wholeness

IN HER WORDS

12 Women Tell Us How to Fight for Wholeness in a Busy World

Is it possible to be a modern-day woman, managing all of the demands around us, while also feeling grounded with ourselves and intimately connected with God? We believe fighting for wholeness is at the core of this desire.

However, wholeness can look different in every season of life. One way in which we define wholeness is being holistically well in mind, body and soul. Living from a place of freedom, peace and alignment with God, while prioritizing the relationships that are most important to us.

The journey of wholeness is a life-long pursuit. So we encourage our community to move to a different beat, a rhythm fueled by grace and to find rest in the hustle. To practice being before doing and ultimately, to live from peace instead of overwhelm.

In the spirit of community and collective wisdom, we’ve invited 12 powerhouse women to unpack wholeness with us. These wonderful women are in different seasons of life, have journeyed through unique terrains and all have a voice that will inspire your unique journey of wholeness.

There is so much GOLD to unpack here, and we hope that it will give you a fresh perspective on the importance of fighting for wholeness in your life.

So friends, grab your favorite beverage, get cozy and dive right in!

In Her Words

Select any of the feature contributors to jump to her interview!

In Her Words

Select any of the feature contributors to jump to her interview!

Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I recently came out of a long wilderness season where my family faced a lot of trials, and we are entering a season of NEW life. I am 10 years into building an impactful small business, and I am ready to transition into things I believe God is calling me to, all while raising two littles in two different phases of life (6.5 and 4 months) and working a part-time non-profit job. It’s one of those seasons where I am stretched thin, but I believe it is also a season where everything on my plate is what I am called to and that God has graced me to do it.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

“Wholeness” for me means walking confidently in the fullness of who you are, the good and bad and ugly and complicated. It’s truly knowing your worth and where you come from and being able to face the day with your head held high knowing that you’re in and on purpose, no matter how it may look or feel. You trust and believe and have a God confidence in taking life step by step. I think when you can settle into God’s arms in that way, you can deal with any situation, be it work or play or relationships or finances and know that at the end of the day, it will ALL be okay and work out as it should.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

In 2017, after being pretty sick with the flu virus, I started feeling pretty awful – unable to eat, body aches and thought I had meningitis because of the pain I was experiencing. After several visits to urgent care and the emergency room, I discovered I had Pneumonia and Congestive Heart Failure. At 34 years old and completely healthy, I had contracted a virus that sent me into critical condition and fighting for my life. After 16 very long days in the hospital, I started a year long recovery of getting myself better and a ton of self-work. I spent months re-evaluating my life, what made me happy, what made me sad and deciding what things I needed to put down, let go of and move on from and which things made me happy, brought joy, blessed my life and I needed more of. Taking that time to get to know myself again reminded me that there is always work to be done on ourselves and that we truly are always evolving, changing and growing. I gave myself permission to be different and to walk different and to change my mind about some things. Sometimes I feel like we need to allow ourselves the grace to begin again. Although I don’t believe I have it mastered, I know that 2017 was the springboard toward my journey to wholeness.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Those demands and expectations are not real. No one can put restrictions or requirements both on your life or time unless you let them. You are allowed to change your mind and walk in this world differently, and one way I was able to do that was establishing values to live by. I sat down and thought through what I hoped my life would stand for and then came up with 5-6 words that would represent that journey. It really has helped anchor me and helps guide my priorities. If the things that are in demand or competition for my time don’t align with my values, there really isn’t much to talk about, and I highly recommend that women who juggle a lot of different plates consider doing that too.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I’m Natalie Franke – photographer, entrepreneur, community builder and new mama. I unite creatives through my work with the Rising Tide Society, and I’m working to build a better world for my three month old son.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness currently looks like embracing my postpartum body, celebrating the miracle of my child and reminding myself that my best is enough.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

Going through fertility treatment last year was a really challenging time. I maintained wholeness by practicing yoga, praying, journaling and taking time to embrace the pain of that particular season. I allowed myself to feel whatever I needed to feel and connected with others who were going through similar struggles. Finding a community that understood was paramount to navigating this challenging time.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Fighting for wholeness will look different for each of us. Dig deep into discovering what your heart and soul needs during each season of your life. Fill your cup before pouring out to help others. Surround yourself with a community that will lift you up.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

My name is Ruthie Ridley. I am a wife, mom of 3, registered nurse, worship leader and influencer. Overall, I am a compassionate creative. My current season is one of transition. I am contending for major breakthrough for our family for a new home and financial freedom!

