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The Cost of Inauthenticity

By | Charlotte's Blog, Emotional Abuse, Personal Growth | No Comments

I know a lot of people who sacrifice their authentic self; the person God ordained to bring into the world, for a purpose, for such a time as this. Reason: to stay in the ‘comforts’ of the façade and the ruts they have let the foundation of their lives manifest in.

This is not a message to promote divorce. Divorce is excruciating. I have lived through it as a child, and have experienced I after 23 years of marriage. The expanse of the pain exceeds the confines of the marriage itself and will last for generations to come, on some level. Unless divorce is the absolute last resort, no one should ever consider it. In some situations, however, when all else has failed, God allows for a marriage to end. I believe it is in that case alone that true authenticity is expressed to better our world.

So many people are clinging to their dreams, religious rules, or the denial that consumes them. Meanwhile, inauthenticity is leading to spiritual, environmental, emotional and physical, destruction. The damage that results from living a lie manifests in all kinds of places: family relationships, churches, our bodies, the workforce and yes in many marriages.

Inauthenticity adheres to people’s lives in large part due to money. Divorce, relocating, getting a new job, etc. is expensive. Tragically the one who leaves for an authentic life faces increased wrath. It is common for one partner to exacerbate pain by hiding bills that are in the other person’s name, let policies lapse, vie for custody, and use everything in their power to hurt the one who left. This frequently includes rallying loved ones to turn against their former partner, as they portray themselves as a victim through manipulation. Often one parent will successfully turn children away from the parent who fled the façade. Many people whom I have met over the years eventually discovered they were manipulated by one parent and in some cases were never able to regain lost years after they saw the truth.

The cost of being authentic is massive.

In some circumstances, people stay in an emotional cesspool because they have faced threats and accusations that were so cleverly presented that they couldn’t begin to imagine how life would look if they were to leave. Often a choice is made to maintain a church position or to remain part of a social group of family and friends. They cannot imagine life apart from the crowd that encircles them. Not to uphold the outward image that they have exerted so much time and energy into constructing, isn’t anything they can grasp.

I speak from experience, and my situation is very similar to many other people’s. Being authentic required great faith. Faith that the God who ordained my first marriage, actually opened the door for me to move in a direction that I never imagined and in which I desperately didn’t want to go. It required faith that God would provide, not only for me but for my children and the generations of people who would be affected by the sharp division. However, if I had not taken the leap of faith, I would have continued to endorse raising a family in a house full of lies, discord, and deception under the façade of “happy Christian family.”

Not being authentic, because you are worried about how you will look as a Christian is, in fact, drinking the devil’s Kool-Aid. It will destroy you, your ministry, your family and everything you hold dear, from the inside out. In addition, it denies God the chance to shine through the extreme brokenness that we face when we abandon our plans for His.

Others can see the truth, regardless of how desperately we try to hide it. Especially children who are immersed in a home where the contrast between what is displayed to the world and what is lived, is the greatest lie. Children are keenly aware even if the disconnect is subtle. If the lies are not corrected children are likely to continue building a foundation that is being established in their home of origin. Regardless of the lies inside the family, people are still determined to follow the rules and are adamant in their refusal to be true.

Authenticity is not popular, and it will bring rejection.

I remember all too well being the ‘woman of God’ whose title was removed in many circles when I could no longer take the pain of living a lie. I learned in day one, who my true friends were and who was only there for the ‘married-to-my-first-husband’ version of me. The pain of seeing the true colors of others, after I dropped my facade, was devastating. However, it was freeing to understand the limited nature of many of my friendships. I walked away thankful that I didn’t invest any more time in people whose presence in my life was conditional.

Imagine one girl whose husband not only degrades her to her face but has an active pornography life. No doubt his sexual addiction requires increasing added risk, creating the same excitement that significantly less profanity once created. It borders on or is just plain illegal. The lack of emotional intimacy that exists in a relationship where pornography is present is well documented. However, leaving her husband would require giving up all she has. So she sells her soul for a lifestyle and family that only exists if she stays living a lie with her sick-abusive-husband.

