Category Archives: Peace

The thinking solution: simple steps to become worry-free

Has anyone ever referred to you as a worrier or said that you over-think? It’s true that people who tend to worry also tend to be “over thinkers”. Now, I’m not a fan of the term ‘over thinker’ (or ‘worrier’). However, I do believe that this terminology points out a general truth: the truth being that those who worry are usually people who have amazing thinking capabilities.

After all, in order to begin the worry process (in regards to a situation) one must think over different (frightening) scenarios that could possibly go wrong. It’s a vicious cycle. But the point I want to make is that due to your amazingly strong thinking capabilities — it may be thinking that will help get you out of that vicious cycle of worry.

Below, is an exercise that I like to refer to as “The Thinking Solution”.

The goals of this exercise are: to choose a (positive truth) thought over a (negative) thought; to give all cares and worries over to GOD; and to stop the habit of worry and to begin the habit of inner peace.

Step 1: When you feel worry coming over you, STOP, and ask yourself….

Step 2: What are you worried about? Name “it” (bills, the future, physical health, etc) and then ask yourself….

Step 3: Is there anything that I can DO to help improve “it” right now? If there is, then do what you can today. Then tell yourself that you have done all you can, for now, and then let “it” go. If there is nothing that you can do today, then tell yourself that and then let “it” go.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.“ – Philippians 4:6-7

Step 4: Invite GOD to be part of your decision to “let it go” …tell Him your concerns and picture yourself placing your cares in His arms …leaving them with Him. You can trust Him. He is FULLY capable!

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” – Psalm 55:22

Step 5: If the negative thought/worry pops up again, ask yourself something along the lines of: “what if ‘it” goes well instead of goes wrong?”. Remind yourself that you’ve placed your cares into the arms of GOD and choose to “let it go” again.

Now may the Lord of shalom himself give you shalom always in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Decide to enlist your amazing thinking capabilities to work for you rather than against you. The habitual thought pattern, of worry, usually does not happen overnight to an individual. It may take years to cultivate the worry-fear loop that so many of us get stuck in.

So be patient with yourself as your begin the new thought pattern of peace and trust. It may take time. But it will most certainly be worth it. When you choose shalom over worry and fear, your mind, body & spirit will thank you!

Shalom to you,

Click here for more ways to regain peace: https://shalomtotalwellness.com/2020/03/27/how-self-awareness-can-lead-to-peace/

when crisis mode meets blame culture: how to regain your peace

It’s the year 2020 and what began as a rosy glow of hope, and expectation, has left a lot of people….well, feeling powerless and fearful. A peek at the news? Bad, Bad. All bad. Is anything good happening in the world?!

A minute on social media? Fear! Control! “Friends” have turned to bullying, and shaming, those who may view things differently than they do. Blame has seemingly become the culture, now!

WHY?! Why are people using social media as a platform to boss everyone around? One simple word: FEAR. Ever known a “control freak”? Well, those people are literally the. most. afraid. They also may feel the most helpless.

Control makes fearful people feel powerful!

What is it about a crisis that causes the finger of blame to be pointed? Perhaps it is the fearful person’s default when they don’t get their way. Perhaps it is just simply easier to blame others’ behavior rather than take responsibility for their own feelings of helplessness.

After all, if YOU would do this (or that) then maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess, right? Not exactly.

In the end, the responsibility for yourself, and your family lies squarely on your shoulders…and that goes for each of us.

Check out the following 4 TRUTHS ABOUT PLAYING THE BLAME GAME:

1) Blaming Others Causes a Loss of Personal Power. Remember how Adam blamed Eve (and even GOD for giving him Eve) when God confronted him for eating the forbidden fruit? (see Genesis 3)? In that moment, Adam chose to engage in the blame game rather than be honest. You see, pointing a finger of blame towards others is an act of dishonesty which leads to a loss of personal power. In effect, Adam was saying “If you hadn’t given me this woman, maybe THIS wouldn’t have happened, GOD!” Once you give away your personal power, helplessness (and resentment) is sure to follow.