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness to me means constant connectedness to the King. In every season. Having an ongoing conversation throughout the day with Him is how I stay whole, simply giving Him thanks and recognizing all that I have to be thankful for. Another way I practice self-care in the Lord is through worship. There is no other powerful weapon or tool in the kingdom.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

Worship. Always worship. Through really tough times I find that the Lord is closest to me and my ears are wide open in moments of worship. This is both in a corporate setting and one on one with the Lord. He WILL draw close to you if you draw close to Him.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Make time for yourself. No one else can do this. Take a moment to take a deep breath and focus on you and Jesus. Even if this is 20 minutes a day, it will make all the difference in the world. You are worth it.

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Download 12 Journal Prompts for the Pursuit of Wholeness

Grab these FREE Journal Prompts to help you embrace wholeness starting today!
 
Signing up subscribes you to Grit & Virtue.We respect your privacy, and you can opt-out at any time.

Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I am in a season of work that centers on mothering two young children and leading at Fuller Seminary’s De Pree Center for Leadership. Life is full!

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness looks like being my full self in all that I do. If my life as a mother feels drastically disintegrated from my life as a leader, or if my work as a creative feels wildly different than the theology I teach, I start to feel too spread out and anxious. Switching gears is exhausting! So, my goal is to be very disciplined about what I say yes to and what I say no to in my work. I’ve learned that my yeses are most fruitful when I can bring multiple layers of who I am to the project. This means that nearly everything else has to be a no.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

I’m thinking about a season of work that was particularly tough because of a toxic situation in my workplace. Over and over again, I found myself trying to fix the situation. I cared about the people involved and thought I could find a creative way forward. But, I failed time and time again. I could not fix the toxicity. And each time I tried, I felt more exhausted and more anxious. In the midst of all of it, I was struck by a sense that God was asking me to stop focusing on doing and start focusing on being. For example, when I leaned into playing with my kids instead of milling over the most recent incident at work, I felt my breath come back. Or when I took a moment to laugh with colleagues about a movie we’d both seen, I realized that laughter could actually be a form of resistance in the face of toxicity. When I started to make that shift and let go of the things I couldn’t control, little by little I felt restored, and eventually I felt whole again.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

This is hard. Life is demanding and overwhelming. I think I’d suggest starting by listening to yourself, especially your body. For example, I’ve noticed that when things have become too much, my body starts to hurt. My shoulders and my neck get as tight as a rock and start throbbing. My mom gave me a good analogy for this. She said that I’m like a boat that’s taken on too much water. And, it’s critical to have practices or rhythms that help me throw some of that water back into the sea. One of my practices is walking, specifically pushing my son’s stroller up a hill near our house. Another practice is lamenting. Still another is playing make believe with my three year old daughter. So, when my shoulders and neck start to ache, my body is signaling to me that I’ve taken on too much water. And, then, I am cued to walk, lament, or play make believe. And, if I listen to myself, I am indeed able to toss a bit of water back into the sea.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

My name is Nikole Lim, and I’m the executive director of Freely in Hope – equipping survivors to lead in ending the cycle of sexual violence. I’m a writer, speaker, and educator on restorative storytelling and survivor-leadership models.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness looks like the art of kintsuge – broken pieces of pottery that are mended together with pure gold. This image reminds me to accept the way things are within myself, while also moving toward the woman I am becoming, for she can be both broken and whole at the same time. Contemplative prayer in silence, stillness, and solitude allows me to pursue wholeness by practicing consenting to the presence of God, as the gold bonding agent, allowing God to do in me what I am unable to do in myself.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

