3 Steps to a Transformed Mind

I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you to a dear friend today, Tracie Miles. Tracie’s new book Unsinkable Faith has just released. I have to tell you that I’ve watched Tracie not only write these words but live these words over a very difficult and painful year. She’s the real deal. You’re going to love what she has to say, so please welcome my friend Tracie! (And read to the bottom for a giveaway.)


My thoughts were running rampant, and I knew it.

The room was pitch black dark, except for a trickle of moonlight peeking through the window blinds. It was the middle of the night, but my mind apparently thought it was the middle of the day. The more I laid there thinking about my problems, the bigger those problems seemed to get. New worries began to bubble up and weave themselves into the tangled up details of the problems I was fretting over. Within a short period of time, even little problems I was fretting over became monsters in my head of which I was sure were going to devour me.

I wish I could say this was the first time that had happened, but that would be far from the truth. So many times I’ve laid awake at night, fretting and stressing over difficult situations or problems I was dealing with, my thoughts morphing them into bigger issues than they probably were, and inadvertently letting them rob of me of peace and sanity. Countless hours spent feeding negative thoughts until they grew bigger than I thought I could handle – when in reality they were not only manageable by me with my heavenly Father’s help, but fully manageable by Him all by Himself.  Yet the more I worried, the more my peace would vacate my heart and mind, while negativity swooped in and took up permanent residence.

Fortunately, as I journeyed with God through those difficulties, He eventually helped me realize that I could either let my thoughts control me, or I could learn to control them instead. I realized I could either choose to capture my thoughts before they captured my peace, or let them continue running rampant and allow them do exactly that.

Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” This verse holds the fundamental principle for positive thinking and joyful living, which is intentionally changing the way we think by inviting God to start a transformation within.

If we allow our minds to be shaped by negative thoughts about the difficult or trying circumstances we face, instead of them being shaped by God’s way of thinking (thoughts that are true and pleasing in His eyes; thoughts based on His perspective instead of our own), we are headed straight toward a life lacking peace, joy, and hope. But when we invite Christ to renew our minds one thought at a time, and humbly admit our need for change, we will be blessed with the ability to enjoy life, despite life. All because we changed our patterns of thinking, which gradually changed our patterns of living.

Although it might seem difficult, and maybe even impossible, it is possible for all of us to change the way we think if we commit to three God-filled strategies. If we intentionally begin to put these into practice in our daily lives, we usher in the ability for God to equip us to begin the transformation of our thoughts, feelings, and lives. These three easy steps are:

  1. Notice negative thoughts.
  2. Reject negative thoughts.
  3. Replace negative thoughts.

Each time you have a negative thought enter your mind, immediately make note of how you are feeling and how you are thinking. Be aware of your thoughts. Ask yourself things like,  Is that thought helping me in any way? Is it making me happy or stealing my peace? Is this  a problem God can’t handle, or am I assuming it is too big for Him? Is it even true, according to God’s Word? Asking God to help us start being aware of our negative thoughts is the first step to learning to control them.

Once you learn to be aware of your negative thoughts when they occur, you can begin to combat them and fight back. Each time you notice a negative thought, simple pause and reject it. Remind yourself not to focus on the negativity, and instead try to focus on something positive. If you’ve decided it is not really true, don’t allow yourself to entertain it anymore. If that negative thought is stealing your peace, refuse to give that negative thought power over your joy, peace or happiness, much less your life.  Take control of what you’re thinking, rather than letting your thoughts run rampant.

Then turn that negative thought around. Replace that negative thought with something more positive, or more true. For example, if something bad happens to us, we don’t have to start believing we have a bad life overall. When we experience something positive in the morning but have to deal with something negative in the afternoon, we have the choice to say whether we’ve had a good day or a bad day overall. If someone hurts our feelings, we can forgive and refuse to let it fester in our thoughts and steal our confidence. If someone insults us, we can focus on our positive attributes and remember what God says about us is most important.

Each time we notice our minds are wandering to a place where discouragement, sadness, fear, anger, or negativity reside, and we notice our feelings are changing our moods, perspectives, and behavior, we have the authority and the power to choose to reject those negative thoughts and shift them to be more positive. It’s simply a matter of deciding to tap into that power and change our habits. Notice your negative thoughts, reject them, and them replace them with something positive and true.  Not always easy, but always possible in Christ.

Might you choose to let today be the first day of your new optimistic life by changing the way you think?