Another girl lives a life she never wanted because she has a lot of kids. She avoids her reality by generating an exhausting social life. If she were to be true to herself, everything would come crashing down. Those friends who are there for the good times wouldn’t be there on a changed path. It is the shallow measure of a friend that I know all too well.

Many people are seemingly content living in duplicity. They seek to have their emotional or physical needs met outside of their marriage. People actually convince themselves why their infidelity is alright. They can’t get what they need and yet they are keeping their family together, and divorce is too costly. In other words, ‘I’ll do a lot of things to live Christlike, but I simply cannot be authentic in my marriage, there is no way.’

Trust me I want more than anything for marriages to work, but I also think nothing interferes with a Christian’s calling more than living a lie. I speak from experience. Many around me didn’t encourage me to live authentically, and actually abandoned me when I did. I have come to believe they are battling their own demons and façades. Perhaps focusing on the marriages of others’ marriages helps them avoid their own inauthentic ways.

When I finally sought God not what I thought God wanted, but when I actually turned to God, I was brought to the land of plenty. It took great faith to finally reach the point where I realized the wheel I had been running on for years was never going to end. I had been chasing my hope and dreams but it was nothing but an endless circle.

I was only going to discover the desires of my heart when I trusted my God and believed Him to be my all and all, come what may. He must have been so thrilled when I said, “I don’t know what is ahead of me, but I know You, and that is all I need.”

 Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

I know this is resonating to the core of many you. Some of you have a loved one you know needs to make a big change. You see the destruction but they are unable to seek what is best for their family and themselves. Love that person, but keep a boundary. It is ok to say you are not available to listen to their saga anymore. I know in my case, several loved ones put the brakes on my constant complaining when I was not willing to do anything.  That hurt but it was done in love and modeled for me self-care. It was an important step to get me to move forward into my truth.

This is a complicated topic, but it needs to be addressed. This is a quickening for someone who needs it.

Are you authentically living out your calling?

Are you clinging to your life or are you stepping out in faith and letting God direct your path?

John 8:31-32  So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

If you need someone trustworthy to confide in I am a life coach and I wold love be a support system for whatever your goals are. A great place to start is to begin a self care journey. It is impossible to care for yourself and let someone hurt you.  Order my Soul Work Journal at CharlottesSoul.com

What to Do With Fear

By | Charlotte's Blog, Personal Growth, What I'm Reading | No Comments

What to do with Fear

We all have a degree of fear. To some, it’s an annoyance that requires a slight lifestyle adjustment now and then. However many people feel absolutely paralyzed by certain fears. There are some people who cannot leave their home. Fear ranges from “I can’t drive across the bridge,” “I need to go to the ER again, I think I’m dying this time,” to “Yikes there’s a spider!”

Maybe we fear failure, rejection or death. Perhaps our fears are to disease, germs, or blood. Everybody experiences fear at one point in their life.

Research shows that we need to face our fears!

I vividly remember as a young girl having nightmares of snakes being all around me. Over the years I have struggled with camping, hiking and even walking in my yard with bare feet. You may not enjoy those things, but I do, and I have found myself doing them less and less because I have allowed my fear of snakes to grow and manifest itself adding restrictions to my life.

Dr. Jordan B Peterson, professor, a clinical psychologist and author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos states you do not deal with fear by making your environment safer. Protecting yourself from an irrational fear, only gives it room to grow, while you become more vulnerable.

A simple fear of meeting new people can lead to a life of captivity inside a home, or it can be addressed by breaking the fear into digestible tasks ultimately offering freedoms and opportunities for great relationships. Peterson shares examples of how breaking fears into bits and addressing the smaller pieces keeps the terrifying act of facing fear, from being overwhelming. For example, to one who is scared to meet new people, perhaps one can start by practicing shaking hands. Once that is mastered, and confidence has begun to grow the person can begin to add another goal and tackle the fear piece by piece.

