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.
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 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.
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.
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...
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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? 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.
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?
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We make decisions from the moment we wake up in the morning until we go to bed in the evening. Many are small; what to eat, what to wear, which route to take to work, etc. Other decisions, though, take some time and consideration, especially those that lead to lasting change. When we talk about lasting change, altering our behaviors in a way that will bring about different results in our lives, we might feel a bit of anxiety. Change isn’t easy, especially when ...
A coach is that person who asks the right questions at the right time in order for YOU to find the answers you need within YOURSELF. I’m a firm believer in the thought that we generally know the answers we seek, we just might need help bringing them forward and putting them into practice.
Tom Brady's willingness to be coached, to take in what he was taught, and the courage to take those lessons learned to a place where he would have to replicate it all on his own, sets him apart. Tom Brady rose to hero status with his win in Super Bowl LV. The best part of his story, is that he is an average guy who listened, integrated what he learned, and had the courage to strike out into the new and unknown betting on himself to succeed. This quality brought the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 draft to the heights of success.
The mindset that has brought us this far is to be commended for getting us to this day. But today’s mindset isn’t going to see us through to a better tomorrow. Make the time and effort to understand someone whose views are different from yours. Be humble and open to learning and growing. We need each other and our differences to propel us forward in life. COVID isn’t the only threat we face. Heart disease, cancer, depression, unhealthy relationships with food, lack of physical activity, isolation, anger, lack of forgiveness, powers, and principalities, and so many other things are genuine threats to our well-being. Let’s encourage one another in our journeys, not make them more difficult.
Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here.
I am at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to support those who work to grow themselves. I am a trained coach and have consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, I embrace the Gospel with joy and laughter as I seek to help those around me grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, I create a safe space for people, especially those who have been marginalized, where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by God/Higher Power/Spirit, and to experience the difference that makes in life.
I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances. You can listen to it here.
Here's what I can do for and with you.