Personal Growth

I Choose More…

The habits you created to survive will no longer serve you when it’s time to thrive. Get out of survival mode. New habits, new life!

Lacey Pruett Author and Coach

I’m so thankful for friends who post and share their life. This quote was an amazing realization for me because I was just questioning why I have so many personal writing projects left undone, and why I was I feeling so depressed and unconnected. I will 100% get behind someone else’s project and get ‘er done, but when it came to getting my own story out there… (*crickets*)

Then, another friend I was visiting with asked, “So, what project are YOU working on right now?”

I shook my head, “I’m not working on anything. I’m too exhausted to think and be creative… and I think that’s the excuse I’ve used for the last 5 years – since the LAST time we talked!”

She helped with some tough love and I came to understand that the very thing that gives me energy and joy, is the very thing I was running from… running scared.

Well… no more.

It’s time to thrive and build some new pathways in my thought patterns to replace some 50+-year-old ruts!!

I’m so weary of just surviving and living in the “gotta make the donuts” realm of life.

It’s time to write again, shine again, and come out of the shadows.

I’ve missed me… and I’ve missed you – my friends.

It’s ok to not be ok – but it’s not ok to stay that way…

Thankfully, with God, there is ALWAYS MORE – and I choose more.

Personal Growth

We’re all a Fixer Upper, Saturated with the Effects of the World Around us – and Within Us

Life isn’t usually a contact sport, at least for me. I much prefer to be out on the periphery, an observer, invisible to those going about their daily routines.

I’ve worked hard to develop and maintain my stealthy behavior, not speaking unless spoken to, not making any sudden moves or noises, and I even check to make sure my outfits and jewelry selections are muted, understated, and most certainly not jingly so I do not draw any attention to myself. I even choose my shoes based on how quiet they are.

I’m not a private eye. I’m a writer. My mission in life has been to view the habitat around me without it being affected by my presence so I can witness life in its truest form, so it can be as natural and organic as possible.

But that mission has slowly changed as I’ve come to understand the real reason I prefer to stand in the shadows – it’s to spot danger and hide from predators. It’s a survival instinct.

We are all formed by our childhood, and that is where I learned how to go unnoticed. It was purely accidental at first as I began to observe the chaos saturating the adult world in which I lived. It churned around me with no effort or input of my own. When someone did notice me, it usually ended badly; I was either harmed, frightened, shamed, or punished for somehow interfering and disrupting their flow.

Due to this, I began to anticipate possible problems at a very young age. If the room was messy, or there was trash on the floor, I would quickly and quietly straighten it up and throw the trash away, lest I get blamed. I never drank the last of the milk, took the last of the bread, or helped myself to anything for that matter, lest I be seen. I certainly didn’t interrupt the flow, question the chaos, or ask why I was even there, lest I be heard, and no one have an answer for me.

Invisible and without a voice, by the age of 10 I had learned how to block out the pain and simply go numb. A few years later at age 16, I left home and lived almost three decades of my life off the emotional grid, looking for new ways to numb.

However, this survival technique also alienated me from the very people put in my life to help me see the goodness, the love, and the hope that coexisted amidst the chaos. I just didn’t know to look for it, so it took a while to find.

Fast forward to today, and God has worked miracles in my life, yet there is still such a long way to go. And isn’t that the truth for us all. At the age of 48, I have worked hard to break down the fortress I built to protect my vulnerability, preferences, and tenderness from the outside world.

I want to be the best possible version of myself that I can be, which means there’s a constant vulnerability I endure as I dig deep, question behaviors and confront the root of false beliefs so I can abolish the lies of unworthiness and condemnation that have saturated my life with fear and anxiety.

To do this, I read, pray, journal, and listen to that still small voice that is always leading me to a better place than where I’ve been. I open myself up to being explored, to have my heart searched, and for excavations to take place to unearth buried events and memories that have unknowingly dictated behaviors in my life. It’s a constant stirring, where I must also take time to rest and let the dust settle before going in again to do more work.

