Category Archives: anxiety

Homesick girl

 
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When you have moved thousand miles away from home you are excited. It’s an adventure. You are a little scared, yet you do it. You packed your bags and made this quantum leap into the future.

Now it is a reality.
You faced a totally new environment, new experiences, and new faces. You have people around you, yet you don’t know how to connect. You feel lonely and sometimes scared.
You see happy FaceBook and Instagram posts from everyone else. You do the same… You are trying to keep the appearances and you have no one to share your true feelings with. Yet too often you feel empty and alone, sad, scared and angry. The closest people in your life don’t get you. You don’t share this turmoil of emotions with people you left behind in fear of hearing “we told you so!” You continue to hide and the sadness wells up inside of you, taking over.
You ask the enevitable, “What’s wrong with me?” You want to snap out of these feelings of loneliness, sadness, and helplessness. You hate the feeling. You are used to be powerful and in control. You want to scream, and you want to cry. What is going on?

You are ok. You are going through inevitable emotions of a girl away from home. You will be fine. Feeling homesick will subside. It’s temporary.

You will thrive.
You will find more than just coping mechanisms.
You will rediscover yourself.
You will create beautiful friendships.
You will feel vibrant and alive in this new place.

Sometimes you just need some encouragement. Other times you need to read a book that will connect you with your inner strength. You may need a coach or a mentor to guide you through it. Whatever you choose, do something that will reconnect you with your strength, reconnect you with the power of God in you.

You have it. Only a gutsy woman would do what you did. 

You will thrive!

Much love on your journey.

💖Lena

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STRESS-FREE HOLIDAYS

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A splendid California day in Malibu, with it’s bright December sunshine was a wonderful winter treat. Beautiful sunny day, blue skies and shimmering ocean—ahhh.

After going to church my girlfriend and I chose to spend this day at the beach, doing nothing “important”.  It was time to catch up after not seeing each other for months. We  both have been extremely busy lately, as it usually happens around the holidays.

It was time to cancel shopping and running errands. It was time to talk “soul to soul” instead. It was time to slow down and spend time connecting, not consuming.

With children all grown-up, and us making our own schedules we can easily go for a stroll on a beach and drink hot tea on a porch overlooking the ocean— uninterrupted. It felt so good to give ourselves permission to just be, not running errands and daily adding to stress. We talked about what we both have been up to, our families, friends. We talked about stress that usually is a “normal” condition for most of us during this time of the year. We became conditioned to be superwomen, run multiple errands, attend and host endless parties and buy “perfect” gifts. It is all good if it brings us joy, but we have a tendency to overlook importance of slowing down and “recharging”, with a book, a good movie, or by spending time with a friend without going shopping together and multitasking. Many of my girlfriends slow down in December only if they get sick…

At times we have to be reminded to slow down, spend some quiet time in prayer and meditation, nurture our bodies and our most important relationships: with our Creator and loved ones.
Some women spend days and weeks planning and trying to throw “perfect” parties, especially during this season of festivities. I think it is a true gift—to be able to pull together a great gathering and enjoy all aspects of the proses. I am not writing about those, who breeze through holiday preparations with ease and grace. Not that many women do. Majority are trying to prepare for the holidays while juggling careers, kids and running regular household tasks.
Often the idea is great—it will be so nice to get together with friends and family. But somehow, regardless of initial good intentions of having a great time with friends, many ladies exhaust themselves in preparation, while making sure guests have a wonderful time. Occasionally they even force their family members out of their comfort zones in order to impress others, sacrificing peace and joy at home to please guests. Hospitality is important, spreading good cheer and happiness are important, but we need to ask ourselves: what are the true reasons for all our actions, especially in holiday preparations? Do we try to buy gifts, attend events and host people at our homes to enjoy each other’s company and please God, or do we try to fill up our need to be loved by pleasing people we barely know? Do we ever switch from doing things to bring joy to those around us, to doing to much and becoming overwhelmed?
What are our true priorities and motives? Is it God, our families and “other people”- in that order? We can enjoy the holidays to the fullest when we focus on joy, not our todo lists. Planing and writing down what needs to be done helps to give us a sense of control. Writing down on our lists why we are doing all those things and how we want to feel in a process is a good reminder of why we are scheduling all these activities. In my line of work as a life coach I help women to handle stress and challenging situations. I encourage clients to write down motives for their action, which helps to reflect on true reasons we do things.
When we are willing to carefully examine our motives for various actions we take, we can learn to break old patterns of wrong priorities and toxic overthinking in our lives. With enough practice it will become easy to focus on what means the most for us. For majority it is happy loving family and healthy caring relationships. We can start each day by praying and quietly asking: Dear God, how may I please you today in my actions and my words, how can I fulfill my purpose?

I wish you to have truly amazing holidays filled with love, while surrounded by true friends God put in your life.

Merry Christmas!

