Self Sabotage- My Hidden Enemy

Written by Nicole Collier

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I had a revelation recently that anytime I would post an update on my weight loss journey I would immediately self sabotage. Why would I do this? Your guess is honestly as good as mine. I took a long hard look at myself, and why I did this. I would post about another weight loss goal met, an additional 5 or 10 lbs lost, and I would binge eat that day.

The definition of self sabotage: Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in our life and interferes with long-standing goals.

I came to the conclusion that I am afraid to be a healthier version of myself. I had become accustomed to being the “fat friend”. You know- the funny one who hides behind her sarcasm, and humor to mask how she feels on the inside. The one who projects how she feels about herself on to others with the words she uses. Which are not always life giving.  

I hate typing that as much as you may hate reading it. Trust me. However, this is where my comfort zone was.

How do we find a balance between the woman we are and the woman we are accustomed to being?  The woman we have come to be friends with, whether she is helping or hurting us, and the woman we are created to be.

One way to do this is to take captive our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5.) Let us hold true to who God says we are! We are wonderfully and beautifully created in His image (Psalm 139:14.)   When I hold true to this thought, it helps me to want to be my absolute best and give him honor with this body He gave me. Don’t believe the lie the enemy wants you to believe that you are not worthy of being the best you- GIRL, YOU ARE WORTHY OF THIS AND SO MUCH MORE!

Another way is to really understand our triggers by asking ourselves, “what is it that has happened in our past to have such control over us where we sabotage the hard work and effort we have put in?” For me it has been the words that have been spoken over me throughout my life. I had to understand that hurt people hurt, and people will sometimes speak their insecurities in their self to those around them. I have learned to bless and forgive. If I have to stand in front of a mirror and remind myself I am worthy, I am a beautiful person on the inside and out, and I have people in my life who love me, then I will find the largest mirror and do just that.

Remember friends, this life is a journey. It is an amazing journey God will take us on, if we let Him. Let us remember to not sabotage the great and wonderful work we have put in, and let us listen to the words our Heavenly Father speaks over us. May we see our self as beautiful and wonderfully created as He made us, and sees us. Let us hold our head high, straighten our crown and accomplish our goals without sabotaging ourselves.cropped-8c9ba9bf-aa74-49d8-adc5-38337d1c5e66

Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

 

God’s Plan for Our Children Isn’t Always Ours

Written by Nicole Collier

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Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

In May of 2008 I became a mommy for the first time. I had never been one to dream of having children, but, after our wedding, it felt like the next thing to check off. During my pregnancy I had grand dreams for our first- born. Once we found out we were having a boy, those dreams included playing football and I was sure he would be a great defensive tackler. Maybe he would play guitar. I knew he would be all things boy: puppy dog tails, snails, mud, and all things dirt.
My dreams could not have been further from the truth. My son hated all things dirt. He would rather sit inside and play with toys than go outside. It was too hot, or too dirty. When it came time to sign him up for soccer he was not having any of it. “I don’t like it mommy, my legs hurt when I run,” he’d say. He would run up and down the field, though, just so he could enjoy the snacks after the game.
During all of this time my prayer for my child has always been, “Lord, let him shine your light, let him be kind, and a leader for you.” God began showing me that while the dreams of his growing up may have not been realized, my prayers were in fact being answered. He shines the light of Jesus to everyone he meets with his big smile. He is kind to the kids who need a friend, and even to the ones who don’t. He is a natural born leader, and will soon lead his very own small group for boys his age.
I realized one day that the dreams I had for him were not really dreams, as much as it was me wanting to have a do-over with my own childhood. That stung. I realized how unfair I had been to try to mold him into someone he was not.

When I chose his life verse of Jeremiah 29:11, I did not understand at the time the impact and reminder it would have on myself. The reminder that no matter what our dreams may be for our sons and daughters, God has the final plan in place. He will protect them, and they will flourish under God’s plan.

These days I am enjoying this time in the transition between preteen to teenager years. I am watching him navigate the social world of fifth grade, as hard as it may be. He is as steadfast and true to who he was created to be now, as he was at four years old refusing to run during a soccer game.
Let us not be afraid for our children to be their own person. Let us trust the one who made them! He has the perfect plan for their life.
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Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

Sometimes You Have to Log Out

Written by Nicole Collier

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Could I do it? Did I want to do it? Uninstalling Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter was harder than I would have liked to admit.

When my church began the New Year with a 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I rolled my eyes.  Here we go. Everyone posted about how they were going to log off to draw closer to God. It felt almost cliche’. I could have given up something simple, but in my spirit I knew I had to let go of social media. It had taken over my life and I knew it. I didn’t want to admit it.

