Lifted Book Study | Week 4 Intro

Hi Friends!

Welcome to Week 4 of the Courageous Heart Community Book Study featuring Lifted by Lindsey Hale. This week, I think you’ll be empowered by the insight Lindsey shares.

We kick off this week with a video conversation between Lindsey and me about the danger of toxic relationships—and how to connect with people who inspire you. Click the image below to watch the video or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://youtu.be/qxxctdSznvg.

We’d love it if you’d leave a comment on the video to let us know what your thoughts are about nurturing positive relationships. Near the end of the video Lindsey makes the comment that if people are talking about others with you, they are probably talking about you with others. Have you found that to be true?

The verse to guide our thoughts this week is one of my favorites:

Philippians 4:8:  “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Let this advice direct your conversations as you establish new friendships or nurture existing relationships.

If you’re wondering what’s in store this week, download the suggested reading plan here. I’m looking forward to a great week with you!

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 8

Will you be my friend?

Do you remember the days when it was acceptable to walk up to someone and say, “Wanna play?” or even “Will you be my friend?”

When you’re in preschool or even junior high, making friends is as simple as finding someone who likes what you like and spending time doing that together—whether it’s playing with LEGOs or Barbies, listening to music way too loud, or hanging out at the mall.

As an adult, though, it would seem a bit awkward to walk up to someone with an offer of “Wanna play?”

In Chapter 8 in Lifted, Lindsey shares a few thoughts on friendship—from evaluating our relationships’ health to finding friends that build us up rather than tear us down. As you read this chapter, think about your own friendships:

  • Who makes you better?
  • Who pulls you down?
  • Who inspires you?
  • Whom do you want to inspire?

If you look at your life and think I need some new friends, check out this summary from the tips Lindsey shares in Lifted.

5 Simple Tips for Finding New Friends

  1. “Put down your phone, book, planner, or whatever else you stare at when you are at kids’ events or the park,” Lindsey writes. If you’re using those things so you don’t feel or seem lonely, know this: your book or phone may be acting as a force field that prevents people from talking to you. Put it away, look up, smile, and engage in conversation with the people around you.
  2. “Choose your seat wisely and change it often at all events you attend regularly.” Sit by someone new!
  3. Connect with the people you meet in real life on social media. When you meet someone whose company you enjoy, tell them! And then ask if you can connect online to stay in touch.
  4. “Join the club, meeting, Bible study, or new gym in town.” Go to places where other women are already meeting. Chances are, they are there because they crave connection too.
  5. “Stop waiting for someone to invite you to something and instead create your own event.” Plan a girls’ night out. Keep it simple! It doesn’t have to be a huge group; in fact, it may be easier to get to know people in smaller settings of two or three.

For more on finding friends, listen in on one of Lindsey’s most popular podcasts: “Making Friends as an Adult.” (Evidently, there’s a lot of women who need friends! Why not be the one to make the first move?)

 

Share your thoughts! How do feel about making new friends as an adult?

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 7

How Praying for Your Enemies Helps You

Here’s your fair warning: Grab a Kleenex for this chapter. (If you’re anything like me you may need to just go ahead and grab the box.)

We are designed for relationship. As humans, we crave connection. And when our most important relationships are damaged by hurt, betrayal, misunderstanding, or neglect, mending them can be almost painful as the event(s) that caused the damage. But if we are able to get past that pain, something beautiful awaits on the other side.

And that’s where prayer comes in. Prayer helps us get through the hurt. When we pray with hearts that are open to God’s leading, we are changed in the process; our fears are stilled, and our hearts are softened and strengthened.

Praying for those who’ve hurt us—be it a parent, a spouse, child, friend, or stranger—isn’t a natural response to pain. But as Lindsey discusses in this chapter, it can lead to forgiveness of others and of oneself.

As she shares the experience of reaching out to mend the hurt in her relationship with her father, she says, “By taking that one step toward forgiveness, I began to see more clearly how fears had crept into my life and tainted everything.”