Lena Giffoni

 

Challenges of change

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Just a week ago I received a message that an update was available for my cellphone. I went ahead, pressed a few buttons and shortly after discovered that now it looked quite different than what I was used to. I was somewhat disappointed at first. I liked the way the screen looked like before the update, I even thought that if I can go back I would, I did not think now it was an option.
The following morning I told my son, who was home from college, that all apps on my screen looked less “sophisticated” and more like video game images. My son, quite surprised that I updated my phone ahead of him ( go Mom!) inspected my screen and announced his verdict :”Cool!” That was youth talking. It reminded me how I embraced change when I was younger. I really did welcome it. Now I realized how much I changed. A couple years back I learned (oh horror!) that my Pastor and my primary physician where moving out of state just within a month of each other and that my hairdresser was retiring in a few weeks. I was so upset- how could they do it to me! Of course, they did not do it to me, it was MH’s self-pity talking. It was I who was reluctant to change.
When I just moved to the US I had to learn and discover so many things! I can say for sure the first 8 months in a new country were the most challenging in my life.
I can relate to many people who face various challenges after relocating. It does not matter if it is a move across the globe, across the country or across the state. All of them have their similar challenges, namely: leaving behind family and friends, familiar places and services. You will have to start all over again: finding doctors, dentists, hairdressers and simply you way around town. You will feel like a new kid on a block and it may bring all kinds of insecurities. We all want to be loved and to belong. Some People end up doing totally crazy things trying to fit in. Entering a new well-established group, like a new church or a book club, may feel like a Middle School all over again, but it need not be. You can pray for strength and guidance, for going in a right direction and for the right people to appear in your life through what I call “Divine Appointments”.

Nowadays we can also easily get in touch with old friends and family for extra support. Thank God for technology! Now we have e-mail and Skype and messaging available on a cellphone! Some of us remember when a computer or a cell phone was such a novelty and it was very scary to use at first.

We can learn to rely on God in all we do and all challenging situations we may face. In my experience He wants and welcomes our complete surrender to His will. Only then we can have our joy and our song restored.

“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Your life is not a random occurrence

“Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?” Isaiah 45:9

“No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” Romans 9:20

“I was raised to believe that God has a plan for everyone and that seemingly random twists of fate are all a part of His plan.” Ronald Reagan

When you or the loved one does not get healed on a spot as an answer to prayers you feel grief and even anger with God. It seems unfair and unjust.

About a month ago my husband’s business associate was diagnosed with last stage of pancreatic cancer. For over a year her condition was not diagnosed. When she finally was diagnosed she received a very grim prognosis- only weeks to live. Why? Could Lord cure her on a spot? There is no doubt in my mind of his omnipotence. And it is hard to accept that He has his reasons for everything.

When recently the result of an MRI showed that I had a tumor in my ankle, I could not believe it. I became frightened and devastated. The word “oncology” is a scary one… Having my husband’s business partner diagnosed with late stage of terminal cancer left me anxious, my heart was going out to her and there I was, uncertain in my own future. Once again I was asking ”Why, God?” questions, that usually are not answered right away. Lord does not cure terminally ill patients all the time. It is especially difficult to witness someone die young, before their time. It is always scary to receive a frightening diagnosis. When we get a cure, and I consider all cures miraculous, how do we evaluate what we learned and how can we apply those lessons to the rest of our lives? Lord created the Universe and has a plan for everything and everybody. We all are destined to depart to be with our Heavenly Father forever and we never know when our time will run up.

As I am writing this, it has been almost four weeks since my surgery. I can have to stay in bed and can move only on crutches or in a wheel chair. I was recently reminded about the time I was crushed by devastating panic attacks. Pain was so real, so excruciating- I was completely distressed and wiped out. I remember thinking then: it was probably the only way Lord will grab my attention without giving me something really awful to deal with. I also thought He has something for me to do and I am learning through pain. I was learning to be silent for one, because I was crashed and could not move. I was on disability and stayed in bed for days at the time. I remember thinking that if something was to happen to my foot, I would still come to work, even if in a wheelchair. I also realized when I worked full-time I was not giving my full attention to God. I had to learn to be still and completely rely on my Creator, trust and listen. I will never know how many people prayed for my healing but I know they did. Why was I not healed on the spot, why did it take three long years to overcome severe panic attacks? It is only for my Creator to know. I learned to trust God and I am glad I did not doubt Him through my ordeal.

Here I am now, working again, even if from a wheel chair. What kind of teacher should I be, what have I learned in past years? Would I focus more of delivering the subject I teach in the most professional way? What is it that I need to share with my students? Shall I send them messages to remind that our Lord really cares about them and loves them? Shall I pray with my students before every class or would it be too legalistic for some? I began praying for them and will continue to do so. I also was reminded of being undisciplined writing this blog. Lately I have been thinking about words discipline and disciple. Is it a coincidence or there is a deeper truth to a fact of a word “disciple” being a part of a word “discipline”? How should I discipline myself to be a true disciple of my God? What lessons did I learn through pain, what was impressed on my heart? There were many. If you are suffering now- ask Lord to reveal what lessons he want you to learn.

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