Each morning, my routine included checking notifications, scoping out who had posted Instagram pictures while I was asleep, and reading tweets of the latest political hot take. What I did not realize at the time, was how much this was taking away from my time with God. His voice was being drowned out by the rabbit hole of Facebook videos. We’ve all been down that hole. You click on one video of a recipe and end up watching dogs say, ” I love you.” His voice was being replaced with anxiety from words on the phone screen. To be transparent, it also had me a little more narcissistic than I wanted to be. I was living for the red heart or the thumbs up instead of living for the love of Jesus. I HAD to post that selfie. Please do not misunderstand me.  Selfies are wonderful.  Sometimes we are just feeling like we want to post a selfie- POST IT GIRLFRIEND!

However, I knew in my heart this was not my intention, I craved the likes. I was looking for the validation of my feed than resting in who I am in God’s word.

The first few days it was hard, but as the days went on I found it easier to pick up my morning devotion instead of my phone. I found it easier to have a short conversation with my husband before the kids were up. I found it easier to have a conversation with God. Ouch, this realization hurt.

During the time away from social media I was able to read two books. In 21 DAYS! My idea that I never had time to read, a pastime I love, was not true. The truth is, I could not give up the scroll to enjoy simple things like reading.

During this time of fasting I did have these four realizations.

  1. Not every thought I have needs to be put on the internet. It is OK to keep opinions to one’s self. Rarely will we change the opinion of another with a post. Change tends to happen in the context of real relationships.
  2. It is so much more fun to catch up with friends in person. It helps us connect to each other better. We can hug each other, and we can hear the excitement or the disappointment in each other’s voice.
  3. My anxiety levels were considerably down when I was not able to allow comparison to steal my joy. You cannot compare yourself to what you cannot see. The Jones’ were living their life, and I was living mine. I enjoyed staying in “my own lane.”
  4. Above everything else, I grew deeper in a relationship with Jesus. I felt peace within my soul that had been missing.

While, yes, I am now back on social media, I have begun taking measures to ensure I don’t let it overtake my life. I have an app that tells me how much time I spend on each app daily. And, I do see the irony of an app that tells you how much time you use apps. This does keep me accountable. I do not visit Facebook, my biggest time consumer, through the app with a simple click. I use the internet where I have to login each time. It sounds odd, but sometimes it does force me to think, “Do I really need to go through this login process?”

I make plans. Yes, I live my life. If I am busy living my life, I do not have the time to worry with my online life.

I think it’s important for us to occasionally take a break to realign our heart and mind. Do you think you could? What are some things you do to ensure you are not spending life online more than enjoying the life we were given?

IMG_6550Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

When the Fizzle of My Marriage Fell Flat

Written by Nicole Collier
John 15: 12
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
There is not a specific time I remember it happening.  I honestly think it was a culmination of multiple things. I was unemployed, we had a four year old, and a newborn. In addition, I had just lost my daddy and was dealing with postpartum depression. Somewhere along the way we were losing ourselves, and had turned into roommates more than a married couple. At the time we were chasing toddlers, wiping bottoms, cleaning spit-up, and making sure basic needs of another person who cannot communicate were met.   You could be like us, who right now, are battling the half kid/ half teen hybrid who like to talk back, know everything, and smell funny.
Have you ever found yourself in a familiar place? You’re not sure how it came to be, but you are here. Now what? Now, I would lovingly tell you to straighten your shoulders, stand tall, put on some red lipstick and FIGHT! Ladies, we are about to go into battle! We are going to fight for our marriages and for our relationships.
I want to enlighten you to the best advice I ever received. It was completely opposite of how I felt, and what I thought was the right thing to do. It worked, though. The advice was this: Put your spouse before your children. Over time I had fallen into the trap…the trap of our children coming in front of my husband.  In the beginning, he was the one whom my heart longed for, but when the little pitter patter of feet came along, my heart more often than not, longed for quietness in the house. Quality time for him would always have to wait until the next day, as I was too exhausted, but the cycle continued to where he never received time for him.
At the end of the day, or even in the middle of it, the last thing we are thinking of is giving attention to our partner. I get it. I was there for the longest time, and still tend to drift there under stress, however, when we put the  needs of our relationship first, our children are better for it. When we love each other as God loves us, we are living out the greatest commandment.
Plan that date night!  Do not let anything stop you from time alone together. It does not have to be elaborate. One of our most favorite things is grabbing a quick bite to eat and then heading to Walmart. Seriously. Slow dance in your living room after the kids have gone to bed. It may be awkward at first. Let the butterflies fill your heart again as it did in the beginning.
Lighting the fuse of passion wasn’t the easiest. It sometimes felt almost like we were learning about each other all over again, and in a sense we were. Over the course, of almost a decade together at the time, we had changed. What I realized in the end was that he truly was made for me by God. He was not my soul mate, but the perfect balance of structure and steadiness that offset my “messy and crazy.”   We actually complimented one another. His weaknesses were my strengths and mine were his and we were each other’s helpers. We began to serve one another, one of the things we are called to do. I had to learn to lay myself down, and put him first. When we did this collectively, we found our marriage had become a place of safety for the other, a place of rest, and of  love.
If you are in the place I was six years ago, I encourage you to be vulnerable. Discover the one you fell so deeply in love with, the one you made a covenant with. Know that it will not be easy, but nothing that is worth having truly ever comes easy. Trust that God can restore, heal and bring love back to any marriage and restoration is possible! We are proof!

