The Real Reason Mr. Right Hasn’t Shown Up Yet

Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer.” – Isaiah 54:5 

Hello, Beautiful Sister, I see you there.

You have a deep desire to be married, to create a family that honors God. 

Perhaps He has even given you a word confirming this is indeed His will for your life. You’ve been working on being the best version of you, dating as the opportunity arises and always keeping your eyes peeled for the arrival of your Mr. Right. 

So why is he taking so long? I mean, Southern sweet tea cures faster in a patch of sunshine than your future man showing up. And the way things are looking right now in your love life, that’s exactly what he’s doing: either drinking his sweet tea under a tree somewhere in Alabama … or worse, still waiting for it to cure. 

Either way, you’re getting impatient. 

Where is God in all of this? Why are you still as single as a stand-alone song on iTunes? And what are you supposed to DO now to hurry this along? 

Well, beloved woman, I can’t answer all those questions. But I sure can tell you this:

Sometimes the questions we ask will reveal the answers to us naturally, if we have the ears to ear. 

The first two questions, I truly can’t answer for you. I CAN tell you that God is here, in the midst of your singleness, and that He has an answer to the WHY that He may or may not choose to share. And that’s all I can say on that front.

But that third question … the one of the “What am I supposed to do now?” variety.

Your answer to your question is right there, plain as day. That question in and of itself IS your answer to why you, the Rebekah marked out for marriage by God Himself, are still waiting for your Isaac. Or his servant with the ten camels. (Take your pick, it all ends up the same way.)

Let’s face it: you are a goal-oriented, driven woman who sees what she wants and goes after it. If someone who seems successful says, “Jump, and you’ll get my results!” Your response is always, “How high?” I bet you’ve already hired a dating or feminine energy coach, read all the books on relationships, attended every church singles event, perfected your online dating profile until it POPS on the internal search engine and pray hard every day.

Bottom line; if you could do something … anything … to make this guy show up, you’ve probably already done it.

Which is why it’s time to stop approaching this marriage process like a man, and start approaching it like a woman. 

Yes, you heard me right.

Our culture today is sooooo sneaky. As women, we have been sold a lie that in order to be successful, we have to DO more. In the process, we get taught to behave like me: to set goals, check stuff ruthlessly off of lists, sweat hard and demand results. Which, as it turns out, are all masculine ways to get things done.

Yet this is NOT how we as women are wired to relate to God, ourselves or others. And when it comes to relationships, where our feminine energy is the REAL gift God has given us to bring to the man we’re dreaming of, we are rarely if ever showing up as soft, receptive, open space. 

Instead, we show up to the party trying to drive our agenda and get the man our way.

How can God send us a real man, when we’re so busy trying to be one? 

You see, feminine energy—the essence of our womanhood that God gave us as our “superpower—is all about being OPEN. It’s about receptivity. It’s about being able to “dance with the flow” of life and trust that God will guide our steps. NO striving, no struggle, no sweat.

And it’s actually the exact opposite of our goal-driven, “girl boss” culture. A woman who is truly in her feminine essence may not be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, no. But she has most definitely learned how to stay present in her life, exactly where she is right now, loving exactly what God sends to her and immersing herself in the full sensory experience of what is on her plate right now. 

In other words, a truly feminine woman—the kind of woman a “real man” wants to date and marry—is not in fight mode, conquer mode or competition mode. She’s busy enjoying her life, and nothing is more enticing than a beautiful woman who naturally helps a man rest from his own God-made goal orientation and relax into “the flow” in her presence.. 

Plese note, dear heart: this does not mean a feminine woman cannot be a successful visionary with dreams and plans God has given her, or a woman with “a lot going on.” But it means she accomplishes all these things by grounding into her life exactly as it is right now, not by deciding in advance what’s supposed to happen and pushing her agenda.

So, you still want to know why Mr. Right hasn’t shown up yet?

Part of it is timing. God isn’t going to bring him until the exact right moment … and you can get down on your knees and thank Him for this, because His way is best. But beyond that … God won’t bring Mr. Right into your life until you are fully surrendered to where you are right now. 

You’ve got to love your life to the fullest extent, RIGHT NOW, whether or not your man is in the picture. 

“But Lisa,” you say, as your eyes fill up with tears, “You have no idea how lonely I am. I just want to be loved, to be part of a team. Is that so much to ask?”

Oh, my beautiful friend, I know how you feel. God knows the nights I cried myself to sleep wondering if I would ever experience love—both before my marriage, during it (because it was never strong), and after it unexpectedly ended in divorce. 

As I speak the truth in love to you, I speak it from a place of deep tenderness and knowledge.

I didn’t want to hear that I needed to love my life, right now, before Mr. Right showed up. But once I dried my tears and accepted this word, my life actually began to change.

You see, Mr. Right can’t be your everything. He can’t be responsible for your emotion well-being, for cheering you up every second of the day, for taking away your loneliness, for giving you a purpose, a hope and “an expected end.” 

He’s a man. Like, a real one with flaws as well as features. And he’s going to need you to minister to him as much as he ministers to you. 

The only One who can satisfy all the needs you have is God. And since He’s all you’ve got right now … right now is the perfect opportunity to change how you approach your life, so you can (ultimately) watch God change your situation. 

A feminine woman doens’t have to fight or strive for what she wants, because she knows the Lord her Maker, the Lord of Hosts, is fighting on her behalf.

