Battling Perfectionism

I used to replay my day before falling to sleep. Every comment said, by myself and others. Every mistake made, actual and assumed and I would choose this self-punishment over rest. I would get up the next day, tired, defeated, frustrated and determined to get it right.

I had some good days. Days where everything went right. Silent pats on my back for a job well done, crises averted by my careful words and expert planning. This perfectionist attitude was taking over my mind.

The small fox destroys the vine. Let me tell you, those small foxes are tricky. They seem small, insignificant, and harmless but they are extremely damaging and life-threatening.

Small foxes can destroy dreams, destroyed dreams cannot manifest into destiny. So here are things I do to battle the perfectionist mindset.

1. Tell on myself- My husband is confident, funny, and honest. I trust him. So wither I say something that comes off too flirty or too cold I can tell him. He usually responds by teasing me and making me laugh. Sometimes I have to go back and apologize to a person I may have offended, but it helps to have someone I can be honest about myself with. I have learned that my greatest gift can also get me into trouble and that is my way with words. I have to totally rely on God to keep me in check.

2. Journal- If I don’t want to talk about how I am feeling I can write it down. I don’t write my mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, I change to focus and journal about a scripture or the things I am thankful for. (Philippians 4:8)

3. Say no- Jesus needed rest. Its okay to say no simply to take a breath. Sometimes we need to stop to clearly hear from God. (Mark 6:31)

4. Take the risk – If my only concern in failure I must take the risk. In the parable of the talents, a master was leaving his home to travel. He gave talents to each of three servants according to their abilities. One man invested and doubled his money, another also was able to double what he was given. The third man hid his talent. He made no profit so it was taken away. (Matthew 25:14-30). It was the man who was too afraid to act who was punished. Inaction is worse than failure.

5. Recognize and Appreciate the Seasons – Everything has seasons. There are some seasons in which I am able to accomplish so many things at once. It is as if times stands still for me. Then there are times where there are not enough hours in the day to complete even the smallest tasks. I have learned to roll with it. When things are running smoothly I seize the opportunity and when it is time to rest I try to do that too. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I hope these tips help you on the journey of self-care. Life can get hard so we must be our advocates for health and mental wellness.

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Thank You So Much

FAMILY (314 of 318)

This has been an exciting time for Melanin Taught! The love and support we’ve gotten, has almost been overwhelming. I’ve gotten tons of messages and emails asking how to support Melanin Taught and I’ve come up with five ways you can be a blessing to us.

1. You can buy your homeschool supplies from our online store. We have pencils, puzzles, and all sorts of materials needed for the activities listed on our blog. We are adding items to our store daily. You can click here to visit or you can type hmschoolsupply.com in your web browser.

2. You can buy a Melanin Taught t-shirt. These shirts are comfortable with catchy sayings. By clicking here you will be able to purchase shirts for men, women, and children. We even have hoodies!

If you want to support us but don’t have any extra money at the moment, don’t worry here are three more ways you can support, us without spending a dime.

3. By clicking on our Dosh referral link and connecting a card, we will get a referral bonus and you will get cash back for purchases made at approved retailers.

4. If you live in California, you may qualify for a program that allows you to get cash back for cutting back on electricity. Click here to use our referral link.

5. We are grateful for all of your support. We would also like to ask you for your prayers. We appreciate you praying that God gives us direction, insight, and wisdom when it comes to raising and homeschooling our kids.

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6 Steps to Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy

Every now and then I go through these spells where I feel completely inadequate. I feel my job as a mom is not enough and I get the itch to find gratification outside of my home. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself except when it causes me to lose sleep, act grouchy and be an all-around buzz kill. I compare myself to the perfect mom in my dreams, I water my weeds as they choke the life out of me.

I’m human, I feel things but I don’t stay there. How do I get through this?

