is when I find a safe space to let it out. If I’m in public, a bathroom stall has never failed me. I pray, I sob, and I wipe my tears and move on. If I’m at home, I take a similar approach but in the comfort of my bedroom. My car has also been my “safe place” to let the tears roll and release some steam.

 

4. I confront the offender:

Sometimes, pent-up anger arises when I don’t confront the offender. Maybe I let my kid off the hook one too many times. Maybe I was overcharged and never bothered to go back to the store to resolve the issue. Small things like this can add up in the stealthiest of ways. Trust me, I never realized how much not speaking up has been the source of my lost temper. What I’ve learned is to not “let stuff go” that actually needs to be addressed. As long as it’s done in love, confronting your offender and resolving issues can be very freeing.

 

5. I take self-inventory:

“What’s going on, Nike? What is the REAL issue?” These are the questions I ask myself after I’ve lost it. What makes this measure “preventative,” even though technically at this point I’ve lost it, is that I can pinpoint certain triggers to be aware of next time around. Sometimes, it wasn’t that I was angry but sad, afraid, or discouraged. Sometimes, I realized the anger stemmed from an insecurity. For instance, when I first started homeschooling, I was insecure about whether I was doing a good enough job. Therefore, a child who refused to do assignments or was simply “not getting it” became a common trigger. Once I identified the trigger, it became less powerful and less likely to prosper against me. Wouldn’t you take the bullets out of a gun you knew would be used against you?

 

6. I take care of myself:

Don’t roll your eyes at this cliché tip. You’d be surprised how much a bad diet and no exercise can affect you. I’m in no way perfect in this area of my life. Sometimes I eat that extra slice of cheesecake and skip that evening workout. But I can say with certainty that the more I do it, the more I’m reminded it’s just not worth it. Why? Because I’m keen on how my mood changes when I do my body a disservice. Exercise is one of the BEST ways to release the stress and negative energy that can lead to a loss of temper. I’ve learned to keep it simple, though. A walk around the neighborhood on a sunny day does plenty for my mood.

 

7. I remember that anger is toxic:

Have you ever seen the rice experiment? A man puts an equal amount of freshly cooked rice into two jars. He labels the first jar “love.” He labels the second jar, “hate.” For a period of weeks, the man spends each day saying positive words to the “love” jar and negative words to the “hate” jar. After just a few days, the rice in the jar labeled “hate” starts to blacken and mold. And after a few weeks, the rice in that same jar is unrecognizable while the rice in the jar labeled “love” still looks good enough to eat. The moral? The words we spew in anger are powerful and toxic.  I try to remember this the next time I want to tell-off someone I love. I picture that “hate” jar, I see their spirit, and I imagine how my words could possibly destroy them.


 

And there you have it. These are six things I actually do that work. With any post like this, I must make the disclaimer that if you’re EVER concerned about your anger, you should definitely seek the help of a professional. There’s no shame in that. But for those who are looking to grow in patience, I highly recommend trying some of these strategies out!

 

Have any helpful tips? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.