Believe me, I used to think it would be IMPOSSIBLE to love my life as a single woman. Yet, when I asked God to help me ground into what He’s given me, right now, and stop treating my love life like a mountain to be conquered, He answered me by literally SHOWERING His grace, His presence, and dynamic power, right into my situation. 

I still hope to be married, yes. God has told me this is my future and has given me many specific dreams and words about it. 

But I don’t need that man to make me happy. He will only, ever, be a complement to my happiness: the cherry on top the sundae of an already-amazing life.

Your life will be what you make it, with or without a man. So start making it extraordinary now, as-is.

And while you’re doing that, my dear friend, let Mr. Right off the hook. Let hims sip his sweet tea in Alabama, or better yet … wait for it to cure just right so he can bring you a glass to share.

He’s only a man, after all. And you’ve already got the Lord of Hosts for your husband. 

Let Him be your all, and when you do, you will see how He gives you more than you ever dreamed possible …

Maybe even the man of your dreams!

Little Paper Pieces: On the Tearing Up and Rewriting of Your Life

NOTE: The following is a featured post from 2016 which first appeared on my former creative blog, Scrappy Storyteller. I’m sharing this as a way of embracing my past creative self and sharing ideas she had that, well, still matter today. Enjoy!


Anyone who knows me well knows how much I hate the process of revision. Ideas tend to flow through me like freight trains, complete thoughts barreling down the track that is my early phases of writing. They’re coherent and prolific. This blog post itself is mostly a first draft, composed on-the-fly with a few stolen moments of time.

Generally after composing such a first draft, I walk away satisfied that I got my meaning across. This is probably the only real reason I write: not for the beauty of language itself, but to get something off my chest. 

And that is where things start to get messy.

Because the process of polishing my thoughts is never as straightforward or simple as the getting them down in the first place. I hate chaos, so there’s something inherently horrific to me about taking my neatly ordered ideas and tearing them up. Why un-make and re-make again what was decently adequate to start with—especially when it involves such violence?

To me, revision feels like a death: my beautiful first drafts get torn up into “little paper pieces” and scattered on the wind. Why can’t I just write it well the first time?

This is of course the purest form of creative impatience. Nothing on the planet (not even my words!) show up in the world fully formed. It must be shaped and fashioned, nurtured and evolved. Many sentences and paragraphs must die and rise again in new forms before the final product emerges.

That’s just not how the creative process works in real life. I think the same can be said for our inner stories as well.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Other Side of Storytelling. In this post, I explored what it now means to me to refashion my personal narrative of my own life experiences—so I can actually live with myself and move forward. Author Jean Houston has called this the process of “re-mythologizing your life.”

Just as cultures tell themselves stories to make meaning of their collective experience, so we individuals do the same. Just perhaps, more unconsciously. But as I’ve learned since I wrote the post, re-mythologizing an inner reality is much closer to the traditional process of creative revision than I imagined at the outset.

Revision is nothing more than a process of Getting Your Story Straight. To get your story straight, you must be willing to revise it, a thousand times if necessary. You must not fear the violence of ripping paper or the whine of the shredding machine. You must, in short, be willing to tear every unsatisfactory draft up into tiny paper pieces and scatter them to the wind.

Oh, the mess it makes!

Despite this mess, over the past few months, I have been blessed with so many angelic individuals coming into my life to help me “see” myself properly and retell my story at a crucial moment. Some of them are friends. Some are clients. Some occupy other capacities altogether in my heart and mind. But they all share one thing in common: 

They have, each one of them, forced me to tear up and rewrite my story—again. 

Every time I am tempted to settle for a less elegant rendition of what has happened in my life, or put up with a self-destructive turn of phrase, they pull out their red pens and call me on my bullshit. It’s editorial license of a breathtakingly destructive kind.

The funniest—and perhaps most grace-filled—part of it, is that most of these editors don’t even know they’re on the job.

They don’t know how many times I go home from being with them, feeling like my soul has been ripped up, ripped out or ripped open. They never see the tears I shed, or the long journal entries in which I force myself to reframe experiences that I have always naturally avoided, or seen in a particular, self-destructive light. Inspired by their nudges, I’ll start writing my story again, thinking this time I’ll get the final healthy version down pat. 

But it just doesn’t work that way.

There’s always another draft I need to write. And pronto.

Despite my frustration with the slowness of this process, there is hope. In my most private moments I find myself gradually being filled up with a story that (while different from the one I originally wrote) is probably far stronger. Yet in the presence of my editors, I still find myself frequently at a loss for words, or saying the wrong things, or losing my power of self-expression altogether. 

I do not have just the right turn of phrase to replace the part of my story they just redlined, or marked up with that dreaded bit of commentary: “Unclear. Rewrite!” 

Paper pieces start showering down everywhere, and no matter how fast I chase them with broom and vacuum, I can hardly keep up with the mess.

Of course, I hate the mess. And I worry that my friends and clients and others in my life will soon grow impatient with all the flotsam in my wake. Don’t they hate breathing in wood pulp? Don’t they get tired of red ink-stains on their fingers? And aren’t they going to revoke our contract when they get another horrible mid-revision draft that’s just north of complete drivel?

Then I remember, that they don’t see what’s happening in my soul. They aren’t inside my process of re-mythologizing my life. 

The paper pieces are likely invisible to everyone except me.

My mess, self-made, is also only self-seen.

