When You’re Stuck, #ResetWithMe

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Anytime someone chooses honesty and authenticity it’s risky.  Each of us have different “lenses” due to life experiences and/or faith that we evaluate others through.


Although being authentic and real may feel risky, but it’s far more satisfying and freeing to be “you” and let go of what others think you should be or need to be.


Many of us live under layers of fear, shame, and insecurity, exhausted with trying to cover up the ugly, imperfect parts of ourselves – it’s called the Performance Trap or perfectionism.  We believe if we can be good enough, smart enough, funny enough, or successful enough people will like us (or we will finally like ourselves).


If you’ve ever tried to “not care” anymore about what others think and learn new behaviors and responses, you know all too well that it can be tough for an old dog to learn new tricks.


Tough, but not impossible.


So, to be real with you, my friend, I’ve finally come up for air long enough to write this (I’ve been writing it for 12 weeks if that tells you anything!).


Seasons of perpetual overwhelm can tempt you to believe you are the only one drowning here.  You know you’ve really gone under when the thought of treading water seems like a massive step forward.


When life circumstances knock you back a step or two (or ten) it’s scary to tell your friends, even your closest ones, that you’d rather just sleep all day or worse!  We fear they might think we’ve lost it and immediately respond by suggesting depression medication or a counselor.


After pushing through and sharing honestly with some friends, I was surprised to find out that most all of us have been here at some season of our life.  We work ourselves up to believing we are alone and that our case is highly isolated.  “There is really something wrong with me – maybe I’m crazy!”  is what we hear and then we go into overdrive to make sure no one sees we are struggling.  It’s the Performance Trap at its finest!


Hosea3I forgot how easy it is to park it in neutral and just survive instead of move forward and living life.   For days, weeks, and years after my son went to heaven I experienced this internal battle.  Everyone’s life seemed to be flying by me and I was stuck in my pain and grief.  I wanted to throw in the towel and quite truthfully, end it all.  That seemed easier.  It was equally as awful to live in a dark place, not allowing Hope to flood my heart.  My pain was so great that the alternative of “trying to live again” seemed way harder, exhausting, and not worth it.


But after another recent round in the ring with trials, I’ve concluded that “tapping out” of being vulnerable and authentic is not actually easier.  Tapping out of life, pain, or trials is a great deception.  Although we may try many things to fill the void or numb our sorrows, there is no escape.  And don’t think that just because you don’t run to drugs, alcohol, or pornography that you don’t numb out.  We all do it!


Numbing out is anything you or I do to avoid being vulnerable and feeling our way through our situation.  Your escape may be spending hours scrolling through news feeds on Facebook because it seems easier to live someone else’s life than your own.  Or you may overeat, spend money, play video games (or IPhone games), bury your nose in a book, or work late every night.



Value in the Valley


My life since that day has ebbed and flowed with trials as well as joys.  Just because you go through a “doosey” of a trial doesn’t make you instantly immune to all other problems.  However, I do think it gives you an opportunity to gain new perspective on life and a deep understanding of the value that come from our valleys.


I have to admit, it’s easy to stay energized and excited on the mountaintop. And although I am fully aware that I can’t live every single day on a mountaintop, when challenges hit I’m oftentimes surprised, angry, or even derailed for a bit.


That’s not how I want to live my life – I want to be steady, unshakable, and full of faith, confident in the goodness and the love of God.


I’ve experienced the valley over the course of the last year in business, relationships, and my family. We’ve experienced some lows in our businesses, gotten our house in order so to speak (which is soo good, yet can be tough to navigate), and God brought a new 6-year-old to our home right after the new year began.  We received the call on New Year’s Day at 10pm.  Ironically, we had spent the whole morning planning out our entire business calendar for 2014.  Haha!  God has such a sense of humor sometimes and loves to show us that His plans may not always be our plans, but they are better! 🙂


She is a precious treasure with a BIG destiny that we’ve been entrusted with for a time.   Her intersection into our lives has changed the course of our family forever.  I think you and I both understand that change can be scary, stretching, and extremely challenging.  On the other side of the same coin, change is healing, character building, and life-producing.


But it’s still change.

And that doesn’t mean I like it…

 …at first.