It’s amazing how God paves the way for us before we begin our journey. Each step rests on the foundation of his grace, unconditional love, forgiveness, and his favor. Because Jesus is always in right-standing with God, we too are righteous before God, so what can man do to us?

Replacing old harmful beliefs and behaviors with the lifestyle of a beloved daughter of God is not a simple one-and-done thing. It is a daily, sometimes hourly process of speaking truth and light into our lives, and into the lives of others. It takes dedicated effort and a constant renewing of the mind.

I want to be saturated with so much love and light that it pushes out all the fears, anxieties, false beliefs, and darkness that remains. I want to drip with his presence so that other people can make contact with the only person that can bring them the hope they’ve been searching for.

How do you live a life like that – saturated with the love, light, and grace of Jesus?

This is a question I asked God, and he gave me a very direct answer – a book called Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life, by Jeff Vanderstelt. In it he talks about how to live every moment in a way that allows God’s light to shine through you so that it draws others to you and more importantly, closer to God. We are here for each other, to live in community with one another and to treat others like family – even the hardened hearts and the unlovable, like I once was.

Life – it’s ALL about contact. To find the hope and love we all need and are searching for, you have to come out of the shadows and be noticed so you can serve and connect with those around you. Contact… it’s the very thing I had been fighting against.

As I closed the book, although this type of saturation was a foreign concept at first, I came to understand it theoretically, but I longed to see it and to experience it in real life. I’m a tactile and visual learner. I again prayed and asked God to show me what this looks like, and what it feels like, so I could better represent it in my own life. And again, he gave me a very direct answer during a road trip with my mom and my daughters.

We took a girl’s trip to San Antonio, and on the way, we stopped and visited Magnolia World. We are (my husband included) all big fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines. We were there from the very beginning as we were let into their world through Fixer Upper, their TV show on HGTV. Five seasons just wasn’t enough.

This was a show that highlighted their values of faith, family, and community. We watched Chip’s antics bring laughter into abandoned spaces, and Joanna’s brilliance transform dark, disjointed rooms into bright, joyful homes. We saw their children grow up, we watched the community of Waco expand, and we witnessed the beginning of their spoken dreams and then celebrated with them as those dreams became a reality.

Magnolia Market at the Silos, knowing there’s always a seat at the Magnolia Table, the Silos Baking Company, the Carriage House, Magnolia House (Hotel and Bed-n-Breakfast), and more. They restored a community and continue to make other people’s dreams come true. We saw the rusty, dilapidated buildings turn into places where we all wanted to live, to eat, to shop, to meet, and to share life. They became a part of our lives that we looked forward to week in and week out – even though we’d never physically been there.

Until now.

From our first step onto their property, that still, small voice whispered, “This is it. This is a place saturated with my presence – my light, my hope, and my love.” And I could FEEL it – in real time. I was immediately moved and overwhelmed emotionally. Tears filled my eyes. Such attention to detail, divinely inspired, and a true-hands on experience. Contact. Every aspect of Magnolia World connected with my soul and lightened my spirit, something that can happen to anyone who is open and willing to receive it.

Looking around at the Market, it helped me see how I had let things go at the house. I had an overwhelming urge to commit to stepping it up at home, to bring this saturation of joy, hope, and light into my own environment, and to make our space the best it can be – saturated with light, hope, and love.

Our place is neat and kept up – but clutter filled the unseen and hidden spaces we just came to ignore. Junk drawers, under beds, in closets, and stacked on shelves, were piles of needless papers, nick-knacks, and more that invaded our space and robbed us of true serenity. That was two months ago, and since then I’ve donated tubs of clothes, cleaned out all our junk drawers, eliminated the clutter on shelves, and I continue to clean out all that detracts from the home I wish to have.

It’s the same process as cleaning out the clutter in our minds, and in the hidden corners of our hearts. Things can just become invisible to us, even though they still dictate our behavior and the way we live.