So this is a thank you to all those brave souls out there who engage with me at a level I’ve never experienced before. You know who you are. You know how much you matter. 

What maybe you don’t know is just how painful (in the best of ways) your kindness is. 

I’m reminded of a quote from A Course in Miracles, which states, “Discomfort is not the final result of your perception.”

I trust wholeheartedly that this time of new perceiving of myself, and of rewriting my understanding of my life, will bear fruit in the years to come. I trust that the discomfort of my new perception, inspired by your collective kindness, will be rewarded with a great joy that I can give back to you a thousand fold. I trust that the sea of red ink you help me splash all over my internal narrative will deliver us at last a clean, fresh story that is satisfying all the way to “The End.”

I trust this, yes. 

And still , I grieve a bit every time a new draft splits into a thousand useless scraps.

Then again, maybe re-mythologizing not about getting the story “just right.” Maybe it is not about the death of the old drafts at all, but the celebration what might come in the next. And maybe—just maybe—that’s where I’ve always gone wrong with revision.

One can view the act of writing as a tearing up of the old, or as the welcoming in of something brand-new and wonderful.

Little paper pieces, I suppose, make their own kind of confetti.

What to Do When Your Creative Muse Goes AWOL

I wish my muse was better behaved. I really do. But like me, she’s a free spirit—and sometimes she takes the day off without letting me know. 

In the past, if I’m honest, she’s taken more than a day or two. Once, she even took off a whole decade. (That’s another story for another day…) But even when my Muse IS on the job, the “fits of genius” come sporadically at best. So much of the time, showing up for my art or my passion project feels like plain old work.  

What’s a creative woman to do when her deepest creative self seems to run on fumes … and she really just wants to get back in the FLOW?

First, don’t panic. 

Everyone experiences dry spells. It could even be that you are coming back to your creativity after a long dry season, or a busy season serving others, and you wonder if it’s even possible to muster up that mojo again. 

I’ve been in both scenarios, and I can say for sure that it IS indeed possible to get that mojo back. But not by trying so so so hard to make it all happen. 

I like to think about creativity like a small child, or a small animal. She only comes out when she truly feels safe. 

Rush your Muse, pressure her, or make demands—and she’ll likely run the other direction. But if you can create a relaxed, fun environment that invites her to come close without forcing it, you might be surprised how fast the ideas spring up again. 

So perhaps the best advice I can give you is to …

Relax. 

Yes, I know, woman of action: that might not come easily to you. It seems more valuable to just keep piling on the action, trying to get more done, putting yourself under and even bigger load. But the more you sweat and strive, the less far you’ll actually get. 

So put on some music that makes you feel happy. 

Take that overdue bubble bath. 

Have a glass of wine or herbal tea.

Take a hike or do some serious yoga. 

Indulge in the nap you’re craving. 

Have dinner with a friend who makes you laugh. 

Finger paint with your kids for awhile. 

Or maybe … just maybe … pull the covers over your head and try again tomorrow. 

Doing this once or twice isn’t going to change everything, either. You’re going to have to make a new habit of just … having fun. 

Because the more you allow yourself to feel pleasure and joy, the more the ideas will flow.

By releasing the “pressure valve” on your inner need to perform, you will actually create space for your muse to whisper in your ear—and actually be heard. 

All of this, though, points to something much deeper than finding the last lyric for that song or the right color for the last stroke of that painting. 

It’s about learning how to fully and deeply open up to what is happening in the present moment. 

Perhaps what your Muse needs more than anything else is simply for you to accept that feeling “blocked” is where you are right now. 

This iS what is. And it is okay. 

You don’t have to have the idea right now. It can take a little more time to make itself clear. 

Sometimes the best way to get the answer is simply to release the pressure of needing to have it. 

Because after all, your Muse has a mind of her own. Let her be who she is, and you might be surprised what she gives you in return. 

Your creativity may feel AWOL right now. But maybe it’s just around the corner, waiting for you to breathe deeply, loosen your shoulders and dance. 

In the middle of the dance, you’ll know what to do. 

 

 

From “Resolutions” to “Intentions:” Toward a More Easeful, Natural Way of Setting Goals

Writer’s Note: This is the 3rd in a 3-part series of embracing the natural, astrological or agricultural calendar that starts on the spring equinox, as a more easeful way of working for women. In Part 1, we looked at why biorhythms are so powerful, and women’s bodies natural want to follow them. In Part 2, we looked at how the natural calendar actually works throughout the year, and what it looks like to follow it. Today, we’ll look at a less-stressful way of setting “goals” for the year that incorporates a lot of potential for harmony, balance and flow.

The Spring Equinox just passed, and with it, my celebration of New Year. I’ve been running my personal life (and my business, when I was an entrepreneur) by the natural calendar for several years.

Switching from a January New Year to a March New Year is a tiny shift that has brought me so much less stress and so much more joy. I don’t feel anymore like I’m pushing my body to try to “be productive” at times it really doesn’t want to be. I ride the energy of the year up and then back down again. It’s like having the energetic wind at your back.

But as with any new year, it’s time to take stock of where things are at. So a few weeks ago, right before the new year itself, I dedicated a Friday morning–my most laid-back off day–to setting my “goals” (which I prefer to call intentions) for the new year.

I made it fun for myself by going to the beach, which is about ten minutes from my home in Dubai Marina. To get there, I have to cross this bridge. We’re having really gorgeous, balmy weather right now, and I couldn’t have been happier about how this day turned out!