Finding peace within silence, listening to the inner voice within – knowing that experiences of pain are not just deepening my ability to feel but also expanding my capacity for joy. In the same way, despair expands our ability to find hope, and brokenness expands our recognition of beauty. Where there is suffering, there is also an invitation to love.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Overcoming our false identity and the lies that control us – as Henri Nouwen describes – ”I am what I do, I am what I have, I am what others say about me.” Countering these lies perpetuated by our ego allows us to move closer to who we truly are – beloved of God. Reject the inherent, but false belief that you are not enough. I believe that women hold all power within.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

Hey there friends, my name is Meshali Mitchell. I am a portrait artist, storyteller, and lover of Christ and people-Born and raised in a small town in South Arkansas and now residing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. You could say I have a love of a good mix of city and country, but my heart feels most at home on a front porch and in wide open spaces.

The season I am in has been unique – I purchased an 1886 Farmhouse Fixer Upper last year and have been restoring and renovating it ever since. God has had me on a journey – a personal passion project of sorts that I’ve named #ahouseGODisbuilding. As I’ve restored the home, room by room, piece by piece, He has spoken to me about how it parallels with the restoration of our lives and hearts…how Christ has done that in my life.

My journey to wholeness has been one of deep sanctification – Christ coming into each room of my heart, gutting it and restoring it with Himself. That’s where true wholeness is found, when He does the work in us.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

I believe our culture tries to define wholeness, and we live in a society of people that crave it and chase it. I believe it is God’s will for us to be healed and whole, to walk in true freedom. I believe Biblical wholeness is to be well in our body, soul (mind, will, and emotions) and spirit. To be complete, not wounded, injured or impaired. In most cases, this is not an overnight process. It takes a journey, time, a devotion to biblical practices to rid ourselves of the old sinful nature that binds us and to walk toward and into freedom and healing in Christ. It’s often not easy, but the Bible is truth and promises us healing.

Some of the practices that I have put into my life are non negotiable scripture reading daily. This doesn’t always look the same everyday, but its not done out of legalism – its been born out of a true desire to see Christ’s Word and truth transform the lies that I struggle to believe or not. I’ve learned that it doesn’t necessarily matter “how I feel”…feelings have not always been my friend – they’ve led me down roads of unbiblical thinking and belief systems about myself. I have to choose to believe the Truth of God’s Word over feeling – and the only way I can do that is to read and know it. This has been my biggest game changer on the road to true wholeness.

I’ve also learned to do things I love – life-giving things in the mix of demands and responsibilities. Surround yourself with people who invest into your life, get that cup of coffee or lunch with friends you love, go get a massage or pedicure, take time to drive and think. It all plays a part in rest and mental health.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

I was raised in church, in a Christian home with deep Christian values. My family and I went through a lot of heartache as I was growing up. It seemed to be blow after blow on my soul. As my teens passed, the hurt remained. It not only seemed to not just go away, but grew bigger. I began to see the residue of hurt, mistrust, bitterness, loneliness and anger seep into all my current relationships. I wasn’t whole. I was carrying wounds around like a familiar friend I didn’t want around but always showed up. It seemed like the friend I couldn’t get rid of.

In my mid 20’s, the Lord really began to deal with me about this and how His Word had promised freedom. Through many steps, being planted in a great church, seeing a great counselor, Christian relationships and me deciding to work the Word in my life – wholeness has become my friend. I am still on the journey – I believe we all are until Heaven. But I believe it is God’s will for us to experience His Kingdom on earth. Joy, Peace and Goodness is promised through His Spirit. This is something we can’t accomplish through our own flesh – it is impossible – but it is a Promise through His precious Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit walks us into Biblical Wholeness.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