Saturation – it’s something that happens internally before it can spill into the world around you. We are all saturated – but what with? Is it chaos, fear, anxiety, worry, stress, condemnation, or unworthiness?

Or are you saturated with the light, power, grace, love, approval, and hope of Jesus?

Don’t just be an observer of life, hiding in the shadows. Take one small step today – internally and externally. Clean out a junk drawer in your house and ask Jesus to reveal the clutter in your mind, so you can replace it with the truth of his purpose, worth, and significance. We are ALL Fixer Uppers, and YOU are here for a reason. You AND your story – your entire story – can be used to bring light and hope to others. Don’t hide it, don’t run from it – use it to help others find their way.

It’s time to make contact. It’s time to discover the freedom that comes when you saturate yourself with SO MUCH of Jesus, that all fears are gone, and only faith, hope, and love remain. It’s happening to me, and it’s there for you too. You just have to be open enough to receive it, and saturate yourself with it.


Truth #6 – Your Identity Determines Your Behavior

When did you lose it? When did your foundation give way, causing you to lose your faith, your hope, and the truth of who you were created to be – only to be replaced with a deceitful lie disguising itself as ‘your new truth’?

I remember. It took me 40 years to identify that time in my life and call it out for what it really was – but in finally being able to do so, I was able to at last remove that long-lived lie and place truth back into its rightful place in my identity.

A few weeks ago I was honored to assist the crew on set of a short film being made for film competitions, and the filming took place in an old abandoned house. It was this abandoned house that triggered memories from 40 years ago that I had worked so hard to forget.

Arming yourself with truth really does set you free.

I spent a lot of time alone while growing up. As an only child I did not have any built-in playmates; and friends – real friends – were hard to come by. My family first moved to Texas when I was 13. At that point, we had already moved 21 times. I lived in many different cities in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, and then moved around quite a bit in the Dallas / Fort Worth area where I live now.

The wide variety of spaces that became my many different bedrooms as a child shaped my belief of who I was. In one 3-room apartment that had a kitchen, living room and bedroom, the bathroom with a broken lock was in the corridor just outside our front door and was shared with 3 other families that lived on that floor.

The only space for me was a 3’ x 3’ closet with an old accordion door that didn’t shut. I slept curled up on a red vinyl bean bag that filled the floor of that closet and spilled out into the small hallway. I distinctly remember though still having a bit of child-like hope, dreaming of one day being able to replace all the roaches crawling around with diamonds I could hang on the wall to make the place sparkle and shine.

Then we moved. Again. This time it was to an abandoned motel where I was directed to my room. Any excitement I felt for finally having my own room was quickly replaced with a broken, defeated spirit as I looked around and saw what I had been given. My red bean bag was now replaced by a deteriorating, smelly mattress on the floor. It lay there amidst the grime of discarded cans, newspapers, molding bits of food in old take-out containers, alcohol and drug paraphernalia, and a few dead pigeons whose feathers were glistening in the light that was streaming in from the dimly lit parking lot through my shattered bedroom window.

That child-like hope of being able to change things or fix things completely disappeared. That’s where I lost it. That’s where the truth of what I was worth and who I was created to be was replaced with the lie that I was as worthless as the garbage on the floor. I was nobody. The bar regarding my self-worth and what I thought I deserved as a human being wasn’t just set low, it was lost – tangled up somewhere in the debris of life just like I was.

I struggled with this defeated belief of worthlessness for years – decades actually. It affects EVERYTHING! Why? Because our identity dictates our behavior. If we identify ourselves as worthless, then in relationships, we settle and self-sabotage, because, well, we probably got better than what we deserved anyway. When we identify ourselves as garbage, why would we polish up our appearance by putting pearls on a pig? I also couldn’t bring myself to invest in healthy friendships, because they’re a two-way street, right? You need to bring something to the table, have something of value to add to the relationship and from my perspective; I had nothing. I convinced myself that I’d just be a bother, they already have enough friends, and they’re too busy anyway.