Perhaps it’s worthwhile for me to stop here and talk about goals versus intentions. Goal-setting is a very masculine activity. It’s about developing fixed plans, with pre-determined destinations, which you will then strive to reach by sweat, blood and tears. Men love this. It’s what gives them their sense of accomplishment and speaks to their inner “conquering” urge that is part of their nature.

But this is not “me.” I am not a conqueror, I’m a nurturer. I’m not a striver. I’m into flow. In short, I’m a woman. And I like to chart my course like one, thank you very much.

This is where intentions come in. The idea of an intention is that it gives focus and aim to the direction I’m heading. But it’s not a fixed point. An intention allows me to let the unfolding journey guide the exact point I reach, rather than predetermining where I have to get to, exactly. Intentions allow me to love myself and discover new things through the journey of the year that will then impact my direction .

Goals own me. I own intentions. And if one of my intentions wanders into entirely new territory by the year’s end, so be it.

Last year didn’t turn out anything like I expected (mostly because, hello, I moved to Dubai on short notice!!) but I feel incredibly accomplished all the same.

One of the biggest ways we can release ourselves as women from the false guilt we carry around constantly is to let go of these hard-lined, masculine decision-making and planning structures that don’t really work for us–for our natural rhythms or our bodies.

So there I was, at the JBR Beach in Dubai Marina. I found myself a gorgeous upstairs spot at a Turkish restaurant overlooking the Arabian Gulf, where lazy brunchers were finishing off the last of their feasts, or were slouched over their shisha, scrolling their phones amid a cloud of smoke. And after I ordered by Turkish coffee, I got to writing.

For this year, I divided my life into seven areas:

  • God
  • Home
  • Ministry
  • Provision (my term for finances)
  • Love
  • Health
  • Travel

These are the major areas of my life. And then I just spent time noodling and dreaming around what this year could look like. What are things it’s been in my heart to do? What are deep, deep desires I want to partner with God to bring to pass?

I came up with things like, “Tour Dubai like a proper tourist” (which I haven’t done, almost seven months into living here). And “Get a queen-size bed for my apartment.” And “Blog every week” and “Make my yoga a consistent, daily practice that feels good.”

None of these are fixed points. They’re more about embodied ways of life. Practices I want to make a consistent, joyful way of living, rather than some fixed point I have to hit in order to feel good about myself or achieve an arbitrary goal.

I admit, along the way in this process, I might have ordered a thoroughly non-vegan, cheese-loaded veggie pide, a delicious Turkish bread dish. But oh my!!! It was so good!!And it gave me “brain food”–fuel for my work.

My idea as I worked on intentions for my seven areas is that each week, as I prepare for the week, I’ll pray over my intentions and ask God for one “next step” to take on them, or a small way to embody them in that week.

Where could I go on my day off to explore something new in Dubai? Should I allot an hour or so one day to research bed prices and options? Or troll Dubizzle (our Craig’s List) for used options? How about committing to seven days of just 15 min of sun salutations to get myself back into the groove with yoga.

These are simple steps. They aren’t rocket science and don’t require me to be a genius, climb a tall building with my bare hands, or jump off a cliff.

I’l just be weaving these activities into my daily life.

In the end, this is what I created after I journaled out all my ideas. The intentions on my wheel are super open-ended, but they represent specific paths I want to run down. I put my wheel where I can see it every day, and as I said, every week, I’ll be praying over how to manifest those intentions in that week. And the same for every month, planning for the month ahead.

I’m so excited about this new year. God has done exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think here in Dubai. I know He has good things around the corner. And it’s up to me to dream big and follow Him.

I can do this best when I create intentions that partner with His heart, as I feel the beat of it now, but don’t dictate outcomes.

With intentions, there’s still room for creativity, joy and discovery on your path throughout the year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Embracing Traditional Femininity in an Alpha Female World

I’m surprised how frequently people refer to me as an “alpha female,” or try to lump me in that category.

Usually, I think it’s meant as a compliment–a recognition that I have leadership qualities and am not afraid to step into roles of authority.

I try to receive the compliment for its intention. But really, as a woman who has invested so much time reconnecting with her innate feminine energy and living within it, the broader meaning of the term bothers me.

Like, a lot.

As I understand it, the term “alpha female” connotes a woman who recognizes and cultivates her power and leadership potential. When it comes to their femininity, alpha woman make all of their choices of how to present their femininity (consciously or subconsciously) based on which self-presentation will extend their power.

In one sense, this is true of me, and I do appreciate the recognition. I believe that femininity is a tremendous form of power God intended women to have, and these days, I like to flaunt my femininity.

But if we’re being honest, I don’t think that’s what many of the women I know mean by “alpha female.”

My observation has been that many gifted, go-getting, big-dreaming women I have known (including myself at times) spend considerable amounts of time de-feminizing ourselves, even in subtle ways, in order to gain more power. A choice which suggests we subconsciously don’t believe femininity is powerful at all.

‘Alpha Female’ is often used as a rationale to excuse competitive, hard-driving, deadline-driven behavior that encourages us as women to stuff down emotions, employ “commanding” male behaviors and even dress like men in the workplace. It may not always be used this way, but in my experience it often is. And when ‘alpha female’ is code for “being feminine is no way to gain respect” …. then no, I’m not on board with it at all.