To intentionally make positive living a reality in your life, and to begin experiencing a total life makeover through the transforming and renewing of your mind, consider purchasing Tracie’s newest book, Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies for Transforming the Way You Think, Feel and Live. You can also purchase a Companion Study Guide & Journal and other valuable, faith fueling resources on Tracie’s blog at www.traciemiles.com.

Sign up for Tracie’s free 5 Day Optimist Challenge. Visit her blog for more information at www.traciemiles.com.




Leave a comment today to enter to win a copy of Unsinkable Faith and also the Unsinkable Faith Companion Study Guide and Journal. If your life is moving warp speed, simply leave a comment saying, “I need unsinkable faith!”






Leave a comment here | 77 Comments

The Pain of an Imperfect Life

Maybe you’ve come here today because you’re feeling the pain of an imperfect life just like I described in my devotion today.

I understand how you’re feeling. (And there’s a gift to encourage you at the bottom of the page.)

If you’re like me and struggle with the pursuit of perfection, that feeling is even more acute. You’ve worked hard to attain the perfect life that you see in other women’s social media posts, but now you’re exhausted, and…

You truly want the best for the people you love, but you’re driving yourself and everybody else crazy with your out-of-control expectations.

Even though you bust your hump on every little thing, you constantly feel the nagging tug of failure.

You’ve been hiding your true self behind the façade of perfection for so long that you almost can’t remember who you really are.

You’re working hard to build the best life possible, but you have no time to enjoy it.

It’s become so critical to be perfect that every mistake or misstep is crushing.

I’ve been in your shoes, but through the love of truth-telling mentors, God-given aha experiences, and the excavation of wrong beliefs, I’ve moved toward celebrating the woman God has created me to be. Of deeper and more fulfilling relationships. Of kissing perfection good-bye and embracing more joy.

That’s the journey I share in my book Breaking Up with Perfect.

Because of the joy I experienced going through the book with a group of women last summer, I want to extend the Online Book Study to you for free. It’s formatted so that you can access every lesson and resource to work through the book at your own pace. Click here to get all the details and to start.

Note to leaders: There are lots of resources just for you so that you can lead your small group through my book! Please feel free to share all beautiful downloads, extra lessons, and fun videos with your group contained in the Online Book Studyand there’s a Leader’s Guide chock-full of information and help for you. You can buy it by clicking here and scrolling down below the book.

I’d love to be with you in person too! A fun way to launch your study would be to have me come speak at your church. Watch the sample video below, and click here to receive more information about having me at your event from our Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker coordinator.

A Gift for You:

To use the graphic above as desktop wallpaper, click on the size that works for you: (Feel free to download all three. You may have to use a little trial and error like me!)

1900 x 1200

1280 x 1024

1024 x 768


Leave a comment here | 2 Comments

A Little Win that Made a Big Difference

In my last post, I shared a failure from last year. As a recovering perfectionist, I often haven’t dealt well with falling on my face. Failure makes me feel… well, like a failure.

God wouldn’t allow me to sink into despair this time, though. The morning after I sat in my chair and realigned my identity with His sacrifice, God reminded me of a way that I had grown during the year.

Withdrawing from God during hard times has always been my tendency. Oh, I might look fine on the outside, maintaining a bright smile and my regular activities, but my prayer life would fizzle when bumps in the road were under my feet.

God gently reminded me that I didn’t do that this year. I brought each emotion to Him and laid it at His feet. I asked Him the big questions and begged Him to intervene. I approached Him with confidence, knowing that He loved me and would see me through. Following David’s counsel, I poured out my hear to Him.

To get a glimpse at how big of a change that’s been for me and get some encouragement about how you too can stay close to God in hard times, click here to read the rest of this post over at Kathi Lipp’s blog.

Leave a comment here | 4 Comments

Jesus Helped Me Bounce Back

I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl.

My personality leans naturally toward sunny, and joy seems to be a gift God has woven into my DNA. I tend to be able to let things run off me, and I’m not offended easily.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely Polly Anna. Just like you, I’ve had pain and losses and disappointments, but I’ve always rebounded pretty easily.

Until 2016.  2016 kicked my booty.

In multiple areas of my life, I experienced some things that broke my heart, and instead of settling in to let God heal and reassemble, I wrestled. I cried. I sank into the hurt, and as I embraced the hurt instead of God’s healing, I fought a loosing battle with…




I didn’t stay in these dark places all day every day, but slowly over the course of the year, I was moving towards decline instead of growing towards incline. I covered it pretty well, though, so that most around me didn’t know the darkness I was experiencing.