  1. Identify the Trigger – For me, the trigger usually changes or rather uncertainty. The anticipation of change but the uncertainty of time. Basically, planning something big but not knowing when it will happen and not being able to stop it. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
  2. Honesty- I am honest with myself and at least one other person about how I feel. Usually, I have to talk through my feelings so I do it with someone that allows me to backtrack and overexplain all while asking probing questions. Ephesians 4:25 25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,”[a] for we are members of one another.
  3. Forgiveness – I have made decisions that I wish I’d hadn’t. Maybe I should have taken that class, maybe I shouldn’t have. Either way, I have to forgive myself realizing I made the best choice I could at the time. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
  4. Action- Forgiveness does not mean without consequence. There are natural consequences of our actions and we should handle them with grace. If there is something I can do I do it! Can I change the situation or make strides in the right direction? If so I do what I can. We can also remove ourselves from any temptations so we don’t repeat our mistakes. Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body is thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body goes into hell.
  5. Acceptance – I can’t fix it all. This means having to accept that some things are simply out of my control. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
  6. Gratitude- This is the most important one and it’s pretty easy to do. Look back at old pictures, make a list, take a walk, whatever it takes to remember all that was overcome. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Recognizing this pattern and following these steps helps me keep bad days, from becoming bad weeks. I hope this helps.

The Nurturing of Weeds

 

I was growing a weed. I am not saying that a weed sprouted up alongside my plants I am saying I watered, tended to and actively grew…a weed. In an effort to grow some peppers and cucumbers from seed I mistook this innocent looking weed as the start of a pepper or even a cucumber plant.

Let me back up a bit a weed as defined by a gardening friend as a plant you did not intend to plant, growing.  In other words, this was a weed because it was not bearing and would not bear the fruit I intended it to.

You know God showed me myself.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 I had to stop, meditate, and examine my fruit. I was not actively watering plants that would lead to this fruit. In my absentminded apathy, I’d begun to water and nurture some weeds. 

I’d begun to compare my actual husband to my perfect imaginary husband. The fruit was frustration and bitterness. My kids were too much. Too loud. Too busy. Too kid-like. The fruit was impatience. I was too busy to read the word, too busy to take time to hear from God, too busy to be grateful.  The fruit was sternness.

I’d realized what I was doing by examining the fruit of my weeds. I was taking time, energy, and intention to care for these weeds. My husband was not going to get away with not meeting the impossible standard set in my mind. My kids were going to learn to act like 30 maybe 40 years olds with good sense instead of the 6, 4, and 1 year old they are. I was going to look like I had a lot going on even IF God intended I be still after all I need to keep up appearances.My weeds were bearing fruit and they needed to be uprooted.

The next part was simple. Repentance.

God uproot these weeds! I had to intentionally pull every one of them. When I started to day dream about what perfect husband would say or do. I replaced that thought for the gratitude of what actual husband did. When I started to get impatient with the kids I would try to savor the moment and appreciate the innocent way they see the world and I would be intentional. I would be intentional in my spiritual growth. I would seek out Gods presence and study His word. When I failed at this…I would repent again because a garden full of weeds is not an option.

 

Fake It Till You Make It and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

FakeIt2

 

1. YOU CAN NOT ACT YOUR WAY SAVED Showing up to church on Sunday and to a mid-week service is not salvation. Shouting “Amen!” or running the aisles alone will not get you into heaven. You can not “Fake it Til You Make It” in the church. This is how people who are not really seeking after God end up in positions of leadership. They know the drill. When to clap, when to shout, and when to bow their heads in prayer.

We are loosing our youth and young adults in droves because the old addage “Do as I say, not as I do” simply doesn’t work. We have to BE saved not ACT saved even if it causes us to do things our local church may not agree with. If our young people are not equip with the important things like, how to pray, how to study The Word or basic apologetics they will go out into the world and waiver.  I sometimes wonder what church Jesus would go to if he were here. I’m inclined to believe it would look very different that we’d imagine.