I’ve learned that there’s no greater responsibility in my life than to make sure I am pursuing wholeness in my mind, soul and spirit. Everything I do in my life flows down from my health and well being. If demands are too great and pressing, and I find I am too busy, I am learning to re-evaluate.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” When my heart and plate feel “too full”…I’ve learned to guard it better. A healthy heart means a healthy life and good life decisions from a healthy place and mind.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur and mentor. Very much a type A individual, whom my friends might classify as a performance junkie. In the last few years, there have been significant changes in my life. My husband and I sold our home of 31 years and traveled for 18 months. In the last year, we have resettled to a new area. This type of transition comes with many unknowns, as well as practicing the value of patience. As I have sought relationships and activity, to some He has essentially said “not yet”.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

At one point in my life, my idea of wholeness could have easily been labeled “busyness.” I did not think of myself as “whole” unless my schedule was packed. In this last season, I’ve been forced to shed those misconceptions and move into a time of significant silence – not easy for a person like myself. There have been moments, more than I care to admit, when it has been difficult to engage spiritually with my God. I know He desires the entirety of my being. I cycle through periods of focusing on Him and way too many times where I focus on myself; old habits die hard.

A quote I recently heard from Ruth Haley Barton resonated to my core. “Without the regular experience of being received and loved by God in silence, we are vulnerable to a kind of life that is driven by a profound emptiness that we are seeking to fill through performance and achievement.” Silence can be difficult in our social media-driven, information overload culture.

In these days, I find wholeness in the abundance of His beautiful creation, taking long walks by the ocean, appreciating the company of my husband and building new community. I know He has more, but in the meantime, I try to find contentment in the silence, grateful for His unwavering steadfastness.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

One of the most difficult times in my life came when I was selling a business at the same time my father was in the end stages of life. The pressures were extreme for me to be available for my parents, and continue to operate the business for my customers and employees to the best of my ability.

There were many days when I felt a wall stood before me, and that I only had the capacity to take a single step. In those times, I fell on my face before Him, asking for direction. I felt like I was clinging to a precipice. I also felt strangely confident in the direction He provided. He was faithful, although I was sure in those moments of doubt I would never make it through. There was nothing about me that was whole; I was lacking in so much. The wholeness didn’t come from me; it was Him. I could sense His peace, His presence and His fullness in such a profound way.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Abide in Him, which is essentially believe, trust, rest and receive. Trust that He is there to carry you through, even in the bleakest of times. As simplistic as this sounds, know that He wants you to bring it all before Him, every little detail. Worship Him through your struggle, you were made for His glory, and the greatest testament to this is our worship, even in those times when it is difficult to be in the Word.

Don’t be afraid to share your struggle with a trusted community, even if it’s a community of one. We are called to community, to hold one another up in prayer and bear one another’s burdens.

Know there are times of great producing, and times of pruning. He prunes so that more fruit will be produced, but during those pruning times can come pain. Endure, persevere and purpose yourself to walk into it, rather than away from it.

Love yourself. This is not something we talk about often. But we must love the person He made us to be. We can’t love others well unless we learn to love ourselves. This can mean becoming proficient in using the word “No”. Learn from the practice of Jesus and take time for yourself.

Understand that He is the one who brings us to wholeness, and it is in His time. We are not superhuman, regardless of what we may want to believe. There are no easy steps, and no formulas to apply. There is no guaranteed outcome to any situation, only the knowledge that He cares more than any of us can ever understand, and He will never leave or forsake us.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

My name is Sopha Rush. I am a wife of 3 years & a mommy of one. In love with Jesus and empowering women. I am currently in a season of preparation, waiting on God’s timing and ready for ways he is going to take my family deeper before we go higher.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness to me looks like peace, knowing that I am worthy regardless of what this world deems as “whole”. My self care practices require me getting whatever time I can get, reading God’s truth and not being prideful that I can’t ask for help when needed so that I’m making sure I’m aligned with God’s will.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

I maintain wholeness by God’s strength alone and knowing that I have a great community that intercedes on my behalf at all times. I remind myself that I am a child of God and that my circumstances do not have ownership to dictate how I shall feel or act, reaffirming that I’ve come too far to give up.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Make sure you are listening to your body. Rest isn’t a bad thing. It’s necessary. I would encourage women to spend time undistracted, just reflecting on their lives and to refocus back on Him. Also, find what brings you peace, and protect it. Find what gives you joy, and expand it to those around you.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