For this girl who grew up in the same house her whole life and went to the same private school for 14 years, change has never been on the top of my “Favorite-Things-to-Do-in-Life” list.  It takes me a bit to get acclimated to new seasons or challenges and that process is not always easy.


Boy have I ever gotten a front row seat to the lesson that God’s “grace is sufficient!”  It truly is ENOUGH to get us through any valley.  I didn’t want to fully embrace or believe that after Hosea went to heaven. I wanted to find another way.  If I embraced this Truth, it meant I had to live again because He had given me “enough” to keep going.  I think I half accepted this Truth and half numbed out to it, resistant to practice it fully.  But this new little girl in our home broke open that part of my heart and exposed it.


Why am I talking about a valley and a child in need in the same paragraph?  Because of my own selfishness and unhealed pain that God used her to expose.  You see, God love us so much that He will allow things in our life that will give us a deeper revelation of Himself.   But remember this truth, friend:


He never reveals what he doesn’t intend to heal.


If God reveals an area that needs growth in you, it’s not to condemn you or push you to perform for Him.  It’s so that He can heal it, restore it, and make all things new.  I may have thought Nathan and I were saying “yes” to taking in a child who had been abused, neglected, and needed love. But what we really said “yes” to was heart surgery.


HealthyOates FamilyDon’t get me wrong – there have been plenty of giggles, fun, and positive growth.  But there have been equally as many challenges and struggles.


I see now my battle for months has primarily been with shame – shame over anyone knowing I was struggling.  Lies swirled around in my head: “You’re not supposed to feel overwhelmed. Look at all she’s been through! Suck it up and pull it together woman!”   “Look at those people who adopt 8 kids. You shouldn’t be feeling this with just one!”  (Those were the performance monsters spewing their lies again.)


In the past, every time I’ve seen a video about adoption, fostering, or being a safe family I would bawl like a baby wanting to help those kids in need.  So why weren’t those strong emotions of dying to myself and serving wholeheartedly ever-present in my day to day reality?  More shame.


Adjusting to a new person, navigating my 3 kid’s emotions, and dropping 999 of the 1000 balls I was juggling left me feeling inadequate as a wife, mom, business woman, and friend. I truly began to feel like I wasn’t doing anything “right” and got to where I wanted to sleep all day (that’s what the Performance Trap will do to you – run you ragged trying to live up to yours or others expectations).  Of course, I didn’t have that luxury of sleeping all day on summer break with 4 children, but I definitely wasn’t my normal, energetic self, doing all the fun summer crafts and projects I wanted to do. More shame.


So I did the next best thing to sleeping the day away – I went into a self-induced isolation.  I fell off the grid and went dark for a while. I felt torn between truly being grateful for all God is doing in our lives in this new season (knowing that was the “right” response) and the day to day emotional roller coaster I was on that was telling me the complete opposite.


I have to tell you friend, from my front row seat, isolation never produces positive fruit in our lives.  We are created to need others and no matter if your destiny is to take a stage and speak to thousands, work from a cubicle, or stay home and raise your babies you and I will never completely realize our potential, calling, and purpose in life on our own.  It’s just not how God created us.   Just as the brain or the lungs can’t survive outside of the body, neither can we thrive apart from being a part of a “body” of people.



Pushing RESET


Due to allowing stress, performance, and shame to have a heyday in my life, I’ve gotten very off track this past year in a lot of areas of my life.  I’m not just talking about my weight and health, although that’s a part of it.  So I’ll first admit that I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone I was off track physically because I feared responses I’ve gotten before, “You’re the BURST-Queen. You don’t ever struggle with your weight!” “You’re so small anyway. Don’t complain about a few pounds.”  Or sometimes I feel the pressure (I’m sure self-imposed, again!) of “I’m supposed to be the “healthy” one or the person with the answers – I can’t let anyone know I am exhausted or living on coffee right now.” 