I felt so empty and lost – most of my life – which was ruled by anxiety. Every step, every word, every action came with heart palpitations, sweats, stomach problems, and an overwhelming fear that at any moment someone would look at me, see me for the fraud I was, and tell me I didn’t belong there – or anywhere.

There was that longing for something more, but it got buried with the truth of who I was created to be. The worst part of it is that it’s really hard to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Whenever you are looking for something and someone is trying to help you find it, what’s one of the first things they ask? “Well, when did you last have it?”

The implication there is that to find what you’re looking for, you need to go back to where you last saw it, or last imagined it to exist. That applies to tangible objects like your phone and your car keys, and it also applies to intangible items like your self-worth, and the truth of who you were created to be.

Now, 40 years later, standing there in that abandoned house, that moment in time came roaring back to me as our lead character sat in the middle of that filthy floor, and gave her critical line – the title of the film – “I am nobody.”

I was overwhelmed. I knew I had just been given a revelation and the tool I needed to combat that lie I had believed for years.

Now, armed with truth, knowing the very instant in time when that lie jumped into my identity, I was able to face it, challenge it, and see it for what it was – a lie. That old abandoned motel room I was given as a child didn’t determine my worth and identity any more than my bank account does today. Our value cannot be placed in the ever-changing appearances, finances, and circumstances of our world; that is where anxiety lives and breathes and overtakes our lives.

Our identity only comes from WHO we are, and WHO we are becoming, as we grow more and more into WHO we were created to be – which takes a lifetime of discovery provided we give ourselves the chance to be known.

Knowing WHO you are determines how you behave – so take time to discover more of YOU. How? Stop wasting time striving to be significant, trying to control life, and trying to be all things to all people. Instead, take time to stop and discover the significance of who you already are.

So, what is it you are looking for? What is it that you have lost, and where did you last have it or imagine that it could exist?

What lie in your identity needs to be replaced with the truth of WHO you are and WHO you were created to be – a valuable, unique, forgiven, restored, and free son or daughter who has a heavenly Father who RUNS after YOU, searches for YOU, and longs for you to let yourself get closer to Him so you can RECEIVE his never-ending love and grace.

YOU ARE SOMEBODY SPECIAL, with a HOPEFUL FUTURE, here for a purpose far beyond your own comprehension, who today can grab a hold of your TRUE identity as a beloved child of God. Here, you are family – it’s a place of freedom, and a place where you will always belong!

#FollowTheCloud #AnxietyRelief #Anxiety

Truth 6 - Identity Determines Behavior - replace lies with the truth of who you were created to be


Be Drawn by Grace, Not Driven by Expectations

Identity dictates behavior. Who or what has given you your identity? Are you living in the freedom that is yours, or bound by expectations and anxieties that you were never meant to live by?

Maybe it’s time for you to Follow the Cloud. What does that mean? It’s a reference to the Israelites when they were in the desert – by day, God had them follow Him – in cloud form. When the cloud moved, they moved.

In other words, to Follow the Cloud means that you actively seek God to see where He is moving, and then you courageously take a next step – creating new space behind you so that others can take their next step – no matter HOW SMALL that next step is. You Follow the Cloud without letting doubt, fears or anxieties take you off course, keeping you from what you were born to do.

To Follow the Cloud means you will go places, do things, discover truths, and find a freedom you have never experienced before.

For too many years I lived with fear and anxieties that kept me in bondage – in my home – isolated – alone – purposeless – fraught with unexplainable health issues – and completely miserable. I could not go on. I had to find a better way. So I began to intentionally dig deeper and find the root cause of my miseries.

As I began to discover God’s truth in my life, the light of that truth began to reveal all the lies I had built up and believed for years. Lies that kept me believing I had no purpose, no worth, and no reason to exist. Those lies were heavy, heavy chains that kept me from doing anything. What I finally realized was that those lies were not of God, and He came here so that we would all be set free. He wants to see those lies abolished in your life as well.