2) Blaming Others Provides a False Sense of Security. Sadly, the belief that we are better than others – or at least, always KNOW better – is strangely calming for some. After all, if I am above others, then I must be getting ahead in life. I must be better. I must be safer. I will end up above while all of you are below. Right? Wrong. Not only does this attitude give no room for one to be wrong, at times, but superiority is never pretty. In time, this false sense of security will shatter and reality will set in. At some point, you will realize that your security must be in something (Someone) that is bigger, wiser, and stronger than you are.

REMINDER: Those who live on a high horse have much further to fall than the rest of us.

3) Blaming Others Is a Waste of Time and Energy. In the moment, telling others they are “part of the problem” or “not taking things seriously’, etc. may feel like you are accomplishing something positive. However, this type of behavior will leave you feeling depleted and steal your peace. Your time and energy would be better spent looking within, addressing WHY you feel the need to go around pointing a finger of blame.

4) Blaming Others Does Nothing to Redeem the Situation. There are absolutely times in life where we had nothing to do with the injustice that has befallen us. There are times when we are innocent victims. In those times, God will guide and heal us. …And bring justice on our behalf. He may even use us to speak out against corruption, abuse, etc. There are abusive situations that MUST BE addressed!

However, that is not what I am discussing here. What I am addressing here, are times where there is room for other viewpoints. There are times when questioning should be allowed, and encouraged. During these times we can be the ones to help redeem a difficult situation. We may not be able to “fix” everything, but within our own homes, and spheres, God desires us to be a part of the solutions rather than placing blame and shame on others. Helping to redeem a tough situation will help to also take back your personal power. You are not helpless! GOD made you to be an over comer and to encourage others to overcome as well!

Switching Gears

Whether you are prone to pointing fingers – allowing your fears to push you into control mode – OR you’ve been on the receiving end of someone like the aforementioned, what’s the remedy? How can we get back into a state of peace? Check out the do-able peace regaining ideas below:

1) Remember That There is Only One Who is Ultimately in Control. Regardless of the type of crisis-mode you may find yourself in (physical, mental spiritual, financial, etc)…regardless of the scale of the crisis you may find yourself in (personal or world-wide) there is only ONE who is completely in control…..and it ain’t YOU! It is YHWH, Creator GOD, your Heavenly Father who loves you and has good plans for you! Stop micro-managing the rest of the world. Instead of blaming others, run to GOD. Receive His peace. He is waiting for you with arms open wide.

2) Be Humble. Yes, I know that you have the “special insight”…the “special wisdom” that the rest of us need. It’s just too bad that we can’t all be like you *eyeroll. Well, even if that is true – be humble. Your patience with others will go much further than your expectations on others to see things your way. Besides, you might be “wrong”. Be patient, and kind, to yourself as well. Crisis-Mode takes a lot out of a person…so take it easy as much as possible.

Please, before you post or say something, ask yourself: Am I moving in the spirit of fear or faith? Am I trying to control, or encourage others? Am I revealing truth or spreading shame?

3) Find Out What God Is Saying. This is something that I go back to often because when you seek GOD for His heart, on a matter, then you begin to see things the way He sees them. You begin to see and love people (and yourself) the way that He does. This concept can be applied to situations in life as well. What does HE say about the current crisis you are in? Ask Him and then flow in what He places on your heart. ASK HIM – you may just be surprised by how He answers! AND if you have been bullied, or shamed, by others, for handling things the way you feel God has led YOU to – then pray for the shamers. Yes, pray for the blamers. They need peace just as much as you do…maybe even more so! But by all means, carry on with your God-given role in the situation and don’t allow the misplaced words, of others, to get you off-track.

I pray this helps someone out there. There really is no room for misplaced blame, or shame, during difficult times. I pray that your personal season of crisis will draw you closer to GOD and closer to your loved ones. Allow God to use hard times to root out things, within you, that are not of Him. Allow His refining Hand to bring about positive growth, and change, within you. May the peace of YHWH be upon you. May His strength carry you. May you feel His love for you in new, deeper levels…for you are so very loved now…and always.

How Self-Awareness Can Lead to peace

It’s kind of an odd season we are living in. The headlines, of the day, seem to be spilling over with continual bad news. This can leave us wondering – what’s next? Pandemic? Fires? Floods? Economic Crash?

This list, of things, doesn’t even take into account the daily stress we may be experiencing in our personal lives. It doesn’t take much to remind us that we are not. in. control. In fact, SO much is OUT of our control!

Is it possible to obtain, and live, a life of peace during a difficult time? I believe the answer is a resounding YES! One simple strategy that can help usher in peace is the practice of being more self-aware. Let’s talk about it….

Become more self-aware. I know it may sound counter intuitive to think of yourself more during a difficult time. The advice of many is to get your mind off of yourself by doing for others. I agree 100% that we should be doing more for others! But if you use busy-ness as a means of distracting yourself, that’s only a temporary”fix”.

Wouldn’t it profit everyone if we slowed down long enough to do the hard work of addressing what’s causing anxiety and then decide to lean into peace?

Once the work is done, you will be able to accomplish even more to help others – and do it in the spirit of peace rather than the spirit of fear!

So how should we go about becoming more self-aware? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few ideas:

1) Name It: When anxiety begins to well up, sometimes we aren’t even sure what is worrying us…of course, other times we know exactly what it is. Either way, search your heart before the anxiety completely takes a hold and ask yourself what exactly you are stressing over. Name the anxiety. Maybe its name is “financial struggles”, “uncertain future” or “health scare”.

The thought of naming the specific anxiety, you are feeling in the moment, may scare some into thinking that will give the fear more “power”. However, I believe that this specific exercise will give the power back to you!

2) Find Out How GOD Feels About What You’re Afraid Of: Once you realize exactly what you are dealing with, open your Bible, a Bible concordance, or a Bible website online and find a verse that tells how GOD feels about this issue.

For example, if you are afraid of what the future holds then Jeremiah 29:11 is an excellent verse:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

If a general feeling of anxiety is what you’re experiencing (and you’re not even sure of any specifics), then Isaiah 41:10 is a good one: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

3) Get the Truth Deep Down in Your Spirit: I’m sure you see where I am going with this. Once you’ve found out, via Bible verse, how GOD feels about your specific anxiety inducing fear, get His truth about the issue into your heart and mind! Write the verse down in your journal. Write it on cards and place it around your house or office. Memorize it. That way, the next time anxiety begins to whisper fearful thoughts, into your ear, you can remind it that you are not afraid because you know how GOD feels about it!

4) Get Vocal!: If anxiety begins to well up, don’t hold back from speaking your verse OUT LOUD! It may even be appropriate to tell it to leave in the Name of Jesus/Yeshua! Take back your peace in the mighty Name that is above ALL names!…and then ask GOD to send the Holy Spirit (and His holy angels) to come protect and comfort you.

I pray these words are not only a comfort to you, but give you a game plan to put in place when you find yourself combating fear and anything that would seek to steal your peace! May your home, and heart, be a place of peace…full of the Holy Spirit…full of GOD’s love…and free from fear! May the strength of GOD be upon you as you trust in Him more and more. You are so very loved now and always!

"peace, be still"

There is a tendency, on the part of believers, to read the Bible and think of the wonderful, miraculous things Jesus/Yeshua did as, well…things that He did only while He was on earth in bodily form. We don’t always grow into the fact that He is still doing wonderful, miraculous things today – not just for other people but for us, as well.

We see this amazing Savior who commands the wind, and the waves, but still shudder when doubt and trials come into our lives. Maybe it is time to know Yeshua on a new level – on a level which produces real power in our lives.

Not only that, but did you know that the same Yeshua that walked the earth and sits at the right hand of YHWH, lives within YOU? YES! His power now lives inside of you. This means that now YOU can calm the wind and waves – not in your own power or strength but in HIS power and strength! And in HIS Name!

Does this mean it is not okay to have weak moments or to lose your peace? Of course not. Those moments will happen. But those moments should serve to remind us to, once again, run to our ABBA Father and (once again) be strengthened and be at peace. Those moments should BE moments – NOT a lifestyle.

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” — Mark 4:35 – 41

What was Yeshua doing in the middle of the storm? Napping. He was napping. Was He napping because he was too ignorant to even notice there was a deadly storm upon them? No. He was able to nap because He knew who His Father was. His Father, the Creator of the heavens and earth also created those waves and that wind.

Once you catch on to your true identity in YHWH – your true identity as a son, or daughter, of the Creator of the heavens and earth…there is no room for fear.

Peace is your inheritance! Strength is your birthright!

You don’t even have to be a “spiritual giant” in order to have faith during storms. Yeshua said you only have to have faith the size of a “mustard seed” (Matt.17:20). Just recognize that your faith (regardless of size) is IN the ONE who made everything, knows everything, and is capable of ANYTHING.

“Peace, be still” is STILL in full effect, guys! It doesn’t mean you don’t run into the closet when the tornado is in the area. But it does mean you have faith that the GOD of the heavens, and earth, can cause the storm to dissipate on your behalf. You can trust Him. He is fully capable!

Today, I pray that GOD will reveal more of His love for you…more of His peace in your life..and impart more of His strength to you. May every difficult situation you are facing come under the authority of YHWH Himself. May you ask Yeshua to calm the storms you are facing. May you begin to stand, in your God given authority as His son/daughter, and use the Name of Yeshua/Jesus to command the wind and waves to be still. May your faith be enlarged. May your dare to silence your doubts and begin to trust your ABBA Father. You are made for more! And you are so very loved!

Sabbath rest: take it easy

Whether freely chosen, or not, (thanks to “COVID19 and the imposed governmental self-quarantines) most of us have the divine opportunity to observe the Sabbath this weekend. Remember the 10 Commandments? Yeah, “Honor the Sabbath” is #4 but somehow it always gets skipped over (see Exodus 20:8).

I won’t be getting into that old argument of “grace vs. law”, or anything related to that, because frankly, it’s irrelevant. My personal walk with God is very holistic and I refuse to chop biblical truths up into doctrinal arguments. The truth is, obedience is God’s love language (see John 14:15). I’ll let you work the details out with God or perhaps attempt to expand more in a later post.

For now – the point is that honoring the Sabbath is a blessing! It is not a hassle or burden. It was established, by God, during the 7 days when He created the heavens and the earth …for rest.

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” – Genesis 2:1-3

Did God need to rest? No, I don’t think so. So why did He do it then? Well, perhaps as an example to us. Like the 6 days of work God did to create, we now have days of work and should also have at least 1 day of rest. There should be an ebb and flow to life but when we go, go, GO all the time – life becomes unbalanced.

Choosing to rest in God isn’t just about not doing any labor. It’s about placing your cares in Him and leaving them with Him. We can trust Him in all things and Sabbath is an excellent way to practice walking in His peace. It’s an excellent way to put your faith in action – in a tangible way.

How should one correctly observe the Sabbath? I don’t personally get into a bunch of do’s and don’ts.

But here are a few ideas to get you started:

– Spend time with your loved ones.

– Spend time with the Lord (praying, reading the Word, praising Him thru song, dance, etc)

– Take it easy.

– If you’re feeling really it, turn off your phone, computer, etc. for 24 hours) – I DARE YOU!

Honoring the Sabbath is like sending a love letter to God that says, “I love you and I trust you in ALL things.”

That’s it for now, guys! I pray that each one that purposefully dives into honoring the Sabbath, this weekend (and beyond), will receive an incredible blessing! May the love of God be upon you and your household. May the Sabbath peace, of Yeshua, fill your minds. May His Love fill your heart. And may His joy overflow within you.

Shabbat Shalom! – Dr. Karen Michelle “Shelly” Ricci #ShalomDoc

From Stressed to Shalom

Have you ever stopped to think about how much our lives have changed in the last 30…20…or even 10 years? This is something that has been coming up more and more in conversations with my husband…not just because we’re getting older (we ARE but that’s besides the point *ehem) but also because, as children of the 80’s and 90’s, we remember what life was like before smart phones, the internet, and amazon prime. I am not totally against technology as it has provided a degree of convenience to modern day living. But let’s face it – things were simpler “back in the day”.

On top of that, the different seasons of life are something that none of us can escape from. College, career, parenting littles, raising teens, caring for elderly parents, etc – each season brings with it a new challenge and demands our attention.

I haven’t even mentioned bills, schooling, juggling career and housework and all other things that fall under the heading of: ADULTING.

At the end of the day, we often find the cry of our heart is for PEACE!!!

Thankfully, GOD makes this peace readily available to us. In fact, Philippians 4:7 mentions a peace that passes all of our understanding. The Complete Jewish Bible puts it like this:

“(Then) God’s shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua.” (Jesus)

WHAT IS SHALOM?

But what exactly is shalom? You may have heard it used as a greeting, the same way that “hello” or “good-bye” is used. Oftentimes, it is used as a replacement for “peace” as in the above verse. But is there more to it than that? After all, when looking at words in the Hebrew language, one must consider all the possibilities of its meaning, which is often multi-layered.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (#7965) states that “shalom” means: completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

Shalom comes from the root verb “shalam” (#7999 in the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Some of the meanings listed for shalam are: safe, well, happy, friendly; health, prosperity, and peace.

There are 237 instances, in the Bible, where “shalom” is mentioned. The fact that it is mentioned so often tells us that it is important to God. Anything that is important to the heart of our Father God is worth paying attention to.

Clearly, shalom is so much more than just a greeting or a general state of peace. It is a blessing of health, wholeness and prosperity in every area of our lives: in a health sense, an emotional sense, a financial sense, a relational sense, a spiritual sense – everything!

Perhaps we could say that shalom is a concept that is holistic in nature. If you prefer, we could even say that shalom is a concept that is “whole-istic” as it is a blessing that ought to affect every area of our whole lives.

The thought that we should have shalom in every area of our lives may sound, at first, a bit overwhelming. After all, how does one even begin to go about achieving this?

Do we, first, have to live a life of perfection and then shalom will appear? Rather than thinking of shalom as a state of being that we must work to achieve, perhaps we should think of it as a force that we can choose to receive and lean into – a tangible force that we can move, flow and live in when we embrace the Creator’s ancient Ways.

WHERE DOES SHALOM COME FROM?

“And God, the source of shalom, will soon crush the Adversary under your feet.The grace of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) be with you.” – Romans 16:20 (CJB)

In the above verse, we see that God, Himself, is the Author of shalom. Yes, He alone is the Source of shalom. The amount of counterfeit offers of peace, vying for our attention, are numerous.

Many good, well meaning people have been sucked into false religion, and ideologies, due to the “promises” of peace and enlightenment. Of course, the enemy of our souls sprinkles a bit of truth into every lie. This causes us to put our defenses down and sometimes we overlook the red flags of warning. Before long, we will find that we have gone way off course – down a road that is far from Creator’s Ways.

We must use discernment in these matters and research the root – the originalsource – behind such non-biblical (often mystical) beliefs. As hard as we may try, peace cannot be conjured up or manufactured by counterfeit religion. Even satan has been known to masquerade as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

The truth is: we cannot think, medicate, or meditate ourselves into a state of shalom. It comes from Creator God alone!

PRACTICAL WAYS TO FLOW IN SHALOM

If you currently find yourself in a season where shalom seems out of reach or if you simply desire more of this powerful blessing, from GOD, below I have listed some practical ideas to consider:

1. Start your day with Creator God. Regardless of the current season you may find yourself in, your ABBA Father wants to spend time with you. He delights in you and is waiting for you to come to Him, everyday. Never underestimate the power of time spent in prayer, praise and in the Word.

2. Trust in Creator God. We were not designed to carry burdens. Lay them down at your ABBA’s feet, trusting Him to care for your every need.

3. Get rid of the old. Any old thought patterns, behaviors, or habits that don’t line up with GOD’s ways need to be kicked to the curb. Getting rid of the old junk opens up more room for the better things that your ABBA Father has planned for you.

4. Unplug. Spend more time with loved ones and nature…and less with tech.

Shalom is not an ethereal idea. It is tangible and something that we all can live, and flow, in. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your healing journey. Shalom!