2. DISOBEYING YOUR PASTOR IS NOT WITCHCRAFT 1 Samuel 15 makes it very clear that the Isralites were in an act of rebellion because they disobeyed a mandate from God. This was before they could go to God themselves. Before the ultimate sacrifice. In a time where the only time God’s voice was heard was through another. When you depend on the voice of another person to be the voice of God in your life you are short changing your salvation. This is a dangerous practice that can land you well outside the will of God. God wants to talk to YOU. He can and He will communicate with you in a way you can understand. Seek God daily, read your word and you will find your pastor will confirm the Word of God. What you hear on Sunday morning should not be a surprise it should be confirmation of what God has been showing you throughout the week.
3. SIN DOES NOT CAUSE DISTANCE FROM GOD (Ps. 11:5, Heb. 10:26, John 8:34) Have you ever had a sick child. I mean a child that is covered in vomit with chronic diarrhea walking towards you. Your instinct is not to rush toward them but it is to help them. You start getting them to the bathroom, the place where you can take off dirty things. Then you get them disrobed, they can’t stay in those filthy clothes. You then get them in the bath, they need to be covered with soap and water to remove the residual mess. See this is how sin is to God. The fragrance of it stops Him in His tracks and compels and answer. He summons our hearts to a place where we can be cleaned. (Rev. 3:20) He beacons us to remove the filth (Acts 2:38). He promises His Holy Spirit in return. Like a hug for our soul He beacons us into His bosom. His presence permeates our being and treats the root of our disease. Our sin nature. As long as we are willing…. Some of us choose instant gratification over treatment, conformity over treatment, apathy over treatment until we began to convince ourselves we aren’t sick with sin. Slowly but surely the symptoms show up. The stink, the filth, the justification, we bat God’s hand away as He beacons us to be cleansed. Let me tell you my friend, He will knock but you must answer, and answer and answer. Sin is a slippery slope whose intent is to kill.
The bottom line is seek God. There is no perfect church out there but if you search for God you will find Him. The most important thing is to be where He is calling you to be and serve where He is calling you to serve.

Punishment or Consequence

Today my little KJ got in trouble about 30 minutes before nap time. His consequence was that he was no longer allowed to play and had to go to bed. He cried and screamed, calming down only to hear my decision and apologize. Then he asked me for cuddles.

 Cuddles?! Little boy don’t you know you are in trouble? Don’t you know what you did was wrong and you made me mad? Though it was just a moment, it was at this moment I had a choice to discipline or to punish my son.

See he already was informed about the consequence of his actions and he was experiencing that hurt but would me withholding my physical affection be to further add to the lesson or would it be in retaliation. A response based out of my anger rather than my love. So I caved…..

As I held him in my arms I began to think of how familiar this situation is in my life. I’ve made decisions and suffered consequences but God has never withdrawn his affection for me. Two scriptures whispered in my heart as I held this sweet, growing boy in my arms.

 “I will never, leave you or forsake you…” Heb. 13:5
Even when I mess up, even as I am experiencing the results of my decisions?
“I will never, leave you or forsake you…”
Even when I scream and yell with my life, or when I throw a tantrum with my actions?
 “I will never, leave you or forsake you…”

 The other scripture I was reminded of was Romans 8:1 “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”

To condemn someone means to sentence them to punishment. My boy who has not yet decided to live his life in Christ sees first my example of God’s love. Through his 2 year old eyes, he cannot discern discipline from punishment. So, I must teach him. Though his actions may cause some unpleasant reactions God’s love wont fail, and this must be demonstrated through both my action and reactions.

