Free Yourself From Negative Thoughts

We can make bold declarations about ourselves. We can be people who prioritize our spiritual lives, we can be people who prioritize our physical health. We can make bold declarations about ourselves, and then make it a habit. Write a note if you have to, or write out an affirmation to make these declarations throughout your day so that they become a habit. They will become hardwired into your mind and into the choices you make for your life.

The ONE THING That Transforms Your Life

When we have feelings that control us from past hurts, then we know that there's some forgiveness work that's necessary. Forgiveness is not letting telling the other person that they get a 'get out of jail free card,' it is not saying, 'hey, everything is fine.' It's a freeing of yourself from that emotional prison that you've locked yourself into.

Why Discipline Is Better Than Motivation

It's easy to give into the temptation of giving in when we "don't feel like it," but that doesn't provide us the life we want. To build a life we look forward to living involves putting in the work to create it. I'm not an advocate of all work and no play, life is about finding that healthy balance after all, and being able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But the life we want isn't going to come and find us; it's something we build. In the building of it, we clarify what's important to us and what we can let go of. 

Nursing Is Hard. Nursing During COVID Is Crushing Part 2

Be a part of giving life back to these burdened saints who have given so much. Click here and show YOUR nurse they are loved and appreciated. 

Nursing Is Hard. Nursing During COVID Is Crushing Part I

Nursing is a gut-wrenching profession. In non-COVID times nurses experience a lot that the rest of us don't. In the next blog I will share how we can be a part of giving back to these wounded saints and help them heal from the trauma they've experienced. 

Nurses Are Rock Stars

In the best of times, nurses are the overworked, under-appreciated backbone of our healthcare system. When I have been in the hospital as a patient, a family member, a pastor, or a friend nurses kept the ball rolling. RNs, LPNs, CNAs - we would be hopeless without their contributions. And when a pandemic comes...  they show their commitment and dedication for caring for us in heroic ways.

What Is Guilt And How Does It Affect Us?

Feeling guilt is a heavy burden. Walking through life with the weight of the world on your shoulders is no way to live. Feeling guilty causes people to operate out of shame or undue obligation. Guilt-based actions are not always genuine and deplete people of their confidence and right standing. If you are operating under the weight of guilt, you may not be doing things because you want to. You may also be suffering needlessly, and resolution may be the only thing standing in your way.

What Is Emotional Wellness?

Emotional wellness plays a significant role in our lives. It provides us with a sense of self-empathy and allows us to have an awareness of feelings. This awareness of feelings extends not only to others in our lives, but it starts with self-appreciation. Emotional well-being can serve as a boost to our self-esteem and enables us to be resilient. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), well-being is a vital component of mental health. Emotional wellness motivates us to feel happy, take an interest in life, and gives us an extraordinary sense of satisfaction (NIH, 2015). We are productive, and we are positive beings.

Why Compassion Is Important

Compassion boosts your health and well-being. There are many benefits to taking on being compassionate both for yourself and, equally as important, for others.

Small Steps Lead To Big Wins

The hero you need in your life stares back at you in the mirror every day. You have it in you to be the hero you need in your life and to build the life you want and love. I'm going to be straight with you - it's not easy work. It's simple, but it isn't easy. It requires you take a step each day. Many of the steps you take will be shaky, but they will lead you to a life you want to wake up and jump into each day. 

You Are a Gift

You are remarkable and have gifts that make you stand out among everyone else. Though there may be other people who do what you do or have a similar gifting, no one can do things the way you do them. This alone makes you valuable to others. Sharing your gifts and giving back is a wonderful way to leave your mark on the world, and to glorify God. 

The Difference 2 Weeks Can Make

There have been other times in my life when two weeks have made a world of difference. After delivering my son, I wondered how my body could ever recover. After a knee surgery, the same... Two weeks make a huge difference! When I went to Basic Training down in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and Advanced Individual Training in Ft. Rucker, Alabama, the first days in those trainings were eye-opening to put it mildly. But after two weeks, there was a level of confidence, an understanding of rhythm, and a knowledge that this little engine would make it up that hill.