Wow! Do you see how shame sneaks its ugly head into every area of our lives and tries to keep us locked in the bondage of our lies, fears, and perceptions instead of moving forward towards life, healing, and community?   I wonder if I’m alone in this (please, oh please comment so I don’t feel alone!)?? 🙂


ResetThis valley has led me to a new season – I am calling the next 180 days for myself a season of RESET.  I fell off the bandwagon, but I’m getting back on.  I will be pushing RESET on my health, my hormones, my faith, and my thinking, among other things.  I will be intentionally watching for how shame tries to get back in and I’ll be learning to defeat it with authenticity.  I’ll be honestly journaling the ways I see myself reverting back to performance and striving and how I am intentionally pushing RESET on those old habits.  I may do a detox, get back on track with drinking tea instead of coffee, or find some new business practices that keep me energized and true to who I am, not what society, Facebook, or my To Do list says I should be.


I will be blogging on this journey and you are welcome to do any part of a RESET with me.  We all need to push the RESET button at times – that could be in any area.  You’ll hear ideas of what I’m doing from week to week and I’ll post what others of you are doing as well (if you send them my way or tell me in the comments below!).


Honestly, I’ve been scared to put this out there because I wasn’t ready for accountability.  I really don’t enjoy accountability. Mentally it’s always scared me – not because I don’t want someone else to know what I’m doing but because I’m such an overachiever I’m scared of myself at times and the high goals I set. What if I don’t hit them?  It’s not about what others will think of me but what I’ll think of myself (sigh).  I guess I should add that to the list of areas I’m RESETing – inviting others into the process with me to hold me to realistic goals and encourage me that I’m enough even if I don’t hit them.


I’ve gained a few pounds, not eaten as well as I could, felt like I’ve dropped some balls in my business, not responded to my kids and husband like I want to, and I have allowed some toxic things into my thinking and beliefs.


But I’m not looking backwards anymore – I’m walking forward, without shame.  There is freedom from feeling perpetually overwhelmed.  The is Life that is available to us all…if we choose it.


My head is above water enough to finally see the tremendous value in this valley and I can wholeheartedly say “I’m grateful.”  I will never be the same person I was before I stepped foot on this journey.  The beautiful little girl we brought into our home was simply the catalyst of something God already had in motion – bringing me to the end of me and a true heart revelation that Jesus is enough.


My valley has become my mountaintop.  I wouldn’t trade the revelations I’ve had, the freedom I’m finding, and the trust I’m building with God for the ease of avoiding trials and pain.


So this is my invitation to you.


In what areas has your valley derailed you?   What do you want to RESET?





Don’t know where to start?   I’ll be blogging more so check this page for new links to specific RESETs I’m doing, but these might help you get started.


Come back soon and I’ll tell you the very first two things I’m RESETing.


If you join the HealthyOates RESET, add #ResetWithMe to your Facebook or Instagram posts so I can find you!  I would love to see what you are pushing RESET on.



  • Hi Jenni! I loved your post!! I met you at the very first Shaklee New Director’s Conference and have enjoyed reading your blog ever since then. I struggled with severe depression in high school and can totally relate to you being overwhelmed and getting off track. This just makes you human! And by sharing your story I know you will be able to help many people. My life got really derailed when I was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with an autoimmune disease. But that is okay with me, and I’m a very strong person now. Loved your honesty and can’t wait to share this post with my sisters. I wish you the best in your RESET!

    Ashley Lawther 04.09.2014
    • Thank you for sharing that Ashley about your experience with depression. I know so many of us have hit that at some time in our life – some to more severe degrees, but so many I’m sure can relate. I’m so glad you have found a way to stand strong in the midst of trials. You’re amazing!

      Jenni Oates 05.09.2014
  • Oh you’re SO NOT ALONE! I think I need a reset in just about every area of my life. Accountability? Eeek! 😉 I’m in. Do we design our own reset and share what we’re doing here? What if we know what’s not working we but aren’t sure what will help us turn it around?

    Janet 04.09.2014
    • Janet, you can make one up and add to what will be posted here or follow along in the coming weeks. I think we probably all have different areas to RESET. Some areas I post may appeal to you and some may not. So jump in to the ones that are for you and cheer others on in the areas that are not! 🙂 I’d love your ideas if you do something!