Deep pain affects every area of our lives. We can try to compartmentalize our pain—but the fact is that pain will always bleed into other relationships. Moving toward forgiveness, even if we’re only able to take one baby step at a time, puts us on a healthier path.

Staying on that path is the trick. Lindsey writes:

“Leaning into and living in forgiveness rather than fear, however, wasn’t a one-time decision; it’s a daily action. You can decide to forgive, just like you can decide to lose weight, but until you put a meal plan and a workout regimen into action, it’s just a decision. To lose weight, you have to do the work of exercising and eating right—and it takes time to see the results. The same is true of forgiveness.”

Take some time today to journal and pray about someone in your life whom you need to forgive. That person may even be you. Ask God to help you experience the forgiveness and peace that only He can provide.

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 6

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Lindsey starts this (almost) PG-rated chapter with a mortifying moment that will make you either laugh out loud or groan in sympathetic embarrassment.

If you’re a parent, you know the dread of hearing a child’s voice in your room at precisely the wrong moment. Even if you’ve never been in the exact same scenario that Lindsey shares, you can empathize with her, because you know how you would feel.

The point of this chapter is that the vulnerability of authenticity and corresponding empathy connects us all. Lindsey writes:

“The real, awkward, embarrassing, imperfect moments of life are what draw us together and make us think, I can relate to that! I really like her. She’s just as goofy, messy, or messed up as me! When you show up as you—imperfect, flawed, unsophisticated you—online or in person, you can capture people’s hearts and maybe even make a new friend.”

Letting down your guard and sharing your real life with your friends—and those who would be your friends if they really knew you—is scary and empowering. Scary in that you wonder or worry what people will think. Empowering in that . . .

  1. It doesn’t matter what people think.
  2. Your courage to be authentic may will inspire others to take off their masks.
  3. Your authenticity will open you up to new relationships with real people who like you—for you.

So what do you think? What does being authentic and vulnerable look like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Introduction

Welcome to Week 3 of the Courageous Heart Community Book Study featuring Lifted by Lindsey Hale.

In this week’s video intro, Lindsey drops some wisdom about perfectionism, shoulds and shame, and parenting. I think you’re going to enjoy it!

(Click the image below to watch it now, or use this link to access the video: https://youtu.be/qHmujgaTbyw.)

As we talked about the drive for perfection, Lindsey shared a quote that she’d written in her Bible sometime back: “What if instead of focusing on doing things perfectly, you focused on doing them faithfully?” I love that shift in perspective!

Being focused on faithfulness shifts the focus off of ourselves—our actions and our perceived (but false) sense of control—and puts it back where it should be: on God. That’s easier said than done, of course, but I want to encourage you to take a few moments today to consider what you may not be doing now because you know you can’t do it perfectly.

Here’s one simple example to get the ball rolling: If you’d love to spend an evening with friends but are waiting to invite people over until your house is spotless or you can manage to cook an elaborate meal—you may be waiting forever. What if you, instead, chose to invite people in, dust bunnies and all? Do you think everyone would have fun? Of course, they would! And your willingness to let people into your life may inspire others to follow suit—even if they can’t cook the perfect meal.

So what are you putting off because you can’t do it perfectly? What are you missing out on as a result?

Share your thoughts on the video in the comments. And before you go, be sure to grab the Weekly Guide here for the suggested reading plan for the week as well as the link to the guide for journaling.

Happy reading!

Lifted Book Study | Week 2, Chapter 5

Are you afraid people will think you’re pushy?

As we wrap up Week 2, we turn to Chapter 5: “What Successful Women Do Differently.” I love that Lindsey doesn’t go into a Pinterest post of the “Top 10 Things You Can Do to Change Your Life Right Now.” We’ve all seen those lists, and honestly, we already know those top ten things (even if we don’t always drink 8 glasses of water and eat 5 servings of veggies daily.) The reality is there is no insta-fix for success. But there are traits and habits that you can build over time that enhance your chances for achieving your unique version of success.

Getting up every time you stumble and partnering with the right people are two important attributes that Lindsey highlights in this chapter. (I’d love for you to share in the comments who your biggest supporter is!)