Maybe my Instagram bio says it best – I’m a wild heart, tamed by God…over the top about family…feisty work in progress…and Jesus is truly all I know. I write books, speak, podcast and lead a ministry called Ministry Strong. My current season is a 23 year marriage and 3 kids (16,18,21). We are doing our best to teach how to problem solve as young adults and, hopefully soon, pay their own bills. 🙂

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness to me is honesty, from the inside-out. No hiding or denying. Working on getting better rather than settling for half-living. None of us will be fully whole until heaven, but the measure that we can be here on earth is worth pursuing with all we’ve got. Those are the things I practice myself – through prayer, counseling when needed, rest and accountability – to be well and whole.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

One of the most powerful ways I have not been taken under by the things that have threatened to break me – from my pastor-dad’s scandal with the IRS, to my husband’s job loss, to my dad’s death a few years ago and all the disappointments and struggles in between – is accepting something I wish were something different. It is maybe the hardest most important thing I’ve ever done. It’s also an ongoing work Jesus has to help me with every day.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

I get it. I feel you. What you experience is real and hard but also not impossible, because Jesus really can make all things well. Just stay in the journey and keep going. Don’t spend your time fighting for people to love you – you’ll stay exhausted. Focus on God’s love towards you. Don’t keep putting on emotional backpacks – it’s not your job to take care of everything. Hand over the day’s issues to God every night, and always put your hope in the “hope that will not disappoint” (Romans 5:5). I love you, and I fight for joy, too. It can be found.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I’m Jenessa Wait, a hand-letterer and creative based out of Austin, TX. Right now my current season looks like being faithful with the seeds of promise God has given me. I’m learning that as a big dreamer, I am not to get so caught up in the big picture, but ask God what are the small yes’ of today that will lead me to the big promise. I’m learning that there’s fresh grace each day and the importance of seeking God with fresh hunger each day. You can’t live off of yesterday’s bread! I’m learning even more the importance to seek Him in all things and make that a priority first and foremost!

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Right now, wholeness is the little things, like making the first thing I do when I wake up to turn my affection to God and simply be thankful. Sometimes it’s just saying “Good morning God.” Haha! I’m wanting to start my day with a conversation with Him more. It’s so easy to grab the phone after the alarm goes off and go straight to social media, and I’m trying to avoid that more, as it’s not the best way to start my day. Also, self care looks like being intentional with my time and how I’m spending it in the day to day. I’m also pursuing wholeness of my mind. What we think about the most is often the most important thing to us. I’m wanting my thought life to be a reflection of what I value and my core values!

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

For me, it’s never forgetting all that God has done for me and believing that He is ALWAYS good. I heard someone say once “If you’re not anchored in the goodness of God, you will lower your theology to match your pain”. It has stuck with me since and always reminds me to never allow external situations that I don’t have control over dictate how I view the character of God! I MUST stand on His goodness- no matter what!

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

You are a powerful person, who has 100% permission to tell people no. Telling people no is not letting them down. It’s also not your responsibility to manage how people respond to your no (that was a big one for me!). Your health is too important, and it’s not selfish to take time for you! It actually pleases the Father when you love yourself and tend to your spirit and soul. Even Jesus had to pull away from the disciples and the crowds to pray and be alone with the Father. I also encourage you to fight for a day of sabbath. Don’t plan anything that day other than a time of rest, reflection and being with God!

