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Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to Overcome Hardships

We all struggle. In essence, our tribulations mold our character. Each one teaches us something beneficial to our life. My trials have taught me to be kind, compassionate, understanding, and helped me to develop strength and patience. They have also helped me to build a better relationship with God.

1.      Whenever I’m going through a hardship, I ask myself this question. What is the purpose of this trial? What is it teaching me?
Once I develop the mind-set that my situation, even though it’s difficult, has a purpose I’m more accepting of it. In order to learn the lesson, so to speak, my mind and heart must be open to it. This is difficult and usually takes me some time to be accepting of it. This also enables me to grow during the process.

2.      Ask God to help me, and trust that He will.
God uses trials to mold us into a stronger vessel for Him. If we give up, as soon as our situation gets hard then we will never be able to grow. If we persevere, however, and chose to endure the hardship with praise and glory for our Lord, He will help us overcome it. I ask Him to help me to overcome so that I may use my experience to help someone else.

3.      Understand that the situation and feelings will not last forever.
This one is so important for me. My mind always tries to rush to the worst case scenario. But if I stop, and really think about my situation, it’s never as bad as it seems. As soon as possible, we need to silence the negative voice in our head.

4.      Praise my God through the storms.
Anytime we can shift our mind-set from a victim to an overcomer, we are able to overcome the hardship. Writing in a gratitude journal helps me to see my situation with a new perspective. If we focus on our problems then we will have more problems, but if we shift our focal point on all the things we have to be grateful for, then we have more gratitude.

5.      Develop a plan.
Through prayer, meditation, and reading our Bible God guides us. It’s so important for us to seek His guidance in all things. And then follow through. If we ignore His instructions and stay in our thoughts and ways, then we will never be able to overcome our hardships.

Everyday there is something for me to overcome; physical pain, fear, negative thoughts, or restrictive beliefs.  It is so important for us to love ourselves through each day, and especially the difficult moments. In order to do this, we need to restrict the negativity in our lives, and welcome more joy. The Bible tells us to seek peace and pursue it.

Psalms 34:14 KJV
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

When I truly desire the peace of my Lord, and pursue it, the things of the world are not as overwhelming. Right now, I’m making changes to my blog, website, and social media accounts. It is fearful. The different options are staggering. It is easy for me to become overwhelmed, and not know which direction to go. But when I put my trust in the Lord, He will guide me with all things. And He will help you, too.

If you would like to read more about how I overcome my circumstances, check out my book: Despite Your Circumstances. If you would like an autographed copy, send me an email: I'll even include a special bonus. It is my desire to help you. 

May God bless you,
Candida Sullivan

P.S. You might also like my blog The 4 Step Process to Overcoming Our Trials.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Free e-book Today Only

Every Saturday I give away a free e-book and today (October 17, 2015) the free e-book is Зиппи и Полоски Храбрости.
Зиппи и Полоски Храбрости - это история о том, как малыш Зиппи научился принимать себя таким, как есть. Эта книга учит детей с уважением воспринимать различия друг друга и относиться к окружающим так, как они хотели бы, чтобы относились к ним.

Click here to get the free e-book. Or you can go to your amazon page and type in the title and search for the free kindle version. For anyone wondering, this is the Russian version of Zippy and the Stripes of Courage. Hope you enjoy! And don't forget to share the link with your family and friends. 

May God bless you!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Outcast: How to Embrace Your Life and Your Dreams

We all feel left out at times. This illustration from Zippy and the Stripes of Courage resonates those feelings perfectly.

Somewhere along the way, we have been taught that we need to be like others and do things as they do them to be happy, accepted, loved, and successful. That statement, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Happiness, acceptance, love, and success all come from within. When we follow our heart and do the things which feed our soul, then we are able to achieve the greatest level of all of them. We need to remember that no one else has ever finished our purpose. That is why we are alive today. The world needs our gift.  

When I first started writing, I joined tons of online groups. People from all levels of experience and ambitions told me how to write a book. Instead of just giving suggestions, they specifically stated the dos and don’ts of writing. And they didn’t leave any room for creativity or big dreams.

Every post was so discouraging and negative. After awhile of hearing the negativity, I became very discouraged. The voices, of what I considered to be the experts, aligned with my inner critic and overwhelmed me. The words of my heart no longer had a voice because they were silenced beneath my self-doubts.

And I was miserable.