For this final post of the week, however, I wanted to focus on the third trait of successful women that Lindsey mentions: asking for what you want—what you really want, not just what would lead to an easy yes.

I was in direct sales myself for many years, and many of the sweet, gentle souls on my team were terrified to ask people to hold parties/gatherings for them. They were hesitant to ask for the sale because they didn’t want to seem pushy. So instead, they hoped that someone would see their phone number on their SUV’s back window, ring them up, and buy everything in the catalog.

You can guess how successful that tactic was (or wasn’t). In business, the “hope strategy” rarely (as in never) pays off.

What does pay off is confidently presenting the information and product, assuming that people will love it because you obviously do (You do, right?), and then asking what they’d like to take home. And if the answer is nothing, fine! You’re not asking out of desperation; you’re just sharing something you love. In business, asking for the sale isn’t being pushy; it’s being professional.

One thing I always told my team members was, “If you are concerned of seeming pushy, chances are you will never be perceived as such. People who really are pushy aren’t self-aware enough to know that they could ever be! That’s not you, so go ahead and ask for the sale!” Because as Lindsey points out, the worst thing that could happen would be that someone says no and nothing changes.

The same is true for our personal lives. If you want something, it’s good and right to ask for it! If the answer is no and nothing changes, well, you’re in the same spot you were before you asked—only you’ve practiced a little bravery and are stronger for it.

If you ask for what you really want and you get it, just imagine what could change for you!

What is it that you really want? Are you willing to ask for it?

P.S. The Spice Girl’s song is now firmly stuck in my head. “Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!” ?

Lifted Book Study | Week 2, Chapter 4

What if . . . ?

Those two little words can push us toward possibility . . . or regret.

What if your big dreams come true?

What if you try . . . and fall flat on your face?

What if everyone sees your mistakes?

What if you do become the person God created you to be?

In Chapter 4 of Lifted, Lindsey shares a personal story of challenge and miscalculation that led to defeat, embarrassment, and demoralization. Have you been there?

She shares that she ran through all the what-if scenarios that could have prevented the failure she felt. And when she’d exhausted herself, she started another what-if list:

  • What if instead of complaining to God, I actually stopped and listened to His direction?
  • What if I found out He had been guiding me all along?
  • What if all His promises are true?
  • What if none of the failings I was facing were God’s doing, but rather satan’s efforts to manipulate me into thinking they were?
  • What if this failure is a setup for a stellar comeback?

Today, consider the regrets and losses you’re dealing with now (Everyone has something!) and ask, What if God is trying to teach me something? What can I learn? How can I grow?

And then, with the possibilities in mind, take your first step toward your big comeback.

What are the what ifs that are holding you back? What are the what ifs that inspire you?

Lifted Book Study | Week 2, Chapter 3

Is FOMO wrecking your relationships?

Chapter 3 of Lifted  hits on a fear that is so real and so prevalent that it has its own label: FOMO. And while we may think of FOMO as a new thing, the fear of missing out is something you’ve probably experienced since you were a kid; you just didn’t call it that.

When I was a teenager, if I knew my friends were going to a movie or hanging out at another friend’s house, I wanted to go too. I remember pleading with my parents for permission to stay out past curfew because my friends could stay out later; I didn’t want to miss a moment of the fun!

No, FOMO isn’t a new experience. The advent of social media, however, has brought on a new level of intensity to FOMO. We have a hundred more opportunities a day to feel that twinge of I want to do that too! or I need to be there. We check our phones throughout the day to make sure we haven’t missed a post or email or call. More than ever, we feel the pull to be in the know and constantly connected.

As Lindsey points out, though, that constant connection comes at a cost. She writes, “I was exhausted and missing out on what meant the most to me: quality family time, time for me to read or be creative, and intimacy with my husband.”

The question is why do we sacrifice what’s most important for things that really have little to no real meaning or lasting value for our lives? Lindsey’s own honest reality check resonates with me, and perhaps it does with you too: “My fear of missing out was a quest to find wholeness and value in my own life.”