Finally, in the weeks before Christmas, I confessed to Barry and a friend, “I feel like I’m walking along the edge of a cliff. I’m ok right this minute, but I feel like I could fall off into a major depression at any moment.”

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever let your circumstances overwhelm you? I knew that’s what I had done.

I let my circumstances overwhelm me, and only I can let that happen. Still, I couldn’t figure out how to stop.

The day after I had confided the depths of my hurt to Barry, I sat in the chair where I meet Jesus every morning, and I asked Him, “How did I get here? And how do I get out?”

Gently, He reminded me of two blog posts that I had read in the previous weeks, one from a wise mentor and one from a young woman who is the daughter of a friend. Then He whispered into my heart with a voice as clear as yours across the phone lines, “Amy, you’ve let your identity slide back into what you do. Your identity isn’t in what you do. It’s to be in Christ.”

Oh. Yeah.

It’s so simple, isn’t it? Even baby Christians know this is the way it’s supposed to work, but I forgot somehow… even though I pecked out these words on my keyboard in 2014,

“When tasks rise to the top of my priorities, I stop seeing myself as the richly loved daughter of King Jesus and start feeling like the stepdaughter dressed in rags scrubbing the floor under her Father’s harsh, critical gaze. I start to see God as an unrecognizable taskmaster, and I begin to believe I’m only created to do His work…. Viewing God simply as a divine project manager skews our view of ourselves into dangerously prideful territory, where the work of our hands is exalted above the work of God’s Spirit. The path to the perfectionism pit is short when we trust our own methods and focus on our product.”  ~Breaking Up with Perfect

Even though it was hard to admit that I needed to learn an old lesson again, I thanked God for clearly showing me how to get back on the path to joy. I asked for His forgiveness in allowing my identity to be anyplace but in the safe and loving arms of Jesus, and I asked Him to change my heart.

That’s when a miracle happened.

I’m not one to bandy around lightly a weighty word like “miracle”, friends. I know I experienced a true miracle and the healing of my heart. Many times God heals over time, but this time, I got out of my chair almost physically lighter for having let go of the heft of my own responsibility and shifting into Christ’s rest.

And yet I worried… I was worried that it might be temporary. Or that the sadness might come back the next day. Or that I couldn’t live in this joy, but I’ve experienced a permanent change of heart.

Jesus helped me bounce back.

Are you struggling with the hurt of unexpected circumstances? The pain of being misunderstood? The despair of doubting your calling?

I have one step for you to take. Do a little heart check. Where is your identity resting? Is it tethered to the crumbly underpinnings of your own work? Your own efforts? Your own calling?

Or is it attached firmly to the sure foundation of Christ– a place of rest and safety and unfailing love?

Taking that one step, checking where my identity lay, and asking God to move it back where it belonged set me back on the right track. I believe it can help you too!

In picking apart how I got into the pit and how God helped me out, He also let me see the growth and good that has happened this year. Please hang with me next week to hear about a major victory that might be just what you need too!


Congratulations to Katharine (1.5.17 10:35 am), the winner of a copy of Overwhelmed!

If you read this, and your first reaction was, “Oh pooh! I really wanted to win that book!” can I make a suggestion? Go and buy it today anyway. There’s still an opportunity to get the companion planner for free when you buy it, so click on the title above and see all the details.

Leave a comment here | 23 Comments

Merry Christmas and One More Chance

It’s a gray day in NC, but the glow of my Christmas tree and morning thoughts of you are shining brightly.

This is my last post before Christmas, so I want to wish  you a beautiful holiday and close communion with Emmanuel, God with Us, this week. I’m praying for us all to be filled by Him fully!

In this last podcast before Christmas, Cheri & I wanted to focus completely on Jesus, but we couldn’t come up with quite the right idea for a show. Finally, Cheri said that she thought we needed to pull part of our interview with Michele Cushatt off the editing room floor. I agreed wholeheartedly.

There’s one sentence in this interview that took my breathe away way back in the summer, and it’s a sentence that’s been haunting me ever since. Listen and let me know if you know what it is!

This is the last time I’ll send out the link to Grit ‘n’ Grace from my blog. 

From now on, you’ll get one blog post a week from me. If you’d like to continue to get the link to the podcast (Grit ‘n’ Grace) weekly in your email box, you’ll need to subscribe by clicking here. You’ll get a free gift too!

Merry Christmas, y’all! Click on the graphic below to listen to Michele’s heart-capturing words about Jesus.

