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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

Self Care is Not an Option; It’s a Requirement

By | Personal Growth, Self Care | No Comments

We are all given free will, especially when it comes to caring for ourselves, but what about how our free will impacts those who love us.

Recently I was asked to pray confidentially for a friend’s loved one whose body is shutting down, (please join us in prayer). I can see the turmoil in this individual’s life watching this essential family figure decline. It is no secret there was a history of alcohol abuse in this person’s life, but the drinking ended years ago. I think of another friend’s father who was very important to me when I was young, he didn’t like doctors, and when they diagnosed him with cancer, he refused treatment and never met his grandchildren.

Caring for yourself is not limited to your physical self. As you will see in my latest Soul Work Journal, I pinpointed four key areas to pay attention to through my SEEP method which I used when I first began my journey in Self Care.

Spiritual | Environmental | Emotional | Physical

Spiritual

How are you Spiritually?

A few of the prompts in the journal are pretty basic, but often people don’t want to care deeply enough for their soul to take time to consider how they feel:

  • Do I believe in God?
  • Do I believe I am a value to God?
  • Am I scared to grow spiritually?
  • What is my next step forward?
  • What is keeping me from spiritual wholeness?

Environmental

How are the Environments where you spend your life?

Sadly many people live in toxicity, avoidance, filth, excess, or in a pile of to-do’s which drain their energy and joy.

Some thoughts from my Soul Work Journal:

  • What can I do to flourish in my environment?
  • What am I going to do to keep my home comfortable?
  • Am I walking on eggshells with anyone in my life?
  • Is anyone walking on eggshells around me?
  • What do I hope no one else sees?

Emotional

We all ebb and flow with our emotions and some people more than others.

Ask yourself:

  • What unresolved issues need attention?
  • What makes me feel terrific? Examples: exercise, community, church, etc
  • What resources are available to me to nourish my soul? Examples: 12 step programs, counseling, volunteering, exercise, etc.
  • Am I willing to take the next step and reach out?
  • Name a friend or a relative in whom I can confide.

Physical

Our Physical bodies require care. They are the house for our soul, and we need to step up and go to uncomfortable appointments, and whatever is needed to stay in tip-top shape. If we can’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for those who love us or just as a thank you to God for life.

  • What does my body need?
  • How am I tending to my physical needs?
  • Are there classes are groups near me that I am willing to attend?
  • Who would enjoy coming along with me on my physical journey for inspiration and accountability?
  • What am I going to do to make my soul and body connected?

I learned to care for myself after I suffered the effects of fighting stage 3 rectal cancer. You can read about my journey and share it with others in my book Soul Work for Cancer.

As a result of learning to care for myself, I have developed a Soul Work Jornal for others to begin their own journey to strengthen the core of their soul. Please reach out to me for your journal. charlotte@charlottessoul.com

I am a Life Coach, I have a Life Coach and I would love to be your Life Coach. We all need a space to get our thoughts out of our head and someone to hear what we want for ourselves and hold us accountable to the next right steps when we figure them out.  You can book your appointment on my website charlottessoul.com or reach out so we can set up a time to connect.

 

 

 

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.

Being Prepared Emotionally for The Unexpected

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

Being Prepared Emotionally for The Unexpected - https://charlottessoul.com

Imagine someone crashes into your car while you are at a stop light.

Worse yet, you hadn’t taken the time to put on your seatbelt. What could have been a fender bender becomes that, plus bruises, cuts, and broken ribs? All because you didn’t prepare for the unexpected.

What about having your life in a steady state of chaos when you get the news that your child has cancer? Taking simple steps can prepare you for life’s unexpected events. It will not prevent things from happening, but can certainly equip us to overcome the unexpected.

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Which Part of Me Felt That? Which Part of Me Didn’t?

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

In my meditation class we were presented with an example of breaking pain into pieces.Many of you know what it means to experience emotional paralysis.

Paralyze as defined by Dictionary.com is: “to bring to a condition of helpless stoppage, inactivity, or inability to act:”

Over the past few years, I have encountered painful truths that I never envisioned I’d face in my prayer-infused, faith-based bubble. Traumatized, describes my soul when I came face to face with the unfathomable duplicity that existed in my home.

Throughout my emotional recovery, I have gained incredible tools. I trust I can offer fresh ideas for your journey as well.

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Trust

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

When you suffer betrayal, you begin to develop callouses that barricade the tenderness of your soul.

The reason I trust God with everything I’ve got is that He has exhibited Himself to me, through the firestorms of my life. It’s not that He rescued me from them when He most certainly could have, but rather He joined me in them and proved to me He is enough in every circumstance. As the old hymn says “How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,”
-Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.

My faith wasn’t always that solid. In the early days of my walk with God, I was angry. God had saved my soul from Hell but did not fix my devastating marriage. To the best of my human ability, I did all I felt He was asking me to do as a Christian wife and for years I begged and pleaded for Him to change our marriage.

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Back from Hiatus…Game On!

By | Addiction/Codependnecy, Charlotte's Blog, Latest News, Marriage, Personal Growth | 4 Comments

Back from Hiatus...Game On!
It’s been so long since I’ve blogged, my creativity has been paralyzed by life experiences.  I have come to discover that what I thought was reality, was not. I am now painfully at the finish line of a 23-year marriage, that I gave my all to, and the starting line of more than I could ask or imagine.

Both realities carry equal emotional weight.

I resisted leaving the toxicity of my marriage for years, for many reasons. Besides the longing to give my boys the intact family I wish I had, the church certainly played a role and I cringed at the thought of doing what God hates. Every good Christian knows “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel.” Malachi 2:16 

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Feelings Are Not a Solid Foundation

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

Tom Cruise and Oprah Do you remember Tom Cruise jumping on the couch declaring he was going to “forever” be in the honeymoon phase with his then fiancé, now ex-wife Katie Holmes?

I have no doubt he 100% meant it, but the fact is feelings don’t last. That’s what I have to be aware of right now as I’m enjoying a honeymoon with God. We haven’t been this tight since well before my cancer diagnosis July 1, 2011. He’s never changed, but clearly I ebb and flow.

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Avoiding the Unfamiliar; Missed Opportunities

By | Charlotte's Blog, Personal Growth | 6 Comments

Charlotte Ramsey ChaneyRecently at a speaker’s conference, there was a man who had pretty bad cerebral palsy. Everything he did was hard for me to comprehend visually. I felt uncomfortable with the differences, so I avoided him. I was eventually placed in a situation where I had to connect with him; my life was forever changed. He is an incredible man of God and I was literally in tears in his presence.

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