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address

Practically speaking I have decided I am going to intentionally come into contact with snakes. Maybe it will be at the aquarium, but eventually, it might include camping, sometime other than the dead of winter, when I know those little slimy things are all tucked in tight somewhere and won’t cross my path.

It has been proven that avoidance fuels fear. It decreases our feelings of confidence. According to Psychology Today, “Exposure to the fear is most the potent medicine known to psychology.”

Although exposure is not natural. You cannot manipulate your world from your fear by protecting yourself. What I have discovered is it is critical for all of us to accept that our comfort zone is not really a safe place, if we cannot stand up to those things we fear outside of that space.

I have been reading It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn. This book is giving me pause for thought as to why some of us have irrational fears that we really do not understand the origin of.  Wolynn highlights the latest scientific research, supporting what many have long believed: that traumatic experience can be passed down through generations. This is a fascinating read in understanding how knowledge is stored and transferred in our DNA.

Soul Work for Cancer: Living A Life Interrupted By CancerI do not have a lot of fear in my life. In fact, when asked about the fear of my cancer diagnosis can honestly say there was not any. If you have read my book Soul Work for Cancer: Living a Life Interrupted by Cancer, you are able to tell that as you join me on my journey of diagnosis and ultimate healing of stage 3 rectal cancer. I used to live a life of bondage to fears. I would hear news stories and be convinced whatever happened to someone else could and probably would happen to me. Instead, however, God replaced my panic with His presence and the peace which passes all understanding. The peace has come from some 21-years of dedicating my life to Christ and having Him prove to me over and over that when He says fear not, it a waste of my life to disregard His powerful commands.

 

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

God has reasons for telling us not to fear. Fear can be very debilitating and can affect, among many things: our health, sleep, and ability to concentrate which can wreak havoc in all areas of our life.

Sensations of fear show up intense or weak muscles, no appetite, a racing heart, sweats, loose bowels, dizziness, physical paralysis, and a dry mouth. It can cause us to turn to substance abuse, harming ourselves physically and of course depression.

There are lots of tools for overcoming fear, here are a few.

  • be aware of your fears and be specific as to what it is you are afraid of
  • get curious about what thoughts generate your fear
  • try Therapy
  • work with a Coach (I’m a great choice)
  • Prayer/Bible Reading: my go to when I face fear is Psalm 91

And when I am scared of someone who has gotten away with hurting me:

Romans 12

I found some great ideas at  Wakeupcloud.com

Join me as we face something scary every day and watch our confidence rise and our fears diminish.

I am a life coach if you are looking for accountability or someone to come alongside you in an area of growth please reach out to me, charlotte@charlottessoul.com. Feel free to ask me how I am doing with my fear of snakes. I always love to hear from you, please let me know how this touched you.

 

 

 

 

Letting Go

By | Charlotte's Blog, Parenting, Personal Growth, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Letting Go…

I have been in a season of growing with God.

Although I have faced great joy, there has deep heartache and sorrow through my divorce and moving to Frederick.

One of the hardest things I have had to face was the reality that some of my children seemingly chose (for lack of a better word) their father over me. The pain was amplified by the fact that I stayed home and dedicated my whole life to them while their dad pursued what felt like success and other things, to put it mildly, over us.

The pain has reached new depths over this past season, and I finally realized I needed more of God to find healing.

“God,” I boldly prayed, “take whatever is between You and me.”

OUCH!

The level of pain around feeling rejection from my children climbed to an all-time high. Even places I had not experienced rejection before offered new levels of agony, that triggered old feelings as to why I left in the first place. Watching people in my past life move on as though I no longer exist, where I once was a valuable member of a community, served as a useful tool for the devil to get my eyes off my Lord and onto my sorrow.