Leave a comment here | 1 Comment

Episode #25: Sticky and Prickly- Dealing with Our Tricky Holiday Emotions


The holidays inevitably boil up some difficult emotions. Childhood hurts reemerge, too many people around fray our nerves, or loneliness leaves us feeling hollow.

Cheri and Amy process helpful ways to deal with our emotions instead of just pushing them down only to have them pop up later.

(Click on the graphic above to access the podcast and the free downloads. Prefer to read rather than listen? Download the transcript right here!)

Leave a comment here | 1 Comment

Episode #15: Finding the Beautiful in Messy Situations



Cheri and Amy process last week’s interview with Sheila Wray Gregoire through the lens of conflict and no-black-and-white circumstances.

It turns out that messy doesn’t mean ugly. There is redemption and positive personal change that happens when we face the natural complications of life instead of ducking them. Click on the graphic to listen.


I also had the chance to guest post on my friend Rachel Britton’s blog this week…


It was an epic story filled with conflict, mystery, and suspense, but it wasn’t a story just told for our entertainment. It was a true story– with God as the hero.

Our little band of women from Proverbs 31 Ministries sat in a small room in India filled with women who faithfully attended the literacy class led by Mission India. One after another, women in the class shared the stories of God’s presence in their lives.

Only months before, these same women didn’t know that God loved them. They didn’t realize that they were valuable and created in His image. They didn’t recognize the work that God was doing on their behalf.

Prayer was changing their lives and their perceptions.

Click here to read the rest.

Leave a comment here | 1 Comment

It’s Just a Week Away

I’m so excited that the Online Book Study of Breaking Up with Perfect will begin next Monday! It’s going to be a great time of connecting and growing together.


I know some of you have questions about how the study will happen, so I thought I’d ease any anxiety about the unknown by going through the details today. If you haven’t signed up, please join us! Here’s all you need to do to be ready to join us next Monday:

  • Make sure you’re subscribed to the blog. If you’re receiving this as an email, you’re set to go. Otherwise, click here to subscribe.
  • Purchase either a book or digital version of Breaking Up with Perfect from your favorite book seller by clicking on the name of the retailer. Proverbs 31 Ministries (all proceeds go back into the ministry), Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Christian Book Distributers. I’ve been hearing that the book is a bit scarce, but there are copies around. Lifeway, Family Christian, and Barnes & Noble are also carrying the book in some of their stores, so you may be able to find one right in your home town.
  • Optional: Get a FREE downloadable version of the Participant’s Guide by sending a picture of your receipt or of you with your book to [email protected]
  • Optional: Join the Facebook page where we’ll interact in a more private setting by clicking here.

If you aren’t planning to join us for the whole study, you’ll still get some of the content right here on the blog each week. Make sure to see the info at the bottom of the page about my first interview with Barry before you leave!

If you are planning to participate, here are all the details you’ll need. If I leave your question unanswered, please leave it as a comment, and I’ll be sure to answer it right away!

  • We’re going to be moving through the book super-fast to get it all in during the six weeks we’re together. If you want to start reading ahead, that’s completely fine.
  • Here’s the reading schedule:
    • Week 1 (Aug. 1-7): Intro & Chapter 1
    • Week 2 (Aug. 8-14): Chapters 2 & 3
    • Week 3 (Aug. 15-21): Chapters 4,5 & 6
    • Week 4 (Aug. 22-28): Chapters 7, 8 & 9
    • Week 5 (Aug. 29-Sept. 4): Chapters 10 & 11
    • Week 6 (Sept. 5) Final post on the blog
  • Do only the number of activities that work for you that week. If all you can get done is the reading, that’s just fine! Join & study as much or as little as you can. This is a no guilt zone!
  • The beauty of this study is that it’s “evergreen”. If you get behind, the blog posts will always be here. You can catch up at your own pace.
  • If you’re a small group leader that wants to go through it later with your group, the posts will be here AND I’ll embed the Facebook Live videos in the posts mid-September for additional content for you.