Especially when it is used as an excuse for a woman to take on the masculine role in the home, for a husband she perceives as “too weak” to do his job … then I’m most definitely, most inexorably not on board. Because as I learned through my own marriage mistakes and my divorce, no wounded marriage will ever heal while one spouse is trying to do the other’s job.

Do I sound like a throw-back from a 1950s edition of Good Housekeeping, or some Victorian magazine like Harper’s Bazaar, with flowery language and sentimental sketches?

Perhaps.

The “me” of ten years ago would have definitely thought so.

Back then, I was an alpha woman according to both definitions above, although perhaps never brazen enough to let her full inner hard-driving “man” come out. I kept an exhausting schedule, did 1000% more than necessary at work, wore cuff links and pantsuits and most definitely made every decision from my analytic mind.

Ten years later, I still believe in women’s achievement. I still believe in attaining high positions and making a huge public impact on the world. And I still believe that women are great strategists. But I don’t believe in doing any of this at the expense of my primal, innate feminine self. Because that’s exactly the place I was operating from back then.

Though I wouldn’t have said it out loud, ten years ago I believed deep down that being feminine was part of women’s problem, and that the only way to get past the inferiority I felt and saw among my kind was to behave like “the oppressor” … ie: men.

Today, I’ve come to understand that no one can cage you or subjugate you in your own soul … except you. Slavery begins in the mind. It is an accepted state that is perpetuated in the body when people believe they can’t have anything else.

My femininity will not be subjugated to the slavery of women’s subconscious belief that they cannot have what they want, on their terms, and receive it in a deeply FLOWing, natural, connective and feminine way.

But I could only come to this conclusion once I recognized how my femininity had been wounded–both by un-conscious men acting out their ancestors’ behavior and perpetuating generations of pain toward women, and by women who had decided that the way God intended us to be (nurturing, natural, loving, soft, beautiful, tender, community-oriented, sensual, kind, gentle) was the reason for men’s bad behavior, not the solution.

For years, I didn’t “feel like a woman.” I didn’t “do makeup” or get dressed up in feminine clothes. And whenever I went to a gathering of women at my church or in the community, I felt like an awkward interloper to all that feminine energy I could feel in the room. And didn’t quite know why.

I wore newsboy caps and corduroy jackets. I bought lace-up shoes. If you had looked at me on the street, you might have categorized me as a “lesbian” by some cultural stereotype–which might be someone else’s choice of identity, yes, but certainly wasn’t mine.

Really, deep inside, I was just a very wounded woman at odds with everything that womanhood represents traditionally … because I felt that womanhood itself was the reason my mother and many other women in my life had struggled at the hands of men.

Today, I embrace that struggling, hurting woman I was, and I am so grateful to have been liberated into the realization that when I embrace who God made me to be, He will naturally open doors for me to thrive and rise … without me needing to “get my alpha on.”

I still love to achieve. I still desire to hold positions of power and influence. I still have goals, and I know how to reach them. This is part of the reason people might casually (and accidentally) label me an “alpha female.”

But the difference is: today, I am much closer (more often, at least l!) to relaxing joyfully into the woman God made me to be, and trusting Him to naturally open doors so I can receive my advancement … without the fundamental orientation toward sweat, striving and struggle that defines a masculine (not feminine) way of being.

Since I let go of struggle, and let go of my need to strategize for power, things have been so much different. And better. I still have struggle days, but the struggle is not so much within me.

I’ve been free to embrace long dresses, big earrings and makeup–whether or not they “command respect” in my workplace. I dance when I feel like, love small animals and small babies, and freely indulge my enjoyment of pampering and self-care. I’ve become more connected and community-oriented, even in how I support my coworkers. I revel in being beautiful and sharing that beauty with others, both men and women.

I still have power and am called to leadership–but I see them as a compliment to, not a competition for, my role and identity as a feminine woman.

Ten years ago, I would have never believed I could be that woman. Mostly because I believe that it wasn’t safe to be her.

For me personally, that’s the fundamental concern I have with so much “alpha female” behavior: that it might be coming from a place of fear.

An orientation toward power may feel like strength–but is it possible that the people most obsessed with power might be the ones who secretly believe they can’t really have it?

It’s easier sometimes to identify with the struggle than to simply think, speak and behave as if you deserve what you want, exactly as you are.

I am a woman. God imbued me with unique powers in my feminine essence and energy. Any power or influence I require in the world, He will handle. Doors open now without me pushing them. People hand me what I need or desire without sweat or striving … because God does it for me.

Though I may stand on the fundamental right of the “alpha woman”–the right to power–I do so in a feminine way. And I’m committed to doing so in a way that allows men to lead, as well, in the ways God has destined them to.

Please don’t call me an alpha. Call me a woman. Honor my femininity.

Anything less is a denial of my true strength–and yours, as well

Find an easier, more sustainable, more feminine productivity groove by switching to the natural calendar

Writer’s note: This post is the second in a series of posts exploring the natural calendar as a more easeful planing tool for women. Last week in the first installment, we looked at why biorhythms are a powerful, more harmonious way for women to get things done in tune with their bodies.

Happy New Year …. in March! We’re two days away from the Spring Equinox, which is also known as the astrological new year.

If that term “astrological” freaks you out and makes you think of fortun tellers and crystal balls, then think of it as the beginning of the “agricultural year”–the start of the planting, nurturing, harvesting, resting cycle that farmers have used since the dawn of time.