IMG_6550Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

When Anxiety Makes Itself at Home

Written by Nicole Collier

John 14:27

”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

In the fall of 2011, I unexpectedly lost my job due to the company closing the office, and I was 13 weeks pregnant. I fell into a depression that winter. It took everything I had to crawl out of bed.

That following spring was beautiful. I remember the sun was almost always shining without a cloud in the sky. I was beginning to feel rejuvenated, well, as much as I could in the second and third trimesters of my pregnancy. Then, in April of 2012 my daddy became ill. I lost my daddy to a stroke. This was the worst stroke the neurosurgeon of 20 years had ever seen. I was eight months pregnant. It caught my brother and me off guard. Disbelief was an understatement.

Here is where I can begin to pinpoint the beginning of my need to control every scenario in my life through playing it out in my mind. During the time of his hospitalization, and the months following, I had an unbelievable peace that I knew came only from God. However, in the years that followed, that peace started to unravel little by little until it became anxiety.

That was now seven years ago this April, and I decided at the beginning of this year I would find my “happy” again. How do you find your “happy” when fear and control has taken over? Friend, I wish there was an easy, simple fix for each of us, but there isn’t. God created each of us so incredibly beautiful and different that what works for one, may not work for the next. But I can tell you this is what has helped me begin to conquer it.

  1. I try not to get out of bed each day before I am able to write scripture verses for the day down in my journal, and read a devotion or two. This helps ground my spirit for the day, and begin each day fresh in Jesus.
  2. I finally spoke it out loud to someone- someone other than my pets. I confided in my best friend, who happens to be my loving husband, and can I tell you how wonderful it felt just to get it off my chest? I brought it to light. It can no longer stay in the darkness where the devil can use it.
  3. I remind myself, sometimes multiple times a day, that I am not in control. When you remember you are not in control, it will help you live life as God intended, with Him being the one in control.

While this process is in the beginning stages, I can tell you that joy is beginning to fill my life. I am able to enjoy the moment I am in, and not worry about when the “other shoe will drop.”

My prayer for you, if you happen to find yourself in the same spot, is that you begin the journey of finding your joy and “happy” again. It is closer than we realize. Jesus is always closer than we realize.


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Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

Make a plan and Get Your Time and Money Back!

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The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Time is elusive. We are either wasting it, taking too much of it, or not taking enough of it.

One thing I seem to hear on repeat is I wish I had enough time to eat at home. Eating at home will not only improve the health of our bodies, it can also improve the health of our pocket books. In August of 2015, I calculated that our family spent over $600 in one month on eating out, including lunches for my husband and me.  Since then, we have become more aware of where we eat.

For the last three years, these are things we have incorporated into our life that have become part of the routine.

  1. We select one day a week we will eat a meal out. Currently attending a small group on Wednesday nights, we know this will be the night we eat away from home. Chik Fil-A is the go-to for Wednesday night dinner.
  2. Every Friday,  I take 15 minutes of my morning and plan the menu for the upcoming week and make a grocery list. I also utilize the grocery store pickup that is now available. I schedule it for Saturday morning before our day gets going. The person who created this option needs a BIG HUG!
  3. Keep things simple. There is only one Julia Childs. We do not all have to aspire to make her or the Barefoot Contessa meals every night. It will also help keep your sanity. Sometimes dinner is a bowl of cereal or a good grilled cheese sandwich.
  4. Invest in a crock pot and a pressure cooker. These two kitchen appliances have become my life-line. The fact that I can put a 5-pound pork shoulder in my Instant Pot and it is ready within 90 minutes still blows my mind. An added benefit of using these appliances is you will almost always have left overs for lunch the next day.
  5. Don’t stress. There will be some nights when you have the meat thawed out, but you cannot muster enough energy to make a burger. It is OK. Go through that fast food drive -thru.

We implemented the above in the beginning to help cut down on our food expenses. I found the added benefits were teaching our boys lessons in cooking, spending time with my husband while we cooked together, and the chance to sit as a family sharing a meal, something that unfortunately seems to be a lost art.  This time at the dinner table has given us the opportunity to have important chats over a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes that would otherwise not have happened.