“If you’d stayed married and in Annapolis, you would be enjoying all the great festivities happening there, as your children’s friends get married, have babies, etc.,” Satan stated a case that distracted me from the place God had called me to grow. “If you hadn’t left then you’d have…’

Not too different than his lies to Jesus:

And he said to him, “All these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9

The only way to overcome the pain I was in was to cling entirely to God. Push everything else aside. Nothing could take precedence over my time with God. The Bible study I did periodically, once again became a daily commitment. I threw myself at the feet of my Savior, as He strengthened me to let go. Let go of my children and the dreams I had of our close relationship. My desire to be invited to weddings and showers of the friends of my children whom I loved and cared for so profoundly over the years, who seemingly forget about my presence in their life.

Let go.

 

During this season God revealed to me how my clinging to what was, or what I wanted it to be, was driving a wedge into what is. I have been blessed with a town where I get lots of invitations and though I don’t have deep roots here yet, I will.  I have been blessed with a man who loves me more than I can even begin to imagine, and it’s been damaging for me to cling to an old idea and moan about what isn’t, instead of embrace wholly what is front and center.

“I put you here for a purpose,” God made it clear to me, “will you just let go of the space I moved you from and grow where I have planted you.” He has been beating me over the head, telling me He is ready to bless me and I am resisting as I focus on the things and places that once filled my ideals.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

So I did. I let go, and while there will still be areas where I will need to ask God for the strength to further let go, I can say I am more and more rooted where I am and whom I am with, as a result of asking God to take away that which stands between Him and me.

 

How about you? Are you able to do the work and accept what is over what you desperately long for?

Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Tales Around the Sunday Table; a Christian Response to Homosexuality

By | Charlotte's Blog, homosexuality, Uncategorized | No Comments

Tales Around the Sunday Table; a Christian Response to Homosexuality

When I was a little girl, my sister’s best friend’s father loved and welcomed me as his own. I was in a place in life where I needed that extra measure of care. Bill baked rectangular pizzas, in a baking sheet, and I found them to be the best! Eventually, Bill began baking pizza’s regularly (for me) on Sunday nights.

The stability that accompanied the sacrifice and commitment of the new tradition was of great value to the little girl I was. I lived in a world where I had much freedom and little grounding. At a young age, knowing Bill was making me pizza on Sunday nights was more valuable than anyone really knew.

Other people caught wind of the pizzas on Sunday nights, and like me, the budding tradition and unconditional love that was being served up drew them in too. Before long, the dinner evolved into a regular Tuesday Night meal for those who wanted to come. Bill and his family opened their home and their table for a crowd that in large part consisted of many young adults, perhaps seeking the same stability that I found around the table.

All sorts of people knew there was a seat for them; it was a gift that spanned hearts, years, generations and life events.

For a long time, I have wanted to reproduce something similar in my home; to say “We’ll have a place for you.” As my children began to grow and spend less time at home, I hoped they would always know there would be dinner served for them and whomever else would like to join us on Sunday night.

My husband, Bryan, recently met Bill on a trip back to Austin. As we fellowshipped around my mother’s dining room table that Sunday, Bryan got to hear incredible stories that developed from the Tuesday night suppers at Bills. Bryan caught the vision, and we came home with a plan for casual Sunday night dinners for people in our community.

If you would like us to include you, please let us know.

Our first dinner consisted of a motley crew; even I didn’t know everyone.

We invited a lot of people, and in the end, there were 10 of us; a perfect number, it turned out, to sit around my dining room table. We spent, what felt like hours, connecting with each other. We took turns going around the table, sharing who we are and something that made us unique. One of the first people to share was a man who had a story unlike any I had ever heard. Brought up a conservative Bible-believing Christian, he had married and had two children. His conservatism led him to serve as a politician for the Republican party. He was following the path that was set out for him until, when he was around 50 years old, he began to understand something was not right. He shared how it felt as he came to terms with the fact that he is gay.

His realization brought many painful feelings and realities. He turned to God, “Change me, God,” he implored. He didn’t want to bring pain and shame to his family. He wanted to die, to spare his loved ones from his reality. He considered ways he could commit suicide so that his loved ones would think his death was an accident and be spared the truth.

Eventually, he heard God. “I will not change you. I made you that way.”

What a shock for any Christian to hear. Many churches indoctrinate members to judge. Often evangelical churches teach us that all anyone needs is to be shown the truth in order to be led out of that sinful lifestyle.

Over the years I have heard plenty of people share about how God rescued them from homosexuality, but this was the first Christian I heard share how God comforted him, letting him know He made him that way.

Six years ago I was going through my cancer treatment when God spoke to my heart about the fact that I was judging gay people. He made it clear to me that He loves all of us identically. It was the beginning of my journey of not putting people in boxes because if their sexual orientation.

During our dinner, this man’s partner also shared his story. Another friend who is gay was at our table. Unlike the men, she knew in her teens, and she shared horrific abuse and rejection that she suffered over the years. Some of her most painful assaults came as she was forced to attend church while being prevented from participating in the Eucharist. She was publicly humiliated from the pulpit by the priest.

I have kept my love of homosexuals under wraps for a long time, for fear of being rejected by the church, as a Christian leader. Last year, however, the Lord called me to “come out,” and I did. The response was overwhelming from Christians in particular, who have children and loved ones who are gay and needed a Christian leader to stand up for LOVE!

We just had gay pride month, and that can make a lot of people uncomfortable. Even many of my gay friends choose not to associate with some of the obscenities that show up. I, for one, do not want to be associated with the hate that comes from many Christians. People cloak their hated and judgment in the standard saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” If you call yourself a Christian and are more concerned with scripture against lifestyles and less immersed in the overwhelming message of love, please recognize that you are not representing my faith, my God or me.

“For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2

If you are like me and feel the calling to love despite the teachings of many churches, have the courage and “come out.

I hope one day you’ll join our Sunday night dinner and share your story. If you are not local, make your table where people can come to feel a sense of community, no matter who they are.

1 Corinthians 13 (ESV)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

 I really appreciated this book Messy Grace written by a pastor Caleb Kalenbach, who has gay parents.

 https://www.amazon.com/Messy-Grace-Parents-Sacrificing-Conviction/dp/B0186H8P5U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530529476&sr=1-1&keywords=messy+grace+caleb+kaltenbach

Understanding Another Person’s Perspective Can be Quite Enlightening

By | Charlotte's Blog, Parenting | No Comments

Understanding Another Person’s Perspective Can be Quite Enlightening

Oh I See!

Have you ever wondered how someone didn’t appreciate what you were doing when you saw it as an incredible contribution?

When I first met my second husband, I was shocked by the resistance I felt from his kids. From my perspective, I was bringing great things into their lives. For starters, their dad was happy. Furthermore, as a sensitive mom, I was more keen to some aspects of their needs than he tended to be without me. For example, they would tell a story and I would listen.

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True Friends and Superstars

By | Charlotte's Blog | 2 Comments

Recently I have had the unique pleasure of watching a close friend’s son come close to being the next American Idol.

It’s Jonny Brenns if you are watching; as of now, he is in the top 14!

This experience of watching Jonny shine has been marinating my soul on many different levels for the past few weeks. I have never watched American Idol before. From where I stood, I only saw the harsh and unsupportive style of Simon Cowell, the originator of American Idol. He was well-known for dissing contestants and in my opinion possibly putting an end to their dreams and calling. I simply wasn’t interested in watching any human face such harsh discouragement.

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I Can Do It By Myself!

By | Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

When I was a young mother of 3 boys,

whom I had in my 20’s, within 3 ½ years, while my husband traveled extensively- I was nursing a nervous breakdown. I was a fulltime mother who felt compelled to get everything perfect.

At one point my then-husband suggested I get a nanny. I was so offended, how could anyone think a stay-at-home mom could use a nanny?

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Life After Cancer or Any Trauma

By | Cancer, Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

Crow Pose in Yoga

I’m just returning from a level 2 yoga class where I held Eagle pose and balanced in crow pose for a bit.

It’s been almost seven years since I found out I had stage 3 rectal cancer.