God doesn’t want me to take my gift and mimic someone else. He gave it to me to nurture and grow. Once I decided to write from my heart, wonderful things happened. People would approach me in the grocery store, send me emails, and tell me how my blogs or books had helped them. Through similar experiences we bonded and shared a connection. That’s what writing is for me—a connection with someone else.

It saddens my heart now, but I allowed others to delay my journey. Once my blog and books were doing well, the negativity poured in, too. People criticized my writing and I listened. The frequency of my blogs changed, until I nearly stopped.

Why did you start writing? Why do you want to write?

When I asked my heart these questions, my answer was the same as it has always been. I want to help others, give them hope, and perhaps a little glimpse of my God. I know what’s it like to feel hopeless and overwhelmed, and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. As they sink into the horrible hole of depression and feel there is no way, I want to challenge their perspective and encourage them of a better day. And if I can only help one person, I want to help that one person with my whole heart. 

So I wrote myself a note of encouragement:

Don’t spend so much time listening to the negativity of the world. Tune into God’s word. Listen for His voice and instructions. Embrace His words of encouragement. Open the Bible and allow God to restore your soul. And when you feel inspired, use what you have learned to inspire others. You and God can do great things.

Whatever it is that you want to do, do it. Don't let anyone or anything steal your dreams. 

May God bless you,


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stop the Excuses: How to Get Back on Track

All it takes is one bad thought and one wrong decision to get me completely off track.

The last few weeks have been difficult. My son fell and broke his ankle and had to have surgery. It’s been so incredibly hard for me to watch him endure pain and the types of struggles I encounter on a daily basis. Suddenly, he has had to modify everything about his day. Going from being totally independent to needing help has been hard on us both. 

The heartache of watching his suffering and worry about surgery was more difficult than my own pain. My sleep was interrupted and my thoughts were a kaleidoscope of emotions. Due to his needs and modifications in our schedule, I skipped my workouts. The numerous appointments caused us to eat out more often and for me to become sick. And then everything about my day became more challenging.  

While I tried to be completely positive about the situation, my mindset still struggled because every once in a while a negative thought popped into my head and I didn’t immediately dismiss it. To make matters worse, I had interviews and events scheduled. My body felt drained; emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

I was using all of my resources and not refueling. All of my energy was used to help others. I tried to encourage and comfort my son. Then I had events, interviews, and emails to answer that took the rest of my energy. At the end of the day, I felt overwhelmed.

While I still prayed, I didn’t spend enough time with God. What I needed was time alone with Him. When I walk or run, we talk. When I start my day reading His word and praying, He restores my soul. When I seek Him with my whole heart, He strengthens and comforts me.

But when I spend more time focusing on my problems and the negativity of the world, every part of my life suffers. The enemy lures me away from my God with bad thoughts. The devil is such a liar, and plays on my weaknesses. All he has to do is get me to take my eyes off of God. Then depression and hopelessness creep in. And I don’t even realize it is happening until I am completely off track.

My God, however, is always watching out for me. He uses people and positive thoughts to encourage me, and help me establish a new plan or get back on track with my former one. I even went back and read several chapters from my book, Despite Your Circumstances.

We all need strength and encouragement from each other, and I want to share with you a few of the things that help me.  
·        Before I open social media every morning and allow it to affect me, I need to be armed with the word of my Lord. So when my alarm sounds, I am learning to get up. Right then. No snoozing or whining (this is hard). Raise my arms in the air, smile, and do my victory pose for the day. (I learned this from Natalie Morales of the Today Show.)
·        Then I start my day, with a prayer of thanksgiving for my life and then pray for guidance. I have no idea what my day might hold, but I know I need my Lord to help me make the most of it.
·        After I have talked to my Lord, I open His word and allow it to speak to me. His word is what encourages me, strengthens me, comforts me, and restores my soul. The word of God fills me with hope, love, grace, and peace. It makes me want to be a better person and serve others.
·        Then without excuses, I plan my day and decide what needs to be done that day. I put it on my to-do list and try my best to complete it. During my day, I welcome things and people who lift me up and try to avoid people and things that bring me down. Social media is tricky and I am using it with caution.
·        At night, I end my day with prayer and God’s word. Before I go to sleep I want to have my mind and heart centered on God. And offer gratitude for my day.

And I have to tell you, these things make a tremendous difference in my life. My focus has shifted from feeling totally overwhelmed to feeling encouraged and hopeful. Every day I want to be the best version of me.

Do you have some other tips that would be helpful? I’m always looking for new ways to better my life.

God's blessings, 

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra