Finding Purpose In Your Life

Many of us want our lives to have meaning and purpose. By “purpose,” I simply mean knowing the whys of our actions and pursuits. According to a Deloitte Millennial Survey, 6 in 10 respondents said “sense of purpose” is part of the reason they chose their current employer.

This sounds very philosophical and worthwhile. But if you look underneath the pursuit of purpose, you may be surprised at what you find.

You may find apathy. Why? Because many of us are seeking out purpose and not finding it. Jobs aren’t meeting expectations, relationships aren’t what they’re supposed to be, all resulting in more stress. 

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Melissa Clark
Beating the Sunday Scaries

Anxiety describes a group of disorders that cause worry, nervousness, and fear. The feelings associated with anxiety interfere with everyday life by causing physical changes in the body, irrational thinking, and decreased motivation. 

Most individuals will struggle with anxiety at some point in their life. Personally, I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was a child; as a result, stomachaches were frequent occurrences for me. I often escaped to the nurse’s office, asking to go home because I wanted to be in an emotionally comfortable place. My anxiety typically involved worrying about something happening to my parents and my own health, but most often, it concerned school. 

When I was elementary school, my anxious feelings would start on Sundays. My anxiety would usually begin around the middle of the afternoon. Like watching clouds roll in, so would my dread for the coming week. As the night progressed, my anxiety amplified dreading the coming week. . I remember lying awake each Sunday night, watching the minutes and hours tick by. It seemed like with each passing moment, my worry about the coming week only grew.

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Melissa Clark
Dear Wife by Amanda Davison

What are the biggest pitfalls you see in marriage?

The slow drift. I see countless couples who wonder how they got to this place of disconnect - feeling more like friends than intimate partners. Couples are slowly moving apart as a a result of day-to-day lack of intentionality. Not always, but it is usually due to the busyness of everyday life. Schedules get filled with activities, groups, and volunteer time. Nights at home are occupied with homework help, catching up on details of the day, preparing for the next day, and relaxing for a few minutes before you start the next day. Our time is the most important commodity, and generations past have not needed to protect their time like we now need to. Intentionality in how we spend our time is a must to a thriving marriage. It doesn’t have to be week-long romantic getaways or even date nights - yet finding moments in the every day for alone time to connect goes a long way. It’s the discipline to choose your spouse over what is grabbing for your attention or time. Your kids, your phones, other people, or Netflix.

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Melissa Clark
Children and Mental Illness: What You Need to Know

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Mental illness continues to be a taboo subject for many.  Because of shame and the stigma of mental illness, too many individuals do to not seek out the help they need.  

Many parents do not seek treatment for their children because of misconceptions and misunderstandings.  For example, the myth that children will outgrow mental illness or it's “just a stage.” Fact: children are less likely to “grow out” of psychiatric disorders than they are to “grow into” more debilitating conditions.

I want to share with you some important statistics about children and mental illness, show you some warning signs, and give some helpful resources.  Let's be educated as individuals and as parents.  Your child may not be suffering, but chances are he or she may have a friend who is.

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Melissa Clark
3 Ways to Ditch Self-Criticism for Self-love

Last month, I wrote an article about self-love. After sitting with client after client who struggles to offer themselves love and compassion, I began digging into scripture to see what Jesus says about loving ourselves. Many of you reached out to me saying how much you enjoyed reading the post. And you echoed the struggle for self-love because it feels prideful and selfish.

I know for myself, knowledge comes first and application seems to lag behind. I want to continue the conversation about self-love and offer you what I hope are practical, tangible ways to pursue love. Love is the central tenet of the gospel— God loved us so much that he gave us Christ. When you look at the Bible through the lens of love, you see the theme repeated over and over again. So why is it so hard to love ourselves?

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Melissa Clark
What Almost Ruined My Marriage

Every year Americans spend billions of dollars buying organic produce and foods.  The promise of the manufactures is a product free from pesticides, hormones, and toxins.  We pay a premium to eat “clean” foods.

By definition, organic means naturally occurring, derived from living matter. Organic food is treated differently than non-organic food. Not only is it free of toxins but it also does not contain anything man-made…it's natural.

We eat organically because who wants to eat pesticides and cancer-giving toxins?  Not me.

Recently, I began to think about relationships.  Most of our relationships are filled with toxins with many unnatural patterns occurring.  I know in my life, unrealistic expectations have caused rifts in important relationships and sadly have ended some relationships.

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Melissa Clark
The Secret To Loving Yourself

A common goal for the clients I work with is for them to have compassion for themselves. All too often we are our biggest critics, holding ourselves to an impossible standard. And when that standard isn’t met, shame and self-contempt follow. I know this has been the case in my life. It’s only through a biblical understanding of love that can we truly become healthy— through loving others and loving ourselves, the way Christ intends. 

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them” (The Message). 

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Melissa Clark
New Year, New You?

How many times have you heard this phrase at the beginning of the year? “New Year…New You” Typically said by marketing campaigns' intent on selling you products.  Products promising to “fix” your problems, namely looking younger, thinner, and happier.

What if you didn’t need to be a new you, what if you simply needed to be yourself? With some minor adjustments.

Think about this: making tiny tweaks can produce significant changes. What happens at 211 degrees to a pot of water? It's just really hot water.  Turn up the heat one degree more and you have boiling water. Boiling water creates steam.  The power of steam is harnessed into energy.  One little degree makes the difference.

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Melissa Clark
Flip Your Thinking Script

Every moment of every day, you are given access to a powerful tool. There is no other tool like it on the market. It possesses the ability to create life or produce destruction.

Can you guess what that tool is?

It's your inner thoughts.

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Melissa Clark
The Insiders Guide to Improve Your Learning Style

I wrote this book for speakers and teachers. A surprising outcome has been how deeply it has impacted learners! Several years ago, I was at the Christian Counselors of Texas listening to a presentation on neuroscience and attachment. The emphasis was on the idea that attachment is a right brain function and language and “learning” more a left-brain function.


At that moment this book was birthed in my mind. It occurred to me how many of our attempts to help others change come from helping them know information. Yet to really reach the part of them that produces deep change left brain learning processes might actually be an obstacle.


From that thought until May of this year I have explored a range of theories and ideas about change and the human soul. This book, Think Differently Learn Differently, is the result of that exploration.


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Melissa Clark
Fear Keeping You Up At Night?

It's Monday morning and my kids are at swim lessons.  I love swim lessons, 40 glorious minutes all to myself...usually taking the time to read (today's reading is Present and Perfect by Shauna Nieuquist.)

My blissful quiet moments are cut short by a young boy.  The panic in his eyes and the way he grips onto his mother as if she is his life-preserver-to-all-things-safe catches my attention.

I'm trying not to stare but the panic in his eyes and his labor breathing distracts me from my book.

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Melissa Clark
DTNT: Do The Next Thing (a procrastination remedy)

I don’t know about you but procrastination has to be one of the most frustrating behavior traits.

Think about it, you go to bed determined to wake up early and exercise.  Only to find yourself hitting the snooze button multiple times leaving you only a few minutes to spare frantically brushing your teeth and throwing on something clean (at least you hope so).

So frustrating.

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Melissa Clark
4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Relationships

Bleary-eyed, I groped towards the glow on my bedside table. A dear friend had just brought home a new baby and I was signed up to bring her and her family a meal. My iPhone was flashing a Meal Train notification, reminding me that today I was on deck.

It had totally slipped my mind. And after a busy weekend of birthday parties and teaching, I felt completely spent. A little voice whispered, “Just go to Central Market and get them a prepared meal. Surely prepared meals were created for such a time as this!”

But as soon as the words “prepared meal” crossed my mind, a second, bossier voice stepped in and demanded, “Are you joking?! She’s a new Mom – she deserves a beautiful, scrumptious, home-cooked meal! And besides, all your other friends will be cooking for her. You don’t want to look like an incompetent, lazy friend, do you?”

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Melissa Clark
5 Ways to Chase Down Your Dreams

The choices you make today will impact your circumstances tomorrow”  (Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes).  I wholeheartedly believe every person contains a God-sized destiny woven within the blueprint of our identities.  But not everyone pursues this destiny.

Are you surprised when you keep making the same harmful decision – you know this choice isn’t helpful but yet you keep doing it?  What is even more shocking and disheartening is when this pattern is fixed on repeat. 

Frustration, exhaustion, and doubt become life’s companion thwarting the pursuit of our dreams.

I’d like to share you 5 ways to break out of patterns of frustration and exhaustion empowering you to grab ahold of your destiny.

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Melissa Clark
Tired of Living Distracted, Scattered, and Stressed?

Are you finding yourself distracted, scattered, or stressed? If so, it may be because you’re living in your head and missing out on living your life. 

You may find yourself worrying about the future. This can be anything from imagining worst-case scenarios (i.e. “I’m going to get fired,” “we are going to break up,” etc.) or getting stuck in the past, ruminating on what I shoulda, woulda, or coulda done differently. These thoughts are likely snatching you away from what you could be experiencing in the present.


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Melissa Clark
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

As a parent, I get the opportunity to watch a lot of cartoons, so many of my analogies and thought processes are inspired by Disney and Nick Jr. For example, during the movie Frozen, Princess Anna and the trolls confidently declare “people really don’t change.” 

This song shares a sentiment embraced by many clients in the counseling process. I’ve often heard them say, “I can’t change, so why bother.” I can understand where they are coming from. Many have read books, created New Year’s resolutions and gone up for prayer. But the problem remains, leaving them feeling exhausted, desperate, and in many cases, hopeless.

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Melissa Clark
The Grit Factor

What goals are you stuck in or have stopped pursuing?

Is it because you don’t feel smart enough, good enough, or something along those lines? Good news - You don’t have to be the smartest in the room.  But, you do have to show up and keep showing up.

Even when things seem hard, even when they feel impossible.  Keep going.  Don't Stop. You don't have to take a giant step, one little step at a time gets you closer and closer. Paul says it like this, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and hope.”


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Melissa Clark
Children and Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Mental health continues to be a taboo subject for many.  Because of shame and the stigma, too many individuals don't seek out the help they need. 

Adults aren't the only ones to struggle with mental health...so do children.

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Melissa Clark
Practice Makes Perfect?

Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” From sports to music, this mantra is continually being used as a means of motivation. Recently, I started poking around at the phrase questioning its power of inspiration.

What if practice doesn’t make perfect?  Think about, what is perfect? NO SLIP UPS. How is this even possible? 

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Melissa Clark
Stop the Loneliness

Today’s society prides individuals for their independence.  "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is a mantra for many.  Like Frank Sinatra they belt out, “I did it my way.”  But is independence a quality to seek out and celebrate?

One of the first things God said to Adam is that it's not good for man to be alone.  Humankind was designed to be in relationship with others. We are truly better when we are together. 

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Melissa Clark