Once truth began to replace the fears, anxieties, expectations, and the desire I had to try and control everything – I began to experience an unbelievable kind of freedom. Very small at first – but over the last several years of this continued journey of freedom, there have been miracles, health issues resolved, relationships restored, and a new love for myself and others I never knew was possible. Purpose and passion flow freely from my heart and I can do things now that I had never been able to do before.

Please, do not tie your identity to the anxieties that are trying to control your life. That is not how you were meant to live. Identity dictates behavior. Begin today to find your true identity – in light and truth and purpose and love. Today – it’s time to Follow the Cloud. #iFollowTheCloud     #ARMyourselfWithTruth

Drawn by Grace, Not Driven by Expectations


Truth #5 – Get Led by Purpose Instead of Driven by Performance

I have spent much of my life trying to achieve a sense of worth and value through performance and approval of others. I could never say no, I volunteered for everything, and I piled tasks on my plate a mile high until I buried myself in social phobias, anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt for not being able to do everything that I said I was going to do…

The thing is though, I was never supposed to have any of that on my To-Do list to begin with. I thought that if I could perform well enough, then someone might initiate a genuine relationship with me where I would then feel like I was worth something, where I would matter to someone important enough to give me that sense of significance I was seeking in life.

Have you ever been looking for glasses and they ended up being on your head the entire time? Or looking for your keys and they were in your pocket? That’s how it is when you look for your own worth and significance through performance. You’re not going to find it there. Why? Because your worth – your very purpose for existing – has been WITH YOU, emanating from you, the entire time!

While I was busy performing, my time was sucked away by added assignments, duties, tasks, volunteering, and trying to get every nick-knack in my house clean and shiny, perfectly symmetrical, and properly spaced that I was just too anxious to accept invitations from people who wanted to include me, get to know me better, have coffee, or lunch with me. And then, when they did, I had no idea how to act or respond unless it revolved around my performance somehow, my new project, my new venture, my new whatever… still trying to seek approval through performance.

They only ask so many times before the invitations stop coming. There are a few people I miss even now where one day the invitation to just hang out, or come over for a BBQ just stopped.

Anxiety robs us of so much – especially that very significance and purpose in life that has been with us, surrounding us, all along.

The thing is – being “performance driven” is a ‘me-centric’ activity that only develops into a black hole that can’t be filled, and it ends up driving everyone away.

The great thing about being led by purpose, is that it is focused on others – and it draws people to us who need our light in their lives.

Are you exhausted? Have you been performing for others for so long that you’ve isolated yourself from the very people and relationships that you were meant to impact and influence?

Maybe you are like I was – like the Martha in the Bible who worked so hard and so long that she couldn’t even see that Jesus – the only one that could bring peace to her mind, heart, body, and soul – was with her the whole time, ready to give his life for her, and offer her everything she could ever possibly need.

For me, my biggest breakthrough came during my pregnancy leave over 8 years ago. I had NO IDEA how much performance-driven tasks I had crammed on my plate until I arrived home from the hospital with my plate clean… I had no idea what to do. My worth was so tied to performing for other people that I almost missed the priceless treasure of allowing myself to sit still and just be a mom to my newborn baby. Maybe that is easy for some… but it was really, really hard for me.

Thankfully, my very loving husband, and a grace-filled God showed me what I had with me and in me the entire time. Step by step, I was able to assess my motives for putting things on my To Do list. I began to rate my anxiety levels and determine what triggered them, and what eased them. I learned to say no to things that did not serve my purpose – so that I could have room for the things that mattered most – my family, my relationships, and sharing my story with others who need help finding their way to a more peace-filled life.

Maybe your next steps are to make the next few days “Yes and No” days. Say no to adding any performance-based tasks to your To-Do list, and say yes to sitting still and discovering who you are, and who you were created to be, and say yes to developing or deepening a life-giving friendship with someone. In the end, you may find your purpose in that they needed you to reach out to them, more than you realized.

#Anxiety #AnxietyRelief #PurposeDriven#PurposeLed #AnxietyReleaseMovement

Truth 5 - Anxiety - Performance Driven vs Purpose Led