Here’s what the weekly schedule will look like:

  • Monday Moments— Mondays have two separate parts.
    • There will be blog posts right here connecting Breaking Up with Perfect to my powerful lessons from my last trip to India. This will be a slant on the book that nobody but our group will get!
    • I’ll also be on our private Facebook page each Monday night at 8:00 – 8:30 pm ET on Facebook Live for personal interaction with YOU. The first 15 minutes will be video. The second will be questions that allow you to join into a conversation. It’s going to be fast-paced and fun!
      • Participate Live— Go to our private Facebook page at 8:00 pm Eastern Time, and the video will be right there. You can leave comments that I’ll be able to see, so I can answer questions and interact with you personally. It’s a BLAST, and I’ll give you some directions each night so that you can participate fully.
      • Watch any time— If you can’t tune in live, you’ll still be able to watch the video and comment. We’d love to hear from you when you can chime in. I know the time will be tough for you west coast girls and our international participants.
  • Thursday Thrills— Some fun FREE resources will be shared on the blog and on the Facebook page. Make sure to join us both places!
  • Friday Forum— Each week on Friday, we’ll have a chance to share together on the Facebook page. What was your light bulb moment for the week? Questions will be posted in the morning, and you can comment when you have time. Make sure to join the community fun! Your comment will enter you for some great {Giveaways}.

Finally, there are only 7 days left before we start, so please invite your friends by sending them the link to this post. We’ve got great momentum in building this movement to break up with perfect.

I think that about covers it. Do you have any additional questions? I’d love to help!


As a little extra this week, I wanted to share the podcast of the very first interview that Barry and I have done together. We had a great time talking about what it looks like for two strong-willed people to navigate marriage and parenting together–sparks and fireworks! Click on the graphic below to listen.


Leave a comment here | 10 Comments

Party-in-a-Box Giveaway and a New Podcast Episode

I’m incredibly excited to have so many of you participating in the Online Book Study of Breaking Up with Perfect.

Change is always more powerful in a group, and our cyber-group is going to be fabulous! If you haven’t registered yet, click here for all the details.

Maybe some of you have a small group at church or a neighborhood group that would like to go through the study together and add some face-time to our Facebook time each week.

If you buy your books together, I’ll offer two goodies to you:

    • A free copy of the downloadable Leader’s Guide
    • An entry into the Party-in-a Box Giveaway. I’ll send you lots of fun party supplies for your group to end the time with a celebration. See the good stuff below!


Here’s what you do to collect your free Leader’s Guide and to enter:

  • Take a picture or screen shot of your receipt that shows your purchase of five or more books.
  • Send that picture to [email protected] We’ll reply with the link to the downloadable Leader’s Guide.

This offer is only good July 15-29, so make sure to gather your group, purchase your books, and send your picture in the next two weeks. (Don’t tell anybody, but I hope YOU win!)

Note to leaders: The content of the online study will be “evergreen”. You’ll be able to access the content on my blog any time in the future, and I’m going to go back and embed the videos from the Private FB page into the blog once the study is over.


Podcast Episode #016–When Looking Good is Actually Bad

Part of creating a perfect facade is covering bad motives with an approval-winning actions.

Cheri & Amy dig deep and get real about the ways they’ve looked good while masking skewed motivations and discuss the do-able solution.

Click on the graphic below to join them as they process how to use our gifts for God’s glory and bask in God’s love– from the inside out.



Leave a comment here | 1 Comment

What Happened to Big Hair & Attitude?

Alright y’all… I promised full disclosure for those of you who read today’s devotion. Don’t laugh. It’s not nice.

dc trip

Do you see me? Back row. Far right. Oh. Mercy. Those were the days, my friends. Am I right?

Moving right along.

Even though I was a goofy teenager, I was much more my authentic self in eighth grade than in my mid-twenties to early forties. I wouldn’t go back to pimples, gales of loud giggles, and wanting to fit into the popular crowd, but God has been teaching me for the last decade to live life as the most authentic version of myself that He always intended.

If you’re where I was 10 years ago… Exhausted from trying to keep up the facade of perfection… Finding my friendships were fraying as life got harder… Longing to live with more joy, more freedom, and deeper relationships…

Then I’ve got something just for YOU!

Breaking UpwithPerfect

August 1- September 5, I’m hosting an online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect, and we’re going to have a blast together!

To join the study in three easy steps, just follow the links below (but make sure to come back for the important information in the sentence under the bullet points):

  1. Subscribe to the blog by clicking here. If you’re already subscribed to my blog, you can skip to step #2
  2. Join the private Facebook page by clicking here.
  3. Buy the book by clicking on your favorite book seller  Proverbs 31 Ministries    Barnes & Noble    Amazon

To get all the details and directions about how to access a free download of the Participant’s Guide, click here. (There are directions for the free guide both for those of you whole have just bought the book and for those who already own it. I’m an equal opportunity gifter!)

I’m so excited about moving forward in less perfectionism and more freedom together. I promise that the lessons we learn will bring you into deeper relationship with God, others, AND yourself!

Leave a comment here | 8 Comments