I adopted this calendar about two years ago, and it’s been one of the best changes I ever made. When I ran my own business I ran by this calendar. Now that I am working in someone else’s business again for a season, I of course have to run by the western calendar at work. But in terms of my own goal-setting and productivity at home, this is my new year.

Why would I adopt a calendar that feels so “radical” compared to how the whole rest of our whole world is set up?

It’s simple. Because the natural calendar honors my God-given feminine body, feminine way of knowing and feminine wisdom.

We’ll talk about feminine energy more another day … but for now, suffice to say that feminine energy is earthy, it is in-the-moment and it is tied to the body. This is why I believe Satan attacks so many women with sexual trauma, body shame issues and even physical assault–because the more disconnected we become from our bodies, the harder it is for us to live in the glorious natural rhythms and full internal power that is our birthright as women.

Because women are more “earthy” in our orientation and more intuitive about what’s going on around them (versus men who are more stuck in their heads …. sorry, guys!), our bodies natural pick up on the energy cycles of the universe.

Our monthly menstrual cycle is just one example; if healthy, it roughly mimics the lunar cycle. Many women I know also “just know” that something is happening even before they get confirmation–and they’re often right.

For this reason, we’re super attuned to the energy cycles of the season. And yes, the seasons do have them. Energy begins to cycle upward again at the winter solstice, but it’s really not until spring that we can ride that energy planting the seeds of something new. In the northern hemisphere, days get longer, people are outside doing more, and general life runs at a higher pace, with this pace climbing all the way through the summer solstice. Then it begins to fall again. By the autumnal equinox, we’re harvesting what we planted back in spring, and then by the winter solstice our bodies are demanding slumber during the coldest, darkest days of the year.

Come Spring Equinox, the cycle starts all over again.

The general idea here is to treat your schedule–your home improvement projects, your business, your vacations, your goals for your children, etc.–like a field you’re planting. Drop the seeds into the soil and water well in spring. Cultivate during summer. Begin to harvest the fruit of what you’ve sown in the fall and REST REST REST during the winter.

Your body already craves this. Think about how much more energy you have when it’s light later outside, and how hard it is to get out of bed at 5 AM when it’s snowing outside and dark until 8 AM.

Even here in the Arabian Desert where I live, I feel my energy spiking up HIGH now that it’s still light when I’m leaving work at 7 PM … even though the temperature has been moderate and every day has been sunny, all winter long.

So based on this cycle, it’s actually New Year coming up on the 21st of March. This, for me, is the time to commence new things, to create resolutions (which I prefer to call “intentions”–will share more about that next week), and to general increase my activity level around fresh goals.

And I absolutely love it. I ride the energy wave through the summer, begin to round things up in the fall and then have permission to take a breather in the winter when my body actually demands it.

And that’s the key: when my body actually demands it.

So much of modern life is a denial of our bodies, a denial of our natural way of working and our intuition. You might say that modern life in general is an assault on women’s ways of knowing.

Masculine energy is very much aligned toward the four-quarter business system on our traditional calendar that starts in January. Masculine energy “pushes through” no matter what the season. Masculine energy makes decisions from head, not body, and is, in general, oblivious to what is going on in the cycles and seasons of the universe.

This was not always the case. In the past, both masculine and feminine wisdom were necessary for everyone to survive, in a sense. Not so anymore.

But to live on the masculine calendar is, for me as a woman, to frustrate and grieve myself unnecessarily with work patterns that aren’t a fit for me. It leads to so much self-loathing, unhappiness and exhaustion.

In releasing that, I have found so much joy.

So what does it actually look like when I set intentions at the Spring Equinox and then begin to implement them? I’m glad you asked. We’ll tackle that next week.

* * *

Have you as a woman ever used the natural cycle or agricultural calendar to run your year? What did you find by embracing this ancient way of working?

As The Moon Goes: Biorhythms in Creativity

Writer’s Note: This post is one of many I’m sharing from a blog I wrote several years ago called The Scrappy Storyteller. Though the blog is no longer live, I’m sharing select posts here, as a part of my quest to reconnect with and celebrate past iterations of my creative self. This post is also the 1st of 3 to explore natural planning and cycles in advance of the astrological New Year on March 21st.

Maybe in the rush of modern life, we’ve lost some vital knowledge about how to order our lives for maximum peace and productivity. It’s time to find our natural rhythm again.

Last week I wrote about the creative power of resting from our labors once in awhile.

Creative hibernation is a practice I plan to make every winter from here on out.

Hibernation, after all, is part of a kind of yearly cycle, and one toward which most of us have long lost our sensitivity. The modern pace of life (not to mention 24/7 luminescence through electric lighting) encourage us not to listen to our bodies or the natural cycles our ancestors followed for thousands of years.

Another of these prominent cycles is the lunar cycle.

It hit me recently that natural rhythms, especially the rhythm of the waxing/waning moon, probably have a lot of insight to share with us about how we work most effectively. Yet I’ve never heard anyone speak about this rhythm (or any rhythm, in fact) in terms of creative production. And I know very few people that actually plan their lives around them.

That’s about to change.

Recently I started researching the lunar calendar, specifically for how I can use it as a planning tool to bring my business and my art in harmony with them. Upon reflection, I have come to that believe these rhythms were set up by God for us to follow, for our own benefit. We learn so much else from nature. Why not this?

One of my early finds for taking this step was this lovely Moon Calendar for Entrepreneurs by Pink Elephant Academy:

This year, I started to plan my business activities (and now my art too) using this calendar. Then I made my own (as you can see above).