Behind the Scenes

Still learning as I go! Note to self - be sure to block out my calendar when I plan to be out of town. I send out a link to my calendar for folks to schedule a time that works for them. Any appointments I have in my calendar will be shown as unavailable.  I hadn’t done this for our vacation and someone scheduled their podcast interview while I was going to be gone. I didn’t want to reschedule, so I packed the mic and “soundproofed” my space. I’m more diligent...

Ash Wednesday-Why I Take Ashes

Therefore, I will receive ashes this Wednesday. And I will give thanks for this life, this very precious life. And I will give thanks to God, who alone can love so many that I don’t want to. And I will confess this and many other shortcomings. And I will leave knowing that I am loved into redemption and my life, my very precious life, will be more deeply rooted and grounded in something - in SOMEONE - that will transcend all that I now see and know and understand.

President's Day Edition

These are a few of the qualities found in effective leaders. It's important for anyone in a leadership position to remember the responsibilities s/he bears and to honestly evaluate one's effectiveness. How are you articulating your vision to others? Are you a clear and effective communicator? Do you inspire others to grow beyond their own expectations? Are you grounded spiritually and emotionally so that you can lead effectively? Good leaders have coaches to help them in their growth and development. And good coaches have coaches, too. I can help you. At Light Life and Love Ministries, we have the tools to help you understand and build upon your strengths. Give us a call! 

5 Exercises To Build Faithful Habits

We aspire to build a life that reflects our faith. We want to be like the 'spiritual giants' that inspire us. But, all too often, we find it difficult to to commit to the spiritual disciplines we set for ourselves. This is frustrating. Here are 5 strategies that will help you find what works for you and incorporate them into your routines. After you find how you connect best with God, and how you naturally pray, things will begin to fall into place. Once you uncover these tendencies within yourself, they will become as natural as breathing. Soon, you will have a rich and nourishing spiritual life! If you would like help in discovering your spiritual personality, click here and take the quiz.

Self-Belief: 7 Tips To Get Your Mind On Your Side

Self-belief isn’t about becoming arrogant or turning a blind-eye to one’s flaws. The belief you have in yourself needs to be focused on what you wish to become. You can have weaknesses. Everyone does. But there is value in being relaxed about your weaknesses and working to strengthen them. A strong belief in yourself is a sure ticket to reaching great success. Build your self-belief and seemingly impossible tasks can become routine.

Successful People Deal With Adversity

Did you know that successful people deal with adversity? It’s true. If you read the stories or profiles of most successful people, you will be surprised at just how adverse their situations were. They often tell the stories for others to learn and use to overcome adversity.

I broke Up With an Old Version Of Myself

Gloria Gaynor was referencing an old flame when she coined these words. To me, they represent a version of myself I broke up with a long time ago. A version of myself that wanted others to solve my problems, to take care of me, to be responsible for my success. I finally learned that that version of myself didn’t love me nor did it want success for me – it wanted company. It was the misery within me, all that was afraid, not enough, less than, and it was terrified to suffer alone. That misery begged for my company and was clever in keeping me close. The best decision I made was to break up with that person. 

How Our Thoughts Affect Our Experience

The food we put into our bodies is critical to the function of our bodies. In the same manner, what we allow into our thoughts is critical to the function of our minds. Neurologists are beginning to understand how our brains clean up after themselves. What they’ve learned is that glial cells, cells that hold our brains together, also take out the garbage and clean up while we sleep.

4 Reasons People Leave Church

Unfortunately, sometimes the church casts out the misfits, leaving them to find their own Island For Misfits. In this new year, that's what I'm seeking to do: create a safe space for misfits to explore and discover the love God has for them. Especially for them.     I've always believed that God loves ALL the people and that church was a place for ALL the people. Life tries to say that church is for those who have their "stuff" together and live a Godly life. Can't it be both? Is that not the message of redemption? We are ridiculously loved and valued by God! ALL of us - just as we are. My mission in this next year is to make sure people know how much God loves them.

3 Steps To Find Peace In the Midst Of Grief

Finding peace in the midst of grief will be difficult at the beginning, and there are really no rules for how long you should take to heal. However, remember that there’s a season for everything. Your feelings of hurt and pain will evolve over time. They will always be with you, but will not always feel suffocating. As you practice these strategies and begin to heal, you’ll be able to grow and evolve with your grief so you can find peace and experience joy again.

6 Things You Can Do To Develop Self-Compassion and Live Fully

Do you want to free yourself from old tension and dive into your life without fear? Do you want to come to a place of deep self-acceptance and self-compassion? By incorporating these 6 strategies, you can come to complete self-compassion and gratitude for your life. You will find yourself reaching for and living your very best life. 

Finding Peace In Disruptive Times

"I just want peace, I just want peace within my soul." Does that sound familiar to you? Is that something that you want? We all want that peace within our soul and that peace comes when we accept and live as who we are rather than who we think we should be. Or who think we should be. When we are living at odds with ourselves, there is no way we are going to have peace within. 

Dare We Hope? 3 Reasons For Audacious Hope

Hope is an act of courage. Hope requires that we see beyond the mire of our current circumstances into a better tomorrow. As COVID 19 numbers spike, and threats of quarantine loom, many are losing hope. Some businesses are hanging on by a thread - or already gone. Loneliness, depression, and anxiety are quite real, and the shorter days will only magnify their effects. Yet... there are reasons to hope...

How To Stay Focused On What Matters Most

Run the race in front of you. Take action on what you can control. To build something of value requires that we take action, and stay in action. It's so easy to get distracted. It's helpful to have an accountability partner. A coach is a valuable asset, whether you are seeking to build a business or build yourself.

Feeling Out Of Whack? Try These Three Things

There are many reasons we may feel out of ‘whack.’ We may not be spending the time with loved ones that we would like, we are emptying ourselves for others and not replenishing ourselves, we are lost in the grips of grief or anger or disillusionment and don’t know how to find our way back. This year has done a real number on us. To say it has been hard is an understatement. One thing it has accomplished, though, is revealing to us what is truly important and needful for life. Read on for tips to feel peacefully aligned.

3 Strategies For Making Patience a Spiritual Practice

The problem is that when we craft our lives around immediate gratification and convenience, we don't grow those 'core muscles' in our souls, like patience, that see us through the difficult times. We need those muscles.

How Humility HelpsUs Love Ourselves and Others

Spiritual masters tell us that growing spiritually happens as we grow in our love of God, love of others, and love of self. Humility is a key component to this growth process. Without humility, we are not able to completely love and trust God. Without humility, we cannot truly love ourselves. If we can't love ourselves, there's no chance to love others the way they deserve to be loved and honored. It sounds antithetical to say that humility begins with loving self. But it does. Love of God and others build upon our ability to love and value self.

How To Gain Wisdom

To gain wisdom, one intentionally seeks it. Looking within one's self and taking stock of what is there and not there, what is growing and what is dormant, what is fertile ground and what is laying fallow is a giant step toward gaining wisdom. Taking this step with God's guidance and leading? You're well on your way. 

Practice Makes Permanent

Ultimately, it's going to work that way - however you prepare is how you will perform. Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent. If you want to perform at a high level, you have to practice at a high level.

How Do You Self-Sabotage?

How many bricks have you stacked in front of you that hinder your progress? A bad habit here, a denial of your worth there, doubt in yourself on top of that... Before you know it, you have built a system of self-sabotage that keeps you stuck where you are. Coaching changes that. Through coaching, you will identify those bricks and break through the wall that holds you back.

Take Action Now

Waiting for perfect (unless we’re engineers or pilots) can often hold us back and keep us from taking action. The first action - even if it is imperfect action - is often what we need to move forward in life.

Squirrel!

What "squirrel" moments get you off-task? What strategies do you employ to keep you on track and accomplishing your goals? What distracts you? Would you like to be more efficient with your time and energy?

Be a Peacemaker-Learn How To Forgive

 The world is crying out for peacemakers and reconcilers. I’m not going to lie - it is hard work. I feel, quite strongly, that forgiveness is the hardest work of faith. The work of forgiveness and reconciliation dovetail together to bring about peace. This is definitely the hardest work to do. It is also the most impactful. 

Live Boldly

Do you have that one idea that's been in the back of your mind, maybe most of your life, that idea that starts with, “If God dumped a pile of money in front of me and said I could do whatever I want, I would like to…?” That’s the idea. I'm talking about; that one dream, that one thought. Why not do it now? Why not? We're not doing a lot of anything else. It's time to live boldly. It's time to take those risks and take those challenges and if we fail, so what?

Tiny Changes Add Up To Big Results

One tiny change, taking a daily dose of what I need, gives me life. In turn, I am free to give life and light to others. Sometimes, it’s one small change that makes all the difference.

Stop Waiting For Perfect

Most of the time, though, we don’t need to be perfect before we take our first step. In fact, waiting for perfect will often keep us from moving forward at all. I’m not advocating to throw all caution to the wind and go on a whim. I am advocating that imperfect action is vital to success.

Perspective Is Everything

I met some new friends. They were relics of a bygone era, with many stories and legends to share. I couldn’t get enough! It was fascinating to hear about life from their perspectives. And there was the learning for me: the need for deep listening in order to understand the perspective of others. In and of itself, this isn’t breaking news - we all know that people are different and it’s important to account for these differences. But sometimes it’s helpful to be intentional about these things.

Benefits Of Self-Awareness

Self awareness is a profound pursuit that, more than any other, brings us to a place of emotional maturity, improved relationships, and contentment in life. Self awareness is a giant step toward meeting our goals and seizing the joy we want from this life. 

What Drives You?

What drives you? Is your life built upon your basic motivations? Chances are, if you are unhappy, or struggling, or unfulfilled, it may be that you don’t have your work and life aligned around your guiding principles and motivations. The good news is: with a little bit of knowledge and work you can. 

Step Out Of the Boat: Leaving Your Comfort Zone

What power does ‘impossible’ hold over one who has overcome it? Who takes ‘no’ for an answer after walking on water? Who is defined by limits, and resources, and possibilities after getting out of the boat? Kinda makes you want to get out of the boat, doesn’t it? 

Work From Your Strengths

I have areas in which I excel. Not only do I do these things well, but when I work from these areas I have have passion, drive, and a real investment in the outcome. Arguably, working from my strengths would add much more value than bolstering skills in which I have little natural ability or passion.

Self-Awareness Is Your Superpower

Self awareness provides a springboard to success in our work and in our relationships. The self aware person will have many more strategies for understanding their loved ones, resolving conflicts, and building meaningful and lasting relationships.

5 Benefits Of Coaching

As we begin another year, I am sitting with the goals I have prepared for the year. This time around, they are different. Sure, I still make personal and professional goals, but after having experienced the benefits of coaching and taking training to be a coach, my goals are much more specific. I have yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. I have also set a goal to make new habits each day. In years past, this would have seemed way to heavy-handed for me. Now, not only does it feel invigorating, but doable. Throughout the year, I will consult with my coach to measure progress and tweak as necessary. At the end of the year I will accomplish quite a bit!

Do You Wonder?

That, my friends, is the essence of a coaching relationship - discovering new insights about yourself, the work you do, and the processes by which you navigate life. By working with a coach this past year, I have a better understanding of how to work from my strengths, how and who to ask for help when I need it, and have become more efficient in my thinking, organizing, and working. I feel empowered to wrestle with even greater things.

How To Make the World Better

There have been moments in my life when I have spent time with a friend and I walked away with the same troubles and struggles I had when I came, but I walked away so much better, because they saw me. They heard me. In that moment, I was blessed because they bore witness to my struggles. I left better than I came. 

Declutter Your Spirit

Often, things pile up and sit around and before long, begin to weigh on me. Taking the time to go through it all, see everything before me, and clear out what I don’t need and prioritize and organize what I do need provides a much-needed breath of fresh air!

Bloom Where You're Planted

Life, like rollercoasters, has a lot of twists and unseen turns. Sometimes you’re completely upside down! And of course, there are those anxious filled times of slowly proceeding one click at a time, waiting and working, anticipating the good times. Not all of life is fun; some is hard. Some chapters in life serve to prepare you for what is next. 

Discipline Trumps Motivation

I realized that this was a great metaphor for life. So many times we start off great, but get derailed by a change in circumstances.


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A picture of Melissa with her head in her hands and the title: "The fiLLLed Life Blog."

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Hello Friends!

Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here. 

I have served churches for 25+ years and strive to support people as they grow spiritually and emotionally. I believe that our spiritual lives fuel our physical and emotional experience of life, and I seek to help others connect with their deepest and most authentic self. I began the fiLLLed spiritual direction program to create a safe space for people to explore their spirituality and grow their faith. We don't all have the same journey, but we have the same desire - to connect deeply and meaningfully with the One we call Divine.

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