What are ways you save time and money?

 

Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Helena, AL with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan, 10, and Russell, 6. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. Nicole and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham. Her life verse is Romans 8:28, God will use your story to turn it around, bringing Him the glory through it all.

You can find Nicole now as a contributor on The Something More Ministries Blog.

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God Loves Us- Even With Bad Haircuts

Written by Nicole Collier

person holding dried roses
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

1 John 3:1(NLT)

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”

When I was about age five, my aunt took me to get a haircut. I went into the strip mall “hair salon” looking like Pippy Longstocking and came out looking like Sandy Duncan in an off-Broadway production of Peter Pan. My hair had been chopped off. As sad as I was about my hair, the heartbreaking part was coming home to my daddy. After he gave my little brother his gift from our grandparents I asked where mine was. My father looked at me, not recognizing his own daughter, telling me to check with my parents. I was devastated. My own father did not recognize me. My daddy went on to apologize, and gave me the gift from my grandparents, a My Little Pony doll. This day stands vividly in my mind 30+ years later. How could my own father not recognize me? I was, after all, fifty percent him. That five-year-old girl would spend the next 25 years feeling lost in who she was, never feeling visible to those in her circle, never feeling she belonged to anyone. No matter how hard she tried. Once she came to realize just how wonderfully and fearfully beautiful she was made, she was able to fully see herself as the woman she was created to be.

Has there been a time in your life when you felt unseen or unrecognized in a room full of people who should know you? While this was an honest mistake of my daddy, one he felt horrible about, I would venture to say we have all felt this sense of not belonging at some point in our life. Whether it be an awkward stage in high school, running the household day in and day out, chauffeuring tiny people to and from places, or simply keeping them alive, you feel that you go unseen.

I love this verse from First John that reminds us we are children of God. In a society that is ever-changing in who or what we are supposed to be, belong to, or believe from day to day, it is nice to remember at the end of the day whose we are. We are children to the Heavenly Father. God never forgets His children. While I understand this is hard for some who have been hurt by their Earthly father as I was that summer day, my prayer is that you can lean in to hear the whisper of God telling you how much He loves you.

I hope your spirit remembers that you are loved, adored, and known because He created you with a purpose only you can fulfill.

Psalm 139:14 (NLT)

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan, 10, and Russell, 6. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. Her life verse is Romans 8:28…God will use your story to turn it around, bringing Him the glory through it all. You can find Nicole now as a contributor on The Something More Ministries Blog, and serving with The Just People Project Ministry.

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How Do You Leave Your Mark of Love?

Written by Nicole Collier

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Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

I recently heard something that pricked my heart while sitting at Recreate Women’s conference. DawnCherie Wilkerson, a Pastor from Miami said, “The way you love people is what leaves a mark on people.”

When she spoke this sentence, it reminded me of the homeless ministry my family serves with. When we step outside of our “self” to love others we are leaving a mark on them. When we give someone a hug, acknowledge them, give them a simple smile, we are leaving a mark on them. We are not going to be remembered for the house we have, the car we drive, or even the makeup we wore. What we will be remembered for is how we leave our mark on others. Are you leaving a mark of love? Are you leaving Jesus wherever you go? Recently, I went on a trip to Linn Park to participate in a serve project and didn’t want to be there. I was not feeling it…I had cramps. I had a headache. To be honest, I wanted my pajama pants and heating pad!  When I left, I realized I had the best serve I had in a long time. Why? I had set myself aside, and loved on other people. I laughed with them, hugged their neck, and prayed with them. We don’t always want to love others, but when we do, we often times will walk away more blessed than any blessing we could give.

In the days we live in now, I find it hard at times to love others. We have become polarized in our differences and it seems impossible to find a middle ground that unites us. When Jesus came on to the scene, he flipped the script giving us the most important teaching- to love the Lord with all our heart, and soul…then LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as you love yourself. I know that stepping aside from our “self” to love a neighbor goes against everything society tells us, especially when they are different than we are.

Here are three ways I encourage you to love someone:

  1. Visit a local nursing home. Sit with them, listen to their stories. Soak in their wisdom.
  2. Serve at a local soup kitchen. Show someone you love them with a serving spoon.
  3. Smile at every single person you encounter for one day. See the impact you make not only on their day, but yours as well.

 

Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Helena, AL  with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan, 10, and Russell, 6. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. Her life verse is Romans 8:28. God will use your story to turn it around, bringing Him the glory through it all. You can find Nicole now as a contributor on The Something More Ministries Blog, and serving with The Just People Project Ministry.

 

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