I’ve already noticed a difference.

Instead of running around willy-nilly, I plan at the time of the new moon and then unfold those plans day by day, ordering my activities by how “old”the moon is, which is roughly in harmony with the chart above. Some believe this practice has an astrological or magical power; I merely think it’s a smart way to live in greater harmony with God’s creative plan.

I have also found that my energy levels wax and wane in very similar fashion to the way they’re described on the guide above. This has helped me understand myself more and not get frustrated when my energy is ebbing.

For example, the New Moon was January 9/10, so I set rested and set my intentions around that time. This past week during the Waxing Crescent, I executed the plan: a robust series of actions that “launched”those intentions into their first stage.

Once the Full Moon hits, it will be time to tie up loose ends, wrap up projects and “reap the harvest” of what was planted, until planning and executing starts again.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this new kind of scheduling is that it gives order to my month. (Kind of the point of having a rhythm anyway, right?) Instead of frenetically executing with little planning, I have a planned series of ups and downs, activities and rest.

It feels far less like pulling teeth. And a lot more, well, natural.

I suppose that’s why they call it “natural.”

The one challenge I have found is that my clients and friends don’t follow this cycle, so getting work scheduled during the right time of month is challenging. In the future I’ll probably stipulate that certain kinds of work happen at certain times, for best results, as part of the initial contract terms with new clients.

We’re not there yet, of course . . . but this is baby steps. Right?

By now you may be thinking I’ve gone totally off the “deep end.” But lest you think I am totally alone in this, I have heard more discussion rising recently around biodynamics and biorhythms. These rhythms and dynamics might involve something like the lunar cycle, which I’m currently using. They might involve something more personal: tracking one’s individual, unique physical, emotional and intellectual cycles over the passage of time.

Imagine knowing yourself at a much deeper level—being able to plan activities and gauge your own capacity for performance by wherever you are in your own established cycle!

Maybe we’d all have smarter expectations of ourselves.

Maybe we’d all be a little bit kinder to ourselves.

Maybe even a bit more successful.

As one writer notes:

“Much has been said recently about the importance of women’s leadership at this time and that the leaders of the future (whether male or female) will embody what we think of as “feminine” qualities.  In my view, a powerful fast track to embodying feminine leadership is working consciously with the rhythms of the moon.”
Liz Rivers

While I’m not yet convinced this is some kind of “fast track,” I am observing through my own experience that there is something to be said for the peace and progress it brings.

I’m excited to see where this new exploration takes me in the lunar cycles ahead.

In fact, I’m over the moon about it.

*  *  *

How about you?  Have you tried biorhythms or biodynamics
as a planning method for your life or creative work?
If so, what has been your experience?

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Expressing my spiritual journey through cut, color and length

I’m in a struggle with my hair right now. The kind of struggle only a prophet goes through, I suppose, as she’s figuring out how to walk out her spiritual journey in her dress and hair choices.

I do believe as a daughter of God, I’m supposed to be distinctive. He loves me, He has chosen me out for a special purpose, and I ought to light up every room I walk into with His grace, joy and yes, even beauty.

In the past, when I was mired in the worst of my trauma and pain, I wanted to hide in the corner and not be noticed. And I dressed to make sure that happened. Deep inside I wanted to stand out and light up the room, but I was terrified of the power of God inside of me, and of my own radiance. It took a few years of sorting through that to really heal those fears, but I’m happy to say that I have. Now, I want to stand up and stand out—and I’m becoming bolder in my fashion choices.

But there’s the matter of my hair.

Current hair, after several months of growth

As some of you may know, in July of 2017, God told me that “Everything you want will come out of Nothing.” This began a systematic season of shedding and loss in my like that took me down to a suitcase and led me to wander the world as a vagabond for awhile. (You can read about it here.) In the process I kept letting more and more and more things go from my life, until basically only one thing remained: my hair and hairstyle I’d had for several years.

Back in April 2018, God told me to let my hair go, too, as a final symbol of letting go fully of my old life and identity. So I did, in the middle of a Nebraska snowstorm, no less, which I have detailed elsewhere on this blog if you want to read the story. I kept it shaved the entire summer. And then, once I had arrived in Dubai and gotten my job, I felt like He was saying to grow my hair out again—mostly because the season of “Nothing” was over and the season of “Everything” was now at hand.

You might say that hair, for me, has always been a barometer of where I was at in my life. Years ago I wore a cut that looked more like a boy’s, because secretly I had serious issues with being feminine. Subconsciously, I wanted to be a boy, so I wore hair like a boy’s and clothes and hats, too, that were inspired by men’s fashion.

The boy years ….

In more recent years since my divorce and the first time the Holy Spirit spoke to me in 2016, I’ve been on a journey to re-embrace my feminine identity and really own who I am as a woman. And part of that journey is making peace with my hair.

Did I mention I hate my hair? It’s plentiful but very fine, meaning it has no volume, none of the beautiful fullness and thickness other women’s hair has. So yeah, it pretty much just “lays there” when I grow it out. It’s also super oily—which means I do a lot of washing of it.

At one point I bleached it and dyed it purple. And while this wasn’t ideal for my hair’s health, it did help with the grease problem …

Wow, that really was purple!