      Jenni Oates 05.09.2014
  • I can’t read or type well right now..I have totally lost it reading your reset,Jenni.I am totally grateful that I have been added to your friend list…Because no one else has touched this chord in me but you.I have been hiding my fear and disappointment concerning my own 4 children.I live alone and have not realized how much sadness was welled inside me.I am older now….and my children are all adults …who don’t seem to need me or want to find out how I am…or is it my fault by trying so hard to “put on a happy face” with them…that they have no idea how much I need to know they still love their mother.I am a believer in Jesus Christ…and I cry to Him when I am alone…But I need to get to a point I call my point of total “giving up” and lie prostrate before Him crying for help.And He does every time.

    Jeannette 04.09.2014
    • Jeannette, thank you for your honesty and sharing your story. My heart aches for you and can only imagine the pain in your momma’s heart. There is so much grace for our mistakes…it’s just so hard when the consequences we see unfold in front of us aren’t lining up with that. However, I have to stand on the fact that our Redeemer LIVES. He redeems and restores all things – to NEW. A great book that is helping me is Destined to Reign, by Joseph Prince. The chapter on Condemnation is the best!! Praying for restoration and for God to restore what the “locust have eaten” 100 fold.

      Jenni Oates 05.09.2014
  • Thank you Dear Jenni….For showing me I need to push RESET!

    Jeannette 04.09.2014
  • Awesome… Really left me speechless. Anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s post!

    Holly 04.09.2014
    • Holly, as you can see tomorrow’s post has yet to come! haha! 4 kids all in different directions today took priority. SO, we shall journey together in a few days. 🙂 Come back and visit again!

      Jenni Oates 05.09.2014
  • I sit here with tears as I know your heart is so faithful.For those of us who are human we know that you are too. We have all lied to ourselves due to fear, shame, guilt.You are beautiful inside and out and your light for our Lord shines stronger every time I get to meet you.You are a beacon for others but sometimes you just need a new battery. Go ahead and change your battery and come back stronger and brighter…..well until the next battery change. As long as we are willing to change the battery we will continue to grow and one day we will be all what we are destined to be. A child of our most high God forever in his glorious presence.You are loved. Rest under His wings. There you are safe. love you sweet lady.

    Lesley Huff 05.09.2014
    • Lesley, thank you for your heartfelt words of encouragement. I love the analogy. Amen to what you spoke out!! I receive it.

      Jenni Oates 05.09.2014
  • Thrilled to share in your life and this journey! You are not alone as I know your spirit knows. May we continue to be courageous woman open to failure and surrendered to GRACE. RESET for me is an internal conversation I continually have, I’m practicing “Taking my thoughts captive under the power of Christ” and then speaking grace filled truth into my own life and those around me. As you can suspect this is NOT an easy task. Your words are transparent and therefore powerful!! I love you and think the world of you and Nathan and your precious family. I have found Dr. Caroline Leaf to be excellent in integrating science and research with biblical insight. She is worth listening to.

    Victoria 05.09.2014
    • Victoria, Thank you! YOU are such a woman of courage and I love what you said. That is exactly where I’m at with taking my thoughts captive. I know how powerful my thoughts are to dictate what I receive, yet I get so overwhelmed at times and don’t even try (to capture my run-away thoughts). Thank you for sharing! We love you and Walter too. And I will look up this resource.

      Jenni Oates 05.09.2014
  • Hi Jenni! I can totally empathize with the overachiever thing and the lies that accompany it. I like to consider myself a recovering perfectionist 😉 This has been, by far, the hardest year in our famiy’s life for many reasons. But, like you, I have discovered that truly, there are some things that can only be learned through adversity. And so I have found a new place of gratitude as we’ve navigated these stormy waters and found nuggets of gold floating to the surface in the midst of it all. It’s in these places of struggle and weakness, as you know, that, not only is His strength made perfect, but the world can witness the power of the supernatural at work in our everyday lives and trials! The world doesn’t only need to see a bunch of Christians doing great things, accomplishing their “to do” lists, having neat and well behaved children. That stuff only makes US look “good” in their eyes. They need to see the redeeming power of Christ that takes ashes and creates beauty. They need to see the amazing love of Jesus perform the miraculous in and through us. That’s how HE is made famous! And that is what you are allowing the world to see in you and your family. He is beautiful through you!
    In this place of transition we find ourselves right now, if there is any area that I’m pushing “reset”, it’s in my practice of His presence. It’s in being keenly aware, at all times, of the pervading presence of Holy Spirit and operating out of that awareness. It’s in keeping an ear out to His voice in each moment that may override my current plan or “to do” list. I don’t know about you, but as a recovering perfectionist 😉 it’s oh so easy to always fall back on my lists, strategies and plans, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed instead of falling back into His chest and letting Him whisper His list, His strategy or His plan into my heart…..which usually involves being still and letting Him love me 😀 My value is in being His. Period. And the only way for me to keep that truth in the forefront of my mind is to practice His presence. Always.
    As this past year has brought me to a greater level of freedom, I realize that in moving forward, I must have a different strategy or I will fall back into the habits that I created while in captivity. You explained this so well as you shared about how you are planning to move forward.
    Finally, one of the greatest revelations that has transformed my thinking is the fact that defeat is a matter of the heart, not the circumstance. If I am His and He is mine, then every perceived defeat has been conquered except that which I allow in my heart by the lies of the defeated one. Wow. Jesus, thank you that in You and by Holy Spirit, we have the power to live out these truths and see the world around us transformed in the process! Bless you, Jenni. Thanks for being you.