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I am Michelle Ana, a faith, beauty and lifestyle content creator. I’d say I’m in a hidden season where God has allowed me to deeply heal from some brokenness that I had experienced in my past. It’s a season filled with lots of “secret place” encounters.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Wholeness for me looks like the act of drawing near to my creator, believing and knowing that I am who HE says I am and not what my thoughts may try to convince me that I am. This requires me to make a daily decision to look at the facts that God provides in His word and not my reality.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

I was in a very dark grieving season, where I felt like I lost everything, and on top of it all, my husband passed away in the beginning of a new year. My heart was in pieces, but I just knew that God was a sovereign God and that if He was able to do a miracle in my life before, He surely would do it again. After several months of therapy, writing in my journal, prayer and worship – I began to see light, God was putting my heart together again. There is daily maintenance that happens in my heart so that I can operate from a place of wholeness.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

God responds when He hears his children, but sometimes it’s hard for us to delegate, walk away from or even say no to responsibilities that are so natural for us as women. There is a decision to be made that requires for us to assess our daily lives and think about how much more loving, patient and efficient we’d be if we operated from a place of wholeness. Therefore, I’d say begin to steward your time, responsibilities and work accordingly, so that wholeness can find its way into your heart and life.

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Briefly, tell us who you are and your current season.

I’m Chasity, a 30-year old communications strategist who lives in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve felt transition in my spirit for a while now, but I’m starting to realize that it is actually God calling me to step into becoming the woman that He has truly called me to be. I’m evolving, shedding old layers, and letting go of past hurts that I’ve been wearing almost as badges of honor. I’m recognizing the places of my life that I need to change in order to boldly and confidently walk into the favor that God has promised me.

What does wholeness currently look like for you? Are their self-care or spiritual practices that you use to pursue wholeness?

Currently, wholeness looks like being intentional with my time and energy. It is being in control of my thoughts and emotions and making sure to ground myself in gratitude each and every day. Before I leave the house each morning, I spend at least 45 minutes journaling, completing my morning devotional and in prayer. This week in particular, I’m listening to worship music during my commute and throughout the day to keep my spirit calm, lifted and focused. I’m drinking enough water, going for a walk outside (weather permitting) and monitoring my scrolling on social media. These are all practices of discipline, but they are important on my journey to becoming whole.

How did you get back to or maintain wholeness during a tough season?

Last summer, I lost one of my best friends in a very tragic car accident, and I had found out via email while walking across the street. I then had to break the unfortunate news to my two other best friends, who were both close to him as well. I carried a lot of weight from that moment, and for months, I found myself dealing with grief by letting emails pile up in my inbox, overthinking and projecting negative feelings onto others – including my loved ones. I’ve later come to realize that I had let the enemy into my mind – where I had begun to create and think really dark, unhealthy thoughts. I was misplacing my emotions, having a hard time concentrating, and coming off extremely cold both at work and in my personal life.

In order to start returning to wholeness, I had to surrender – which, for a control freak like me, is sometimes very hard. I started going back to therapy to talk about what I was experiencing. I had to STOP the constant wrestling with doubt, stress, worry, fear and anxiety by myself, ACCEPT that I was not broken and that God loves and forgives me in spite of all of my mess, and start really TRUSTING HIM to restore joy, comfort and healing, because I know that He makes no mistakes. It is coming up on a year since his passing, and I miss my friend each and every day, but I find myself thinking of good times that we shared – the laughter, light and unapologetic joy that he embodied every time I was in his presence.

I still have moments where I catch myself overthinking or creating false stories in my head, but when that happens, I’m becoming more mindful of shifting my thinking and asking God to bring peace to my thoughts so that I can keep moving forward with my day.

What advice would you give women who desire to fight for wholeness but are overwhelmed by the demands from personal and professional responsibilities, or the expectations of others?

Wholeness is achievable, but you must be intentional about attaining it. For me, it has been critical to have time with God before I leave the house every morning. If I’m feeling depleted or exhausted, I won’t be able to do my job fully and correctly. In Colossians 3:23, we’re reminded to “work willingly at whatever we do, as though we are working for the Lord rather than people.” Yes, I do have responsibilities as an employee to my employer, but I also have a responsibility to show up for God and for myself.

Ultimately, that will require you to say no to some people, places, and things in order to make room for the things that matter. You aren’t going to make everyone happy with your decisions all of the time, but you have to do what makes YOU happy, what will make you the most fulfilled and what will bring you closer to your purpose.

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