In the intro this week, you were invited to think about the things for which you’re grateful. What did you list? Did social media, the committees you’ve volunteered on lately, or the last party you attended end up on that list? Chances are, the answer is no. More likely, you listed the people or activities that matter most to you—even if those same people or activities get sidelined for things that mean far less to you.

It’s easy to say yes to “opportunities,” but in doing so, you may be saying no to real connection with the people who bring true meaning and value to your life. As Lindsey writes, “I realized that with my rushing around, I had neglected the relationships that mattered most.” Can you relate?

In your journal today, take  a moment to count your blessings—specifically your relationships. Then, look at your schedule and find one thing you can eliminate so you can make more time for the people who matter most to you.

Finally, if you don’t already have daily quiet time with God, look at your schedule and make a space in the day for just the two of you. Even a few intentional minutes a day in God’s presence can reduce the FOMO by helping you focus on your most important relationship.

What will you say no to today?

Lifted Book Study | Week 2, Introduction

Hello Courageous Friends!

Welcome to Week 2 of the Courageous Heart Community Book Study featuring Lifted by Lindsey Hale. We’ll start the study this week with a conversation with Lindsey Hale about why FOMO (the fear of missing out) is so prevalent. (Do you feel it!? I sure do!)

We also talk about why it’s so important to make space in our days to be still and talk to God. Click on the image below to watch the video now. (If it doesn’t work, this link will take you to the video: https://youtu.be/z1qISvOaPV4)

Our verse this week is Philippians 4:6–7 (NLT):

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

When you’re used to feeling busy and rushed, quiet time may feel uncomfortable at first. Busyness distracts our thoughts to the point that we don’t have mental space to think or pray. If you ever feel at a loss as to what say to God when you’re sitting quietly with Him, remember that you can always start the conversation by showing gratitude. Doing so helps focus your mind on what He has done and is doing in your life.

Be sure to download the Weekly Guide here. It has a suggested reading plan for the week as well as the link to the discussion guide.

Today’s Reflection

Before you go, we’d love it if you’d share one thing you are thankful for right now. Leave a comment below to let us know!

Lifted Book Study | Week 1, Chapter 2

How are you?

No really. How are you?

Chances are your immediate response when you’re asked that question is “Fine.” Or maybe “Good.”  Or if you’re like me, especially a few years ago, the answer is “Busy.

There was a period a few years back when every time I was asked that question, my answer was “Busy.” Sometimes I varied things and said, “Crazy busy.”

But busy is a state of doing, not a state of being. 

In reality, busy can be a shield—a protective response that keeps people from getting any closer. In the same way, fine is often the response we use when we don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of life with others.

Fine and busy are lies we tell ourselves and anyone who asks because they keep the truth and deeper emotions at a distance.

But if we are going to be the women God created us to be, we have to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others. You don’t need to tell everyone every detail of your life, but we all need to have a few people in our lives with whom we can be real and to whom we share our unvarnished truth.

Maybe the truth is you are feeling . . .

  • Sad
  • Stressed
  • Anxious
  • Happy
  • Nervous
  • Exhausted
  • Angry
  • Scared
  • Overwhelmed
  • Broken
  • Lonely
  • Grateful

Or maybe you’re feeling a mixture of many (or even all) of those things at once. That’s okay.

Lies like fine and busy allow us to keep up appearances while preventing us from developing deeper connections. They also keep us feeling isolated because no one understand how we may really be feeling (not because they don’t care, but because they don’t know—because you told them you were fine or too busy to really talk).

In Chapter 2, Lindsey writes, “If you persist in living a lie (like I did with that stolen headband), you will never discover the true gifts God intended for you.”

It’s time to let go of the lies. Talking with God about how you feel—how you really are—is a good place to start. And here’s the deal: God already knows what’s on your heart and mind; He doesn’t need you to tell Him how you feel—but He wants you to tell Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). And He has plans for you and wants you to know Him (Jeremiah 21:11–13).

Today’s Reflection

Why do you think it’s hard to be honest about how we really feel?