    Susan Pontius 06.09.2014
  • […] see negativity want to rear it’s ugly head again in my life and that’s the time to push RESET.  So I left my date with my friend and went home and dug deeper.  I prayed, “Why does it […]

  • Jenni, thank you for being so real and sharing your struggles and your victories. It takes a humble broken spirit to share the realities of life with one another. I stand encouraged and challenged to reflect and look to all that God has in store for me. Looking forward to resetting my life, hormones, emotions, and physical well being. I’m hoping 90 days will be a mile marker for me… And to continue for 180. God bless.

    Trish 16.09.2014
    • Trish, thank you for your kind words! You are an amazing woman and God DOES have so much in store for you. I’m proud of you for pushing RESET!! Go girl, go! You can do it.

      Jenni Oates 14.10.2014
  • I’m having a hard time knowing how to express my admiration and gratitude. Your vulnerability brought tears of many sorts – empathy, inspiration, sadness over my own shame – but mostly relief. Relief that my own struggles are “normal.”

    I’ve always gained so much more inspiration from those leaders who share their struggles than those who share only the path that worked. Don’t get me wrong, I have a big comfort zone called, “I need to know HOW” but what I continue to learn is that the struggles are what truly form us and where the real lessons and opportunity for growth are. This year’s conference was beautifully filled with that. Between Maria Shriver, Tasha Starr and even Roger sharing how things haven’t gone as quickly or perfectly as hoped.

    I am sure you are getting inundated with messages. I know that for every person who reaches out to you, there are likely a dozen more who feel the same way but didn’t make it past the “send” button.

    Given your mentions of shame, numbing and vulnerability I am thinking you might be familiar with Brene Brown. If not, her TedTalk on the power of vulnerability was a game changer for me and maybe it will speak to you as well. As one overachiever to another, her story really resonates.


    I believe that the true leadership model that is needed in this world is all about vulnerability. We in Shaklee get so bogged down in details and how to’s. And I believe a hyper focus on that aspect of the business has a lot to do with a fear of looking inside, finding our identity and letting our authentic selves be seen.

    I’ve told so many others (and I’m not sure I’ve actually told you) that you and Nathan have been examples for me of the fact that it’s about who we are BEING, not what we are DOING. When you spoke a couple of years ago at the Toovell’s January meeting, it was a big “aha” for me. It wasn’t about the material you were sharing, it was (is) about the leadership you demonstrate. It became so clear to me where your success really comes from. It wasn’t about knowing exactly the right words to say or the perfect way to present. Sure having a process, etc is important, but ultimately is about who you are as leaders. We attract who we are, not what we do.

    To know that our leaders, those we admire, YOU are human and fall down too, gives the rest of us such hope for ourselves. Thank you for BEING who you are, but more importantly having the courage to make your vulnerability visible. In my opinion, THAT is true leadership.


    Kim Reed 30.09.2014
    • Kim, I love you. YOUR words are life. Thank you for taking so much time to reply with such a heartfelt response. I am amazed at how we can sharpen each other and lift each other up in our times of need. We all need to RESET from time to time and it’s encouraging to hear yours and others journeys as well! Thank you for being vulnerable too!

      Jenni Oates 14.10.2014

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