When you read my book you will see all the emotions I experienced after the initial colposcopy, receiving a diagnosis, struggling with alternative treatments vs. conventional, as well as realizing an ostomy bag was part of the process.  I endured six months of chemotherapy, post radiation, and surgery. You will also see what it was like to be 42 with four sons and miss out on a year of life. By the grace of God, I documented it in a very colorful way, and people all over are reading about the journey and growing in their faith and inner strength.

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Are You Worth It?

By | Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

You are worth more than you think.

A lie that one is likely to believe in an abusive situation is, “You are not worth it.”

Most likely the abuser, or addict, believes they are not of value, so they project their self-loathing onto others. If one already possesses a rather low self-image, there is likely little within, to stand firm and say, “You are wrong!” Instead, one is likely to slowly believe the sick individual, to whom they have given great credence, in hopes of perhaps finding their own significance.

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Addiction Affects More Than the Addict

By | Abuse, Addiction/Codependnecy, Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

We are all coming to see, and tragically many of us experience the destructive force of drugs.

They are killing and imprisoning those we love at a devastating rate.
What is not spoken about enough, is the ruins addiction injects into the family unit.

If you are connected emotionally with someone who is self-medicating, you are in need of treatment as much as they are! I know this doesn’t make sense. You are likely feeling out of control, angry, and reacting in ways that cause you to feel shame and regret for your behavior. It is crazy making. You are hiding something in hopes it will go away-it will not!

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A SEEP Reflection for 2017

By | Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

A SEEP Reflection for 2017

I have decided to do a little reflecting, in hopes that you will follow my lead and do your own reflecting. Many of us are very hard on ourselves, and we point out our flaws regularly. Taking a few moments to let the truth of how we have grown override the reminders of how we’ve fallen short is one way of combating the negativity in our mind. Perhaps you aren’t as wrapped up in your own failings, but the decisions of others are seemingly destroying your peace. Taking time to acknowledge the accomplishments, as well as growth, will help. It is essential to take time and ponder growth, past, and future.

I will model the S~E~E~P™ method.

S~Spiritual

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Soul Work for Cancer – A Chapter for Your Review

By | Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

I find worry to be a foolish waste of time; it accomplishes nothing, disregards the power of prayer, and takes a toll on us physically. ~Charlotte Chaney

I am on the cusp of rereleasing my debut book under its new title, Soul Work for Cancer: Living a Life Interrupted by Cancer.

I decided to post a teaser this week with the first chapter. You can purchase the book at my website or on Amazon (Coming Soon).

Please Pray for/Worry about Me

July 1, 2011

I find myself offended when I hear, “I’m worried about you.” I should take the comment as, “You matter to me and I sincerely care about your circumstances,” but all too often, I flat out reject those words.

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That’s Not Fair! Feeling Invalidated but Moving Forward

By | Charlotte's Blog | No Comments

judged

Recently, someone I love was misrepresented to a judge as I sat by helplessly. The opposing counsel steadily focused on their goal, to win for their client.

I wanted to scream, “That’s a lie, that’s is inaccurate!” I was to sit quietly and respectfully in my seat like everyone else.

I think about all the people who feel misrepresented by government leaders. It is maddening when others are making decisions, without the full story. You may adamantly oppose the outcome, and yet it affects you. Someone is setting things in place that are out of your control.

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Greeted With a Smile

By | Charlotte's Blog | 4 Comments

I grew up surrounded by smiles
We take for granted our access to clean water, HVAC systems, and food, but recently I have realized there was something else I take for granted. I grew up surrounded by smiles. I never understood what a precious gift that was.

I would have to say every single time I have seen my mother over the last 48 years; there has been a clear message that she loves me. Indeed, there were times of great trial, but I can assure you I have always known her love for me. In many ways, this is because she acknowledges my presence in a genuinely caring way. Whether it is “Good morning,” when I wake up, “hello” as I walk into a room, or the way she can’t wait to see me when arriving home from being away.

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