Keeping that frustrating part of my body shaved off entirely was pretty much a dream come true for me. I loved my buzz cut, and by all accounts from the compliments I got, it loved me back. But this is a new season. This is not the season of Nothing. It’s the season of Everything according God—and having a shaved head, I suppose is not a symbol of Everything. Having really long hair is.

So, as of November I began growing my hair out. It’s entering that awkward stage now, from which it will not emerge for, like, maybe years?

Part of me has an urge every day to run to the nearest beauty parlor and ask them to shave it off again, because I don’t have my electric razor anymore!

But I’m not sure that’s what I’m supposed to do.

The big shave, April 2018

Hair, clothing and makeup are all symbols of how we see ourselves and who we think we are. What is my hair supposed to say about myself in this new season of abundance?

I’m not entirely sure, but one thing I do know …. it’s not my decision to make entirely. I am God’s mouthpiece, and therefore everything about me belongs to Him. He’s the one who gets to decide what I look like and how I present myself to the world.

I do know that I’m supposed to embrace an even more radical Bohemian style of dress. And it is true that most Bohemian fashion is traditionally associated with long flowing hair: something I haven’t had since I was like 13 years old.

I was a bald beauty on my first day in the UAE!

Funny about that—when I think back to my childhood ideal, I wanted to have really long, flowing hair “down to my butt,” as my mom always said. As a very young girl, I embraced the deep, archetypally feminine persona as my destiny. But I lost that mojo later when my femininity was attacked, through traumas I experienced as a young woman.

Cutting my hair short was the beginning of my de-association with the feminine—a rift it took me another 20 years to begin healing. Not that every woman needs to express her femininity with long hair. I’m not saying that. But I do believe our childhood desires are a key to who we really are. And for me, long hair had been an ideal I wanted to reach.

So am I really sure what I’m supposed to do with my hair now? Not entirely.

But I have an uncomfortable suspicion I’ll be growing it out.

There’s always an electric razor if I get fed up …

Dreams Are Overrated but Who Admits It?

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Dreams. We all have them. Desires and plans and goals. But for as many dreams as we can create for ourselves, it’s funny how rarely reality matches them. Or maybe I’m the only woman on the planet who feels that way?

If I had my dream right now, I would be the supportive wife of a godly Christian husband, probably working in ministry somewhere an raising 3.25 joyful children (because statisticians seem to enjoy splitting that last one about as much as Solomon would). I would be a published author by now and a veteran of the speaking circuit, signing books while I nurse my babies and sign three new contracts a week in my private creative consulting agency.

If I had my way over the situation, I would not be living out of a suitcase and traveling house to house in glitzy Dubai, trolling job boards daily and trotting off to Oman each month to renew my tourist visa while I wait for a job to open.

But that is my current reality. And it’s also the adventure I’m chronicling on this blog.

But that’s where a little perspective shift can go a long way toward fixing our dream-induced malaise.

Because what if the dreams we’re so hyped up about now are actually getting in the way of the ones God wants to give us?

Whenever I get stuck on how much I still don’t have, I find myself in need of a serious perspective shift. If we’re being technical, I am actually not really without a home, a job, possessions or a country. It’s just that what I DO have is not exactly visible to the naked eye. Mostly because everything I have comes from God.

God is my secure and certain dwelling. Serving Him is my Number One Job. Knowing Him is my most important treasure. And He says I belong to His country, which is (according to Hebrews 11) not of this world. But it took me a long time, and the loss of everything I had, to realize these comforting facts.

It also required me prying both of my tight little fists off the dreams I had for my life.

Think about it: how often are our dreams based on an infinitesimal understand of the possible realities God could bring about?

We have barely scratched the surface on who we are, what makes us “tick,” and what it would take for us to feel truly fulfilled in our purpose. Yet we cling to the belief that we know the answers to these questions. As a result, we often resist what God wants to bring into our lives because deep inside we do not believe He could possibly know us better than we know ourselves.

Do I still hope for the husband, the children (hopefully all in one piece, thank you), the home, and the sense of deep belonging in a Christian family unit? Absolutely.

But am I also constantly amazed how God knows me so much better than I could know myself? Am I shocked almost daily at the surprises He has planned for me that I could never have known to even want?

Absolutely.

This is why the concept of getting clear on our desires and goals—while valuable—isn’t really a fool-proof guide to our purpose.

I don’t want my dreams anymore if they keep me from receiving the amazing plans God has for me. And remaining in that place of surrender is the safest and fastest way I know to see miracles come about.

I’ll take miracles over my pre-planned ideas, thank you very much. My desires may be predictable, but God is always full of surprises.

There’s no greater dream than to receive exactly what He has planned.

That’s why, right before I went to Dubai, I started praying the Surrender Prayer of Betty Scott Stam for the first time in many years.

I’ll warn you, this powerful prayer can be a dangerous one. After all, if you tell God you’ll give up all your own desires and hopes … He just might take you up on it!

There are several different versions of this prayer floating around on the internet. I borrowed mine from this fellow blogger.

The prayer goes like this:

“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Your will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to You to be Yours forever. Fill me and seal me with Your Holy Spirit. Use me as You want, send me where You want, work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

You see what I mean about how dangerous that is? But Jesus DID say that in order to find our lives, we must lose them. Recognizing that your own desires may be given by God—but might also be a stumblingblock to receiving our greatest joy and purpose—is the most effective way I know to let go of them.

Dreams are great. Plans are useful. But only God can bring the Impossible to life, in us and for us.

What more beautiful dream could there be, than seeing that?