New Shoes

These shoes, these very cute shoes belong to Summer and they are two small. At the ripe young age of two years old SJ loves shoes especially this pair, which she’s outgrown. 
I’m sitting here watching her try to squeeze into these too small shoes. I’ve tried explaining they’re too small, they will be uncomfortable if she gets them on and though they’re cute they are no longer good for her growing feet. This is when God tapped me on the shoulder. 
Have you ever been in a comfortable place to long? Have you felt God prompting you to move? To go into a new season? To grow into something means you grow out of something. I, like all of you, have a comfort zone. This place is cozy and comfortable but every now and then things get too tight and then things change.
The Israelites had a comfort zone and they were pushed way out of it. Cool thing is where they were going was greater than where they’d left. They were in slavery but had gotten comfortable operating in bondage. In the same way we get comfortable operating in sin. When they’d reached a point of discomfort God created a way of escape and gave them the opportunity to obtain something better. Some of us are operating in relationships, jobs, or seasons we’ve outgrown but we try to remain there because it’s comfortable. 
God doesn’t want you comfortable, he wants you thriving. He doesn’t want you in bondage He wants you to operate in freedom. He doesn’t want you to be a borrower, He wants you to be a lender. God doesn’t want you where you are, He wants you to thrive in His promise for your life. 
Unfortunately, the Israelites that were freed from captivity didn’t enter the promised land, they could not let go of their comfort zone enough to go in; but you can. You can decide now, today to leave where you are spiritually, physically, relationally, emotionally and decide to walk into Gods promise for you. 
You can decide to accept God into your heart and make a decision today to leave the comfort of sin and walk instead in the freedom of love. What God has for you is so much better than what you can get for yourself. Take off those uncomfortable shoes, Gods got you a new pair. 

I hurt!

“I hurt! I hurt! I hurt!” My two year olds screams echo through the house as she begs for a bandaid to cover…a scar. She is doing this to put off nap time but it made me take a look at myself. See this is an old scar, from a self inflated wound, it’s a small scar, but to her its huge especially when a challenge arrives. 

How many times have we screamed to God that we’re hurting over a situation He has already healed? How many times do we use the excuse of past pain as a reason to disobey what God is telling us to do. We yell, “I hurt! I hurt!” While God is prompting us to walk in our healing and obey. Scars serve a evidence of a past offense but they also serve as a reminder of God’s grace and our overcoming a hurt. That place where the scar is, is stronger and it’s mark serves as a badge of triumph. So stop screaming it hurts, suck it up, and obey. 
1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 
Romans 5:3-5 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

Shine Through

This week my husband spoke at his first leaders conference. Despite being nervous he did an excellent job. Later we talked about steps he could take to be more comfortable on stage when he expressed this very humble concern. He wants to be comfortable enough to effective but he doesn’t want to be so comfortable that he presents himself more than he shares what God is using him to say.

As I prayed and thought about this conversation I realized, not presenting yourself in any situation is very hard to do. Especially with parenting. Our children know more about us than anyone else, save our spouses. They know what makes us happy or sad. They know if we have a temper or if we use harsh language. Our kids see us at our most comfortable, in our most vulnerable state. They should see through us, the love of Christ.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 
Our love for God should invade our lives so much that it seeps into our conversations with our children, that it’s evident in our dealings with them and around them. They should know our love for God and more importantly Gods love for them. 
Father, 
We love you. Thank you for being the wonderful parent you are and for showing us how to be parents through your word. Shine through us and touch the hearts of our children, use us to show them your unfailing love. We love you, we thank you, and we can’t do this without you. Amen.

Take a nap

Some days Summer can get away with not taking a nap; other days she NEEDS a nap. She gets so frustrated, everything makes her upset, it gets to the point sometimes where she is too mad to sleep. Isn’t this how we get?

We get so frustrated with our finances, work, family, or even church. We get so overwhelmed that everything is an irritant and offense. We get so emotionally wound up that we don’t know where or how to spiritually calm ourselves down enough to rest. 

Well we as parents need to find time to rest and recharge so we can be better parents, so we can pull the all nighters, so we can clean the epic messes and dispel the craziest tantrums.
Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Rest is a relaxing period free from exertion. In the above verse Jesus tells us we can get rest through Him. Sometimes these days are a labor, they even feel heavy at times. Jesus tells us to come to Him. What a relief to find rest in Christ Jesus. So when you start getting overwhelmed and easily offended, take a few steps back, find a way of escape and go take a spiritual nap. 
Thank you father for the sabbath. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of resting in you. Thank you for the beautiful children you have entrusted us with and the wonderful lessons they bring. In Jesus name, amen.