Blog: Heart of A Woman

The Courage To Begin Again by LeeAnn Sims

imagesI find it difficult to talk about the courage to start over without first talking about falling. Do you remember the last time you tripped and fell? Was it embarrassing? Did you feel like everyone was laughing at you? Did you suffer any bruises? If you’re anything like me, you probably tried to play it off as if nothing happened.

That’s what my “fall” felt like. For those of you who don’t know my story, about eight years ago I celebrated a 144-pound weight loss, only to gain all of it back—yes, I became “that guy”. You know, the one they call a “yo-yo” dieter. So this topic of starting over and going after your goals is very close to my heart.

Throughout my journey of reclaiming the dream of a healthier me, I had to face my biggest fear. “What if I never lose the weight?” I learned that in order for me to start over, I had to first confront my fear and let the dream die. What I mean by this is, I had to find comfort and contentment with the person I saw in the mirror “today” even if I didn’t get my perfect body tomorrow. This is where the courage lies.

Jesus once said, ”For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it,” Matthew 16:25. Letting go my life (or dream) was a very scary thing to do. I constructed my identity on top of my dream coming true, when it should have been constructed firmly on Christ. I challenged the fear and accepted myself as perfect in Christ whether I achieved that goal or not. Doing this made it much easier for me to get off the ground.

I also felt like people judged me because of my mistake. Yet, I quickly realized that the people I was too ashamed to face, were the same ones who pulled me up. You’ll be amazed at how few people actually laugh at you when you fall.

Lastly, I took my eyes off of myself. When I decided to promote my book I had a moment of panic—was I really going to share the ugly details of my failure?! My mentor reminded me that my testimony is not for me. There were many people who would be encouraged by my story—and will be encouraged by yours too. Going after my dream again soon became an act of service to others and a way to glorify God. This is what keeps me from having several pity parties a day (okay, maybe I still have one every now and then, but you get my drift).

As you consider going after your goals for 2016, remember this: you are a rock star whether you achieve those goals or not because of Christ; He will send you people to help you; and, your dream is not for you, but for others. So, are you ready? Let’s go!

Weight Loss D.I.V.A. LeeAnn Sims

Weight Loss D.I.V.A. LeeAnn Sims

LeeAnn Sims has been featured in SHAPE magazine, Essence, and on the Today Show for naturally losing half her size. Like most yo-yo dieters, she gained back the weight. LeeAnn shares her journey in her new book The Weight Loss D.I.V.A: Discovering the Discipine, Inspiration, Victory, and Acceptance within You! LeeAnn recently married Michael and they live in Maryland where she works as a Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager. Follow LeeAnn’s wellness journey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or her website

Want to hear more?  Follow @AWomansBusiness and join LeeAnn for a Twitter chat on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 1 p.m. EST using #AWBTalkbackTuesday.

Hope for a New Year by Angela M. Brown

red-polygonal-2016-calendar_1051-50952 weeks.

365 days.

8,760 hours.

525,600 minutes.

One fresh start.

While time, and the wisdom to manage it well, serve as precious commodities one must value and protect to benefit from the fresh start a new year represents, without hope, our time is spent in vain. Hope is a longing for what’s possible. It’s a blueprint to the life we want and the expected end of our faith and the dreams we direct our faith towards.

Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It goes on to describe in verse three that “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” In other words, unseen realities exist and the passageway to the manifestation of those unseen realities is faith, ignited by hope.

Hope is more than a wish. It’s hunger for fulfillment. Hope is earnest, heartfelt expectation, or in the words of my husband, hope is “a supernatural smelling salt God uses to awaken His desires in us, causing us to want, believe for and bring to pass what He wants. “

I’m convinced that the dreams God has of and for me are better and more fulfilling than those I’ve had for myself. This year, I’m committing to be open to something new—dreaming like I’ve never dreamed before and getting my hopes up that those dreams will come to pass.  As such, I will be intentional, prioritizing my time, faith and actions to align with my hopes.

What are you hoping for? If you’re struggling to answer that question, it’s time to get your hopes up, because a heart that no longer hopes is sick.

Your best days are not behind you. If allowed, our past is simply the launching pad to catapult us into the life our hopes will produce, so get your hopes up!

Angela Brown HeadshotFounder of A Woman’s Business and contributing writer to the Heart of a Woman weekly blog designed to inspire and challenge us to live in the fullness of our purpose, power and position as women, Angela M. Brown is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, auntie, friend, mentor, PR executive, author, commentator, motivational speaker and community leader—a woman recognized for making a difference and inspiring others to do the same. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter and discover tales of her journey on the “road less traveled” and the tools she’s gathered along the way turning obstacles into opportunities in “Resilience, Living Life By Design.”

Living An Abundant Life With One Another by Jill King

I’m time traveling. It’s a great way to end the year, in this familiar place that I grew up passing through. I’m sitting in the international airport in Tokyo, Japan waiting nearly an entire day to get on a plane back to Texas. There’s something twilight-zone-esque about these trips over the international date line, you lose a day going and gain a day coming back. Actually as a kid I lost a birthday or two in the transition.

My father is the president of an NGO in Hanoi Vietnam, a city that feels like a second home to me. As a kid my worldview was shaped from experiencing the developing world and making genuine relationships with people of other cultures. But that’s a separate conversation for another day. I’ve had some time to reflect and prepare for the new year ahead during my travels. What I’ve been meditating on the latter part of this year that will carry me more gracefully into the next is how abundant our lives become when we simplify them.

And I don’t mean purging closets, buying local, or banning makeup because I believe in moderation in all things, including material possessions. The simple route to abundant living is packaged in our mindset. It’s all about our perspective. As I entered adulthood, I felt that I could receive a burst of encouragement through hearing truth and life-giving perspective, but I had to be reminded. Now I feel like I’m in a place where I can live out of a place of truly owning and understanding eternal perspective for myself.

What it comes down to is that we all face pressures, feeling like we are up against the world. We have to excel, prove ourselves, show our worth, find our sweet spot, make our mark. But how exhausting and unnecessary our striving becomes when we are loved unconditionally and approved. Yes, by God, but we are also loved by one another and that means something. We have one another, God gave us community to lift one another up, to say “let’s do this together.” I’m not a fan of those cliches I find around the blogosphere about finding joy in the simple things like the dishwasher running at 4am because really, is that ALL you can smile about, lady? I understand it’s the little things, but to me, those little things that bring us deep joy are still eternal. Like my husband who is snoring on the airport floor right now. I could be miserable stuck in this airport all day or I can cherish this moment we have as a married couple to build our life experiences together, feeling grateful for his willingness to venture on the other side of the world with me. Or talking to the lady back home who gave me a pedicure and was floored that I was visiting her home country for vacation.

By all means, make goals. Get your degrees, learn as much as you can, receive awards, start movements, and be great leaders, because we’ve been chosen by God to do all of that for his name. Just don’t miss all of the days and people in between those monumental life events. In those small moments we are shaping one another and we are becoming who we are.

Jill RobertsJill King is the Glocal Impact local pastor at Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. She mobilizes the church to engage in the city through building relationships in the context of local ministry. Jill graduated in 2010 with a degree in social work from Baylor University, which is where she developed her passion and interest in engaging inner city populations. Follow Jill on Twitter via @ChristinaJill.

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I’m ready for a Revolution.